Santa on trial

The Covington News - - OPINION - Tom Pur­cell

By 2007, Santa Claus, a beloved fig­ure in Amer­ica for more than a 100 years, had fallen out of sync with the times. And so it was that Amer­ica de­cided to pros­e­cute him.

“Your honor, the pros­e­cu­tion calls Mr. Santa Claus to the wit­ness stand.” “Pro­ceed,” says the judge. Claus is sworn in and seated. The pros­e­cu­tor be­gins to pace be­fore the jury.

“Though it is hardly crim­i­nal to pa­rade around as a jolly old fat man whose spirit is the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of char­ity and good­will,” says the pros­e­cu­tor, “is it not against the law for our tol­er­ant gov­ern­ment to in any way sanc­tion any re­li­gion? Are you not a re­li­gious man, Mr. Claus?”

“Ho, ho, ho,” says Claus, smil­ing. “My ori­gin dates back many years to Hol­land to a fel­low known as ‘Sin­terk­laas.’ But one of my pri­mary in­spi­ra­tions was Saint Ni­cholas, a 4th cen­tury Chris­tian bishop who was gen­er­ous to the poor.”

“Aha!” says the pros­e­cu­tor. “A Chris­tian bishop!”

“Would the pros­e­cu­tion please not waste the court’s time,” says the judge.

“Your honor, I hold in my hand the sworn af­fi­davits of thou­sands of peo­ple who all make the same ac­cu­sa­tion against Mr. Claus: break­ing and en­ter­ing. Mr. Claus gained en­trance to each of their homes through the chim­ney.”

“Ho, ho, ho,” says Claus. “But that is the only way I could leave each of them gifts.”

“Your honor,” con­tin­ues the pros­e­cu­tor, “this al­legedly char­i­ta­ble fig­ure has been abus­ing elves for years. They work long hours with­out breaks and va­ca­tions. Mr. Claus is in vi­o­la­tion of nu­mer­ous fed­eral work­place statutes. The elves are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisal from their boss.”

“Ho, ho, ho,” says Claus. “But we all work long hours at our North Pole lo­ca­tion. We work to pro­mote joy and hap­pi­ness and to ben­e­fit all of mankind.”

“If his abuse of the elves is not crim­i­nal enough,” con­tin­ues the pros­e­cu­tor, “then con­sider his abuse of help­less an­i­mals. He chains them to a sleigh and drives them non­stop on a hellish jour­ney around the world.”

“Surely,” says the judge, “the pros­e­cu­tion has more com­pelling charges that might hold up in this court.”

“We cer­tainly do,” says the pros­e­cu­tor, pick­ing up more pa­pers and pre­sent­ing them to the judge. “We have ad­di­tional sworn af­fi­davits ac­cus­ing Mr. Claus of stalk­ing. He’s been watch­ing peo­ple when they’re sleep­ing. He knows when they’re awake. He even knows if they’ve been bad or good.” “Oh, brother,” says the judge. “Your honor,” says the pros­e­cu­tor, “this fat man in the red suit may look harm­less, but he has been solic­it­ing chil­dren through the mail and the In­ter­net. He keeps an ex­haus­tive list and has been check­ing it twice. Then he lures the chil­dren to the mall, where he en­tices them to sit on his lap!” The judge shakes his head. “This man is a bad ex­am­ple for our chil­dren,” con­tin­ues the pros­e­cu­tor. “He en­cour­ages obe­sity and the con­sump­tion of trans fat. He poi­sons the homes of mil­lions with sec­ond­hand pipe smoke. He is a sym­bol of our close-minded past, your honor— not our pro­gres­sive, sec­u­lar present.”

“Is that all, coun­selor?” said the judge.

“There’s one more thing, your honor. Mr. Claus is a sex­ist. He has no re­spect for women— no women in man­age­ment po­si­tions. What’s worse, he was caught kiss­ing one boy’s mother. He rou­tinely calls women de­mean­ing names!”

“How do you re­spond to th­ese charges, Mr. Claus?” “Ho, ho, ho.” “I rest my case,” says the pros­e­cu­tor.

PUR­CELL

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