Santa is Satan and his nefarious goal is replacing the spirit of Christ (open to a great deal of interpretation) with crass consumerism. "What are you getting for Christmas? What do you want for Christmas? What do you want from Santa? What's Santa bringing you? What's in Santa's bag this year?" Goodies, that's what's in Santa's bag. Goodies massed produced by, well, a bunch of enslaved minority workers secreted away in a hard to reach location.

Eight Compelling reasons for the Satan-fication of Santa.

1. The guy comes into your house under cover of darkness, appearing in the fire for goodness sake, and he doesn't get burned. He likes fire, and indeed, is fire.

2. He's jolly all right; how many shots can you do in a night? The drunken glutton (leave cookies out for him do you?) then proceeds to scatter "presents" as if they were worth anything compared to the actual presence of spirit. Think "Dress Me Up Barbie" left under a tree vs. spending an hour contemplating or living the Sermon on the Mount. It's hard to wrap the latter, and even harder to wrap sitting mindfully and appreciative with family and friends. Or, for you Zen masters, how does one wrap a walk down the street with your forty year old, but still functional, rod-o-enlightenment?

Is your child asking for a greater appreciation of life and love this year? Are you?

3. Christmas today is about letters to Santa and praying for commodities. Unless I'm horribly mistaken letters to Santa generally go something like "This Christmas I want, and I want, and I want." Rarely, I venture to say, does a letter get to Santa along the lines of "Dear Santa, how about peace in the Middle East?" Or, "Dear Santa, how about genuine participatory democracy here before we 'give' it to others?" Or this rare one, "Dear Jesus, this Christmas, I was wondering if you could feed the 20,000 people who will die of malnutrition on your birthday. If it helps, you can tell Santa to take my presents, sell them, and use the money to help rebuild a home destroyed by a hurricane or war of his choice."

How about an America where one million people wrote that letter?

4. Elves. Where are they from? How are they paid? I bet it's seasonal, so no health care. Is there a union? Doubtful. Please picture Santa as CEO, a fat Bossman in a red leisure suit complete with sealskin boots. Where Jesus has disciples spreading the gospel, Santa has elves, manufacturing rewards for good behavior. In rags travels one, in riches travels the other.

5. Enchanted, flying, glowing, deer. How many miracles involve flying deer? Let's see, there's water to wine, brilliant, but no flying deer. While the resurrection was impressive, maybe even frightening, no flying deer. Now if you turn to Harry Potter, a source for a number of hot commodities this Christmas season, well flying deer are just the beginning.

"Thanks Jesus for the wand and robes and my first-person shoot-you-up video game, but you forgot the broom."

6. In Dante's Inferno Satan is depicted as frozen because he is so far from God's love. Why the North Pole? If you had access to the hearts, minds, and homes of every kid in America would you live in an ice-castle? No, you'd live in Disney World. The North Pole is the only place you can keep an army of elves and enchanted deer, that's why the North Pole. And even more importantly, it's the only place Satan can reside without burning up. He's too hot to live anywhere else, and if he stops longer than a nanosecond, he combusts, which explains why you never see him. This brings us to his untraceable global presence.

7. His sleigh moves faster than the speed of light so Satan can return to the North Pole, his frozen den if you will, without combusting. Environmentally friendly? I think not.

"Dear Santa, this Christmas, when you are flying over the oceans and the cities and the mountains and the rivers, would you mind looking down and asking yourself, what would Jesus do? You do make judgments, right Santa?"

8. How does Santa know if I've been good or bad? Ten thousand spies scattered throughout malls across the country helps. But who is he to judge? Only the most judgmental angel in the history of angels, Lucifer himself. Patriot Act my ass, the CIA has loads to learn from Santa. You want to talk about social control? Then let's talk about a nation of children disciplined by one phrase: "Stop or Santa won't be bringing you anything this year."

Let the above argument settle in for a minute and ask yourself, "is this a guy I want my children writing?"

Progressives who are against consumptive culture should find a welcoming ear amongst conservatives (conservatives - not extremists) troubled by the loss of Christian values as Santa upsets both. Are conservatives up in arms about what Christmas has really become? And are progressives who moan about consumptive culture actually doing anything about it?

My modest proposal: nothing brings people together like a disaster. This Christmas, why don't we all celebrate the true spirit of giving by giving our children and our money to a War on Santa? We must unite and end Santa's reign with a full invasion of the North Pole. The elves will certainly greet us as liberators; we'll be out in less than 6 months; it won't cost more than a few billion dollars; and it will stabilize the region.

-- Philip Kovacs is working on his Ph.D. in Social Foundations at Georgia State University. Feel free to e-mail him pictures of coal...philipkovacs (at) yahoo.com.