Bethlehem, Judea —Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn.
Upon arrival, Family Protective Services personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child named Jesus who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth.
During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers. Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but were restrained by the police.
Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who allege to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and Homeland Security officials are seeking information about these men who may be in the country illegally. A source with the INS states that they had no passports, but were in possession of gold and other possibly illegal substances. They resisted arrest, saying that they had been warned by God to avoid officials in Jerusalem and to return quickly to their own country. The chemical substances in their possession will be tested.
The owner of the barn is also being held for questioning. The manager of the Bethlehem Inn faces possible revocation of his license for violating health and safety regulations by allowing people to stay in the stable. Civil authorities are also investigating the zoning violations involved in maintaining livestock in a commercially- zoned district.
The location of the minor child will not be disclosed, and the prospect for a quick resolution to this case is doubtful. Asked about when Jesus would be returned to his mother, a Child Protective Services spokesperson said, "The father is middle-aged and the mother definitely underage. We are checking with officials in Nazareth to determine what their legal relationship is."
Joseph has admitted to taking Mary from her home in Nazareth because of a census requirement. However, because she was obviously pregnant when they left, investigators are looking into other reasons for their departure. Joseph is being held without bond on charges of molestation, kidnapping, child endangerment, and statutory rape.
Mary was taken to the Bethlehem General Hospital where she is being examined by doctors. Charges may also be filed against her for child endangerment. She will also undergo psychiatric evaluation because of her claim that she is a virgin and that the child is from God.
The director of the psychiatric wing said, "I don't profess to have the right to tell people what to believe, but when their beliefs adversely affect the safety and well-being of others—in this case her child—we must consider her a danger to others. The unidentified drugs at the scene don't help her case, but I'm confident that with the proper therapeutic regimen we can get her back on her feet."
A spokesperson for the governor's office said, "Who knows what was going through their minds? But regardless, their treatment of the child was inexcusable, and the involvement of these others is frightening. There is much we don't know about this case, but for the sake of the child and the public, you can be assured that we will pursue this matter to the end."
Merry Christmas, everyone!