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Author Topic: British vicar bars Father Christmas from carol service
snopes
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A British vicar banned a man dressed as Father Christmas from a carol service at his church.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061211/od_afp/britainchristmas_061211201956

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Zachary Fizz
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Is this part of the War on Father Christmas, perhaps?

I enjoyed seeing the phrase "political correctness gone mad" used by the ejected Santa. Quite right too: we can't have our sacred holidays hi-jacked by those religious types. I bet that Vicar is the sort of killjoy who ruins everone's fun by talking about Jesus, when everyone should be running off home to catch the omnibus edition of Eastenders.

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Silkenreindeer
Wassaleing


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I'm never 100% sure when you're joking or when you're serious.

As an American, my irony-o-meter is not tuned especially sensitively.

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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I think they should form an organisation called "Father Christmases for Justice," and picket this church dressed as Father Christmas dressed as Batman.

That'll show this no-good god-botherer.

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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snopes
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quote:
"I do not believe that Father Christmas should be part of church services any more than Santa's grotto should have a manger and a baby Jesus present," Storey said in a statement.
I don't believe wine should be part of church services any more than liquor stores should have a Bible and a crucifix present.

- snopes

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
"If he can have big screen football in church, why can't he have Santa Claus in church?" he demanded.
"Eh? Eh? Tell me that then, eh?"
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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
"I do not believe that Father Christmas should be part of church services any more than Santa's grotto should have a manger and a baby Jesus present," Storey said in a statement.
I don't believe wine should be part of church services any more than liquor stores should have a Bible and a crucifix present.

- snopes

But, since the traditional Catholic or High Church Anglican church service is essentially a recreation of the Last Supper, which features the literal or metaphorical transubstantiation of wine into the Blood of Christ, the presence of wine at a church service is much more justifiable than the presence of a fat man with a beard.

Wine does play a role in Christian dogma. Santa doesn't. The two aren't at all comparable.

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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snopes
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quote:
Wine does play a role in Christian dogma. Santa doesn't. The two aren't at all comparable.
And, apparently, Christmas also plays no role in Christian dogma.

- snopes

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
Wine does play a role in Christian dogma. Santa doesn't. The two aren't at all comparable.
And, apparently, Christmas also plays no role in Christian dogma.

- snopes

Christmas does, but Father Christmas doesn't. Easter services in most churches don't feature eggs or bunnies, do they?

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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Zachary Fizz
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I agree with snopes. If we ban Santa impersonators from church, surely widescreen TV will be the next to go. It's a slippery slope, snopes, and I for one applaud Santa for descending out of Lapland and walking among us, to save us from this wave of political correctness gone mad.

Heaven forbid we start treating God with reverence, or (saints preserve us) actually listening to that beardy-wierdy do-gooder nonsense. "Love thy neighbour"? Wife-swapping filth, I call it. We all know that unidentified loony-left councils all over the place have banned mince pies, and are replacing them with Allah-cakes and Hanukka-buns. Well, all except Islington, whose devious athiest leaders will probably deny plotting to rename them "secular-humanist Dawkins pastries".

It's mainstream traditionalist moderate Christianity gone mad, I tell you.

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Zachary Fizz
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I think there may be more to this story than meets the eye.

After carefully reading the OP, I have discovered that the man seeking admission to the church is not Santa Claus at all! He's some bloke called Henry Cuff, who is wickedly posing as one of the Lord's Saints for unspecified, and no doubt nefarious as well as blasphemous purposes.

Who can imagine the spiritual and indeed mental anguish which would lead someone to pretend to be a saint, and one especially revered by children, no less? Thank goodness he us the only sick perverted wierdo behaving in this depraved way. While Mr Cuff is no doubt deeply disturbed and merits our compassion, I think the vicar shows weakness and folly in not horsewhipping the swine and beating him over the head with a heavy chalice.

Well, that's what I thought, until I saw this bit:

quote:

[Mr Cuff] said he had been handing out sweets to local children before the church service.


Obviously this outweighs all other considerations, and the Church should apologise forthwith, and pay him hefty damages. Those vicars and their holier-than-thou attitude - they've had it coming to them for a long time. Now they're trying to take sweets from Children, and at Christmas time too! It's time they were held accountable.

Someone should be absolutely bloody crucified over this.

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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But surely Mr Cuff is contributing to the obesity epidemic afflicting Britain's feral youths, and therefore should be thrashed?

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Isn't it good to encourage the feral youths to become obese? That way they can't run so fast and are less of a threat.
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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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But if we don't encourage them to exercise, they'll just sit around listening to their Emu Goth, which will encourage self-harm.

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
quote:
"If he can have big screen football in church, why can't he have Santa Claus in church?" he demanded.
"Eh? Eh? Tell me that then, eh?"
During last, oops, this year's world cup on finals day (a Sunday IIRC) after one of the morning services we had a lunch together followed by watching the football on a big screen. (BTW, when I say 'we' I mean 'some people' because I escaped and went for a walk.

Oh, and we allow Father Christmas into our church. And pagan Christmas trees. And holly and ivy. And mulled wine (that should keep the Bishop of Southwark happy). And mince pies (yummy). No mistletoe, though.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, Elfland:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Richard W:
[qb] Oh, and we allow Father Christmas into our church. And pagan Christmas trees. And holly and ivy. And mulled wine (that should keep the Bishop of Southwark happy). And mince pies (yummy). No mistletoe, though.

I can't decide if this makes you a "heathen" or an "apostate." One of the two, certainly.

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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Well I'm not a heathen. So that must make me... er...

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Dactingyl
Anchovy of a 1000 Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
Wine does play a role in Christian dogma. Santa doesn't. The two aren't at all comparable.
And, apparently, Christmas also plays no role in Christian dogma.

- snopes

Christmas does, but Father Christmas doesn't. Easter services in most churches don't feature eggs or bunnies, do they?
St Nicholas has nothing to do with Christmas?

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Dactingyl is meant to sound a bit like Christingle.

It's not very good but I couldn't think of anything else.

Sorry.

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Tarquin Farquart
The First USA Noel


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His feast day is December 6th, so very little.

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I shall baffle you with cabbages and rhinoceroses in the kitchen and incessant quotations from "Now We Are Six" through the mouthpiece of Lord Snooty's giant poisoned electric head. So there!

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by Dactgyl:
quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
Wine does play a role in Christian dogma. Santa doesn't. The two aren't at all comparable.
And, apparently, Christmas also plays no role in Christian dogma.

- snopes

Christmas does, but Father Christmas doesn't. Easter services in most churches don't feature eggs or bunnies, do they?
St Nicholas has nothing to do with Christmas?
In dogmatic terms, no. St Nicholas has nothing to do with the Christian festival of Christmas. He is involved in the secular celebration of Christmas, but not the Christian festival.

Edit: Isn't it interesting how "dogmatic" is generally considered to be a pejorative term? I think this is the first time I've ever used it in its original sense.

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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Mosherette
Deck the Malls


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Father Christmas isn't St Nicholas anyway. But I can't give you a cite for it because my English folklore books are packed at the bottom of a large box ready to move into my new house later this week. So you'll just have to believe me, which won't be hard because I'm always right. [Razz]

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Silence should never under any circumstances be construed as agreement. A lot of the time, it's simply a reflection that someone just said something so stupid that no response could possibly do it justice. - Ramblin' Dave

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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She's right, you know

quote:
Whilst it is true that Father Christmas and Santa are considered virtually the same today, Father Christmas is a completely different person entirely, with a much longer history.

The American Santa Claus has one source. He originated from Dutch settlers' stories about Sinter Klass, the Dutch name for St Nicholas, and how he gave presents to girls and boys.

St Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, in Turkey in the 3rd century AD, who would travel in his red bishop's robes and give gifts to the poor. He was believed to have been particularly kind to children. Apparently, he was also very shy. Legend has it that one day, wanting to give money to a family in secret, he dropped some gold coins down the chimney, where they landed in a girl's stocking. St. Nicholas didn't 'arrive' in Britain until after the Norman invasion, and when he did arrive his story was quickly absorbed into the legend of Father Christmas. By this time, our Father Christmas had already been around for centuries!

The earliest Father Christmas appeared during ancient British mid-winter festivals. He wasn't known as Father Christmas then, of course, but as a general pagan figure who represented the coming of spring. He would wear a long, green hooded cloak and a wreath of holly, ivy or mistletoe. It is the association with holly and mistletoe, and his ability to lift people's spirits, that we retain from this ancient Father Christmas.



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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Who was the one who chopped up children and pickled them in a barrel? Or was St. Nicholas's canonising miracle the ability to resurrect pickled children? I know that pickled children in a barrel featured somewhere, because I had a book about St. Nicholas as a child, that somebody had mistakenly given me as a cheerful Christmas story.
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Tarquin Farquart
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Who was the one who chopped up children and pickled them in a barrel? Or was St. Nicholas's canonising miracle the ability to resurrect pickled children? I know that pickled children in a barrel featured somewhere, because I had a book about St. Nicholas as a child, that somebody had mistakenly given me as a cheerful Christmas story.

St Nicholas resurrected them.

quote:
Another legend tells how a terrible famine struck the island and a malicious butcher lured three little children into his house, only to kill and slaughter them and put their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham. Saint Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, not only saw through the butcher's horrific crime but also managed to resurrect the three boys from the barrel. Another version of this story, possibly formed around the eleventh century, claims that they were instead three clerks who wished to stay the night. The man murdered them, and was advised by his wife to dispose of them by turning them into meat pies. The Saint saw through this and brought the men back to life. This alternate version is thought to be the origin of the English horror legend, Sweeney Todd.
wikipedia link

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I shall baffle you with cabbages and rhinoceroses in the kitchen and incessant quotations from "Now We Are Six" through the mouthpiece of Lord Snooty's giant poisoned electric head. So there!

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Zachary Fizz
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
I can't decide if this makes you a "heathen" or an "apostate." One of the two, certainly.

It makes no difference, Dara. To us, Andrew must always be a "heretic".
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Dactingyl
Anchovy of a 1000 Days


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We'll not quite. The quotation not only admits that now the terms Father Christmas and Santa Claus are interchangable but that the current incarnation is at worst a combination of the two characters.

The dogma isn't really relevant to the OP either. It's not difficult to intertwine the concept of giving at Christmas into the seasonal sermons*. Also, the church is no stranger to adapting local customs into their own teachings.

Ultimately the Vicar is attempting to polarise beliefs on what is acceptable at Christmas time, a stance which doesn't do anyone any favours. Surely encompassing all traditions into the celebration is a better way to bring people to church rather than alienating people?

*Does using the phrase 'seasonal sermons' condemn me straight to hell?

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Dactingyl is meant to sound a bit like Christingle.

It's not very good but I couldn't think of anything else.

Sorry.

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Zachary Fizz
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Dactgyl:
Surely encompassing all traditions into the celebration is a better way to bring people to church rather than alienating people?


This is why churches should avoid divisive hectoring about religion, and have widecreen television, video games, and a selection of bitter beers and lagers. And perhaps some snacks or crisps.
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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by Dactgyl:
The dogma isn't really relevant to the OP either. It's not difficult to intertwine the concept of giving at Christmas into the seasonal sermons*. Also, the church is no stranger to adapting local customs into their own teachings.

Ultimately the Vicar is attempting to polarise beliefs on what is acceptable at Christmas time, a stance which doesn't do anyone any favours. Surely encompassing all traditions into the celebration is a better way to bring people to church rather than alienating people?

Quite possibly, but here's the thing: he doesn't have to. Since Santa Claus/Father Christmas has absolutely nothing to do, in dogmatic terms, with the Christian festival of Christmas, the vicar is perfectly within his rights to object to someone dressed as Father Christmas, in exactly the same way as Christians every year complain about the commercialisation of Christmas. It certainly isn't "political correctness gone mad," as the offended Santa in the OP would have it.

For many Christians, Christmas isn't about presents, or Santa, or the double edition of the Radio Times, it's about the birth of their god, and even if they can't demand mainstream society accept that, it's not unreasonable for them to demand that that should be the case in their own churches.

If this vicar was trying to stop Santa from appearing at the local shopping centre because Santa has no dogmatic role in the Christian festival of Christmas, then I would agree that he was being unreasonable and something of a killjoy. But he isn't. He's just deciding what is and isn't appropriate in his own church.

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by Dactgyl:
We'll not quite. The quotation not only admits that now the terms Father Christmas and Santa Claus are interchangable but that the current incarnation is at worst a combination of the two characters.

But Santa Claus still isn't part of Christian dogma. Saint Nicholas is. And Saint Nicholas need not have anything to do with Christmas. In the Italian town of Bari, for example, the festival of St. Nicholas takes place in early May.

So, really, Santa Claus has between little and nothing to do with the Christian celebration of Christmas.

Mind you Christmas itself has little to do with Christianity, if it comes to that.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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VeebleFetzer
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
… in exactly the same way as Christians every year complain about the commercialisation of Christmas.

Except in America, where they complain about the un-christmasing of Commerce.

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I'd rather be with you people than the finest people in the world!

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DadOf3
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
"I do not believe that Father Christmas should be part of church services any more than Santa's grotto should have a manger and a baby Jesus present," Storey said in a statement.
See, this makes perfect sense to me. People would be screaming if a mall had a Nativity scene for the kids to look at while they were waiting to have their picrue taken with Santa. In the same way that many feel that the Church has no business pushing its way into secular situations, so the secular situations have no business pushing their way into Church celebrations.

I think Dara really nails it on this one (not that that's in any way a surprise). The Vicar in question isn't protesting Father Christmas or Santa Claus or Frosty the Snowman for that matter being set up in a mall, or taking part in secular celebrations. He's saying that non-religious characters have no role in his church service.

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by VeebleFetzer:
quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
… in exactly the same way as Christians every year complain about the commercialisation of Christmas.

Except in America, where they complain about the un-christmasing of Commerce.
I present to you, my first ever Franken-quote sigline!

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Did you see the Announcement?
There's a new snopes message board!

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Dactingyl
Anchovy of a 1000 Days


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Can I just clarify my position because I think we're arguing two differnt points:

- Do I think there's a religious basis to the Vicar's actions? Yes, I agree with the general response that there isn't an intrinsic link between Christian Christmas beliefs and Father Christmas/Santa Claus thus he had every right to ban the man from his church.

- Do I think that it's "political correctness gone mad"? Not quite but I suspect it's reactionary to such things as shops and Christmas cards using the phrase "Seasons Greetings".

- Do I agree with his actions? No. Whatever symbology or terms people use around this time of year, most still associate it with the Christian festival of Christmas regardless of their dogmatic value. I think he's going to catch far more flies with an all encompassing attitude rather than by drawing a 'them and us' line.

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Dactingyl is meant to sound a bit like Christingle.

It's not very good but I couldn't think of anything else.

Sorry.

Posts: 257 | From: Hants, UK | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DadOf3
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quote:
Originally posted by Dactgyl:
Can I just clarify my position because I think we're arguing two differnt points:

- Do I think there's a religious basis to the Vicar's actions? Yes, I agree with the general response that there isn't an intrinsic link between Christian Christmas beliefs and Father Christmas/Santa Claus thus he had every right to ban the man from his church.

- Do I think that it's "political correctness gone mad"? Not quite but I suspect it's reactionary to such things as shops and Christmas cards using the phrase "Seasons Greetings".

- Do I agree with his actions? No. Whatever symbology or terms people use around this time of year, most still associate it with the Christian festival of Christmas regardless of their dogmatic value. I think he's going to catch far more flies with an all encompassing attitude rather than by drawing a 'them and us' line.

You may be right about this being reactionary to the "Season's Greetings" thing. Still, the Christian community has long been opposed to the commercializing of Christmas, so this may have happened even four or five years ago before stores "officially" dropped Merry Christmas as a greeting.

The thing about your final point is that, while I can see how churches can encompass secular things to make the Gospel relevant, there is a difference here. Someone showed up at a service dressed up as a character without previously consulting anyone who was involved in putting on the service. I don't care if he came dressed as Moses, a shepherd, or John the Baptist, he shouldn't be crashing a church service in a costume without prior arrangements.

Please note, when I use the word crashing, I'm not talking about just showing up at a church service. I assume that most churches greet visitors with open arms and that new-comers are always welcome. I'm talking about showing up in a costume that is plainly going to distract people, especially children in this case, from what is probably a carefully-planned service.

Posts: 539 | From: Nova Scotia | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by Dactgyl:
Can I just clarify my position because I think we're arguing two differnt points:

- Do I think there's a religious basis to the Vicar's actions? Yes, I agree with the general response that there isn't an intrinsic link between Christian Christmas beliefs and Father Christmas/Santa Claus thus he had every right to ban the man from his church.

- Do I think that it's "political correctness gone mad"? Not quite but I suspect it's reactionary to such things as shops and Christmas cards using the phrase "Seasons Greetings".



I think you're reaching a bit there, though. Why can't you just take it on its own merits, that someone came to his church dressed as Santa, and he was trying to make the point that Santa has nothing to do with Christmas in its guise as a Christian festival? The debate within Christianity about the secularisation and commercialisation of Christmas significantly pre-dates the whole "political correctness" brouhaha. Indeed, when Paul VI removed St Nicholas from the official canon of saints in 1969, it was generally interpreted as a veiled criticism of the commercialisation of Christmas.

quote:

- Do I agree with his actions? No. Whatever symbology or terms people use around this time of year, most still associate it with the Christian festival of Christmas regardless of their dogmatic value. I think he's going to catch far more flies with an all encompassing attitude rather than by drawing a 'them and us' line.

Well, I suppose, if he hadn't asked Mr Cuff to remove his Santa suit before entering the church, then that percentage of the population who want to wear a Santa suit at all times would feel more comfortable coming to his church as opposed to any other. But is the percentage of the population who want to wear a Santa suit statistically significant?

On the other hand, by asking Mr Cuff not to wear the Santa suit, he's triggered a debate (including this one) over whether or not it's appropriate that a Christian festival should be usurped, even within the Church, by a figure with his roots in paganism and which is currently as much a symbol of Mammon as anything else.

So I imagine the Rev Storey will be satisfied with his day's work, actually.

--------------------
This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


Posts: 2794 | From: London, UK | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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