May 21, 2022

UCP Christmas Tweet with slammed Bible verse; priest says passage implies government has divine blessing

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Wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” is standard practice for Canadian politicians on December 25, but a holiday greeting from the United Conservative Party of Alberta drew widespread criticism on social media over the weekend. , including from the clergy.

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The Christmas Tree Emoji Two-Word Twitter and Facebook post features an image of the Nativity – with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – overlaid with a passage from the King James Bible, Isaiah 9: 6. Social media users criticized the party both for sharing a religious text from the official party account and for the content of the verse itself which uses the word “government”: “for a child is born to us, a son is given unto us: and the government shall rest upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of peace.

Critics include Anna Greenwood-Lee, Anglican priest of Calgary and bishop-elect for a diocese in British Columbia. She says a Christmas greeting is one thing, but quoting the scriptures is inappropriate.

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“When the party that runs the government quotes that, it seems to me a bit as if they are saying that they have divine sanction, that there is a kind of close relationship between them and the Son of God”, a- she said on Sunday.

Greenwood-Lee stated that several other translations of the Hebrew scriptures use the English word “authority” or “dominion” instead of “government.” Isaiah, like other Hebrew prophetic texts, also often asks the leaders of the day to report on how they are treating the most vulnerable, she said.

The passage is often quoted at Christmas and is referenced in Handel’s Messiah.

But although Christians have historically interpreted the passage as foretelling the coming of Christ, it says it is part of a larger theological problem of supersessionism, or alternative theology, which assumes that the Jews did not read their own scriptures correctly. and missed prophecies about Jesus, including this one. a.

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If the group is to share a verse on Christmas, it should be from the Christian New Testament, Greenwood-Lee said.

“Why didn’t you choose the Magnificat to uplift the lowly? She said, referring to a passage from the book of Luke.

“They chose one that seems to give their government some legitimacy, and they chose one that has a long history of creating tensions between Jews and Christians, to me it smacks of the fact that they don’t haven’t really thought about this one, or that they’re trying to appeal with this shift to a very particular base, but not Albertans in general.

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Both social media accounts are managed by the political party, separate from the provincial government. Prime Minister Jason Kenney regularly marks the holidays of several religions on his social media accounts.

The UCP caucus also tweeted a Christmas message: “On a cold winter night full of darkness, a king was born. May you rejoice in the promise and love of Jesus Christ. From our family to yours, #MerryChristmas.

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The party declined an interview on Sunday, but responded in an unassigned email saying it was simply a Christmas greeting.

“It is also a Christian holiday, so we wished Christians to also celebrate a Merry Christmas by referring to a text in which many members of the Christian faith find comfort,” the response said. “The UCP is a big tent, a pluralist party and regularly celebrates the holidays of many faiths.”

He said any allegation that the verse was meant to be a dog whistle “frankly sounds like something spurred on by the tin paper hats crowd on Twitter. As much as the still angry Twitter crowd could relate to it. oppose, voters – and voters alone – chose democratically to elect a UCP government with more than 52% of the vote.

Official party accounts did not share passages from sacred texts from other religions with significant public holidays in the months of November or December.

No Diwali, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day or Winter Solstice messages have been posted by the party’s account. But he wished Facebook subscribers a good Hanukkah and reposted a message from the Prime Minister. The UCP caucus account was also posted on Diwali and Hanukkah .

On November 30, the UCP published a tweet and an image commemorating the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism.

[email protected]

@laurby

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