by Ledge Slater, DP Editor-Enlarged
Tuesday, December 2, 2014,
(WESTMINSTER, MA) —Parents of Westminster, Massachusetts, savor this Christmas... It will be the last one you will be legally allowed to have your children believe in Santa Claus.
The same town that created a brief stir last month by proposing a total ban on all tobacco products has jumped further into controversy this month by imposing a ban on parents telling their children there is a Santa Claus. Indeed, as to allow or promote the belief in Santa Claus among children, be they your own children or others', will no longer be allowed in Westminster, beginning on January 30th, 2015.
In a unanimous vote on Monday the Westminster Board of Health ruled that parents of the roughly 7,300 member community 50 miles west of Boston who allow or encourage their kids to believe there is an jolly old man who brings the world's Christian children gifts throughout the night of December 24th will face a $1,000 fine or else risk being reported to Massachusetts' child protective services for child abuse...because having your a child believe in Santa is "abuse", according to town officials. For children to believe in Santa Claus, the personification of the Christmas spirit and all the timeless stories and myths that usually accompany Santa, only to eventually discover that no such angelic figure exists is "too traumatizing" and can leave a child being scarred for life —or worse— say town officials (the average age a child learns Santa Claus is not real is between 8 and 9 years old).
Westminster's Board of Health cited a 1999 incident in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where parents of a 10-year-old boy, Joshua Hunt, told him shortly before Christmas that they had been the ones providing his Christmas gifts all along, and that Santa was just a harmless, spirit-warming legend, a symbol of the innocence of youth and good will. Never mind that state authorities, the local school board and police reports repeatedly detail that the 10-year-old Josh had a history of severe psychiatric issues and violent, delusional behavior beginning at age four, and was on a litany of anti-psychotic drugs by age seven, the day after Hunt learned Santa was a myth, he allegedly poisoned himself to death by swallowing a bottle of his mother's prescription sleeping pills.
"I remember that poor Hunt boy. That was a very sad and hard on all of us," said Sioux Falls Assistant Police Chief Patti Lyon. "...But the boy, Josh, had been a 'problem child' since he was five, when he tried to burn his neighbor's house down, then began killing neighborhood pets when he was seven and eight. People want to blame (Hunt's suicide) on the 'trauma' of him finding out there was no Santa Claus, but really, the poor child was damaged from the start and headed for disaster. Santa had nothing to do with it."
Besides one mentally disturbed boy's tragic suicide 15 years ago, Westminster officials like Board of Health Chairwoman Andrea Crete also point to social media chatter, where every year around Fall parents routinely begin expressing their children's "shock and dismay, anger, initial disbelief, and depression" at being told there is no Santa Claus. Further compounding the shattering of such a touching myth to children is the fact that the belief in Santa has almost always been used to "control their spiritual beliefs and inborn behavior as children", according to Chairwoman Crete, citing the infamous widespread fear among children of being put on Santa's "naughty or nice" list.
KILLING SANTA: Leftist Logic At Its Best (and another future Bill O'Reilly book!)
Said Westminster Town Administrator Karen Murphy, who agrees with the "Santa ban", Monday, "It's bad enough to believe in such magic and fairy tales when you're growing up, but to then have that ripped away and realize it was all just to make you not be naughty and do your homework, or not torture small animals or sell mommy's drugs to your classmates, or commit patricide is an affront to Christian children everywhere! (Believing in Santa) is a sin. The practice of twisting children's tender minds in the name of 'Santa Claus' has been going on for centuries, and it must be stopped! And Westminster, Massachusetts is going to lead the way for it to be stopped."
"If this ban only saves one severely and naturally psychologically deranged child out of millions of other normal children, and from the one in one−billion chance he or she may harm themselves from finding out there is no Santa Claus, than I can't see why this ban is not logical and necessary," said Andrea Crete, Chairwoman for the quaint (and quaint) town's Health Board. "We're very progressive here and pride ourselves on that. ...If only one person has been hurt in any way by something or some cultural practice, no matter how outrageous or abstract the circumstances were —at any time in history—, then there is no reason why not to pass sweeping legislation that would impact every member of the country, as profoundly and deeply as possible. We're liberals, this is how we react to tragedy and misfortune. And we're planning on starting this particular sweeping action to ban the belief in Santa right here in Westminster. We want to be a shining example of how to deprive innocent people of having any fun in anything, any time all throughout America so we can make sure so tragedy of any kind can ever happen again!"
Unsurprisingly, most of the progressive residents of Westminster seem to side with Administrator Murphy and their Board of Health, agreeing that the repercussions of having children believe in something "so deep and trippy" like Santa Claus only to have it evaporate eventually; to have such faith in something so wholesome die and find out it was never real must certainly impact a child's psyche, creating anything from just a lost night's sleep to a mild sense of disappointment to eventually creating the next Charles Whitman or Manson...who is to say, according to mother, local pottery maker and expert bubble-blower Eclipse Dorian−Rickman, 42.
"First, I generally don't like to use the term 'children'. I think it's degrading," said Dorian−Rickman to the Associated Press, Monday. "I prefer 'maturely-challenged people', (whom Dorian−Rickman considers anyone from ages zero to 30). Secondly, telling your 'Western-deity-worshiping offspring' that Santa exists and is loving, kind, and gives them gifts based off of their behavior —basically holding them 'hostage' from acting like kids— is sick and depraved! Anyone as well-grounded as me can tell you that. ...I haven't worn shoes for the last six years."
Dorian−Rickman obviously never told her three 'maturely-challenged offspring' about Santa Claus, as in to believe in him, and supports her beloved town of Westminster's decision to ban parents from allowing their children to believe in Santa Claus (how the town expects to go about enacting their ban on parents/guardians having their children believe there is a Santa Claus remains unknown currently). But Dorian−Rickman remains steadfast: telling and allowing children to believe there is a Jolly Ol' Saint Nick is potentially traumatizing at best and "life, mind and soul-exterminating" at worst, says the lifelong Westminster resident.
"It's bad enough we have things like 'God' and religion and established terms of behavior we teach our maturely-challenged offspring about already," continued Dorian−Rickman, Monday, "but to throw in a 'saint' who dictates kids' behavior by material gifts every winter solstice is too much. It's never been acceptable. What's next, telling us we can keep our health insurance plans and our doctors and then having that turn out to be a great big lie, too?! Or have our insurance premiums go up when were told they wouldn't, will that be a lie, too? ...Me and my four live-in lovers never had health insurance, but I'm sure I'd be mad if I found out that were the case, like they're talking about on the news now."
Added Dorian−Rickman, "I don't know what's worse, teaching kids there's a Santa Claus and having them find out he was a lit after all, or have our beloved president tell people they can keep their existing health coverage and have that be a lie. I don't know... But thank goodness at least one of those things is still worth believing in without causing anyone any stress or harm!"