U.S. Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. wished her Twitter followers a Merry Christmas Tuesday by referring to the newborn Jesus as a "refugee."
"Joy to the World!" Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "Merry Christmas everyone - here’s to a holiday filled with happiness, family, and love for all people. (Including refugee babies in mangers + their parents.)"
Mary and Joseph are not depicted as refugees in the Nativity story. According to the Gospel of Luke, Joseph brings the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem so that he may enroll in a census ordered by the Roman emperor Agustus. The couple are forced to take shelter in the stable where Jesus is born due to a lack of room at the inn.
However, in the Gospel of Matthew, Mary and Joseph flee into Egypt with the infant Jesus after King Herod of Judea orders the murder of every boy aged two and under in Bethlehem after the Magi ask him where to find the newborn "King of the Jews." The Holy Family escape the slaughter and are told by an angel to return to Israel once Herod is dead.
Ocasio-Cortez, who unseated veteran Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary earlier this year, has form when it comes to making eyebrow-raising comparisons on social media. Last month, she compared members of a Central American migrant caravan approaching the U.S. border to Jewish families fleeing Nazi Germany, victims of genocide in Rwanda and refugees from Syria's ongoing civil war.
That tweet drew an irate response from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who suggested Ocasio-Cortez visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which he said, "Might help her better understand the differences between the Holocaust and the caravan in Tijuana."
Ocasio-Cortez shot back: "[T]he point of such a treasured museum is to bring its lessons to present day. [The Trump] administration has jailed children and violated human rights," she added. "Perhaps we should stop pretending that authoritarianism + violence is a historical event instead of a growing force."