Anchor Baby Jesus

Was Jesus the first “anchor baby?”  This offensive term is being used by the right in accusing immigrant women of coming to the United States to “drop” their babies just so they can become citizens and “anchor” their family here.  This language is cruel and offensive on many levels, not least in that it completely dehumanizes both the mother and the child. 

But it occurs to me that Mary could be accused of this same alleged practice.  After all, she was a single mother (“engaged” but never married) from Nazareth who travels to Bethlehem to register herself and her baby as citizens of Rome.  Emperor Augustus’ purpose in conducting this census was to make sure that everyone paid their taxes.  But it is also true that by registering in this way, Mary claimed all the rights and benefits of citizenship for herself and her child.

Jesus was born a Roman citizen.  But instead of anchoring his family to Rome, Jesus anchors all humanity to a love and justice that transcends all borders.  Instead of inflicting a cruel and offensive dehumanization, Jesus allows all of us “strangers and foreigners on the earth” (Heb 11:13) to be fully human.

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Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm  Comments (2)  
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