Without even being religious, this Christmas 2012 is a good time to recall the outlines of the story of Jesus, who almost certainly had the resources and wits to avoid his fate had he chosen to do so
(by reaching a political accommodation, fleeing, or going into hiding), but instead confronted his tormentors, the ruthless jewish religious authorities who were happy to use the power of the occupying Roman military authorities to execute their desire to have Jesus killed for his outspoken teachings.
And - again without being religious - the most wondrous thing about the Christmas story, is how it relates that "good things can come to mankind" in such a small, vulnerable, outcast package.
The infant Jesus, born in a manager among the lowly animals, became less than 1,000 years later the inspirational light that has guided many millions of Christians in their attempts (not always successful) to lead more cooperative, unified, spiritual, "civilized" and productively organized lives.
The bible story tells us that Christ's young parents were FORCED TO FLEE their hometown, because the ruthless and corrupted ruler had issued a blood-thirsty decree: ALL male children under two years of age to be slaughtered, put-to-the-sword, for it was prophesied that a child born among those babies would grow to become a man who would overthrow that king and dynasty.
Whether the story is historically accurate or not is almost an irrelevant point
(Herod the Great, the villain of the "born in a manger" story, died in 4 B.C.),
for the theme of a frail and vulnerable family on the run from murderous authorities and corrupted power is such a universal one, true 2,000 years ago, true 500 years ago, and certainly true today.
In our previous post, we highlighted just some of the ATROCITIES __COMMANDED_ by "g_o_d" and by the supposedly "holy" jewish bible... commands and instructions that are, if you research and scratch deep enough, THE DRIVING FORCE behind 'AMERICAN' politics and power-projection (wars!) TO THIS DAY.
Without a doubt, Jesus in his ministry was troubled by many of these religious teachings and instructions that had been formalized and instituted on paper over the preceding 1,000 to 2,000+ years; instructions and rules literally written in the bronze-age, before the widespread use of iron or steel, the bronze-age era when conquering kings were forced to slaughter their captured opponents, because the agriculture of the time could not sustain both the victorious conquering armies and their defeated enemies.
Today, one can not be both "MODERN" and at the same time allow oneself to be governed by brutal bronze-age notions of SLAVERY, RAPE, GENOCIDE, TORTURE, and intolerant religious and racial supremacy... for example, Moses' command, which the bible claims he received directly "from the word of god" to have a man STONED TO DEATH, for picking up sticks for firewood on the 'holy sabbath' day.
Christ knew that he could not have it both ways, both OPPOSE the BRUTAL TEACHINGS of the jewish established theocracy, and preside over a ministry that accommodated those brutal theocratic religious rules and bloodthirsty punishments...
Today, many millions of Americans, especially those pushing the Neo-Con "holy wars" agenda, want to have it both ways; pretend they are modern, "civilized" and promoting freedom, while actually pushing the race- and religious doctrine of ruthless conquest, killing, enslavement, genocide, and brutish religious supremacy