Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Merry Grinchmas

It's never too early to honor those who would make our holiday season pleasant.

This year's top vote getter in the "Anything to Ruin Christmas" push is, surprisingly, not the American Civil Liberties Union. The 2012 honor goes to a California atheist protester who has forced the city of Santa Monica to shut down a long-standing Christmas tradition.

To explain: For more years than necessary to recount, Santa Monica has permitted life sized nativity scenes to be displayed in its town center. Booths were offered and churches and religious groups competed (a friendly competition, of course) to present the most reflective of the season display.

Along comes Damon Vix, a non-believer who invokes an entirely different tactic to tear down the decades-old tradition. Rather than sue the city claiming the worn out separation of church and state clause of our Constitution, Vix decided three years ago to put up his own display beside those depicting the manger scene.

The Vix display ridiculed religions as myths, with signage which read, "Religions are all alike...founded on fables and mythologies," and "Happy Solstice."

In the past, Santa Monica provided spaces for 21 displays in Palisades Park with each being awarded on an "as applied for" basis. Over the space of three years, secular groups with beliefs similar to Vix began claiming spaces and in 2011 managed to grab 18 of those booths.

Rather than take up the fight once again this year, the city of Santa Monica simply decided to not grant permission for use of the space to anyone. Churches in the area reportedly are seeking legal action, but the courts are not expected to overturn the decision.

It's a sad commentary on the times in which we live when a non-beliver's belief can trump a religious group's freedom of expression. Vix has vexed many a person of faith while becoming a poster-child for those without belief. I'm sure the court which hears attorneys for the churches will not rule simply on a city decision. This will become another separation issue.

Wouldn't it be nice if a court somewhere would rule that the Constitution prefers that government stay out of religion rather than prohibit religion from invading the space of government. I do believe that's what the founding fathers (and mothers) had in mind.

The Grinch should never drink

Leave it to the Canadian constabulary to do something our folks most likely wouldn't touch with a 10-foot law book.

An unidentified 24-year-old was arrested in Kingston last week for telling children at a Christmas parade that Santa Claus wasn't real. The man, who had gelled his hair to look like devil horns, was nabbed on charges of causing a disturbance by being drunk and breach of probation. Apparently our Grinch was not a first time bad boy.

News accounts do not mention whether our lad entered a plea, but it is certain that Santa has placed one John Doe on his naughty list. Also unverified are rumors that the dude will be sentenced by a Canadian magistrate to 72 hours of community service where he will be required to dress as Santa and sweep the floors at every bar in town.

Don't wait

Americans are notorious for waiting until the last minute to buy gifts during this festive season. To stop that trend, here are a couple of suggestions for that very special public person who has done so much to make our lives better:

For Harry Reid, a Droopy doll with an "I'm with Goofy" tee shirt. Reid also gets an "I'm Goofy" matching shirt.

Speaker of the House John Boehner needs an 18-wheeler load of tissue to wipe those crying eyes. After losing the White House again, dropping a few seats to those pesky Democrats and trying to negotiate a budget deal, Boehner will spend as much time wiping tears as he will ripping the President.

Governor Bobby Jindal could use a map of the United States with special outlines for the state of Louisiana so he can recognize where he's supposed to be governing. Gift givers might also consider wrapping a photo of the White House oval office. That's about as close as the governor may ever come to being an occupant.

A gift certificate for reconstructive surgery for Susan Rice. As fast as her nose is growing, she will need a touch-up.

President Barak Obama will hopefully give us common folk a very nice gift, but it most likely will come after Christmas. That will come in the form of an acceptance "with regret" when Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder turn in their resignations. Let's only hope the follow-up selections will not prove the joke is on us.

Pat Culverhouse is a journalist and political columnist who lives in Minden. You may contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .






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