Santa Booted in Favor of Frosty in YMCA Political Correctness Transition

Santa Claus won’t be at a wildly popular community Christmas luncheon as he has been in years past. He has been replaced by Frosty and his penguin sidekick, deemed a more appropriate “winter character”. The YMCA — founded in 1844 to spread Christian values — is in the midst of rebranding itself as “The Y”. “It wasn’t replacing; it was transitioning,” said John Rappaport, executive director of the McBurney YMCA. “We realized that change is sometimes good, and that Frosty is a great winter character who would appeal to a broader number of kids.”

Following the release of this story in the New York post was again beseiged with a flurry of angry emails.

“St. Nicholas is a sacred character, Santa Claus is a secular character” wrote Todd DeNaldo, of New York City. “Even the Supreme Court agrees with that. What am I going to do? Put my kid on Frosty’s lap? He’ll melt.”

“Santa belongs to all the people,” added Ed Bobrow, who has played Santa at Central Park’s Belvedere Castle for years. “He represents openness and an invitation for anyone and everyone to celebrate good will toward man.”

Bobrow, who is Jewish, says it’s the kids who will miss out. “Try to see it through the eyes of the children,” he said.

“Where do they get off doing this?” asked Melanie Smith. “Who complained? Who gave them the authority to fire Santa? Who ever said that Santa wasn’t inclusive?”

Christmas Music Nixed at University Clock Tower

There is a bit of controversy surrounding the sounds coming from the Southern Illinois University clock tower. This time of year, the Pulliam Hall clock is known for playing Christmas music every hour. But the music has been off the past few days.

Westminster Quarters is all that you hear on the SIU Campus. That is after university leaders decided to pull the plug on playing Christmas music from the clock tower.

“People said they liked the music, but they thought it should include other kinds of music rather than the Christmas music that was playing,” SIU Spokesperson Rod Sievers said.

“If it was Jingle Bells or White Christmas or something like that, I think it would be a lot more respectful,” said Christine Stowell, an SIU Master’s student.

Thoughts about silencing the Christmas music were mixed on campus Thursday night. John Ferguson lives just north of the clock tower.

“I walk my dogs a lot, so it is very nice to hear in the winter time when you are walking by,” Ferguson said.

Beth Freeburg gets to hear the chimes as she works. Her office is just below the clock tower.

“I think it’s just a wonderful, inspirational thing that adds to the specialness of our signature building,” Freeburg said.

Sievers says the bells will ring again, and soon.

“We’ll begin with a mix of non-religious music while our people work with folks over at the School of Music to get an appropriate mix of music from all faiths and traditions,” Sievers said.

“I just hope, whatever it’s going to be, that it comes back right away,” Freeburg said.

Sievers says the clock should resume playing music some time Friday. Holiday music will return soon after that.

Atheist Group Attacks Courthouse Nativity in Indiana

Residents of Brookville, Indiana got an unpleasant holiday surprise when they found out their town was the center of a debate about First Amendment rights. What was so appalling that an Atheist group from Wisconsin would target Brookville weeks before Christmas? The problem came in the form of a nativity scene that had been put around the courthouse’s flagpole by the local firefighters every year for the last 50 years.

According to WKRC (Cincinnati), “The Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, sent Franklin County Commissioners a stern letter telling them their annual nativity violates the separation of church and state.” (Webb) When interviewed by Scott Wegener of (ABC), Rebecca Markert, the staff attorney for FFRF stated, “that some of their members lived in the town and contacted them to help.” (Wegener)

In 1789, the First Amendment was enacted, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”It does not say the words, “separation of Church and State”. The words “wall of separation of Church and State” first appeared in 1802 in a letter of Thomas Jefferson. Since then, courts have interpreted the First Amendment to mean that there can be no mention or decoration of religion in a government property; and it has been used to take any religious pictures from government buildings. Whether “under God” should be in the pledge of the United States of America while it was being said in school is a big controversy about the separation of Church and State. What is next? Are Atheists groups going to try and take “In God We Trust” off of our currency?

When the Supreme Court judges a case such as being able to say prayer in schools, they have to look at the original intent of the Amendment. In 1789, many of the people alive were either immigrants themselves or descendants of immigrants from other countries. In most cases, these immigrants had fled from countries that had religion and government intertwined. In England, the Church of England and the Catholic Church had great control over the person who ruled. People were persecuted and killed for not believing what the reigning monarch believed. Spain was led by the Catholic Church to start the Inquisition where they brutally tortured and killed individuals accused of blasphemy. In Germany, some villages wiped out most of the women by hanging or burning them at the stake because they were suspected to be witches. Our own country had the shame of the Salem Witch trials because the town magistrate was under the powerful influence of the church.

In light of this historical background, one can see why the leaders of the day felt that the First Amendment was necessary; and most of us would agree that it is still necessary today. We have examples of the totalitarian countries such as Iran and China. Iran has sentenced women to death by stoning for committing adultery. China was put in the spotlight of being against human civil rights when the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo who planned the 1989 Tiananmen Square Demonstration could not be present to receive the award because he was in jail. The First Amendment was meant to keep our country ruled by the people not a religion or a totalitarian regime. However, what do you think the leaders of the First Amendment would think about an Atheist group hunting down a small town and demanding they remove a symbol of “Peace on Earth and Good Will to All Men”? First, they might be glad that our country is so free that people have the time and ability to pursue such things; but they might think an Amendment– meant to keep Americans safe from a Religious Dictatorship– being used to move a nativity scene was perhaps a little silly. Separation of Church and State is essential, but nativity scenes and other religious symbols are a far cry from being stoned and burnt at the stake.

Fox mentions that “People living in Brookville are planning to come together to rally Saturday (December 11,2010) at 1 p.m. to show support for keeping this nativity in front of the courthouse.” (Fox19)

Pastor Goes After Florida City for Denying Creche

Outspoken pastor Mark Boykin claimed Thursday that Boca Raton officials have marginalized the Christian faith by neglecting to include a Christmas crèche at City Hall’s holiday decorations.

City Hall is adorned with Christmas decorations, including a menorah and a Christmas tree, which led Boykin, a pastor at the Church of All Nations, to claim discrimination against the Christian faith.

“We feel like we have been marginalized, and we feel like that they have not given any credibility to the Christian faith,” Boykin said.

Boykin said adding a crèche to the Christmas display at City Hall is the only way to represent the Christian faith.

“A manger, or a crèche, is venerated around the world,” Boykin said. “It’s an icon to most people, whether they’re in Bethlehem or Boca Raton. Everyone sees that as a sacred symbol.”

Boykin and 60 of his followers will gather Friday afternoon at City Hall to make a formal request for a crèche to be added to the display.

“We have determined that we are not going to be put off,” Boykin said. “We’re not going to be ignored. We’re not going to be marginalized. We’re going to seek an answer.”

Last year, Boykin also lobbied to get a nativity scene placed beside the menorah at the city library.

“The city of Boca Raton celebrates the holiday season by having displays in the lobbies of public buildings in a manner consistent with Supreme Court and other judicial rulings,” city officials said in a statement.

20-Year Gun-Toting Santa Sign Removed After Complaints

TURLOCK, Calif. — A Santa sign at a tree farm caused the Christmas spirit to take a back seat to controversy.

The plywood wood sign in the Stanislaus County town of Turlock shows a cowboy Santa with a gun on his belt.

Some residents of the community were upset. But employees at the tree farm say the Santa has been there for 20-years and no one has ever complained before.

“It portrays to the kids that it’s ok for Santa to be carrying a gun and therefore it’s ok for them to be carrying a gun,” said concerned resident Monica Sliva.

“I think it’s pretty crazy to tell you the truth. I mean we are just trying to sell trees out. Now there is all this commotion,” said Bobby Vierra with the tree farm.

“Ever had any other complaints?”

“No, not one.”

The owners of the tree farm have since taken the display down.