There Is No Room In The Inn

“Quite frankly, the executive does not believe there is a place for bloggers in the press gallery because there is no room in the inn.”

Why did the President of the Press Gallery say those words about the first blogger in the PEI Press Gallery? What prompted him to quote from Bible about the birth of Jesus Christ?

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas those words ring in my ears after listening to the tape of the meeting when I was wrongly ejected from the PEI Press Gallery.

Wayne Thibodeau was quoting from the Book of Luke 2: 7  “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”  It’s a famous Biblical phrase representing a lack of hospitality and fairness.

Mary and Joseph at the Inn – Abraham Willemsens

From that simple phrase we learn more about the birth of Jesus Christ than in the rest of the Gospels. His Mother Mary gave birth to the Son of God in a manger, a seemingly filthy place where barn animals were kept.

For Christians the sentence has special heartfelt meaning.  Little children recite the story of the mean innkeepers at school Christmas pageants. No one wants the part of the inn keeper. How could they be so mean?

Why did she not give birth at home or in an inn? Joseph and Mary didn’t live in Bethlehem, the holy city of King David. They lived in Nazareth, from out-of-town, from away.

Roman Caesar Augustus  was taking a census of the people in Judea and everyone had to travel to their home town, which for Joseph was Bethlehem.

Luke wrote in verses 4 and 5 “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”

Mary and Joseph were a young couple, not yet married, and she was with child. In Israel, her sin would be mortal if Joseph did not stand up for Mary but the couple were definitely not high society. The Mayor of Bethlehem was not at the edge of town giving them the key to the city.

And they had another strike against them. Joseph and Mary were travelling from the provincial town of Nazareth to the holy city of David. That would be like being from some hick northern town and looking for a room without reservations over Christmas in downtown Toronto.

Joseph and Mary had two strikes going against them and they didn’t rate any special treatment when looking for accommodations.

No room at the inn for Nazareens

Later on being a follower of Jesus took on a negative meaning summed up in the name of his village. When Jesus was on trial, a woman accused Peter, “And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Pontius Pilate showed more contempt for Nazareth when he wrote on the crucifix “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Joseph and Mary didn’t arrive in a luxury vehicle. They didn’t have a Gold American Express card to show their wealth and importance. They were just poor country people in a town that prided itself on being the City of David.

How mean were the innkeepers of Bethlehem to show the holy couple the back of their hand? She was obviously pregnant. Why not show some kindness and mercy, hospitality?

No room at the inn, manga jesus

No room means discrimination

Today we call that discrimination, “the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category.”

I am not being blasphemous but when someone uses those words against you, it stings. I know what it means. I am not good enough for accommodation. It’s like a gay couple looking for a room and the innkeeper says “There is no room.”

Now that’s wrong. It’s illegal and it is also un-Christian.

Press Gallery President Thibodeau used the Biblical quote to take away my Press Pass, which was my ticket to report from the Legislature.

Is there really no room in the Press Gallery of bloggers, as  President Wayne Thibodeau said?  He repeated the words “no room” again.

Did Mr. Thibodeau dislike bloggers? Probably not because he singled out blogger-business person Tim Banks as a great blogger.

At 56 minutes into the 1 hour meeting, pretty much every one of the press gallery members agreed they were blogger too.

When a journalist asked “Who ‘s blogging?” “I blog,” replied one female journalist.  After most of the room agreed they were blogging too,  “New media (blogging) is part of our jobs now,” said Thibodeau.

There is plenty of room for bloggers in the PEI Press Gallery just not a certain kind of blogger, a blogger from a despised place, who represents people who are not generally in the upper classes of life.

“Bloggers” was a code word for Mr. Thibodeau, a kind of Nazarene message that he clarified. There was no room for bloggers who blog about people with disabilities.  Between Mr. Thibodeau of the Guardian and Donna Allen of the CBC they said they didn’t want people who were for the disabled in the Press Gallery.

The message was clear. There would be room in the inn if I was a rich business person who blogged like Tim Banks, or an employee of CBC and the Guardian but not someone who wrote stories about people with disabilities. You know, someone from Nazareth.

Featured image – Phil Moser

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