Even more surprising than fake religion from Pete Buttigieg is fake religion from the formidable Timothy Cardinal Dolan. In his Christmas Eve New York Post column “A Christmas lesson on housing the poor,” Cardinal Dolan writes: “The Son of God was homeless; his earthly parents were immigrants and refugees.”
I’m not Christian and mean no disrespect. For the reasons set forth in Paul’s post, however, I doubt Cardinal Dolan has this right and Cardinal Dolan doesn’t set forth an argument on these points.
Cardinal Dolan himself twists Jewish tradition to suit his purposes a bit further along in the column. After discussing Abraham’s hospitality to strangers, Cardinal Dolan writes: “No wonder, as I’m told, Jewish families still set a place at the table for an unexpected guest who might show up for a meal on one of their holy days.”
Here is a good discussion of Jewish hospitality. Consider this related teaching: “Traditional mandates extend to the guest as well. Guests should avoid causing hosts extra work. They should accede to their host’s or hostess’s requests. A guest should not bring along another, uninvited guest. If guest and host are entering the home together, the guest should defer to the host. Leaving together, a guest should exit before the host.”
Anyone who reads the Hebrew Bible will be impressed by the recurring injunction not to oppress a stranger, for we were strangers in the land of Egypt. We want to get that commandment right, to be sure, but it is the teaching that most frequently gets the sort of treatment from liberal Jews that Cardinal Dolan gives to the gospel story of Mary and Joseph’s travel to Bethlehem.