BETHLEHEM: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
From Bethlehem, the Washington Times reports: "Mr. Arafat arrived via helicopter from the Gaza Strip to a jubilant welcome, and declared:
"We announce this holy land, this holy city, the city of the Palestinian Jesus Christ, is a liberated city forever, forever, forever."
A what kind of Jesus, Mr. Arafat?
"Jesus the Palestinian," the man said.
That's right. He whom the New Testament repeatedly identifies as "rabbi." Well, can you imagine Jesus of Nazareth as the Palestine Liberation Organization's first Jewish chaplain?
In the past, there have been equally outrageous caricatures, deliberate distortions and meretricious misrepresentations--but not many any worse. Among Latin and Central America's badly baptized Marxists of "Liberation Theology" like Haiti's unfrocked priest Aristede, Jesus is regarded as the Che Guevara of Galilee.
Writers like D.H. Lawrence and filmmakers like Martin Scorsese have enjoyed portraying Jesus as a sexual athlete, by a carnal license which conjures coitional romping with either temple prostitutes or Mary Magdelene.
The Nazis organized an entire morally bankrupt "church" after their astounding announcement that Jesus was an "honorary Aryan." And the Nazis' political descendants among the Tan Klansmen of Black power extremism claim that Jesus was really black--and very militant.
In Bethlehem's Manger Square, 30,000 "Palestinians" chanted and cheered, reported the New York Times' Serge Schmemen, who also quoted Arafat's claim that Bethlehem is now "liberated."
Liberated? Liberated by whom? Surely not by Brave Yasser, his PLO gunslingers and assorted Arab armies. They were never able to "liberate" Bethlehem, despite their repeated efforts, in which these Goliaths were toppled repeatedly by a vastly outnumbered army of Davids.
And speaking of David, will Bethlehem be announced as no longer The City of David (The Jew)?
Not likely, given Bethlehem's main source of revenue: Christian tourists. But that is very liable to diminish, rapidly, after just a few months of Bethlehem under Herod Arafat's Palestine Police. For these are the U.S. financed--and almost totally impotent--law-enforcers against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who loathe Christians almost as much as they hate and recurrently murder Jews.
How did the Christian clergy who are custodians of Bethlehem's historic Church of the Holy Nativity feel about the visit there of Mrs. Yasser Arafat? This Christian apostate, who renounced her religion in order to marry this mass murderer, entered the church, crossed herself and then laid her baby on the star marking the traditional place of Jesus's birth.
How they felt was neither expressed nor reported. But it must have been something akin to what the Moslem world would feel if Israel were to announce new archeological studies proving that Mohammed was really a Jewish camel driver--either that or his having been an eighth century prototype of the pre-repentant Prodigal Son--except that he stayed in a far-off country and remained a keeper of swine. (Can we imagine the world-wide rioting--which does not take place when Jesus is similarly misrepresented?)
Arafat referred to "martyrs who died fighting during the Israeli occupation"--without a word about the large number of Arabs who were slaughtered by his PLO gangsters, because they were deemed to be insufficiently supportive.
There were especially loud cheers when the PLO chief announced that in future they would meet in "Arab Jerusalem." The Washington Post headlined this "O Little Town, Meet Arafat," referencing the town just 20 minutes from Jerusalem.
There are reports of massive Christian moving away from this birthplace of Jesus. And here there will be no more room for Jews than there was 20 centuries ago, when an expectant Jewish mother from Galilee was obliged to give birth to her first born--in a Bethlehem stable.+
Lester Kinsolving is host of "Uninhibited Radio: The Les Kinsolving Show," which airs on WCBM-680 in the Baltimore area.