Thursday, December 22, 2011
A Politically Correct Nativity
Mary and Joseph, this time in order of age at the time of travelling – remembering that ageism is wrong and that if a three-year-old proved able and willing to do the job of an atomic physicist, that’s OK – were going to Bethlehem because Augustus, democratically-elected Enabler of the People, had suggested that, if people were so-minded without any coercion on his part, there would be a census; a census that asked no invasive personal questions and gave full protection under current privacy and civil liberties regulations, which are fine as they go but are always open to suggestions for improvement.
Joseph and Mary – in order as their names appeared when written on rubber balls, spun around in a machine and drawn by electronic means live on BBC television with an independent arbiter present at all times in a manner acceptable to the International Code of Ethics and Fairness, directive 5/1.237 – were promised in marriage to one another. Marriage was not the only solution for them to work towards the aims and goals set out in their pre-birth, ideology-free mission statement, nor are religion, politics, gender, love, attraction, faithfulness, compatibility, or a shared interest in the scientific preservation of corn in tin ever relevant in discussion of marriage or its equal and entirely acceptable alternatives. Staying single, through choice or necessity, is also an equally valid lifestyle and we aim to affirm those lifestyles and all variations thereupon. A recently excavated document whose complete historical authenticity is maintained by formerly down-on-his-luck and now best-selling author, Bran Down, suggests that the ‘couple’ were in fact known to one another only through social networking opportunities and travelled virtually as tenuously-linked avatars.
Mary and Joseph – in the order necessary to balance up the ‘Joseph and Mary/Mary and Joseph’ thing, as we are committed to equal opportunities for all men and women and women and men, no matter what gender the men and women and women and men are or claim to be – travelled to Bethlehem and were in possession of the correct license and necessary permissions as recorded under the Freedom of Movement Act, section 4, part 3 sub-section 759. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have a baby. It would have been equally acceptable for Joseph to have had the baby or indeed for any other man or woman present in the town or other towns without reference to age, race, gender or other arbitrary measures of suitability, to have had the same baby.
There was no room at the inn, so Mary gave birth to the a baby in a stable, which had undergone the relevant health and safety checks as required under the Health Act of a non-specific year; non-specific to avoid offending individuals who prefer their own methods of calculating time, space and distance and who alone know where and when they are in relation to everything else. And that’s OK... We aim to meet the academic and emotional needs of anyone who evidences a challenging way of life. The stable’s work surfaces, appliances and hygiene were deemed to be of an acceptable standard, and a fire inspection and drill also took place several times during the labour.
A son was born, although it could have been a daughter or perhaps neither or both, and in no sense implies preference for one gender over another or any difference between genders. The child was wrapped in strips of cloth, and a social worker was appointed due to concerns over the parents’ inability to provide generally accepted accoutrements necessary in today’s competitive childcare market. A contract of care was agreed between the family and the Department of Community Education committing the parents to attend Government-sponsored parenting classes over a fifteen month period.
Angels appeared and sang a joyful song, although this part of the story has now been recognised as unacceptable to tone-deaf, depressed creatures without wings or halos. The term, ‘angels’, has been replaced in the story’s most recent editions with ‘journalists’ and the over-emotional reactions have become tabloid headlines which, as ever, maintain a careful neutrality in all matters. The music is now handled by the X Factor crew, featuring Little Mix's live concept album of Leonard Cohen covers.
The journalists soon left the couple and child to pass their days making sure they didn't get on the wrong side of anybody. At one point, the son, aged 12, got ideas above his station, but parents and child created a mutual agreement in which they agreed to tow the prevailing line, whatever that was at any given moment. They regularly visited the non-denominational and/or secular temple, in which all religious and/or humanist symbols were banned, and sat between the whitewashed and blackwashed walls thinking about nothing much until it was time to go home again. No one knew how it was all going to pan out.
(photo from the photoscreen of Klearchos Kapoutsis, used under a Creative Commons License)