A Church of England clergyman has banned the hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem from his Christmas services after he visited Bethlehem and decided that he can't stand the hypocrisy of singing about a sweet little village in "a deep and dreamless sleep" when what he witnessed to his horror was a depressing place under a harsh Israeli occupation.
The Rev Stephen Coulter of Dorset said he can no longer bring himself to sing the lyrics of the hymn as he believes they are too far removed from the reality of one of Christianity's holiest sites.
The Rev. has re-written the orders of service for the rest of his December services so that he and his congregation don’t have to sing it. He said he can no longer bring himself to sing the hymn because it feels wrong and he would be a hypocrite.
He said: “Bethlehem today is indeed a place of dark streets and of hopes and fears. How can the Jews who were treated so badly in World War Two now inflict the same treatment on others?”
How indeed Rev and the perfect irony is that the carol was written in the 19th Century by Rector Phillip Brooks after he was inspired after a trip to the Town.