Monday, December 20, 2010

No Santa in St. Peter

Santa Claus, as portrayed by Dennis Jackson, won't be visiting students at the Head Start classes in St. Peter this year.

Jackson has made appearances the past four years at the classes for students who need help preparing for school, but this year officials said, "No, no, no."

The reason: The classes have many immigrant children who don't celebrate Christmas, says the Mankato Free Press.

Santa's a little frosted, the paper says.

It kind of burnt me up,” he said.

The official explanation from Chris Marben, who coordinates regional Head Start programs through Mankato-based Minnesota Valley Action Council: “We have Somali families in the program. We’re respecting the wishes of families in the program.”

She didn't say how many objections were made, but said more than one would be enough to cancel Santa.

“The simple truth is that southern Minnesota has become a much more culturally diverse society than it was a few decades ago,” she told the paper. “Part of our challenge in Head Start is providing an environment where young children from many different cultures can all feel comfortable.”

Jackson said rather than depriving the rest of the group of the Santa experience, parents who object should take their kids out of the class during the half hour he spends talking to the kids and giving them candy.


The Archer of the Forest said...

Well, it seems like the non-Christian kids could be excused in lieu of ruining everybody's fun, but then that would make too much sense.

Anonymous said...

It used to be that immigrants were expected to assimilate into American society. Thus, Santa Claus would become a new tradition for them in their new country. Now it's expected that the locals assimilate to the immigrants' traditions.

sjgmore said...

I don't really consider "Santa Claus", as such, to be a Christian symbol and hardly think kids are losing anything not to be exposed to it.

Ochlophobist said...

I'm with sjmore.

I am a Christian. My kids are Christians. We teach our kids that the Santa myth is a social pathology. I don't want my children exposed to the cult of sentimentality and the worship of consumerism that is Santa. I applaud those Somali parents for having the good sense to get this crap out of their kids' school.

Heracleides said...

Ah yes, the protestant aversion to the "Santa myth" under the political guise of eschewing the "cult of sentimentality and the worship of consumerism." Every day must be a real thrill for the children in your household Owen.

sjgmore said...

Well I can't say I often see eye-to-eye with Owen, and even the way he has expressed himself here isn't quite what I have in mind (though it's not too far from it), but, speaking for myself, I have a real problem with Christians who willfully avert their attention from the real St. Nicholas, about whom very little is actually known, but he had a reputation for sanctity that has no need for elaboration involving elves or reindeer or Coca-Cola.

It's quite exasperating to know that a real man who truly existed and devoted his life to Christ and His Church has been totally co-opted by department stores wanting to push their merchandise onto parents by getting actors in red suits to make unseemly and unrealistic promises to young children that they can have whatever they want through the magic of a holiday that's almost unrecognizably Christian.

If people really insist on exposing their children to such a ridiculous and, yes, consumerist fairy-tale, at the very least they should do it in a way that doesn't tarnish the good name of one of Christ's saints and they should dissociate it as much as possible from the actual feast celebrating the birth of Our Lord. Again, speaking for myself, I can tell you there isn't an ounce of "Protestant aversion" in my own repulsion towards the Santa crap, it's entirely based on the fact that I actually believe in the Church and in Her Saints and it's disgusting to see one of the Holiest Days of the calendar trampled all over by money-hungry, unreligious business owners who are manipulating people's uninformed religious sentiments to make a quick buck.

The real St. Nick has a feast day of his own, by the way, for which moderately Christian and venerable traditions do exist, and I don't see why good Catholic and Orthodox believers don't expose their children to that "Santa Claus" who can actually teach them something meaningful about their faith while also indulging them in a little harmless fun. And why don't Christians insist on remembering what the true "true meaning of Christmas" is, which has nothing to do with the inherently selfish practice of teaching children it's okay to expect to be given lots of valueless expensive crap so long as they think lovely thoughts and give a few dollars to the Salvation Army outside Macy's.

Stepping off the soapbox now, sorry.

sjgmore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Anti-Gnostic said...

As if St. Nicholas of Myra would be better received by Somali Muslims.

sjgmore said...

I hate to flog a dead horse here in the comments section of a post no one is still looking at, but, yes, Anti-Gnostic, I do think St. Nicholas of Myra would be better received by Somali Muslims because Somali Muslims have a right to hear the Gospel as well in all its incarnations, and they and the Christians aren't being deprived of anything of value by not being exposed to Santa Claus.

I get truly sick of the idea that Christmas itself shouldn't even necessarily have anything to do with Christ, His Church, or His Saints--because "really what's the harm in the seasonal cheer of all that other stuff?" (as everyone seems to think).

But St. Valentine's day is about buying a pass to casual sex with chocolates, and St. Patrick's day is about alcohol and leprechauns, and Easter is about bunnies and plastic-egg hunts, and All Saint's day is about occult fantasies, and at some point we have to realize that contemporary Orthodox and Catholic Christians have sold out on every Christian feast day that has entered into the public consciousness.

It's a completely disgusting trend that ought to be reversed, and I'm sick of everyone complaining about how Christians are losing touch with their heritage and their faith while completely resisting any actual rapprochement between tradition and current practice.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I hate to flog a dead horse here in the comments section of a post no one is still looking at, but, yes, Anti-Gnostic, I do think St. Nicholas of Myra would be better received by Somali Muslims because Somali Muslims have a right to hear the Gospel as well in all its incarnations, ...

I don't disagree with your point but there are other concerns: secular society with its Protestantism, Reform Judaism and Buddhism/Yoga For White People is the only reason Somali Muslims are even here. Muslims are proving awfully thin-skinned about even the ersatz symbols of the secular Protestant creed. A fortiori, the True Faith is a much greater affront.

Currently, the uneasy truce between Atheism, Islam and Christianity in the US is maintained by a federal government with frightening power. As that government imports increasing numbers increasingly hostile to its creed, its ability to maintain that truce weakens.