Christmas in America is a season of time-honored traditions – the sacred performance of the annual ACLU lawsuit over the presence of an insufficiently secular “holiday” tree; the ritual provocations of the atheist displays licensed by pitifully appeasing municipalities to sit between the menorah and the giant Frosty the Snowman; the familiar strains of every hack columnist’s “war on Christmas” column rolling off the keyboard as easily as Richard Clayderman playing “Winter Wonderland”…

This year has been a choice year. A crucified skeleton Santa Claus was erected as part of the “holiday” display outside the Loudoun County courthouse in Virginia – because, let’s face it, nothing cheers the hearts of moppets in the Old Dominion like telling them, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus – and he’s hanging lifeless in the town square.”

Alas, a week ago, some local burghers failed to get into the ecumenical spirit and decapitated him. Who are these killjoys? Christians intolerant of the First Amendment (as some have suggested)? Or perhaps a passing Saudi? Our friends in Riyadh only the other day beheaded for Amina bin Salem (so to speak) Nasser for “sorcery,” and it would surely be grossly discriminatory not to have some Wahhabist holiday traditions on display in Loudoun County. (The Islamic Saudi Academy, after all, is one of the most prestigious educational institutions of neighboring Fairfax County.) Across the fruitcaked plain in California, the city of Santa Monica allocated permits for “holiday” displays in Palisades Park by means of lottery. Eighteen of the 21 slots went to atheists – for example, the slogan “37 million Americans know a myth when they see one” over portraits of Jesus, Santa, and Satan.

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