The War on Santa is coming to a mall near you.
The Texas Panhandle street preacher whose idea of evangelism involves going to a mall and shouting “Santa Claus does not exist!” will preach at a Dallas-Fort Worth mall this week, he said Tuesday.
“But I’m not going to tell anybody where,” said Pastor David H. Grisham Jr. of Amarillo-based Last Frontier Evangelism, basking in the attention from a three-minute viral video of him loudly berating Santa, parents and children Saturday in center court at an Amarillo mall.
“Kids, I wanted to tell you today there is no such thing as Santa Claus!” Grisham, 56, of Fritch, shouted at the crowd.
Of course there is. He was there in the middle of the mall.
Grisham, familiar in Amarillo for grandstanding against adult novelty stores, swingers clubs, LGBT community events, Halloween and anything else to make headlines, has cranked up his preaching against what he calls the “demonic lie of Santa.”
“Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life,” Grisham said by phone Tuesday.
“One represents shopping and getting, getting, getting. The other is about giving.”
Street preaching represents confrontation, controversy and attention. So it’s no surprise that Grisham went to a mall, although even street preachers usually don’t assail children.
When Grisham shouted, “Santa is a MAN in a SUIT!” parents shifted out of holiday mode and into stage-2 nut-alert.
Santa is taking over Christmas. I want to change that.
Last Frontier Evangelism street preacher David H. Grisham Jr.
One woman said, “That’s enough!”
Then a man in an Air Force T-shirt came up to Grisham: “We don’t need you here blabbin’ what you’re blabbin’.”
(Grisham cleared out before mall security arrived,)
With his YouTube.com video views pushing 400,000 Tuesday and bringing in money through rights sold to ViralHog.com, Grisham declared the stunt a success.
“Santa is taking over Christmas,” he said: “I want to change that.”
Look, I might be wrong.
Somehow, I don’t see mall Santas as a threat to Christianity.
But somehow, I don’t see mall Santas as a threat to the power of Christianity or the success of the largest religion in the world.
With or without the cap and suit, St. Nick is real. Some churches leave Santa to the secular world but still pray to St. Nicholas, a miracle-working Greek born in 270 and later a bishop in what is now southwestern Turkey.
So basically, we just argue over his red laundry.
“Well!” Grisham said mockingly: “Santa certainly does not fly around the world! There’s no sleigh! Reindeer? Elves? Rudolph?!”
Really? Don’t be so sure, Mr. Video Star.
You can’t believe everything you hear these days. Including about Santa.