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Competing Religions: An Annual Update

Unlike last year, our town’s annual Christmas parade did not include a Vietnam-era helicopter gunship parked on a side street where the kids could sit behind a machine gun pointed at their parents and have their pictures taken.  But it did include the usual wild cheers, hooting and hollering, whistling, and shouting the moment the government bureaucrats in funny hats, cheap suits, and walking like they had two-by-fours stuck up their butts (a.k.a. U.S. Marines) were spotted marching down the street.

To my surprise, a different segment of the crowd lining the street let out a loud cheer for a flatbed truck with a manger scene sponsored by a local church.  The guys in front of me, who screamed like wild hyenas for the goose-stepping Marines, were silent when the Christ-in-the-manger scene passed.

The only other Christmas-themed participants in the parade were two cement trucks with Christmas lights playing Christmas music with the truck windows open.  On the other hand, there were about a dozen high school bands that all seemed to play the exact same militaristic marching “music” with what sounded like about a hundred drummers per band.  I did not detect any other Christmas music from any of the other “floats.”   The second biggest cheers, hooting and hollering were for our local version of the Hitler Youth — several dozen teenage boys dressed in some kind of military uniform carrying fake military rifles and gigantic American flags.  Students at a local military academy, I assume.

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12:16 pm on December 14, 2015

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