Where Was Jesus Born?

A lifelong unchurched man suddenly develops a vague religious urge and decides to join a church — any church. So he sets out to find one.

His first stop is a Roman Catholic church where he asks what he has to do to join. The priest mentions diligent study and the affirmation of the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, then — just to see how much the man knows — asks him where Jesus was born.

“Pittsburgh,” he answers.

“Get out!” cries the shocked priest.

Next stop is a Southern Baptist church where the seeker is told he would have to learn Bible verses, swear belief in the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds, swear off booze, and be baptized (“By immersion, not just some sissy sprinklin'”). The Baptist preacher then, to see how much this man knows, asks him where Jesus was born.

“Philadelphia?” he asks tentatively (once bitten, twice shy).

“Get out, you heathen!” yells the preacher.

Our perplexed protagonist finally walks into a Unitarian church where he is told all he has to do is sign a membership card. “You mean I don’t have to renounce anything, swear to anything, or be dunked in anything?”

“That’s right. We have no special tests for membership, no dogma. We support total individual freedom of belief.”

“Then I’ll join! But tell me — where was Jesus born?”

“Why, Bethlehem, of course.”

The man’s face lights up. “I knew it was some place in Pennsylvania!”