Yup, it’s that time of year again when the neighborhood starts to look like a cross between the Vatican gift shop and Madame Tussaud’s, but this time folks are getting protective: The AP reports an increase in people employing techie gadgets like GPS and video surveillance to keep watch over the baby Jesusi in their yards.
Aw, shucks. Looks like the Yenta’s favorite holiday activity just got a whole lot more challenging.
(Fine, a disclaimer: Though I have fantasized madly about say, replacing the Christian savior in a particularly obnoxious manger scene – really? There were blinking reindeer and a 12-foot Santa present that silent night in Bethelem? – with a giant Claxton fruitcake, I swear I have never actually stolen a baby Jesus. But that’s to say I won’t.)
Judging from this article, I am obviously not the only one who thinks sneaking the holy child out of his paper mache crib hilarious. However, if I chose to put a giant inflated dreidel bear or other Chanukah decoration in my front yard and someone drew a Hitler moustache on it, I’d call on my homeboy Abe Foxman and his ADL minions to slap ’em. Why is this, ya think?
Deborah Lauter, the national civil rights director for the Anti-Defamation League, says this:
“If Baby Jesus is removed, it tends to be seen as a prank. Vandalism or theft of a menorah is just more sensitive. You feel like you’re really being targeted for your religion.”
Hmm, yes, that’s true. The idea of the self-righteous waking up to a loaf of challah in the creche on Christmas morning is screamingly funny, and finding a swastika on your 100-bulb mogen David is not. I feel I must give consideration to the double standard: Stealing a baby Jesus is disrespectful, and some Christians truly find a holiness by recreating the manger scene next to to their driveways. It’s not fair to belittle the traditions of one group while protecting another; this is America, and we’re all free to express our the religious beliefs as we see fit, even if it’s with plastic things made in China.
What this means is that I am no longer going to limit the scope of my holiday vandalism to the goyim. Jews with tacky lawn ornaments: You have been warned.