You all remember Jason and David Benham, I presume, the two brothers who lost their HGTV show when it was revealed they were a couple of low-life bigots. They’ve parlayed their rejection into a sort of martyred fame, preaching about non-existent Muslim celebrations on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, when David claims,
“Jason and I went to New York City and I remember watching radical Muslims marching through our streets screaming, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ and I stepped into the middle of the street and I began to proclaim the gospel and let them know that that stuff is not welcome in our nation.”
The event was actually an ANTI-Muslim march organized in protest of the Ground Zero Mosque by OAS – Operation Save America, and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) ably exposes Benham lies with regard to this little episode.
If their memories of 9/11 are skewed, so is their memory of Christmas.
Back in August the Benham brothers said the gay “bully agenda that is going to turn its guns blazing towards religious liberty in this country.” David once again grabbed reality by the balls and twisted by claiming “When our country no longer honors the exercise of religion, which is what that is, in the marketplace of wherever we are, it’s a very scary place to be.”
The trouble is, he only wants one religion to be exercised – his own warped version of Christianity, which has about as much in common as Christianity as Jidahic extremism does with Islam.
Which brings us to the War on Christmas. In an article in World Net Daily the Benham boys tell us that “The root word of Christmas is the singular reason ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ is under attack in today’s culture” because, you know, though “it sounds simple and borderline cliché…the fact of the matter is, the birth of Christ – the axis of history – is a game changer for all people and all nations.”
In fact, for a whole century after his birth, not one source mentions Jesus or the religion about him founded by his followers. Some game-changer.
“Cliché” isn’t the word I’m thinking of. My word comes out of the south end of a bull.
The brothers ask,
But why all the fuss? Why the fight over this little baby boy, born in a stable and placed in a manger? How much more insignificant could one birth be? And why did King Herod issue a decree that all babies under the age of two be killed at the time of Christ’s birth? That’s an odd twist you don’t normally see in the average Nativity scene.
They say, “There’s an answer to these questions,” but the fact is, Herod didn’t order any babies killed. Herod did a lot of bad things, including killing members of his own family, but they were nothing extraordinary according to the times in which he lived. And unlike baby Jesus, people did write about Herod and note his crimes. No ancient historian so much as mentions mass baby-slaughter among them.
It just didn’t’ happen.
It’s a constant source of amusement that people like the Benhams ask us to consider the milieu in which Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived, taught and died, while ignoring the milieu in which Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived, taught and died. They want to claim to be a religion of history while ignoring the historical facts in favor of religious beliefs.
They tell us the answer – “a reason for all the fuss over the birth of Christ” – is to be found in “Linus’ recitation of Luke 2 in “Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” but really what Luke tells us is that there is a birther problem (to go along with other problems with his birth) for Jesus. Let me explain:
Luke tells us that the Annunciation (the foretelling of Jesus’ birth) takes place in the reign of Herod (1:5), who died in 4 BCE (some scholars place his death a year earlier). Mary’s pregnancy must have been of unusually long duration though because at 2:1 Luke tells us that Jesus was born when Quirinius took his census, which was 6 CE.
Matthew (2:1) tells us that Jesus was born “during the time of King Herod” and there is no mention of Quirinus. The obvious problem here is that the taxation could not have taken place during Herod’s reign because under Herod, Jesus’ parents were Jewish, not Roman citizens.
If the taxation took place after Herod, a problem still remains, because Galilee was not part of the Roman province over which Quirinus oversaw the census. No Galilean would have been compelled to leave an independent Jewish tetrarchy in order to be taxed in an adjoining Roman province.
Then the Benhams get all mystical on us, and point not to the gospels and their mixed versions of Jesus’ birth, but to the Apocalypse of John (better known as The Book of Revelation), a book which was written after the gospels and which had to do with the visions of a guy named John (not the John of the gospels) and which was not even widely accepted by Christians before its inclusion in the New Testament:
But what we don’t see – and what Linus didn’t say to Chuck – is what Scripture tells us happened in the heavens long before baby Jesus was born, which pointed to that very night:
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child” (Revelation 12:1-4).
After some unseemly money-grubbing appeals, the brothers get down to brass tacks and tell us that,
This passage in Revelation points to the reality that there is a battle taking place on the earth over this baby boy – now our risen Savior, according to Scripture – whose name is Jesus Christ. And the great red dragon, “the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan,” is His mortal enemy.
It was Satan that provided the political agenda of Herod to issue a decree to kill the babies. His target was Jesus, and it still is today.
Except nobody in Jesus’ day knew about this dragon deal because nobody had had a vision of it till John, and Herod didn’t kill any babies. So…a later explanation for a cosmic event explaining a historical event that never took place.
I don’t think we’ve found any answers about Christmas here, except in the fevered imaginings of a couple of guys who have imaginary encounters with Muslims celebrating 9/11.
What is hilarious then is them telling us that Jesus “escaped Satan’s grasp and accomplished His mission on the earth.”
And what was that? We look back to Linus’ quote from Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Christ came to bring peace to the sin-darkened world of the great red dragon “who deceives the whole world.” This baby boy brought destiny and deliverance while Satan sought to bring death and destruction. It was this collision that took place the night of Christ’s birth.
The Benham brothers claim this story “reveals the continuing battle we face today,” but the continuing battle we face today is distortions not only of history but of the Bible by people claiming to defend religious freedom before they shove their religion down our throats.
So “the fuss is all about Christ in Christmas” (in other words, Christ jammed into a Pagan holiday) and it turns out we liberals hate Christmas because “Satan hates Him” and “makes war against anything that remotely resembles Him” (that leaves the Benhams out).
I think we better go back to the beginning and explain to me how this Satan guy goes from being God’s dutiful lieutenant in Job to being this world-wrecking baby killer in Revelation…
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.