Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jesus, You Don't Shoot Santa!

Now, listen. I understand that one could get a little upset about the overcommercialization of Christmas. For cryin' out loud, there are displays out right after Halloween if the stores wait that long. I get it. And I can also get why one would want to be against the whole corporate greed thing when it comes to Christmas. I totally understand. But if you're going to take your own little stand there, Clem, what say you actually do remember the reason for the season and you not be a jerk about it, alright?

Dateline: Nipomo, California. Sub-dateline: That's by San Luis Obispo, kind of in the middle of the state. It's where a guy named Ron Lake lives. Ron decided that he had had enough of the commercialization of Christmas and he wanted to reclaim it for Jesus. Rather, he wanted Jesus to reclaim it for himself. Sort of. Anyway, that's why he decided it would be a good idea to build a Christmas display showing Jesus shooting and killing Santa Claus dead. Wait. What now?

Correct. You know, I've read the Bible. I don't recall Jesus packing firearms at any point in the whole thing. Not once. Jesus was more of a moderate than he was a gun-toting radical, wasn't he? Maybe I missed something, but I don't think so. Anyway, back to Nipomo.

It seems that this Ron Lake fellow has just had it with the capitalistic side of Christmas and so he decided to strike back by doing something that would only torment small children and disturb many adults who happened across his protest. According to the fine folks over there at KOMO News, Ron's display has "Santa is shown dead on the ground with X's over his eyes." OK. Check!

"Standing over Santa and staring down the barrel of his shotgun is Jesus." OK. Check! Um, wait. Check? Why does Santa look like Charles Manson? This is starting to get weird.

"And the dead, limp body of Rudolph is strewn over the back of a pickup truck." Annnnnddd check! (But wait! What the heck did Rudolph do?! He's like the messenger! You don't shoot the messenger! Nor do you impale leaf-less branches from a maple tree in his noggin, but I digress.)

Ron claims that "Christmas isn't about Santa; it's about Jesus. It's an expression of my repressed creativity." Repressed creativity? Look, I understand the point he's trying to make. I really do. But I also understand what kind of person would use the term "repressed creativity" in order to attempt to justify their "display". That person is known as a "jackass".

And besides, isn't that statement a little bit contradictory? Which one is it, sir? Is it about Jesus or is it about your creativity? What's that? Oh, I see! It's really about neither one and it's just about you wanting to have a little fun and make a little scene and see how many of the townsfolk you can get all riled up? Well, why didn't you say so in the first place?! Wait. Oh, that's right. He didn't say that. I said that! Well, for cryin' out loud, someone had to say it!

Yeah, the people around there are not happy with Mr. Lake's holiday ornamentation. It's not just because it's not cool. I think we can all pretty much agree on that. But where his house is located is right across the street from a school bus stop. That means that plenty of children, some of whom likely still believe in Santa Claus (a practice of which I am a huge proponent of), are going to be a little bit confused when they see jolly old St. Nick not looking all so jolly there on the ground with the Son of God standing over him, toting a Remington.

Apparently, people in town have been quite upset by this whole thing. Some have even asked the Sheriff to do something about it. (Do something about what, exactly? The First Amendment to the Constitution?) The Sheriff has said that there is nothing that they can do because of the free speech thing and because of the private property thing. I get all of that and I don't have a problem with it. But you're talking about little kids at Christmas time who are going to be affected by this. I don't know how many and I don't know if the number should make a difference, but I know that if Mr. Lake is going to stand over there and preach that it's all about Jesus, then he should take the damn thing down.

Since the Sheriff can't do anything about it, "Area residents say they may start a petition to fight the display." Um, a petition? A petition to do what exactly? Do these folks realize when Christmas is? It's in a week. And who, pray tell, will they be petitioning? Mrs. Claus? God? I'm so confused.

I don't have a problem with someone exercising their rights to free speech. That's what makes this country so incredibly awesome. But I have a problem with people taking their right to free speech and imposing their beliefs on others in a way that is completely unproductive. Does Mr. Lake really think that his being a jackass and claiming that he's some Jesus loving repressed artist is going to make people in town say, "Oh! Well...since you put it that way." Yeah, I don't think that's going to happen.

And really, the right to free speech and someone exercising their right to free speech isn't even the issue here and Mr. Lake knows it. He's just doing it to be a bitter old man, is all. I'm not saying that it's not a little amusing. It is. But he just doesn't seem like the type of guy who is doing something in the name of Jesus, you know? That's the part that irritates me. Here's my thing: If you're going to be a jackass, as least admit it. Don't try to pretend you're not a jackass. I'll have a lot more respect for you if you'll just admit it, rather than trying to blame Jesus for something, you know?

Mr. Lake says, "You can tell your kids and make it as though there is a Santa Claus and let them believe all that, but you can't explain this thing? I don't get it." Sir, you don't have to "get it". You don't have to understand why believing in Santa Claus is a good thing. You don't have to. I swear. It's OK that you're so damn bitter and (likely) alone that you want everyone to be just as bitter as you are. That's fine. But don't drag people into your self imposed hatred of everything.

He continued his blather with "Not that Jesus is a killer with a shotgun, but come on. There's a little bit of humor here, a little bit of tragedy here." Um, Jesus wasn't a killer with a shotgun OR without! I'm not recalling Jesus killing anyone, let alone Santa Claus. There is a tragedy and it's in the form of someone with a Jesus killing Santa display across from a bus stop. There's a bit of humor, but I'm going to guess that the children are going to fail to see it.

You know, Charlie Brown was against the commercialization of Christmas. Did he give Jesus Christ a shotgun and have him gun down Santa Claus? No, he picked up a piece of crap tree and all of his friends decorated it after they all realized the true meaning of Christmas. Then they sang. NO guns. NO Jesus. Certainly NO dead Santa Claus.

It's Christmas time. Jesus didn't have a shotgun and Jesus didn't act like a jackass. If you want to make sure that people remember that Christmas is more about Jesus than Santa, don't give Jesus a gun and don't be a jackass. It's pretty simple. There are many, many ways to get your point across, but Jesus, don't shoot Santa! (I couldn't resist. That pun was just dyin' to come out!)

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