Patterico's Pontifications

11/16/2011

WTF?! Santa Banned From Children’s Cancer Center (Update: Santa’s Back)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:11 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing. Follow me by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: As mentioned in the comments, the Cancer Center has backed down.  Good for them.

Ugh, it’s a bang-your-head-against-the-desk story:

It’s not even December, but Santa has already been fired from Charleston’s Hollings Cancer Center.

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.


Well sorry, Ms. Agnew, but I am offended. As long as Mr. Cloyes is respectful of those who are not raised in the Santa tradition—and let’s remember that many atheists, Jews and Muslims celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday—I don’t see what the problem is. If all he does is come to the bedside of the children who celebrate Christmas, make them smile and maybe hear what they want for Christmas, then how exactly does his presence for the children who follow the Santa tradition harm the ones who don’t? And if he is handing out any toys, then all you have to do is make sure he is willing to hand it out to children who don’t follow the tradition, too. He can say to them: “I know you don’t believe, but I didn’t want you to be deprived because you don’t.” That seems like the Christian thing to do.

And of course the hospital should be equally respectful of all traditions, within reason. I presume that during Yom Kippur or Ramadan that there are appropriate spiritual services available as appropriate.

The fact is that for children that follow this tradition, Mr. Cloyes’ work is almost certainly positively good for them. Besides the reality that psychology influences health so that if they are happy their health will benefit, it’s also worth noting that Santa Claus is a very effective method of keeping children well-behaved. A long time ago when I worked on the floor at Target, for instance, around November and December, I would go up to kids who were misbehaving and say something like this: “Hey, do you see those black domes on the ceiling? Each of them has a camera. Now I can’t tell you who is watching, but he is making a list and checking it twice…”

And if the kid celebrated Christmas, their eyes would go wide and they would usually say, “Santa?!” and I would finish by saying, “so be extra good when you are in Target.” And about 99% of the time if the kid celebrated Christmas the child became suddenly much more manageable (and the parents were extremely grateful). Seriously, they would get real quiet.

And I said it that way, so that it would leave me an out. If the parents said suddenly, “we’re Jewish” or something like that, I would jokingly say something like, “oh, well, that’s actually the FBI watching—it’s really kind of creepy” and they would laugh. Not a single person actually got offended by this, and even if the child didn’t believe in Santa, the mere fact that I distracted them usually meant they forgot what they were acting out about.

The point is Mr. Cloyes and/or the parents could probably convince these sick children to protest a little less during treatment, and generally to behave better if Santa pays them a visit, another benefit that can be reaped from the belief in Santa Claus. Yeah, it would be nice if we could find an equivalent for all children, but I don’t think there is one that applies in all circumstances, and we should not deny the majority of children this benefit just because some have chosen holiday traditions that don’t allow for it. There is nothing wrong with a hospital using every tool at its disposal to promote the health of its patients, even if it isn’t available for every patient.

Anyway, if you are inclined to protest this sort of thing, let me gently suggest a method. Send them proper Christmas stockings… filled with coal.

————————

Exit question: Okay, so you are playing Santa and sit down with a sick kid and ask what they want for Christmas, and they say, “I want my cancer cured.” What do you say to that? Anyone have a good answer to that? Sorry to bum you out, but I couldn’t get the question out of my head.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

38 Responses to “WTF?! Santa Banned From Children’s Cancer Center (Update: Santa’s Back)”

  1. your link is broked

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  2. happy

    sorry. i think i fixed it.

    Were you trying to say “broken” or “Borked”? just wondering?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  3. this is just an example of how progressive whorenazis infiltrate and pervert any and all institutions

    it’s just what they do … and it’s increasingly rare that anyone has the courage to stand up to these ones

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  4. oh I meaned broked as in ohnoes it broked

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  5. Isn’t Santa a non-secular symbol ?!

    JD (065755)

  6. They should avoid the St. Nicholas moniker and call him jolly old fat dude with presents.

    JD (065755)

  7. They could just put big crosses on the beds or doors of the rooms of the Christian kids who wanted a visit from Santa Claus so he would know who not to bother.

    Problem solved.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  8. Okay, so you are playing Santa and sit down with a sick kid and ask what they want for Christmas, and they say, “I want my cancer cured.” What do you say to that? Anyone have a good answer to that? Sorry to bum you out, but I couldn’t get the question out of my head.

    You say “Sorry, that’s above Santa’s pay grade. All I can give you is toys. If you want something more you’ll have to ask my Boss directly. You know how to do that, right?” In a secular hospital, if the kid says “no” you can say “ask your parents, they know”.

    Milhouse (f8511c)

  9. JD – yeah, as a liberal taoist I find this bizarre: Santa is not a religious symbol in our culture.

    *puzzled look*

    aphrael (5d993c)

  10. I’ve seen Santa in Bangkok, China, Hong Kong, and Japan. I think people from other cultures and religions can handle him.

    MayBee (081489)

  11. No problem, they could have Moses and Mohammad come in too… Oh, wait…

    mojo (8096f2)

  12. Yeah, Moses could give the kids who haven’t been good dust from that broken third tablet.

    Mohammad would just have them beheaded!

    AD-RtR/OS! (889f1e)

  13. Perhaps Mr. Cloyes should rent a Grinch outfit and show up at any “Winter Holiday” events the staff and Board of Trustees have…

    You know, I still can’t find a thing about Santa Claus, reindeer, sleighs, not even chimneys anywhere in the Bible…

    There are four types of people in the world:
    1) Those that celebrate Christmas with Santa
    2) Those who don’t because it is too religious
    3) those who don’t because it is too secularized
    4) Those who aren’t in any of the other three catagories

    What is the point of that thought? Not sure, just as I am not sure of the point of this new policy.

    If the opinion is that there can be no government involvement in anything that includes any reference to any theistic belief, then that must mean the govt endorses an a-theistic approach to life. If that is what was meant, it would have been easier if they had just said so.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  14. One small step at a time. Each one at least plausible from the point of view of the moron claiming it, not worth a fight over. Cause you’d be called antisemtic, islamophobic, and a dominionist and have to front a bunch of money when the moron has considerably more.
    One small step. Then another. They have patience.
    I don’t know….

    Richard Aubrey (a75643)

  15. That’s what they want Doc, they just don’t have the intestinal fortitude to own up to it.
    Just another typical Leftist turd.

    AD-RtR/OS! (889f1e)

  16. Exit question: Okay, so you are playing Santa and sit down with a sick kid and ask what they want for Christmas, and they say, “I want my cancer cured.” What do you say to that? Anyone have a good answer to that? Sorry to bum you out, but I couldn’t get the question out of my head.

    That’s where religion comes into play. Hope is pretty good medicine, too. When secular goons successfully interfere with sick kids celebrating Christmas, it’s hard to ignore that society is in deep trouble.

    Dustin (cb3719)

  17. You inspired me, Richard.

    First they came for Santa Claus,
    but I didn’t care about Santa Claus…

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  18. Looks like the Cancer Center people are stuck on stupid. I’m over 60 years old, and just found out today that Santa has something to do with religion. Well I’m just flabbergasted.

    teebo (9955a9)

  19. I know, teebo.

    I always thought Santa was quite secular. Actually, I thought Santa was a way for people to reference a religious holiday in a secular manner.

    The idea, of course, is that anything ‘Christmas’ must be banned from the public arena.

    Dustin (cb3719)

  20. The Santa school recommends answering questions like that by saying Santa or Mrs. Claus will pray for you.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  21. Santa is Christian? In 2011? That’s stupid.

    Much like Spinal Tap, Santa is big in Japan. They tried to replace him with a Buddhist monk, but most people like Santa better.

    http://inventorspot.com/articles/seven_strange_santas_japan_8687

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  22. “Exit question: Okay, so you are playing Santa and sit down with a sick kid and ask what they want for Christmas, and they say, “I want my cancer cured.” What do you say to that?”

    Kid, tell your parents not to vote for Democrats, because they want to ration your health care.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  23. Yeah, it would be nice if we could find an equivalent for all children, but I don’t think there is one that applies in all circumstances
    — Dost thou deny the omnipotence of Elmo? On thy knees, unbeliever!

    The Santa school recommends answering questions like that by saying Santa or Mrs. Claus will pray for you.
    Comment by DRJ — 11/16/2011 @ 11:22 am
    — Exactly. Also, Santa could phrase his question thus: “What toy would you like for Christmas?”

    They should avoid the St. Nicholas moniker and call him jolly old fat dude with presents.
    Comment by JD — 11/16/2011 @ 10:27 am
    — The solution to this conundrum does not, regardless of how “secular” he has become over the years, necessarily lie in glossing over Santa’s Christian origins.

    Icy (aba449)

  24. Maybe Santa should go and get several, like about 20, of his Dopplegangers and just show up at the hospital, all at the same time, and just walk in, saying nothing, and just be there to see which children respond, then act accordingly.

    I volunteer even though I am not a Doppleganger. I’ll even pay my own way….

    reff (7206a4)

  25. They could just put big crosses on the beds or doors of the rooms of the Christian kids who wanted a visit from Santa Claus so he would know who not to bother. Problem solved.
    Comment by daleyrocks — 11/16/2011 @ 10:29 am

    — I wasn’t aware that Santa had been ‘bothering’ ANYONE.

    Other than the uptight, unfeeling, politically correct hospital administration, that is.

    Icy (aba449)

  26. They could just put big crosses on the beds or doors of the rooms of the Christian kids who wanted a visit from Santa Claus so he would know who not to bother. Problem solved.

    Even better, they could slaughter a year-old male lamb and put the blood around the door frame of the rooms Santa should skip.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  27. i should add what to make sure that the lamb was halal.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  28. Even better, they could slaughter a year-old male lamb and put the blood around the door frame of the rooms Santa should skip.

    ha ha ha hahah ha, carlitos!

    MayBee (081489)

  29. The Blaze reports that the hospital has changed their mind. I was looking forward to a road trip!

    reff (7206a4)

  30. Santa ought to feed his NINE reindeer prunes and grapefruit. Fly over the administrators and their offices, and let said reindeer aerially bomb these stuck on stupid returds.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)


  31. and they say, “I want my cancer cured”

    “Even Santa has limits on how great the gifts he can bring to you, child. You can wish for a trip to the moon, but that is not within Santa’s power to provide.”

    Or, the quick reply:

    “Sorry, all my elves are too busy making toys for millions of kids to learn how to become doctors. I’ll ask one of them to wish really really hard for your health on Christmas Eve, though.”

    If you think no one hearing the reply would be offended, then you can change “wish” to “pray”.

    Smock Puppet, Victim of Gender Discrimination. Yes, I am. (2fb1c2)

  32. I e-mailed the PR contact who was quoted in the original news article linked above. I got a canned auto-response message, highly weasel-worded, stating that the hospital had reconsidered its decision and planned to allow Santa (Mr. Cloyes) to visit after all.

    This really is political correctness taken to an absurd level. And the weasel-wording of Ms. Agnew’s latest statement — saying that the hospital had “discussed” not having Santa, as opposed to admitting that Mr. Cloyes had been fired — just makes it worse. Frankly, I think this PR person is incompetent and doesn’t belong in the job.

    Voiceguy (bb587c)

  33. People always wonder why we can’t cure cancer with all the millions of dollars people are donating. This gives a good explanation on why cancer can’t be cured right now.

    http://explainlikeakid.blogspot.com/2011/10/why-cancer-not-curable.html

    Jim Hokom (89ace7)

  34. Everything causes gorebull warming including Santa, uplifting roots and gorebull warming causes giant icebergs.

    And private prisons leads to rights being violated

    /Liberals

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  35. And they will wonder why there’s a drop in donations.

    Kevin M (4eb9c8)

  36. I’m sure Ms. Agnew would approve of a visit by Grandfather Frost (a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_Frost”>Дед Мороз), the non-sectarian Hero of the Proletarian Revolution who exemplifies the Spirit of the New Year and delivers presents to good little girls and boys (or sometimes he leaves the toys under the New Year tree).

    The neat thing about Grandfather Frost is that instead of having a bunch of reindeer or some stupid elves as his traveling companions, he’s accompanied by hot chick named Snegurochka (Снегурочка), or “Snow Maiden” … supposedly his granddaughter. Yeah, right

    Murgatroyd (e0d30c)

  37. Perhaps instead of a visit by Santa Claus, Ms. Agnew can arrange for the cancer center to stage a very special holiday presentation of Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues. That’ll lift the spirits of all those cancer patients!

    Murgatroyd (e0d30c)

  38. Last year I dressed up as Santa for a PTA fund raiser. I had the same concerns as your exit question. What if a kid asks me to cure them or somebody else. Or bring back their dead dog or something along those lines. What do you say? “Sorry kid I just do toys”?

    When I voiced this concern to the friend that roped me into doing it they said don’t worry they will only ask for toys. She was right.

    Some of the commenters have suggested that Santa is a non-secular symbol. I’ve never been but my guess is that he doesn’t get mentioned during a Christmas Mass. I see Santa as being connected to a Christian Hoilday but he is not part of the religous aspect of it. I don’t see him as a religous symbol but it’s not non-secular either. This is coming from my perspective as a Jew.

    Mattsky (3fc849)


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