December 28, 2007

Whose Jesus Is It, Anyhow?: Battlin' Biblical Broomsticks in Bethlehem

Unholy dust-up at Nativity church

Members of rival Christian orders have traded blows at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, with four people reported wounded in the fray.

Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests were sweeping up at the church following the Christmas rites of the Western churches earlier in the week.

Reports say some Orthodox faithful encroached on the Armenian section, prompting pitched battles with brooms...

Palestinian police formed a human cordon to separate the battling dark-robed and bearded priests and deacons, said to number about 80, so that cleaning could continue...

The floors, walls and rafters of the Church of the Nativity are scrubbed and swept by Orthodox priests between the two festivals.

One report says the dispute started when the Greek Orthodox contingent wanted to place a ladder over the Armenian portion.
Doesn't that just say it all? How successfully can religious sects ever hope to share a planet when they can't even share successfully in sweeping up a shrine? These guys aren't just bad priests, they're lousy janitors. In fact, what they really are when you get right down to it is shrieking apes in religious finery. This isn't too far from flinging feces at one another. I'm nearly surprised that nobody did.

Four people were injured because some priests felt that their territory had been invaded by some other priests. This happened in what is arguably one of the "holiest" spots in all of Christendom, no less. I note with some feigned chagrin that at no point did Jesus or Jehovah or an angel with a flaming sword step in to quell the violence; that job was left to Palestinian policemen.

I wish video was available. This must have been a pretty funny spectacle. C'mon, admit it... bearded old men in dresses and funny hats swinging brooms at one another's heads in the Church of the Nativity is something straight out of an old Monty Python sketch.

There's one thing of which I'm certain; Dr. Who would never have put up with such behavior.

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