Off the Press

December 13, 2011

By David Hayes

Santa, please help tell true story of Christmas

David Hayes Press reporter

A funny thing happened when I was asked to play the role of Santa for Northwest Pugs — a meetup group my wife co-organizes for local pug owners.

Cute photos of their dogs with Jolly St. Nick would have to be without me, for you see, I didn’t fit into the silly suit.

Who in China designs a costume of a fat man that an actual horizontally challenged person cannot fit into? Luckily, my wife found a more svelte volunteer to fill the position.

However, once my services were no longer needed, I decided to turn the tables and think about what I would ask of Santa, if I were to discover one with a lap ample enough to hold my weight without risk of injury.

My wish of the bearded one would be an emphasis on the return of the true meaning of Christmas to include more of the original bearded one. That would involve getting the ACLU’s grubby little paws off the holiday.

Some of the most beautifully written music ever for Christmas are the religious ones — “Silent Night,” “O Holy Night,” “Away in the Manger” and “The First Noel” to name but a few. However, back when I covered Issaquah’s schools’ beat, a music teacher once told me he couldn’t have his students perform those songs, thanks to the ACLU’s war on Christmas. Specifically, their continued misinterpretation of the First Amendment.

Here’s what my trusty pocket Constitution quotes: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Seems to me, if you make a law prohibiting the performance of a religious song, you’re prohibiting the free exercise thereof. And since when are second-graders singing “Hark the Harold Angels Sing” establishing some sort of national religion? Is the ACLU arguing that upon hearing their angelic voices, you’ll be compelled to run down to the nearest church and convert?

Then there’s that fun little organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

In the past locally, both Foothills Baptist Church and Issaquah Christian Church have hosted live nativity scenes, providing no better way to depict the original Christmas. Unfortunately, the organizers better never have plans to expand to public property, thanks to the FFRF. The group just recently succeeded in shutting down a nativity scene in Henderson County, Texas.

Apparently one nameless resident was “offended” and the group took up his cause, citing what I feel is misguided precedent by the Supreme Court, prohibiting religious displays on public property. Once again, I’d take my trusty pocket Constitution, throw it in the group’s face and ask, “Please turn to the section that says you have the right to not be offended.”

Our country seems to have survived just fine wearing its religious origins on its sleeves before the ACLU and FFRF started chipping away at those freedoms.

Speaking of religion on sleeves, what if those sleeves are part of a uniform? I am officially jumping aboard the Tim Tebow bandwagon. He’s now 7-1 as a starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, disproving his legion of naysayers in the sports media who were critical of Tebow since the team drafted him, no less since he became their starter. You see, a big part of their gripe over Tebow, outside his mechanics as an NFL quarterback versus just being a successful college quarterback, was his religious conviction.

I’m pretty sure God doesn’t look down and bestow favor upon one team over another just because someone is devout. Teams, from our local high schools all the wayup to the NFL, have long participated in group prayer before a matchup. Tebow’s point in every post-game interview regardless the question, “First I have to thank Jesus Christ, my personal lord and savior” is actually thanking God for giving him natural ability, but leaving it up to him to follow through on it.

Tebow has been ridiculed by the press and mocked by other players. But his conviction hasn’t wavered and he’s even managed to convert some skeptics into believers along the way.

So, Santa, please take time as other kids shuffle past your perch this season to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas. While religious in origin, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. [Matthew 7:12]” seems pretty universal to me.

David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, or Comment at

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One Response to “Off the Press”

  1. Kelly Presston on December 29th, 2011 1:21 pm

    You cheapen your religion by feeling it needs to be forced onto others by marketing in on public property.

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