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Archive for December 6th, 2014

Mortal eyes cannot distinguish the saint from the heretic.  –  G. B. Shaw

Saint Nicholas & the three daughtersToday is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of whores.  Yes, you read that correctly; the Christian saint most closely associated with Christmas (especially in his modern guise of Santa Claus) also has a special devotion to sex workers, which is why I devote a column to him every year on this day; he also appears in two of my fictional interludes, “Christmas Belle” and “Visions of Sugarplums”.  If you don’t understand why St. Nicholas (rather than St. Mary Magdalene) is our patron, you might wish to read my very first column for the occasion, from four years ago today:

According to the story, a formerly wealthy man who had fallen on bad times had three daughters, but could not afford dowries for them.  Because of this they would not be able to marry, and in the absence of other marketable skills would be forced into prostitution to support themselves.  But on the night before the eldest daughter came of age, Saint Nicholas threw a purse full of gold coins through the window so she would have a dowry.  He repeated the gift a year later on the night before the second daughter came of age, and the third year the father decided to lie in wait so as to thank his daughters’ unknown benefactor.  But Saint Nicholas wished to remain anonymous, so he climbed upon the roof and dropped the bag down the chimney instead…

Note that the story linking him with harlotry (actually with its avoidance, but one can’t have everything) is also the one which gave rise to the legend about his coming down chimneys; that article also explains the origins of a number of his other droll traits.  Last year’s column explains how whores even have a patron saint despite being “sinners”, and the year before that I looked at how his image is “pimped” to promote highly objectionable causes.  I don’t mean commercial products, by the way; this busy saint is also the patron of merchants, so I hardly think he’d object to his image being used to hawk Coca-Cola.  No, what I mean is that one of the most beloved symbols in the world, practically the image of loving generosity, has been used for decades by hatemongers to support their campaigns against one of the groups that Santa loves best; I’m referring, of course, to the vile Salvation Army, which helped invent the myth of “sex trafficking” in the late 19th century and is still heavily involved in pushing it today.  I don’t know if any of the money put into their kettles goes to support their hate campaigns, but it stands to reason that if they had less funding they might not be able to afford to do things like running re-education camps in which captured sex workers can be imprisoned by the Manitoba provincial authorities.  And lest you think sex workers are the only sexual minority targeted by these dangerous fanatics, consider that their official policy is that gay men and lesbians “deserve death”, and that death by hypothermia is preferable to “sexual violation”:

When it comes to helping families in need, the Salvation Army turns a cold shoulder to…teenage boys.  A family in Johnson City, TN, found this out recently when, on a freezing cold night, they asked the organization for shelter.  But because their family of five contained a 15-year-old boy, they were turned down… the dad, Tim Lejeune, explained:  “They said he’s too old to stay on the women’s side, because of the women running around in their pajamas and they said he’s too young to stay on the men’s side in case some pervert wants to do whatever”…So instead the family headed to their car.  The temperature:  18 degrees [Fahrenheit (-8o C)]…local police officers…brought them to the Johnson Inn…the night clerk…comped the room…after that, the Salvation Army did take the family in—minus the teen boy…[who’s] now in a mental health facility…[after having] a breakdown…because he thought it was his fault the family was turned away from shelter…

Please don’t give money to these sex-hating bigots; there are plenty of worthwhile charities, including my favorite Toys for Tots.  If you just can’t pass by one of their bell-ringers without depositing something in their kettles, I suggest you print out the protest slip below and give them that instead.  I have no real hope that they’ll ever see the error of their ways, but those who misuse the image of jolly old Saint Nick to collect money which helps them to hurt those he favors, certainly deserves as much coal in their stockings as we can give. Salvation Army donation

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