A member from the Greek Orthodox clergy (L) and a Palestinian use diesel to scrub the floor and columns of the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 28, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar AwadIt seems Christians have a hard time dealing with the fact that — for the most part — the legendary founder of their religion was an avowed pacifist. This is indisputable, and can easily be found in the pages of any Christian Bible (e.g. Mt 5:38-39 and Lk 6:29, just to name two citations quoting him directly on the matter). He’s even known to many Christians as “the Prince of Peace.” Unfortunately, many Christians purposely ignore Jesus’ overt pacifism, paying closer attention to another of his quotations (i.e. Mt 10:34), and they freely exhibit as much violence as they wish.

It’s particularly ironic that a bunch of Christian clergy — men who ought to know better than other Christians that Jesus had been a pacifist — decided to duke it out with one another, in the place where it’s long been presumed he was born. The AP reports via USA Today‘s On Deadline blog on this idiotic debacle (WebCite cached article):

Up to 100 Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests and monks swinging brooms clashed inside the Church of Nativity today in Bethlehem in a frenzied turf battle, the Associated Press reports. …

The fighting broke out during cleaning of the West Bank church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas celebrations in early January, as each side jealously guards its territory.

Sounds like these guys have a little growing up to do. It also sounds like this is the sort of jurisdictional conflict that ought to have been resolved long ago.

I was amused by the fact that Palestinian authorities — who have secular jurisdiction over the premises — have opted not to take any criminal action:

“It was a trivial problem that … occurs every year,” police Lieutenant-Colonel Khaled al-Tamimi tells Reuters. “Everything is all right and things have returned to normal.

He tells the news agency that there were no arrests “because all those involved were men of God.”

That’s right, folks. No crime apparently occurred here, because the people involved in the incident were “men of God.” This sort of reasoning sounds suspiciously like the same line of thinking that made it possible for so many priests and nuns to abuse so many children around the world for decades or centuries. Hmm. Maybe it’s time for a new mindset … one that admits the possibility that “men of God” may not actually be as perfect as others might wish they were?

Photo credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad (cached).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.