The New York Times calls it a “sad national trend,” and contends that Savior snatchers are multiplying.
This year, thieves have raided Nativity scenes in Tennessee, West Virginia, Minnesota and plenty of other places, and made off with Jesus figurines (and sometimes Mary and a donkey, too).
In places like Bethlehem (!), Pennsylvania, police don’t take these shenanigans lying down. After a miscreant pilfered the son of God and the figurine was ultimately retrieved,
… it had been damaged, and Bethlehem’s police chief had to glue its leg back on. Then the city took action, positioning a concealed security camera exclusively on baby Jesus and assigning police officers to monitor the footage. In the two years since, the statue has been left at peace, asleep on the hay as the camera, nicknamed the “Jesus cam” by some residents, rolls. …
The episodes, which have rattled Christian communities, have become so common that the owners of holiday displays have bolstered security. On church lawns and in downtown parks, baby Jesus is back in his manger, but often with a security camera rolling and a tether securing him to the ground. Some places have gone so far as to equip figurines with GPS devices.
In West Bend, Wisconsin (another location where a Jesus doll drew a presumably godless abductor — twice), officials are hell-bent on protecting a brand new Nativity scene donated by local businesses.
The new set came with its statue of baby Jesus firmly plastered to the manger. Workers bolted every sheep and rooster and wise man to the ground. And anytime a visitor peered in close, a motion-activated trail camera, like the ones used by deer hunters to track their prey, began recording.
“There’s no way someone can take it,” said Jennifer Smith, who works for the Downtown West Bend Association, which manages the display.
Wait! I kid, I kid!
Seriously now: If you’re ever tempted to do this, please take a deep breath and don’t. Unless you’re Jean Valjean, stealing is by definition a dick move, and the jerk quotient is compounded if you know that you’re taking something that other people revere.
Now, I’ll admit that part of me was a little puzzled to read that some West Bend citizens were personally hurt by the theft of a baby Jesus doll. Said one source,
It brings tears to your eyes, and I’m not even that religious of a person.
Get a grip is the phrase that sprang to mind, right after oh please. But I’m probably too Spockian that way. To me a baby Jesus figurine is just a kitschy inanimate object. To Christians, it’s a symbol — the plaster embodiment of the central figure of their faith.
It would be disappointing and regrettable if anti-religious feelings are behind some of the larceny. If you’re an atheist and you want to be a bad-ass, assail Christians’ terrible ideas. Debate them and outwit them. Stealing their stuff is unlawful and douchey, and only feeds the victimhood status they crave.
The crimes, Father [Anthony] Craig said, were a sign “that people aren’t living the gospel.”
That bolded part is increasingly true. I happen to think that people rejecting the Church’s poppycock is a good thing on the whole, but not when it results in theft or vandalism, even if only by a few bad apples.
(Image via Shutterstock)