Sunday, December 25, 2005

What will they think of next?

What are these people smoking?
Gift rift: Evangelicals split over plan to ban presents
Look for more lawyers ready to pounce on Christmas disses, they say, more teachers ready to tattle on silencings of "Silent Night" and more boycotts of stores for yanking the "Christmas" out of the season.

But one influential group of evangelicals has something else in mind that is causing a division in the religious ranks:

It wants to ban presents.

The American Family Association is suggesting that adults buy nothing from stores for each other next year. Sliding an Xbox 360 to a child would be OK, said association president Tim Wildmon, but adults should funnel their consumer cash to a charity that helps the poor -- preferably one friendly to "Christian values" such as the Salvation Army.

If grown-ups really want to express their appreciation for someone through a Christmas gift, Wildmon suggests that they either make something themselves or give a gift of their time. He wants folks to focus on Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ, not as the day before the after-Christmas sales begin.

"We want people to get back to what Christmas should be about," Wildmon said.

That was the stated goal of campaigns this fall aimed at keeping Christmas -- in word and symbol -- in the public square, whether by ensuring that children could sing carols in school or that retailers hung signs that said "Merry Christmas," instead of something neutered of religious references such as "Happy holidays."

Whatever. People are not going to stop shopping, it has been the reason for the season for a long time and hopefully by this time next year this will have faded into oblivion, where it belongs.

Now, back to the jokes.

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