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Jewish World Review Dec. 23, 2002 / 18 Teves, 5763

John Leo

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MERRY C-------S TO ALL! | 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
There was Santa again, on his annual journeys,
Ensnared in a group of eight tiny attorneys.

They looked pretty grim and they threatened to sue,
So we knew in a flash -- "It's the ACLU!"
They paid us no heed, but went straight to their work,
Handcuffing poor Santa, then said with a smirk:

"This is secular airspace, we can't have a saint
"Flying our flightpaths -- we need some restraint.
"A sleigh full of toys is OK, we suppose,
"But faith-based incursions we've got to oppose." (1)

Litigation on Christmas is something we dread,
So we nestled our children all under their beds
The grinch doesn't scare them, and Scrooge they see through,
But what kids are prepared for the ACLU?

The reindeer were shackled as a further incitement,
Then the lawyers unpackaged a 12-count indictment.
"Merry Christmas to all!" they just had to foreclose
(Though they had no complaint about all the "Ho Hos").

One lawyer objected to Santa's red clothing.
"It's religiously tainted," he said with some loathing.
"Poinsettias (the red ones) everybody must note, are
"A church-state offense in St. Paul, Minnesota!" (2)

Santa's climb up each chimney (one lawyer made mention)
Is a symbolic reference to Jesus' ascension.
And the reindeer, of course, recall the Apostles,
And those who deny it are nothing but fossils.

These lawyers had labored at neighborhood schools,
Making Christmas extinct there as part of the rules.
Praise Kwaanza or Ramadan -- they think it's quite splendid,
But say "Merry Christmas" and you might get suspended.

Our children, G-d bless them, don't get or recall
Why "inclusiveness" doesn't include them at all,
Why diversity theory (as the lawyers insist) must
Require the annual quashing of Christmas.

In Canada, home of post-everything living,
Now "The 12 Days of Christmas" are "The 12 Days of Giving." (3)

Christmas trees aren't part of their season at all,
They buy "multicultural trees" at the mall.

At a hospital (Catholic) the staff is ashamed (4)
To use the word Christmas, so their tree is misnamed
As a "care tree," though some would prefer "tree of life."
(Why not "tall lit-up flora" to avoid any strife?) (5)

Australians are told they should have no compunctions
Calling parties at Christmastime "end-of-year functions." (6)
The idea is to make Christmas somehow unmentionable,
A tactic I think of as wholly contemptionable.

Instead of "White Christmas" they will probably sing,
"I'm dreaming of a snow day some time in pre-spring."
Here's my suggestion, a harsh one I fear,
Why not call Christmas "Christmas"? (It's just an idea.)

Notes on the poem

(1) "Somewhere Santa Claus is weeping. But if he's on public property, I hope the ACLU doesn't get him for trespassing." -- Bill O'Reilly's column of Dec. 9, 2002.

(2) Not this year, though. In St. Paul, red poinsettias were banned last Christmas at Ramsey County Courthouse-City Hall to placate sensitive people who believe they are Christian symbols. White poinsettias were allowed, but unknown and insensitive people smuggled in a few red ones. This year, red poinsettias were restored in the display.

(3) The Royal Canadian Mint made this change in its annual Christmas ad campaign. The Rev. Nancy Murphy, an Anglican priest in Ottawa, said: "You know that campaign for women to take back the night? Well, Christians, take back Christmas." Gerry Bowler, a history professor at the University of Manitoba, says "the umbrage industry" and militant secularism are eliminating Christmas from public institutions.

(4) In Winnipeg, Misericordia (Catholic) Hospital erected a "care tree" and sponsored a Christmas fund-raising campaign that did not use the word "Christmas."

(5) In Montreal last December, a "tree of life" was stationed at City Hall. This year many Christmas trees are placed there. "If you're going to do it, call it what it is -- a Christmas tree," said a spokesman for Mayor Gerald Tremblay. A similar change occurred in Toronto: City Hall switched from a "holiday tree" to a Christmas tree.

(6) Stuart Kollmorgen, workplace relations partner at Deacons law firm in Melbourne, said many firms are calling Christmas parties "end-of-year functions" to avoid litigation and because "a more accepting and inclusive society will result."

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JWR contributor John Leo's latest book is Incorrect Thoughts: Notes on Our Wayward Culture. Send your comments by clicking here.


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