How to Keep Baby Jesus in the Manger? Bolts, Cameras and Tethers

Dec 23, 2018 · 207 comments
Benjamin Gilbert (Minnesota)
Why should the city be concerned with this in the first place? Perhaps the followers of each religious group should stand guard. As far as I'm concerned, governments should get out of the business of recognizing religious holidays. We can see plenty of displays at houses of worship if we are so inclined.
JawboneFnAss (Nyack )
I didn’t think the baby was supposed the be part of the scene until Christmas Day. So maybe empty manger hysteria is a little premature this year?
Pete Steitz (College Station TX)
It's quite likely that many of these thefts are a form of political expression. If you take away the Arabs and Jews from a nativity scene, you are left with an ass and some sheep. A better protest is a nativity scene in Austin TX with baby Jesus incarcerated in an ICE detention cell.
B Doll (NYC)
Strangely, what if people WANT the Baby Jesus in their life and are stealing him from his manger...if its an expression of need and desire, not desecration?
JND (Abilene, Texas)
This sort of story is why I continue to read the New York Times, despite its leftist editorial stance. Thank you. Merry Christmas and happy new year.
Jonathan (Tega Cay SC)
Same kind of criticism against Confederate Monuments. If your a white Southern citizen you see the sacrifice of good men. But if your black you see slavery. The hatred for Christianity is misplaced anger. Christianity and Judaism have built hundreds of colleges and hospitals in this country. The first institutions for education were all connected to selfless individuals. Your expectations of people with faith is strange, why would you demand of them any more than you can give. Jewish folks have done wonderful things, not just Christianity. Christians and other faiths serve humanity. How many people would starve in our world if it wasn't for someone of any religion?
kevin (Urbana, il)
Perhaps the chronic disappearance of the baby jesus from church manger scenes is q sign of the moral and intellectual poverty of what's happening in the church. It is no accident in most cases that the baby jesus is sick easily excluded. Those that deprive people of healthcare, want violence committed against immigrants, and never met a wealthy monopolist they couldn't bow to have long since abandoned the teachings anyway.
Ned Reif (Germany)
If one reads the Bible attentively, one learns that Jesus subscribed to a rather liberal definition of the concept of property and ownership.
Southern Bred & Black (Chattanooga, TN)
I am from Kingsport, Tennessee, the site of one of the stolen Baby Jesus figurines this year. It was also stolen last year as well. Still another was stolen this year from a Nativity scene in Greeneville, TN, 30 miles from Kingsport. The days of trusting visitors at Nativity scenes are long gone. Let's stop fighting fire with fire. It's time to fight fire with WATER. I like the idea of cementing the figurine to the manger and making the entire manger one 500-pound hunk of granite. Yes, it would take a crane and a truck to move it, but cranes and trucks will draw attention to a thief. I'm also on board with placing a GPS device inside the figurine, as long as the GPS is not detectable. It's radical, but it's time. I don't think long-range video surveillance would do any good because without sufficient lighting, the faces of the culprit(s) would not be seen sufficiently. Most of these thefts in various cities of figurines from around the country seem to be the result, not of innocent pranks, but of drug thieves and drug abusers, who sell them to buy more of the illegal narcotics they crave. Often, they make stupid mistakes in these cases that get them caught.
Jonathan (Tega Cay SC)
That tiny piece of plaster is the tip of an iceberg. Something very deep under this stupid act. What would happen if someone stole the America flag from the town center? Desecration of our American principles, yes. But the flag is still just a piece of cloth. You can steal the statue out of the manger, but you can't take its message from the human heart. Just another example of shooting the messenger.
r bayes (san antonio)
yeah i used to steal my neighbor's baby jesus from the nativity display in his front yard / kind of a seasonal prank but then his wife got really mad and i had to stop
signalfire (Points Distant)
What with all the pedophile priests, you'd think there would be ample guards willing to make sure the kid doesn't get away and squeal about what really happened when the parishioners weren't looking.
Martyn Henry (Michigan)
A good sign of the times. 1st amendment, where did you go.? The oppressive predatory Christians need to wise up, and stay in your vast rich cathedrals, your delusional nonsense and myths are not what we need today. Why are you not stopping all of the wars and hate you spew, cause. Help the poor, refuse to go to wars. Get your work straight. I am so grateful every day at 85, grateful that our parents never talked about religion, never tried to indoctrinate us as children, and let us make our own decisions. We all grew up helping others, refusing to go to any wars, turned out to be very caring, with empathy, and are now are compassionate Atheists. All without the delusional Christian myths.
ssweeney (Stamford ct)
I wonder: could the women stealing the baby Jesus figures believe them to have magical properties?
Kevin O'Reilly (MI)
Plenty of comments criticizing Christianity in general. No surprise at all. And, if by any chance these same crimes were perpetrated on non-Christian faiths, the same folks who posted the anti-Christian comments would be marching and demanding a full Justice Dept. investigation. No surpise at all. Christianity will survive all of this. No surprise at all.
sue (Florida)
If memory serves me right, there was a time when Nativity scenes left the manger cradle empty until Christmas day. Why not go back to the old tradition? problem solved for the Christ child. The rest are in their own.
Adam Minter (Malaysia)
The number of "yes, but" comments here that try to rationalize or excuse theft is truly depressing. Rule of Law, we hardly knew you.
Hmmm (Seattle )
What if those churches put the money they’re spending on nativity paraphernalia into ACTUALLY feeding and clothing the poor. Oh, that’s right , that would require ACTUAL Christianity.
Kai (Germany)
There should be no Jesus in the manger before Christmas Eve. The nativity scene is set up for Christmas. In some places, the installation begins with individual figures and scenes already at the beginning of the Advent season. On the 24th of December the full picture with the baby Jesus is shown in the manger, until the Feast of the Epiphany on the 6th of January the Magi are added. The crib will remain until the end of the Christmas season. This extends in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite to the feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2, in the ordinary form until the feast of the baptism of the Lord. In some places the custom has been preserved to leave the nativity scene until the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Christmas season ends on 2 February with the Rite of Nativity. In Protestantism, the festive season ends three weeks before Passion time with the last Sunday after Epiphany; then is the traditionally deadline to dismantle the crib.
Magicwalnuts (New York)
Say, if a similar occurrence happened to a jewish display it would be considered anti semitism. Most of the comments are that the churches deserved it, and that atheism and abandoning such rituals is the way forward. What kind of double standard are we applying here?
Daniel J (Flint, MI)
They shouldn't be stealing them, they should be setting them on fire.
Spock (Vulcan)
as Carlin used to say.... there's a little man in the sky.. all-knowing All-Seeing...all-powerful; who just needs a little more money. Visit for some real enlightenment.
Fran (<br/>)
I think it's funny, all those true believers protesting "theft" when obviously it's just another miracle: baby or not, Jesus doesn't like being treated like a mannequin in a shop-window.
Jim (Pennsylvania)
Why is Baby Jesus there before Christmas morning, anyway?
DaveG (Manhattan)
Sorry, but this article made me chuckle. Warm-and-fuzzy feelings about Christmas are obviously stronger than the moral and ethical tenants with which these plaster/plastic icons are supposed to be associated. But, then again, the “turning the other cheek” and “loving your enemies” bits never got much support from seemingly devout Christians, anyway. At least if you look at our gun laws, and our military spending...and the history of Western Civilization over the past 2,000 years, the most violent civilization the world has ever seen. But we should worry about plastic baby Jesuses disappearing into the night. Image over substance, the Christian Way.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
Hallelujah! And Amen. Let the grounds of any faith be the place for grand displays of the art and symbols. And let the faithful or those who wish to support a given artist chosen to decorate said buildings pick up the tab.
Susan (British Virgin Islands)
Some time in the 60s, the valuable baby Jesus - made in Italy - was stolen from the famous Nativity scene at St. Anthony's on Houston Street. The mafia put out "the word" and he was miraculously returned the very next day!
Brendan Carroll (Beacon, NY)
During the 1990's I befriended many people with whom I conducted business. Among my friends were a small, fun-loving group of thirty-somethings who competed in snatching Christ-figures from nativity scenes (I believe I was let in on their prank because I expressed, to them, more interest in their religion than my Christian faith). Their intent was not malicious, nor did these educated, intelligent people seem to appreciate the gravity of their actions. In their minds, they may as well have been smashing pumpkins. Seeing the limits of a herd conscience to empathize, I simply asked that the hunt be limited to easily replaceable plastic figures, and that heirlooms remain unmolested.
Yiddishamama (NY)
Even smashing Halloween pumpkins is wrong. Why did they feel the need to destroy another person's things on their own property (whether their own home, place of worship, or private business)? It's not harmless and it's not funny. If they are my co-religionists, I'm ashamed of them and apologize on their behalf. Regardless of their (or your) religion, if they were "educated people" as you say, the it just goes to show that formal educational attainment (or socioeconomic status) is no guarantee of common sense or common decency.
Daniel Korb (Switzerland)
Sounds like they are the pumpkins...
Jeffrey Levine (Richardson, TX)
This is a very strange phenomenon, and it's by no means new. Some neighbors of ours have had baby Jesus's stolen from their manger scene numerous times over the past 20 years or so. It's kind of creepy in a way, even though I personally ascribe no reality to the Nativity Story. It was difficult for me even to believe when our neighbors first told us about it, but I guess for whatever reason, it happens.
Angel (Heaven Here On Earth)
It's a miracle! It's a message. It's part of the plan. Seriously, though, maybe it is -- maybe God was serious about not making graven images or placing an object or specific leader or particular organization ahead of compassion, kindness, forgiveness, balance, and Love.
Ken (MA)
Very strange? This type of thing has gone on for many years - ever heard of TEENAGERS? Imagine an odd seasonal display involving the image of a baby in a manger - doesn’t seem odd to me that teenagers & other assorted pranksters would make off with it. Sounds like some are stolen from nativity scenes on public property- maybe another reason not to spend taxpayers’ money on blatantly religious symbols.
I, for one, am glad for the humor and levity and hear it more as commiseration.
Sza-Sza (Alexandria Va)
To paraphrase Gertrude Stein(a rose is a rose is a rose), a theft is a theft is a theft. Have the perps, hopefully caught on camera, do community service, maybe a soup kitchen or cleaning up a highway to instill a healthy respect for taking someone else's property. Maybe it's not your "faith" which is after all what any religion is, but don't condone this kind of behavior with mockery. I read many of the comments as sneering.
Believer (US)
Perhaps if the Christian nativity scene weren't on secular government property (owned by all, not just Christians), and instead kept in a church where it belongs, the owners of the statues wouldn't have such worries. I'm NOT suggesting that non-Christians were the culprits, but government should not be presenting and promoting the foundational stories of a single religion by giving it special highlighted and singular space on public grounds, where it could be considered fair game by some (much like if you left an umbrella in a city park. Just saying....
Daniel Korb (Switzerland)
A stupid theft is still a theft one should respectfully treat other people and what matters to them.
Sza-Sza (Alexandria Va)
Your comment is exactly what I was addressing. Free speech does not include theft of destruction of property, whether it be on on private or public land, and no matter how much it sticks in your craw, gets your goat or irritated you. Write a letter, put up a sign, complain in your newspaper or on TV but don't condone this kind of behavior. Our society has become, sadly, increasingly coarse and disrespectful to whatever the issue. You break it, you bought it; you steal it, you pay up.
B (New Orleans)
When evangelicals start following someone that doesn’t toe the line, they don’t care. Please y’all find a better messenger.
LarryAt27N (north florida)
The crimes, Father Craig said, were a sign “that people aren’t living the gospel.” If only that was the worst example of people in this country not living the gospel, think how blessed among nations we would be.
Random Troll (Albuquerque NM)
1 such incident was the story of a 'Dragnet' episode: 'Big Little Jesus' on the radio in 1953, 'The Christmas Story' on TV in 1967. These episodes were remarkable for the single incident in the history of the show in which a civilian 'bested' a cop. Churches were left unlocked back then, so anyone could come in to pray anytime. When Joe Friday asked the priest, 'So a thief can just come in?'; the priest replied, 'Especially so a thief can come in.'
S.L. (Briarcliff Manor, NY)
Whether you agree with what any church teaches or even if the pastor doesn't follow the Ten Commandments, it does not change the fact that these people are thieves and belong in jail. Some people are treating this as a petty problem but it is still theft even if the baby doll is not worth that much. This is like calling package thieves by the playful name; porch pirates. Call them what they are, thieves who belong in jail. While both are described in humorous manners, neither is. Both groups have committed crimes.
Scott Cooley (North Carolina)
Yes, stealing is stealing, whether it’s a part of a Christmas nativity, a child’s innocence, an elder’s retirement, or the life of an innocent bystander. They are not, however, equal. Stealing part of a nativity is petty crime, and we should not link it with more serious crime. Better that those who put out the nativities examine whether the message they wish to convey is real and evidenced by the lives of those who put it there. Forgive & replace seems closer to turning the other cheek than asking to send someone to jail.
Molly Ciliberti (Seattle WA)
Do not put them in public places. Tired of Christianity being stuffed down our throats. No more real than Thor or Zeus. Superstition.
MiguelG (Southern California)
Well, one thing is certain, death. Nobody avoids it. What if you're wrong and it is not superstition?
Virginia Reader (Great Falls, VA)
@MiguelGbut he’s not wrong. Ever think about that?
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
Only ONE tiny problem - What if you’re wrong and choose the wrong god in the life to death race? Choosing a religion isn’t a binary decision - unless there’s only one Afterlifeland for believers in any one of THOUSANDS. Hundreds currently, many more extinct. Or, do they each have their own? Do you choose on the quality of promised accommodations? Or do you choose on the threats made for non-believers. And Christianity, the current big afterlife promisers didn’t have a real torture chamber for non-believers until, at least according to Umberto Eco, the release of the Arbor Vita Crucifixa (the living wood of the Crucifix, the book Dante used to model Inferno, more of an attack on recently or memorable dead folks he considered worthy of eternal damnation. Do you want to be literally born again, new life, human or other critter? Or take your one shot and cease until TEOTWAWKI. Then get judged Ah, the choices are almost infinite. Then, there is something else to worry about. A favorite writer, recently deceased, wrote a cycle of shirt stories beginning with on the concept that when a god’s last believer dies, the god dies a lonely death, no mention that any one of them has a place to keep dead believers. I leave you with a final thought -about 2/3rds of us join our parents’ political party. I have never seen a similar survey regarding religion, but Ibet the correlation us much higher: what if your parents were wrong- and, gave you belief in the one the real God really hates?
Gary F.S. (Oak Cliff, Texas)
I wonder if it's occurred to any of these folks outraged by the thefts that maybe it's the Good Lord himself doing the stealing. After all, these "babies" are just so many plastic dolls mass produced in some Asian sweatshop and purchased at Walmart. They'll all wind up in a landfill or in the belly of some beached whale that made the mistake of swimming thru the Pacific Garbage Patch. I've seen creche's in Naples, Italy, carved a couple of centuries ago by some unknown craftsman who put his/her heart and soul into his work. Damaging something like that is an obscenity. But seriously, some petrochemical tchotchke is hardly worth shedding a tear.
Margaret (The Woodlands, Texas)
I wish people would take more interest in whether the story is true or not. My ancestors were from the real Bethlehem. Trust me, the story depicted in the gospels is a myth that was based on a few true events that took place in Mesopotamia during the mid-first century BCE. Faith without seeking the truth is worthless. The story brought a lot of wealth to many businesses that promoted it. It still does.
Michael Willias (San Francisco)
@Margaret Where can we read about the events which took place in Mesopotamia?
Daniel Korb (Switzerland)
So the story is about bringing wealth to or insights?
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
But it wasn’t in Messopotania, a nation long gone, it was in the prefecture of the Roman Empire, called by the Romans “Palestine” under immediate rule of the son of Herod the Great (dead about 40 or so tears before the guy the Romans called Jesus was born. Herod the Great got his title for doing things like building the seawall creating the lagoon of the new City of Alexandria. He developed a new concrete that hardened under salt water to do it. He also built loads if new buildings, terraces, gardens and ramps around the relatively tiny Second Temple. His son, Second of the line,!s for reasons beyond me, called by his dad!s name in Christian scripture. He records show Herod Jr.rested on his father’s laurels accomplished little except for periodically executing some alleged enemies of peaceful support for the Empire.
Person (USA)
"the real Jesus Christ"? How does the NYTimes, which is supposed to print factual and verified information, know that the Jesus referred to in the Christian Bible even existed, for real?
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
Yeshua bar Yussef appears in Roman ledgers and some Rabbinic literature if the time. Those dates line up. BY custom, his parents were common-law wed, an arrangement that would be formalized, since Miriam had proved her ability to conceive, by the priests of the second Temple, but they waited a bit too long to leave These Things Happened all the time, though if he were born in December, the poor kid probably would have died of exposure in the freezing lands around Jerusalem. The figures we have no info on are the Apostles - and linguistic evidence makes Shimon named Petreus by Yeshua the least likely. Y. was schooled in Hebrew and Aramaic , the current Semitic common language as Hebrew (if you understood one, you could handle the other But Petreus is Empire Greco-Roman, not something Yeshuah was likely to know. This becomes important because of the oldest available copies of Paul’s scribes’ Bible: Yeshua tells Shimon @i name you (Grk/Latinate) Rocky, (Petreus-?Peter) and upon this rock (Petrus) I will build my synagogue/school - I am not sure what word was used, but it would be very unusual word play to shoot for bilingual pun using two totally unrelated language families. Nobody used the as yet nonexistent Germanic word “Church” place of worship. We know Paul existed, who R. Hymen Macoby, in his first popular market work, Revolution in Judes, said had failed in bids for jobs with the Theocrats - Saduduce party and the Pharetic Rabbinic party.
Patriot (USA)
Here is an easy solution: Keep the manger scenes inside the churches, where they rightfully belong.
MiguelG (Southern California)
Rightfully belong? It may not prohibit but it certainly is limiting our Constitutional right of freedom to exercise our religion. So, what other Constitutional rights do you want to limit? Speech?
Virginia Reader (Great Falls, VA)
@MiguelG. The Constitution prohibits an “establishment of religion,” the commingling of church and State. Have all the baby Jesuses you want on private property. Just keep them off of public property!
MiguelG (Southern California)
@Virginia Reader "...prohibiting the free exercise... " is included in the Bill of Rights along with freedom of speech and the press. Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. It appears you don't believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Ok, I get will. But not everyone shares your view. Instead many will continue the Constitutional right to exercise their religion . Oh, and by the way the Christ Child is being stolen from private property (church lawns) as well as public property. Merely thoughtless teenagers? Perhaps, or maybe it's a hate crime.
Sounds like a scene from the brilliant Kevin Smith film, "Dogma"
crystal (Wisconsin)
If this is what "the church" has to worry about then maybe they should open their collective eyes and look around them. People are losing their jobs and children are going hungry. People dying of overdoses. The country is being torn apart by a deranged malignant toddler in the White House. It's a doll. A figurine if you want to be fancy. If anyone's perception of the worthiness of their church rests on the presence or absence of a doll then they should reassess their faith.
Margo (Atlanta)
@crystal Surely you are not suggesting religious organizations take over the work of governing a country? Who would be the American counterpart of the Ayatollah? Would the Spanish Inquisition be a good way to regulate society? I don't think so. These displays are a way to remind people of some of the simpler aspects of their religions; there is no harm in allowing them to be provided and exist in peace and inspire hope.
Scott Cooley (North Carolina)
There are plenty of available models in the evangelical Christian movement who would qualify as American ayatollahs. They are only too ready to preach—and legislate other’s choices. This is why a growing part of society is saying Enough! While churches hold the right in the US to place religious shrines anywhere they choose on their property, they would be well advised to listen to the larger voice. They must live within that society and can minister to it as they choose but best to be certain that the message is a real one and not just theater.
John (Port of Spain)
Don't worry--He'll be back again later.
I suppose booby trapping a nativity scene is out of the question.
Sue (California)
@JR Would the Baby Jesus squirt ink like the money in bank robberies? Or they could use one of those Halloween animatronic babies that turn demonic. Particularly effective if the thieves are high. But maybe not exactly in the spirit of the season.
NEW (Cincinnati)
As a child, my father took me to see a life-sized manager scene every year in a nearby area. The manager was set up by a business every year as a gift to the community. Along with figurines, they had live sheep and a little donkey which delighted the kids. It was well lit and heated for the animals all night. Donations were taken for the poor. Many years later, I returned to the city and sought out the little manager. It was gone. I learned that someone had broken into the donation box, damaged the faces of the holy family and let the animals out. The little donkey was found wandering confused on a four lane road. Senseless violence. Disrespect for beliefs. And another tradition gone.
Fran (<br/>)
@NEW Yes, managers are like that: here today, gone tomorrow if they find a better job elsewhere.
mbamom (Boston)
Manger....not manager. Ugh.
Ellen (NY)
Do you really think this was really religious beliefs? Donkeys aren’t part of Christianity. I suspect it was just some bunch of jerks that got their jollies out of messing with anything they could that was unique.
Rabbi Fred Natkin (Florida)
In 1982, assigned as the rabbi chaplain to National Naval Medical Center, I was responsible for overseeing the purchase and installation of the Nativity scene purchased from donations by the Catholic congregation and some of the more traditional Protestants. It was so large a purchase that approval had to go to the Surgeon General. Of course, I was on duty Christmas eve talking to the 17 year old young black Catholic Seaman Recruit who shared the "watch" with me. The Rear Admiral commanding the hospital at that time arrived for services and looked at the scene. "Where is the baby Jesus?" the admiral asked. The young man came to a proud parade ground salute and said "Sir, the baby ain't be born yet Sir! " The Rear Admiral smiled, saluted the Seaman Recruit, and said "Rabbi, Catholics do not put the child in the creche until after midnight mass."
Kaeleku (Kihei)
Twenty plus years ago I had a friend who stole a 3.5' tall penguin from a nativity display (don't ask ... Hawaii) and used it as a giant bong.
Tim Moffatt (Orillia,Ontario )
"People aren't following the gospel." People are idiots.
Molly Ciliberti (Seattle WA)
Thank goodness people aren’t following the Bible!
Jam77 (New York City)
This is not all that surprising when you consider how our society has gone to great lengths to remove any reference to Christianity in schools, in municipal buildings, and in our daily lives. So why not remove the baby Jesus? The real story is how far this country has gone to protect other religions which condone beheadings of Christians. This country is a weaker nation without the values which are inextricably tied to Christianity. Christianity does not infringe on a society which was founded on the principle of Freedom of Religion. The anti-Christians have bastardized the principle and declare Freedom from Religion. The same principles which protect minorities has been distorted to allow and encourage a reduction of rights for the majority. There is a middle ground where all people are equal. Unfortunately, equality seems to be a disingenuous goal of anyone who can capitalize. Put baby Jesus back and stop hating anyone who has good values.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
People of “good values” don’t shove their faith in people’s faces, claiming to be the only “True Americans” they call their hatred “Nationalism ”. I’d help guard your Nativity on Church or private property - but if it were placed by a local government, I would hope I had the nerve to gather the pieces and place them at the sponsoring church. If the government payed for it, I would use sledge hammers and deposit the debris in a box marked Toxic Waste.
BWCA (Northern Border)
Christianity linked to freedom of religion? Go take a history lesson. Have you heard of the Crusade? Have you heard of Inquisition? Christians have fought themselves. Catholics and Protestants, as recent as few years ago in Northern Ireland.
Jam77 (New York City)
@Eatoin Shrdlu The government is the people. It is not like a corporation. There is nothing wrong with the United States government celebrating religious holidays. The people who founded this country were Christians, and they wanted freedom of religion, not freedom FROM religion. Put God back into government, because we are one nation, under God. I like it when I see the nativity next to the Jewish Hanukkah Menorah in government property. I don’t like it when I see nothing, because that’s what we are if we remove God from our government. Let the Ten Commandments be posted in every municipal building in the U.S., and we are likely to have less hatred and less crime.
John Doe (Johnstown)
In the spirit of the actual event, every nativity scene needs a police helicopter’s bright spotlight shining brightly down on it for protection and also to help re-enact just how it originally looked.
Deborah (Orinda)
Years ago, our dog Perdy liked to carry around the baby Jesus from our home nativity. She always brought it back.
Ben P (Austin)
Stealing baby Jesus, next thing you’ll know we’ll have Trump in the White House. America has become too much like the dystopian segment from Its a Wonderful Life.
PeteH (MelbourneAU)
What's a nativity scene doing on public land anyway? I thought you Americans had rules about that, you know, the constitution and all?
aem (Oregon)
“The crimes, Father Craig said, were a sign “that people aren’t living the gospel.” Gee, you think?
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
It is evidence they are not living the law of their nation.
Just Live Well (Philadelphia, PA)
Mostly women are now kidnapping Baby Jesus? Is this another #MeToo outcome? A patriarchy protest against virgin births? I'm willing to bet none of the kidnappers are atheists. We must find out - what is motivating people to do it?
Ellen (NY)
“Mostly women” are stealing the baby Jesus symbols? I missed that part of the article.
Beth Birnbaum (NYC)
The stolen baby Jesus problem is not new. A number of years ago, it kept happening at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, Queens. They eventually replaced the white stolen baby Jesus with a black one. Under the Long Island Rail Road, the Station Square Baby Jesus was fenced in, with his family, by chicken wire. Gave it a look appropriate for our time without even meaning to.
sb (Madison)
lol "not living the gospel"... if only it were possible to do that
ChairmanDave (Adelaide, South Australia)
Whoever wrote that song about the benefits of Plastic Jesus has much to answer for!
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
You lack a sense of humor about a Christian musician.
Jacquie (Iowa)
How about helping the homeless have a warm meal and a place to sleep instead of worrying about plastic baby Jesus made in China. That would be true christianity.
Dubliner (Dublin)
@Jacquie I never understand the desire to criticize something one does not agree with by suggesting the people involved would be better spending time helping (in this case) homeless people. If that is the case why have art, opera, libraries etc when there are homeless people? I think congregations can have a religious display AND actively assist in the homeless problem. These things are rarely mutually exclusive.
CallousAlice (Michigan)
@Dubliner, well said!
Eugene Patrick Devany (Massapequa Park, NY)
Paster Busiek may not want to use his security footage to get someone arrested but it would not hurt to post photos of of those "taking Jesus home" along with a notice that the photo will be removed when the doll is returned and shared.
Virginia Reader (Great Falls, VA)
@Eugene Patrick Devany. A doll representing a supposed deity is commonly known as an idol.
LEB (Spring Mills, PA)
I hope none of these manger scenes are on public property--sounds like some of them might be. As for the priest's comment regarding living the Gospel--what about the priestly child predators in the Catholic church and various bishops and archbishops who enabled them?
WGM (Los Angeles)
Yes, please tether your Jesus!!
Cornelius (Flying)
It’s silliness all around really.“Workers bolted every sheep and rooster and wise man to the ground.”
Lucy Gore (France)
Baby Jesus shouldn’t be in the crib before December 25, the day he was born!
JR (Pittsburgh)
Jesus was most likely not born on December 25th.
sw (colorado)
If only the well-being of baby Jesus statues was as important to the Christian cohort as the children in detention centers.
Judy Parr (Holland, MI)
@sw If only the well-being of children in detention centers would be as important to the Christian cohort as the well-being of baby Jesus statues. Judy Parr
Reader (Tortola)
The stealing of the statue of Jesus validates the meaning of the statue. It's nothing imbued with everything.
CR (Santa Fe, NM)
I suppose they could be locked in behind chain link fences. It’s working for immigrant children - none have been carried off.
Except that they have been. And died too.
Kelly Clark (Dallas, TX)
Many, "Christians,' aren't living the Gospels these days.
Molly Ciliberti (Seattle WA)
How about Trump?
Katherine 2 (Florida)
In the last photo, Joseph's gesture of reverence is changed to one of horror. He looks like he's saying "Oh my Lord! You're GONE!"
Freeman101 (Hendersonville, NC)
So let's change the lyrics of the old spiritual from "steal away to Jesus" to "steal away with Jesus... I ain't got long to stay here."
Jacquie (Iowa)
It's time to retire the Nativity scene and use the money spend on them to help people instead of worrying about idols. 1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
John Doe (Johnstown)
Nail the baby down and celebrate Easter the same time of year. One less vile sale season to have to endure.
Jay David (NM)
White, pro-life American Christians now refer to the parents of foreign refugee children as "breeding animals." And the fact the sexual assault didn't even make it into the Ten Commandment, but a man sleeping with his neighbor's wife, tells me all I need to know about the "good news", that Jesus hates people like me, and that Jesus has inspired hatred and violence around the world since the 1st century CE.
Michelle Maitland (Niantic, CT)
Oh, no! Jennifer Smith of West Bend: Talk about disregard for religion? You broke the 'Cardinal rule' of talking to the press. Never say never! And especially don't say never as relates to thieving. Essentially, that reads as a challenge to area wise-guys. Who wants to put money on their Jesus disappearing again? I can picture local police excitedly reading the article mentioning their predicament and stopping short, saying, 'oh geez!, why'd she do that?!' Lol.
Barb (WI)
Picture this creche scene: Baby in the manger. Mary, smiling at baby while kneeling beside manger. Joseph, leaning on his staff, leans forward to address the arriving Kings. His words stun the Kings. It’s a girl!
John Doe (Johnstown)
@Barb, from a nearby bridge, #MeToo unfurls victory banner. I get the picture.
Frank (Cuautla, Mexico)
I’ve noticed here in Mexico that they wait until Christmas Eve to put the baby Jesus in the display.
maggie (utah)
I suppose the greatest solution, for the "safety" of all of course, would be to separate him from the other manger figurines and put him in a cage.
sylnik (Maine)
I think their just taking religeion into their hearts ... and arms in a fervent pitch of religeosity. Nothing wrong with that,
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
In the United States, NONE of those figures belong on public property. I’ll help guard church property. I’ll help guard your lawn. I’ll fight for your right to wear any clothing style or symbol required of you by your faith. But make it a government display in the US, and I’ll send more lawyers than you can count after said government.
Jean Boling (Idaho)
The picture of the woman with a Jesus figure does not appear to be anything more than a woman and a baby. It could as easily be titled "Mother and Child" as "Jesus Thief". Maybe she is just bringing him inside on a chilly night; maybe she just needs him...
Craig (Phoenix)
If we just stuck to the old Latin and Hispanic tradition of waiting to put Jesus in the manger until Christmas, we wouldn't be having this problem!
Rio (Missoula, MT)
These people clearly need Jesus. Why else would they take him?
Pete Cockerell (Palo Alto)
"...this eastern Pennsylvania city that shares a name with the real Jesus Christ’s birthplace." If you'd have put a "purported" or "what Christians believe to be" in there, you might have kept me reading beyond the second paragraph. I thought a paper of record wouldn't pass off opinion as fact.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
The article was so bad it didn’t mention the State Religion problem.
Nicholas Gimbrone (Reston VA)
How? The same way the GOP handles any non-white child: chains & cables & video monitoring... with some good old war crime gassings tosswed in for the joy of the season... proof is in their past & ongong behavior!
Bryan (Denver)
The thieves are performing a public service
LT (New York, NY)
Our politicians are nuts, people are so divided and hateful, clergymen by the thousands have been found to have raped children, death by guns outnumber deaths of all other causes of people under age 30, and hate groups have been emboldened by our president. And just when you would think that the holiday season would offer a brief respite from our national malaise, we hear about these thefts of what are supposed to be religious items in the spirit of a holiday, long since devoid of religion and replaced by consumerism. Yet, there still is shock and outrage and a feeling of numbness and speechlessness...
Tim L. (Minnesota)
"How to Keep Baby Jesus in the Manger? Bolts..." Foreshadowing?
Jim (Apex NC)
Don't "we" support taking children of migrants away from their parents? Except in the case of an idolic image of white baby Jesus...
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
His Parent/s wearing medievalish European clothing and 14th C hair styles.
woofer (Seattle)
Baby Jesus bolted to the manger while overseen by angelic hordes of motion-activated security cameras. A metaphor for our times. As if we really needed another.
MST (Minnesota)
@woofer Nails, hasn't anyone tried nails?
Kathy (USA)
We're not supposed to keep the baby in the manger, anyway. We're supposed to follow the man the baby grew up to be.
Person (USA)
@ Kathy And here I thought we were supposed to follow God.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
If “we” are Christian” amen. If “we” are not Christian, we find state endorsement of Christianity, with these figures, the start of a slide down the slippery slope towards the real crimes of Spain in 1492, the year of the “reconquista” complete, when Muslims were ordered out of the country, and Jews were told “convert or die”. And many who converted were murdered in later years on rumor they still maintained their own faith in their hearts. “Nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition” -M. Python.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
What you mean we, Deist? Many do. Many follow different deities. Many, after much thought, say neither they, nor you can prove/disprove the existence of a deity. Stephen Hawking said there might have been a deity involved in planting the ‘cosmeg’ just before the Big Bang. I’m terribly afraid it was an extradimentional kid whose mom is yelling “you won the Science Fair, isn’t it time you threw that Universe away?” Or, worse, took only third prize due to the need for “dark matter” to make the numbers work.
Beverly (Indiana)
Perhaps immigration officials have separated the illegal child from its parents? Pardon my sardonic humor, but as a Christ-follower, perhaps this is just performance art mirroring a sad reality in our country. Mary and Joseph were seeking political asylum, too....
Ben Franken (The Netherlands)
Is it really about hurting the other ? Or is it “ the crack in everything “ ? ...but when comes the light in?
Mimi Hood Dayhuff (Bozeman)
We are desperate for Jesus and he is not to be found in Christianity anymore .
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
Again, what you mean “we”, Christian? The old Lone Ranger joke says my Guide for the Perplexed.
Wilbray Thiffault (Ottawa. Canada)
You want to protect Baby Jesus? BUILD A WALL around every mangers of the country and make President Trump pay for it.
Alan (Putnam County NY)
What about the more serious infraction of Lawn Elf snatching?
DaveD (Wisconsin)
I dislike theft. That said, there should never be a sectarian religious display on public property such as the City Hall in Bethlehem PA.
wbj (ncal)
But in keeping with the story, there is no infant prior to the 25th, and then is there until the arrival of the Magi and is then quickly removed to avoid the Massacre of the Innocents. Perhaps these "thieves" were being liturgically correct.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
Oh irony of ironies. And you say the “Messiah” has come, the “Prince of Peace”? Thousands of years of proof to the contrary - proof, in truth, that religion is the bane of human existence. And yet we’re still waiting for the child who will come along and say; “But Mommy, the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes” — and a sufficient number of people willing to listen. Fairy tales are comforting, and holiday celebrations in the thick of dark winters are welcome. But this baggage that comes with this fairy tale, and others like it, has been far too great a price to pay.
Mark Lindsey (Georgetown SC)
I case y'all missed it, Pope Alexander, who is still technically a pope said the whole manger thing was faque. It simply did not occur. It was made up. Why? The King of the Jews was required by prophecy to be born in the city of David. That being Bethlehem not Nazareth. There was not census. This fact is historical, the census never occurred. The Magi was also faque. They were included to place the older eastern religions that Judaism were derived from, under the Papacy. The shepards are there to elevate the station of the lowest cast of society. And blah, blah, blah.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
That’s the kine of David, a “prophesy” found not in the Judaic Holy Scripture. It was the Christianization of the Saturnalia, which like the 5th Book of Maccabees, considered 100% pseudopygraphal (a tale written to sound ‘scriptural’ - a fake or fairytale, is the only one of the five (the first two considered historically accurate and written contemporary, and can be found in some Christian Bibles) is the only one mentioning miraculous 8-day burning oil. They’re all winter Solstice holidays, invented originally 1) in fear the sun would not return or 2) to mark the darkest day of the year. The Gregorian calendar is pretty accurate. This year’s Solstice was Dec 21. So light the Yule Log, turn on the Christmas lights, or light the Channukia (an eight-branched candalabrum, a menorah only has six) which was ridiculously early this year (what do you want from a traditionally near-six-millenia old system, semi-lunar, that is regularly in need of a “leap month”, Just ‘never set the cat on fire’.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
Er LINE, patriarchal, of David, King. That was an extremely late “prophesy” in an unfortunately terribly edited and re-edited set of books. The FIRST Jewish event for which there is contemporaneous is the (@100 ce) war that ended with military messiah bar Kochba committing mass murder of his troops, rather than becoming slaves to the Roman Empire, as effectively covered by Flavius Josephus, first embedded war correspondent, apparently a secular Jew and citizen of the Empire, in the volumes know as The Jewish War. Long considered inaccurate, excavations by 1948 war of independence hero/archeologist, he dug where Citizen Joe said the action took place - the construction of a ramp to the besieged mountaintop and found Joe would have been worthy of a Pulitzer if they had existed at the time.
CDuke (Oregon)
This is what rattles church communities? This is what gives their message urgency? Churches spend exorbitant amounts of money on these displays, on their buildings-often the most well-maintained in the community-while homeless people try to survive the night in the freezing cold. If all these Christians really cared about the gospel, there wouldn't be a homeless person in the street this Christmas. And this, dear pastors, is why so many of us are now atheists. Religions have lost all credibility and their tax-exempt status is infuriating. Happy winter solstice to all...the original reason for the season.
bikemom1056 (Los Angeles CA)
@CDuke Indeed. It is not a religious thing. It is not anti Christian. People today steal anything that isn't named down. You know the attitude. Rules both civil and moral dont apply to ME. They are only for other people.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
Unfortunately churches don’t- municipalities do so - illegally. (a science book)
I got an even better idea... take the money spent on the plastic baby Jesus and put it into the victims fund for all the abuse and pain caused by "men of the cloth"!!!
Person Of The Book (This Realm)
"Such manger larceny, in glaring violation of the Eighth Commandment..." Yep, and elsewhere in the book, in fact before God revealed the 10 commandments, it says it's better that one should leave one's family of origin than to worship breakable statues. It always amazes me that some people don't see the contradiction between God's direct Word that his people should not worship idols and their own worship of the body of Jesus and images thereof. Not to mention images of the crucifying cross, which after all is an instrument of torture.
cls (MA)
@Person Of The Book I don't think most people worship the statues in a creche. They are used to tell a story, the story is important, the statues, not so much.
Nancy (Fresno, CA, USA)
Was it wrong that I laughed out loud? Although the pranksters should return these items once the joke's over. Leave the baby at one of those safe baby drop-offs maybe?
Elbe (San Francisco)
Confessions of a Former Nativity Thief - What I find most troublesome about this article is that it makes no differentiation between Nativity Scenes erected on public property and those on private land. The former is an anti-American outrage that flies in the face of the separation of church and state, while the latter is a harmless expression of the freedom of religion. In the town where I grew up, the two most prominent Nativity Scenes each year were on on the lawn of our town hall and on the lawn of one of our elementary schools. For a few years in my early 20s, I made an annual tradition of political protest by stealthily removing the Christian dominionist symbol from where it absolutely did not belong. I would never have thought to disturb a religious display at a church or on private property.
Virginia Reader (Great Falls, VA)
@Elbe my thoughts exactly. Thank you! Nativity scenes on public property are part of an establishment of religion, explicitly prohibited by the First Amendment. (a science book)
Here here to this comment. the stealthy removal of jesus from the town hall lawn - a noble act. destroying someone's nativity scene because I happen to disagree with them is cowardly, foolish, and disrespectful. what one does on their lawn is their business...just keep it out of my government.
Philip (Seattle)
Normally, in catholic countries in Europe, crèches can be found inside the church, which is open to the public, but closed late at night. There are also live crèches in many cities, which are quite interesting. Haven’t heard of any problems with thief from the crèches. Of course the word crèche in France is also refers to a daycare center for working parents, often free, depending on income.
Angelus Ravenscroft (Los Angeles )
The real crime is that these nativity scenes have Jesus and the wise men in the manger before Christmas. As EVERYONE knows, you’re supposed to keep the baby Jesus out of the crib until Christmas. He is to remain wrapped in newspaper or tissue paper in the same shoebox the other figures are kept in. Also, the three wise men need to be approaching, moving closer and closer as the time approaches. In the home, this can be accomplished by having them move from table to table in the living room, or whatever room the nativity scene is kept in. If you have a large nativity scene in the front yard, they can be moved across the lawn day by day. This is all laid out plainly in the Bible.
Dominic The Italian Christmas Donkey (Colorado)
For true historical accuracy, I believe baby Jesus should remain in his mother's womb until Christmas Day.
Ken (Boulder, CO )
The larceny happens at all sizes. Just ask your local thrift store why they can't leave donated Nativity scenes out on a shelf. Astounding.
Dana Seilhan (Columbus, OH)
Well, for starters, city halls and other city buildings shouldn't be putting on nativity displays. It's being preferential to one religion (Christianity), a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Maybe if cities would obey secular law, they'd be subjected less often to violations of the Eighth Commandment. And yes, I am completely fine with them not putting up Yule trees or other Solstice decor either. I don't need them propping up my cultural celebrations. I am not an insecure child who needs my government to approve of and rubberstamp everything I want to do. Decorate homes. Decorate churches. Leave the government out of it. And am I the only one disturbed that cities protect plastic babies more than the rights of black people? Just me then? Oh well.
Sam Himmelstein (Brooklyn, N.Y. )
Why are there nativity scenes or menorahs or any religious displays at any City Hall or State House? How does this not violate the First Amendment? Theft and vandalism are not the answer but perhaps this is a misguided, emotional form of protest.
Patriot (USA)
How about a border wall? The one TrumPutin and his supporters want to build will do as good a job at preventing Americans from leaving as it will preventing non-citizens from entering. And TrumPutin seems to admire and yearn for just the type of governments that police their citizens' every move and thwart defectors who wish to be free -- North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and a guy who was nurses on KGB tactics and values, to name a few.
ffinlo (NY)
"Nail him down", is maybe not the appropriate response in the circumstances.
Jody (Philadelphia)
It was a running joke amongst my sister and I in the early 70's. We drove by the local Methodist Church which had a large creche assembled prominently at the corner of an intersection. One of us would say, "I dare you to steal the baby Jesus". We didn't of course, but chuckled at the thought. We were Lutheran's, perhaps that is why. In any case, it is more likely a prank and doesn't necessarily mean the people doing this are pagans. These are likely the same type of person who steals yard gnomes or those geese statues.
Zach Garver (Albuquerque)
Where this article states with factual certitude that Bethlehem is the place of Jesus' birth, I would recommend a bit of editing to state to the effect it is his birth place of legend or lore. The fact is the entire Christmas story is almost certainly fabricated. The whole story of the census as being the reason for being in Bethlehem is totally contradicted by historical evidence. There was no event, as there was no killing of the innocents or any of the rest. Jesus was born in Nazareth. The problem this fact presents to Christians is that it is in Galilee, and the savior, according to scripture had to be born in "the House of David" meaning Judea. So, the Christmas story is invented.
David (Flushing)
@Zach Garver When Herod asks where the messiah would be born, he is told "Bethlehem Ephrathah" which is a clan, not a town.
Brandy Danu (Madison, WI)
@Zach Garver The "House of David" is a blood line. according to the Bible, not a "house."
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
It isn't just public nativity scenes that are being vandalized. Our neighbors had a wreath on her door, decorated with some vintage ornaments from her family, stolen by a woman who is clearly visible on their security camera. She walks up to the door, hoists the wreath off its hook, and with her arms wrapped around it, carefully navigates the steps down from their porch. What was she going to do with it? Sell it? Use it to decorate her own house? It's seems like either an act of desperation or the behavior of a nut case. Our neighbors were forgiving and didn't give the video to the cops on the grounds that they have enough to do this holiday season with all the major thievery going on.
Barbara (SC)
While this is reprehensible, I am much more concerned about the theft of two guns from a neighbor's car recently.
judith loebel (New York)
@Barbara. Your neighbor is highly IRRESPONSIBLE, ajd that should be a crime in and of itself. But surely you know.this. i hope.the theft was reported and.these weapons do not find their way into our.schools, malls, theaters, grocery stores, and any other place.crazy people feel the need to kill us. What possessed your neighbors to do such a terrible thing???
Canada (Canada)
We are told that Jesus taught of the need to rebuke the faithlessness of some who might come in his name. If Christians making these displays of their faith wish to be unmolested, they must first bear witness to their faith by speaking out against those who pervert his teachings. Jesus’ own word for the problem was ‘hypocrites’.
Anita Horn (Itta Bena, MS)
First, baby Jesus should not arrive in the manger before midnight of Christmas Eve, making him less likely to be stolen & easier to supervise. Similarly, the wise men should not arrive before Epiphany; however, if someone needs Jesus in his or her life that badly, put out a nominal reward & pray.
David (Flushing)
I feel a more realistic nativity is in order---one that shows Mary in delivery with hovering angels holding a banner proclaiming, "Push!"
ubique (NY)
“I can’t think of a better way to get the message of Christmas out than for people to keep taking Jesus home.” I’m pretty sure the Gideons tried that already, much to the amusement of many a hotel visitor. More to the point, of what use is a ‘faith’ that requires any material evidence, or objects of worship? Personally, I find the deliberate violation of another’s private beliefs to be disgusting, but I don’t go around assaulting missionaries. That would just be uncouth.
ThirdThots (Here)
Pastor Busiek has the right idea. In these hectic times people are combining Christmas and Easter. It was Easter when the disciples went to the tomb and couldn't find Jesus. These people who are taking Jesus are giving us the feeling of what it is like to be a disciple of Jesus.
John (morgantown wv)
...but they ARE living the gospel. The Trump gospel which says to "steal all that which is not nailed down."
Observer (USA)
Replacing the purloined Jesii with infant Trump effigies would offer the twofer of broadcasting the Christians’ support for their new Master, while discouraging further theft because who would want one of those.
Margo (Atlanta)
@Observer Seriously? Not even funny.
Virginia Reader (Great Falls, VA)
@Margo, No. Hilarious!
Observer (USA)
@Margo Who has ears, let them hear.
Allison Moore (Ocean Grove New Jersey)
I am an Episcopal priest who has long harbored the fantasy of stealing baby Jesuses from crèches until December 24, as a way to honor the season of Advent. Then at midnight on the 24th just like Santa I would fly to all those churches and return the baby!!! Despite the culture’s countdown to Dec25, Christmas Is a season which lasts 12 days from December 25 until January 6
DaveD (Wisconsin)
According to "The Darkening Age" by Catharine Nixey, Christians in the 4th and 5th centuries vandalized shrines, temples and libraries associated with deities they did not favor. Thus the tradition of physical intimidation and destruction over reason was established.
JustaHuman (AZ)
The "Nativity" (scene) isn't based on the Gospels. According to those, by the time the Magi (magic practicing priests) had reached Jesus, he was a "young child living in a house". Like the Priests who promote the Christmas fantasies, they had gold, incense and myrrh. They certainly weren't worshipers of Jesus' God. They were following a star that led them to Herod, who then killed all the children 2 years and younger to protect his rulership from being overtaken by the one who would become King of God's Kingdom. Nevertheless, theft of religious icons, or lawn ornaments is a crime.
Brandy Danu (Madison, WI)
@JustaHuman The wise men were probably astronomers. Many aspects of the skies among other things (like advanced mathematics) were well established in the middle east many hundreds of years before western Europe figured them out...
JustaHuman (AZ)
Nothing like the nativity scene is described in the Gospel accounts. By the time the Magi (occult priests) found Jesus- he was a young child living in a house. (Matthew 2:9-11) That's why Herod summoned them, then issued an order to kill all the children under 2 years-old. (Herod feared a rival King.) But Joseph was forewarned and the three of them escaped to Egypt.
If god was really watching over us wouldn't She see to it that events like this never happen?
Brandy Danu (Madison, WI)
Looks like the nativity scene will just have to be put behind bars to "protect" it, similar to the refugee children entering the US at the southern border who are now in the same situation...
Tim L. (Minnesota)
better bolts than nails...
Vanessa (NY)
"People aren't living the gospel" - that's rich given the state of affairs of the church. He only has to look in his own backyard find plenty of evidence of that. Pot, meet kettle.
Bob Bruce Anderson (MA)
Any religious objects displayed on public property are an insult to any American who believes in The Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state. Theft is wrong and should not be condoned. But if you don't want people to steal your money don't leave a hundred dollar bill on a park bench.
Mark Kinsler (Lancaster, Ohio USA)
When Dragnet was a radio series in the 1950's they had an Christmas episode in which a baby Jesus was stolen. The perpetrator turned out to be a small boy, who towed Jesus around the neighborhood in his wagon so that the Saviour could visit everyone. He was not charged.
Sam Himmelstein (Brooklyn, N.Y. )
Maybe some people are fed up with having religion and Christmas shoved down their throats and this is their way of showing it. Maybe the thefts from the nativity scenes that are displayed in front of a City Hall is someone's way of defending the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, and the separation of church and state. Or maybe it's the overall loss of faith our country and much of he world is undergoing, which is a positive development. Or maybe it's just vandalism or anti authoritarianism.
Jack (Brooklyn)
My first instinct was to call out these vandals for being morons or worse... By then I had to consider what Jesus would have done. This is the man, after all, who taught us to turn the other cheek. So, Merry Christmas you morons. If you steal the baby Jesus, please bring him back. We'll forgive you, and he will too.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
Get your SonoGod of OUR public streets- if they hadn’t moved the local one onto church property, I’d have gone to court for an injunction , and also paint-bombed the State God, illegal In Our Democracy- in the name of freedom from state imposition of religion. You want otherwise? Move to Canada, which has, among very few other faults, no “First Amendment”.
Sam Himmelstein (Brooklyn, N.Y. )
What are nativity scenes doing on public property in the first place?
Laura (Michigan)
They're stealing a doll. You can replace it with a doll bought at a thrift store. Better to take the money spent on these displays and their lighting, heating for animals, statues, &c., &c. and buy socks and food for the homeless men and women in the community. As Jesus would have done.
David (San Diego)
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 26:1 (King James)
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
That KVJ a lousy translation combining Exodus and Deuteronomy versions of the 12, in total commandments missed the mark entirely. The word “idol” appears in neither, it is “gods” in J/H version with the word ‘molten” added by the D authors, who wanted to make sure the two gold-leafed wooden cherubim in the Temple under whose wings the Ark of the Tablets was set, were not considered forbidden sculpture. Incidentally, with St. Valentine’s Day coming up, the images on cards of winged baby-shaped archers are images of the deity Cupid (Lat) of the Greco-Roman pantheon. A Cherub is a form of sphinx, generally horse-body’ed, with large outstretched wings and a lion’s head - or vice versa body and head. Like all of the classes of supernatural beings described in scripture, you would not want to meet one of these (in literal translation) “fire-beings” in a dark alley. The only exceptions to non-anthropomorphic figures described in scripture can be found in Job, where the anthropomorphism is implied.
Andrew (Irvine, CA)
A Nativity scene is not an idol. It is a depiction of the story of Christmas.
John Doe (Johnstown)
@David, the old man’s only talking about himself there because he’s not sure what he looks like either, not junior.
Doug Leen (Kupreanof Alaska)
Please note that the perps mentioned in this article are women. Now, being an atheist, I'm sorely tempted to say something snarky so I won't except to say that any church that would spend $3000 for a plastic baby Jesus (linked article) is heading down the wrong road. Methinks there is some more irony deep down inside this article. Zounds!
Paul (Bellingham)
Irony; exactly ! I thought this was supposed to be a humorous piece at heart; I am a bit surprised at the seriousness in many of the comments.
Ephraim (Baltimore)
@Doug Leen Please, it was just recently in the news that an evangelical minister was working hard to fleece his flock of (sorry. real sheep) out of enough loot to buy, I think it was, his 5th or 6th plane - this one large enough to seek stupidity internationally
Nathan (Salt Lake)
You dare put a price on Jesus? SMH /s
See also