December 23, 2006

Santa Gets Heave-Ho-Ho

If ASLaN had a prize for the best article each Advent season, then certainly Bryan Patterson, of the Australian Sunday Herald Sun, would be a contentder this year.

His excellent article, entititled "Santa Gets Heave-Ho-Ho," which outlines some of the ways Santa has been derided in popular culture, inculdes these gems:

Christmas can be a confusing mix of religious and hedonist symbols. So whose birthday is it, anyway?

Sometimes it's hard to tell. A Dutch survey a couple of years ago found that a third of the population did not know Christmas celebrated the birth of Jesus...

So, I have sympathy for the Melbourne pastor who has accused Santa of being a blasphemous stand-in for God.

Anti-Santa pastor Steve McNeilly, of the New Life Christian Church, has naturally copped it for this view.

He's been called a Scrooge. One psychologist slamming the pastor said Santa was a "crucial part" of children's Christmas celebrations....The fat bloke in the red suit has as much to do with the Christmas story as the Easter Bunny...

Christmas celebrates the birth of a man who told the rich to tone down their opulence.

How does that sit with the overweight Santa delivering mountains of overpriced plastic toys to Western children? Their counterparts in Africa, Asia and Latin America are wasting away from AIDS and starvation.

So, why do we celebrate the birth of a Christ who told us to give everything to the poor by giving each other PlayStations and expensive trinkets?"

There's more, so read the whole essay. Bravo Mr. Patterson, you are in the running for our 2006 ASLaN Awards.

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