The days leading up to Christmas are always ones of great anticipation and with good reason since everything about Our Lord’s birth was marvelous. It occurred in the middle of the night under a blanket of stars. The “good tidings” of His birth was announced to nearby shepherds by an angel: “…This day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.” This angel was then joined by a multitude of others who sang out, “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.”1 Finally there was the visit of the three Kings, wise men who saw “his star” and followed it to the crib where they presented their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.2
Sadly there are those in our secularist world who no longer believe in this historical event and never miss an opportunity to insult those who do.
“Mary and Joseph needed to get it together, parenting wise.”
The last place one would expect such an offensive statement is in pages of The Wall Street Journal, arguably one of the most serious and conservative newspapers in America. Yet they surprisingly chose to run an article by Rob Long titled “In Defense of Scrooge” as the featured essay in the December 19, 2015 Weekend Review section.
Long makes reference of the census decreed by Caesar Augustus during the time of our Lord’s birth, and then characterizes Saint Joseph as an imbecile without foresight.
“You’d imagine that any thinking person (my emphasis) traveling with a pregnant wife all the way to Bethlehem…would maybe make a reservation at an inn.” He then praises the good sense of others who booked ahead, and cynically asks, “we’re supposed to see this situation as a mark of great virtue of the parents who didn’t [plan properly] and then have to deliver the baby in the barn… Mary and Joseph needed to get it together, parenting wise.”
The two people he is dealing with just happen to be the mother and foster-father of the Word Incarnate, God made man, whose birth was the most sublime event in history. Yet Long portrays them as fools. Such a parody is not surprising, considering the fact that he is a Hollywood writer and producer most known for the TV series “Cheers.”3
An Article About Ebenezer or an Excuse to Blaspheme?
This does not however explain how the editorial board of the Journal would allow such an insult to Christians nor the picture on the following page. It showed a silhouetted image of Saint Joseph leading a donkey carrying the Blessed Mother. They sadly stand in front of a sign for the Star Inn, showing a No Vacancy sign. It is difficult to see this as anything but another jab at Christians who marvel at the idea of the star, “his star,” which guided the three kings to the Savior’s manger. The odd choice of the picture would reasonably leave some readers with a question: Is this an article about Scrooge or is Ebenezer only an excuse for a comedy-writer to spew his blasphemous4 portrayal of august personages inside the pages of an otherwise professional journal?
In our highly secularized world that looks with disdain on all things religious and does not miss an opportunity to trivialize sublime events like Christmas, such myth-shattering portrayals as this no longer surprise. Yet I wonder if the Journal would even consider such lampooning of Mohammad, in the days leading up to Ramadan?
It is doubtful they would, yet they did not seem to have a problem in playing the part of Scrooge themselves by printing an article more appropriate for a third-rate tabloid.