The Republican National Committee issued a press release on Christmas Day which some immediately claimed was comparing Donald Trump to Jesus. Here’s the relevant passage of the release:

Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.

The phrasing of that second sentence led to some outraged reactions on Twitter:

RNC spokesman Sean Spicer clarified that “new King” (note the capital is in the original) was not a reference to Trump:

In case it’s not clear, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. Jesus as king is a part of the Christmas story and always has been. Here’s Luke chapter 1 verses 31-33 in which an angel appears to Mary before his birth:

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

If you look at the sentence that is giving people trouble it reads, “Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.” Actually, Matthew’s Gospel says Jesus got a visit from wisemen from the east but doesn’t say there were three or that they arrived on the night of his birth. In any case, the RNC’s sentence starts in the past with Jesus birth and then says “this Christmas” is also a time to celebrate “good news of a new King.” The use of “good news” here is a reference to the gospel which Christians consider the ultimate good news. And the phrase “a new King” makes sense in that context, i.e. Christmas is about the arrival on earth of Jesus, the new king. All of this is pretty basic stuff among Christians and the use of the capital letter ‘K’ in the letter makes it clear that word is being used to refer to a divine King not an earthly one and certainly not a president in 2016.

But that explanation was a little too straight-forward for some people: