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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Signs of the Advent Apocalypse - Part 5

I guess with the difficulties facing Priests, it's not too surprising that Santa Claus is facing some of the same difficulties. What a terrible thing when the symbols of good are presented as symbols of evil.

Disillusioned by a growing list of rules imposed by recruiting agencies and shopping centres to guard against litigation, men who have brought smiles to the faces of thousands of young West Australians for decades are reluctantly deciding to call it quits.

They can't hand out lollies, they can't pat children on the head because of religious beliefs, they can't put children on their laps unless they get permission from parents and they can't have photographs taken with youngsters unless their hands are in full view.

So frightened have some Santas become of being sued that they are demanding extra helpers to act as witnesses just in case a complaint is made.

Santas are even being told not to go around saying `Ho, ho, ho' because they may frighten children.

One Santa told The Sunday Times he walked through a shopping centre in silence because he was worried he'd be sacked if he appeared too jolly. [source]

There is always an uneasy relationship between freedom and safety. And while the desire to protect children from predators is laudable, what about the need to be able to express genuine love without fear of a jail sentence or a lawsuit?


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