Rep. Luis Gutierrez went on a minutes-long tirade against DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Thursday in which he not only called her a liar, but also compared President Trump to the biblical King Herod, who tried to murder baby Jesus.
The Bible tells how, following Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph were told to flee to Egypt to avoid Herod’s murderous intent. According to Gutierrez, had Trump been running things in Egypt, Herod would have succeeded.
“Thank God that wall wasn’t there, and thank God there wasn’t an administration like this, or he would have perished … on the Day of Innocents, when Herod ordered the murder of every child under two years of age,” Gutiérrez said. “Maybe I haven’t gone a lot to Bible school, but I know that part.”
.@RepGutierrez: "Shame on us for wearing our badge of Christianity during Christmas and allow the secretary to come here a lie."@secnielsen "Calling me a liar are fighting words. I'm not a liar. We've never had a policy for family separation." pic.twitter.com/EgyjzKZsSs
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 20, 2018
Some version of this analogy has been used before in the immigration fight. If you don’t agree with the farthest-left immigration or refugee policy in the debate, it goes, then you would have mistreated baby Jesus and His family, and you should be ashamed of yourself. It substitutes emotion and shame for a substantive argument based on the facts.
So let’s look at those facts, shall we? The whole thing is pretty flimsy.
In a following question from a Republican member of the committee, Secretary Nielsen was asked whether or not Jesus’ family would qualify for asylum under our current laws and policies. Her answer was yes.
And she’s right. Mary and Joseph weren’t fleeing because the Egyptian job market was better than the one in Galilee or because Nazarene organized crime was such a problem. The holy family had legitimate fear of individual persecution based on the fact that the local puppet king was plotting a mass infanticide in his efforts to kill their baby.
Even if there were no difference whatsoever between U.S. immigration laws and those of first-century Egypt, and even if a wall ran from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, Mary and Joseph could simply have followed the law and applied for asylum at a legal port of entry.
Furthermore, scripture and tradition say nothing about Mary and Joseph breaking any laws or joining a caravan of other migrants bent on violating Egypt’s laws and assaulting agents of its government.
So, yes, the comparison falls apart pretty quickly, but that’s what happens when you try to use Christ’s birth as a shoddy emotional political chip.
And before we go, does anyone else find a congressman with a 100 percent Planned Parenthood score viciously moralizing about the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents a bit despicable?