Santa Monica has been a bit of a battleground at Christmas these last few years. For the last 59 Christmas seasons there has been a nativity scene in the city park but, recently, an atheist coalition formed, and claimed much of the space for secular displays. After vadalism became a problem, the city felt it needed to stop having any kind of display on public property.

One religious group has filed suit to reopen the nativity scene. William J. Becker is a lawyer who takes on “viewpoint discrimination cases on behalf of Christians and  conservatives.” In representing the group sponsoring the nativity scene, he compared the city of Santa Monica to Pontius Pilate, the biblical figure who allowed Jesus to be crucified. And that wasn’t the strangest thing he said:

Christianity,  white men, heterosexuality, meritocracy, Christmas. These are the relics of a  distant culture.  Let’s not kid ourselves.  They have been tipping  into the abyss for some time.  Only now — plunging as we are with  increasing velocity — do the tremors of our nation’s mortality begin to beat  their throbbing rhythms insistently.

Okay, I’ll admit that Santa is white and probably heterosexual (unless Mrs Claus is a cover) but we don’t know any of those things about Jesus. I would love to talk to this lawyer just to figure out how a nativity scene came to stand for vested white male heterosexual privilege in his own mind.

The good news is that baby Jesus will get Christmas off for the first time in 2,000 years. I’m sure he will appreciate being able to avoid the Christmas rush and to stay home and, as a Jewish person, just enjoy Hanukkah.


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