Cancer Center Fires Santa Claus

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Wanna know how to make Cancer patients feel better? Fire Santa.

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and Santa Claus was fired then rehired (after a firestorm of “passionate response” from the public) at Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston, South Carolina:

For each of the past two years, hospital volunteer Frank Cloyes spent one day as St. Nick, spreading good cheer and snacks to patients sitting through chemotherapy treatments. The 67-year-old James Island resident, a retired insurance executive who calls himself a “gregarious guy,” paid for his own costume rental.

On Tuesday morning, a volunteer coordinator told Cloyes his services no longer were needed.

“Because of our state affiliation, we decided not to have a Santa presence this year,” Hollings spokeswoman Vicky Agnew said. Hollings is a part of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Decorations will be “more secular and respectful to all beliefs,” Agnew said. “We don’t want to offend a volunteer with good intentions, but we need to think of the bigger picture. People who are Muslim or Jewish or have no religious beliefs come here for treatment,” she said.

You know who’s offended? I, as a non-Christian, am offended by this intolerance for expressions of religious faith. Christmas is a Christian religious holiday; but the national celebration itself, including all the commercial trappings that go along with it, is deeply rooted in American tradition and should be embraced by all Americans of all faiths. It does not mean you have to be Christian to celebrate a universal message of peace and good will to all men. You might not believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ; but why rain on the parade of those who do?

The concept of Santa Claus himself is more commercial than he is Christian. Why should I, as Jew, Muslim, atheist, whatever, be offended by such a jolly ol’ elf? When I was growing up, my parents celebrated Christmas as an American holiday. We handed out cards, decorated a tree, participated in gift-giving; and I was told that when I woke up the next morning, there’d be presents under the tree from Santa so long as I was not a naughty boy. Oh, and by the way: My mom is Buddhist. My dad a staunch atheist.

Bah humbug, said Cloyes, a self- described libertarian with no religious affiliation.

“Santa is a tradition and everyone loves him,” Cloyes said. “It’s just something that makes people happy for a while. Kids liked it, staff liked it. People took pictures.”

What is so harmful about the sight and sounds of a Santa Claus to chemotherapy patience in a hospital ward?

Apparently, though, some did feel exclusion:

In a statement Wednesday, Hollings spokeswoman Agnew said: “When we discussed not having a Santa presence this year, we were actually responding to previous complaints from patients with other holiday beliefs who felt excluded.”

What’s Santa gonna do to a Muslim kid sitting in the cancer ward? Say, “Nah! Nah! No present for you!”

Hospital officials based their decisions on respecting “the different cultures and beliefs of the patients we care for,” Agnew said in the statement. Santa and other holiday traditions now will be allowed “because we recognize the emotional benefit to patients,” she said.

Should non-Christians feel excluded during Eid al-Fitr? Rosh Hashanah? Actually, yes, probably so. But that’s because these are strictly religious celebrations without the secularized, universally accessible traditions that Easter and Christmas enjoy in this country for those outside the religious faith. But if they developed traditions over time that became significant enough to be embraced by society at large, why should I, as an outsider to the faith, be offended or feel excluded? If I feel left out on their special holiday, if I don’t want to help them celebrate, that should be my problem; not theirs. Why do I need my faith represented on their dates?

Yes, Christmastime is a Christian holiday. And it’s a time of the year enjoyed by most Americans, both Christian and non-Christian. I refuse to say “Winter Holiday” and use other politically correct, all-inclusive terminologies that seek to take the Christ out of Christmas.

As for the 1st Amendment, the way I see it remains as one of religious freedom and tolerance; and that although the (federal) government is prohibited from endorsing a single church as the national faith (the Christian Protestant religion was the state religion for 205 yrs up until 1868 with ratification of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) , it’s not the same thing as divorcing all forms of religious expression in the government square.


Hat tip for story: The Dennis Prager Show

14 Responses to “Cancer Center Fires Santa Claus”

  1. 1


    Ironically, while I was a visiting professor in Istanbul, one day near Christmastime I was walking down the street and encountered a Santa in full dress. He was on his way to a party for Muslim children. Such parties were even advertised in the TURKISH DAILY NEWS, an English-language newspaper. Parents would pay to have toys or whatever given to their children. I’m still kicking myself for not having a camera with me that day.

  2. 2



    Was it something like this?

    The head of a primary school family union in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne distributed presents Friday to poor students while wearing a Santa Claus outfit and riding a horse-drawn carriage rather than reindeer and sleigh.

    “We wanted to make the children happy in the New Year. The student of this school live under very harsh economic conditions. They deserve to have presents and be happy for the New Year,” said Turan Şallı, the head of the family union that brings parents of students together to support the school. Şallı’s presents were for the poorer students both at his school and others nearby.

    To attract the students’ interest, Şallı stung ornaments around the horse in front of his carriage, formerly used by a milkman, and visited the schools to hand out the presents.

    “In the past, we tried to encourage absent students to attend school by wearing Santa clothes. Believe me, while there were only five students, 15 of them came to see Santa.”

  3. 3


    The Santa I saw was just walking down the street. No sleigh or carriage. I was really surprised until later when I read the ads in the paper. The Santa I saw may well have been going to a New Years party, but Christmas hadn’t quite arrived yet. So far as I known, none of my Muslim colleagues at the University took their children to Santa parties, but it may have been more common among outside the University.

  4. 4


    I have never understood this weird idea that someone will feel excluded. Being Christian and not Jewish, I feel no ill will towards anyone celebrating in public their Chanukah, nor any other religion. When I have been in public during a time when folks of other religions were praying, it didn’t bother me at all. I was respectful and quiet and definitely did not complain.

    Also isn’t it odd that Muslims and other religions don’t traditionally celebrate Halloween, but not once do I ever hear of Halloween being cancelled for fear of offending someone.

  5. 5


    Technically, Christmas is both a Christian and secular holiday with traditions borrowed from many other ethnicities. The Christmas tree for example is from German tradition predating Christianity. Saint Nicolas was a figure from German history that the Germans immigrants brought to America from the Old World. The Yule log was a pagan tradition. The winter solstice was celebrated by many peoples the world over as a festive event.

    There are many rich winter tales that have been forgotten such as
    Good King Wenceslas :

    Duncan Royale King Wenceslas

    What was this Feast of Stephan the Wenceslas song sings about?

    Saint Stephen & Saul of Tarsus

    How many have read Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates?

  6. 6




    Technically, Christmas is both a Christian and secular holiday with traditions borrowed from many other ethnicities.

    Christian, secular, and pagan.

    I know a family who is “so Christian”, they don’t even celebrate Christmas.

  7. 7

    just me 95

    What I take from this is the fear of offending Muslims. They’re the ‘newbies’ to America. Don’t recall any organization saying they might offend the Jewish community back in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s. And that goes for the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s too!

  8. 9


    I think Just Me 95 has it right. Most of the “offended” problem has come from the Muslims, or from those secularists who use possible offense to Muslims as an excuse to attack Christian and Jewish customs.

    If immigrants don’t like the customs of the country they’ve immigrated to, they’re free to go somewhere else.

  9. 10


    Technically, if someone chooses to be a big asinine complete ObamaDolt then there is no such thing as “Christmas”.

    The setting aside to holiday originates as Saturnalia an Ancient Roman festival held in honour of Saturn (Cronus), the youngest of the Titans, father of the major gods of the Greeks and Romans, and son of Uranus and Gaia. Saturn is the father of Rome’s primary god, Jupiter. The timing coinsided with the shift to longer day light hours happening during the ides of the twelfth month.

    Starting Thanksgiving, during the holiday season, I like to witness Handel’s “Messiah” daily.
    Opera Company of Philadelphia “Hallelujah!” Random Act of Culture (YouTube)

  10. 11


    I don’t want to pay with my Tax Money anything to do with Myths and invisable Friends. Put it on your Lawn or somewhere on your Property. Who buys this stuff? Who maintains it? Is it stored somewhere? Who pays for that? Who pays for the clean-up? Why can’t I put up what I want? What about the Music? Horrible. Are these the same Posters that want to spend Money to Drug test Welfare People and don’t mind wasting Money on this stuff.

  11. 13


    O’BullSh-tArtist just flew, at my expense, on his orders, the massive Air Force One Boeing VC-25 jumbo jet with 8 eight ton beasts with Secret Servicev escort SUV’s in its cargo belly to New York City where he again screwed up traffic patterns and commutes home so he could attend a fund raiser held by an eastside trial attorney bundler, another being a homosexual-polysexual smash, and a third a $35,000 wine tasting attended by a bevy of aging entertainment has-beens. The events amassed are reported to have collected for Barry O’BasketCase about $3,000,000. Today, it is reported that O’HulaHoops will fly that monster to Hawaii, celebrating Christmas, so he and BamZilla can get photo-ops dancing on the beach. Contributing to Santa at a cancer treatment centers during the mid-winter duldrums is pittle-dittle buy comparison.

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