Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What would Jesus do?

In a tradition dating back over a century, priests clearing up after the Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem’s Church Of The Nativity ended up the day with an enthusiastic round of beating each other up. Church Of The Nativity is built on the site in Bethlehem where it is believed that Jesus was born some years back. In what can only be described as a totally uncharacteristic display of “getting-alongedness”, several different Christian sects have each used a different part of the church for worship. They each have their own area, or turf, and apparently heaven help the poor sucker from another sect who sets foot in an area not his own.

The tradition of the post-Christmas scrap began in the 18th-century when a priest set up a ladder to repair some earthquake damage. A priest from another Christian sect saw the first priest climbing the ladder with a trowel and immediately came to the conclusion that there was an invasion underway. He gathered a bunch of his priest pals and all set upon the first priest, crosses a’swingin’. As soon as they were done, and any unconscious priests laying around had been dragged out by their heels it was decided to leave the ladder in place as a reminder and as a warning to future priests.

Apparently the reminder has worked well as the 2007 version of Mayhem At The Manger also involved a ladder. The story goes that a priest of the Greek Orthodox church had set up a ladder to clean-up after the Christmas celebrations. Some Armenian priests felt that this ladder was in their space and so some rough and uncouth words were exchanged (it would seem that a concept as quaint as ‘cooperation’ may work well on Sesame Street, but not so well within the Christian faith). After the “smack talk” was done they got right down to it with metal rods, fists and rocks. The melee went on for a full hour until the police were called in to settle everything down. The final tally was: five priests of various faiths sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, as well as two cops, who had been worked over “by accident” by the priests.

Yep, nothing says Christian Love quite like a bunch of priests beating the snot out of each other with iron bars. “Take that! (Whack) God bless.” Excellent.

Anyway… Humouroceros

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