Christian Politician Makes Ass Of Self At Menorah Lighting Ceremony: ‘Jesus Is The Reason For The Season’

A devout Christian politician just couldn’t help himself. Even though the winter season is filled with Christmas trees, nativity scenes, and Santa Claus product placement, he had to take a small ceremony meant to honor the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and make it about Jesus.

Bud Williams, a city councilor in Springfield, Massachusetts, attended a menorah lighting ceremony with prominent Jewish community leaders. When it was his turn to speak, he lectured the group about how important Jesus was to the holiday season. According to Williams’ shaky logic, Jesus is the reason for the season – even the Hanukkah season.

It’s worth noting that the tradition of Hanukkah dates two centuries earlier than Jesus’ birth. The holiday celebrates the story of when an under-equipped army of Jews managed to fight off a much larger Greek army. In the aftermath, a menorah within the recently freed Jewish Temple managed to stay lit for eight full days, despite having fuel for just one. Obviously, no where in the story does Jesus play a role.

In spite of this bit of contradictory religious history, Williams told MassLive that he felt his comments were still reasonable.

The city councilor said he referenced Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated every Dec. 25 by Christians worldwide but not by Jews, after participants in the ceremony mentioned “the bright light” of 2,000 years ago — an allusion to Christ, according to Williams.

“They said it,” Williams said.

The councilor said his remark wasn’t meant as an expression of religious superiority or “dominance,” but rather as a simple reminder about the “reason for the season.”

“Jesus was Jewish,” Williams said. “To me, Jesus is the messiah … I thought I was being very positive.”

Jewish people have a word for that kind of mental gymnastics: in Hebrew it’s “Chutzpah.” The chutzpah it takes to attend another person’s religious ceremony and try to make it about your own. Sure, to Williams “Jesus is the messiah” – which is why on Christmas, he will probably be celebrating the Christian holiday with his family and friends, and not receiving an impromptu lecture by a rabbi about how Christianity is nothing more than a rogue sect of Judaism with flawed ideas about who the Jewish savior really is. That would be rude.

It’s likely that Williams really did mean no offense. He just isn’t used to his religious ideas not being treated as the default cultural tradition. Discovering that there are other people with other beliefs can be a shock to the sheltered. It’s the same way a full half of white Evangelical Christians in this country report feeling that they face more discrimination than any other minority group in the United States aside from gay and lesbians (a group that nobody works harder to discriminate against than Evangelical Christians). To drive home the point, white Christians in America think they are bullied at higher rates than groups like Muslims, African Americans, atheists, and, yes, even Jews. The chutzpah.

As if to prove the point, Fox News, a network built on pandering to white conservative Christians, has spent this year, as usual, trumping up the fictitious “war on Christmas.” The network has made a firm promise to its viewers that it will wage this war regardless of substance and devoid of all perspective. Whether it’s attacks on nativity scenes in public spaces, Santa smoking a blunt, or a part-time minimum wage-earning Walmart cashier saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” Fox is ready to scream and shout. But who wants to bet they won’t say a single word about this story? Will they care that a group’s sacred religious holiday was just hijacked by an outsider with an agenda? Not likely.