A friend mentioned yesterday that St Nicholas is patron saint of prostitutes. Apparently it’s been all over Twitter. It’s all based on the account of Nick taking pity on a father who had no dowry for his three daughters. The father was faced with having to sell the women into prostitution Nick, like a benevolent Chris Tarrant, dispenses with any tough questions, audience-asking or 50/50 lifelines, and instead makes them overnight millionaires by freely dropping three bags of gold off at the house. Some say the bags came down the chimney and some say that one landed in one of the daughter’s stockings. (She wasn’t wearing them at the time.) Put all that together and hey! Santa Claus is born.
So St Nick becomes Santa Claus and along the way – the patron saint of prostitutes. A figure they might call on to help them out. I guess it’s caught on in the world of Twittering because of the shocking revelation that Hey! Saints and Streetwalkers might somehow share the same side-walk.
But there’s no shock really. Jesus was well acquainted with women who had been forced to take up a life of prostitution because they had fallen on hard times. He wasn’t bothered about the tabloid headlines or his first century reputation. He was more concerned with people. We’re told in Matthew’s blog that Jesus stated prostitutes were ahead of some of the apparently pious people in the queue for heaven. They had winning tickets. Life may have not gone according to plan, but God cared about them and hadn’t stopped believing in them. Jesus frequently hung out with prostitutes and other notorious headline-grabbing sinners and frequently got into trouble for it.
So it’s no surprise that they should have a patron saint really. Here’s a clip from the movie Borat, when Mr B goes along to a posh dinner and brings a prostitute along. Jesus did this kind of thing all the time, and as you see here, it unmasked and disorientated the ‘respectable’ people. Jesus is the great leveller. Class, occupation, upbringing, education, bank balance, accent. Everyone’s in the same compartment. No second class citizens.