Rev. Warlock DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,
Rev. Warlock DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE
dblackthorne

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Church calls for ‘satanic Christmas’ to be scrapped

Church calls for ‘satanic Christmas’ to be scrapped
RAYMOND DUNCAN

IT is decked, not with boughs of holly, but with robins roasting on a spit and Father Christmas's elves lying impaled under his crashed sleigh.

The grotto includes two Christmas trees, one covered in cobwebs and the other upside down over a cauldron occupied by a number of elves.

Wrapped presents under the overturned sleigh include a spade for Burke and Hare, Edinburgh's infamous nineteenth-century bodysnatchers, and a body part, a leg, for the legendary Sawney Bean and his cannibal family from Ayrshire.

Satan's Grotto, a tinsel-free "fun" alternative to Santa's Grotto, has opened its doors to the public at Edinburgh Dungeon, but not everybody appreciates the humour. It has upset some church members who complained it was corrupting a Christian festival and "making it into something nasty".

The kirk session of London Road church has lobbied Edinburgh City Council to try to stop the attraction's public entertainment licence being renewed.

The Rev William Armitage, minister of the church, said they had objected to the "satanic Christmas". He added: "We got loads of e-mails from groups in the United States supporting us, and other churches in Edinburgh said if they had known about it they would have formed a campaign."

However, Andrew McDonald, general manager of Edinburgh Dungeon, described Satan's Grotto as "an antidote to the relentless commercialism of the festive season".

He said the feature, where the Prince of Darkness interrogates young and old to try to track down Santa Claus who has escaped his clutches, was "entirely appropriate to the brand personality".

Mr McDonald said it was nonsense to suggest it encouraged evil, a ground on which the church had complained.

"Fortunately, the local authority took a more rational view. This is just a bit of fun and welcome relief for many from the drudgery of Christmas shopping and tedium of tinsel and jingle bells everywhere you turn.
"The idea it could lead the unwary into dabbling with occult practices is frankly absurd. The dungeon's activities are no more than a harmless sideswipe at traditional festivities and certainly neither a threat to anyone's basic morality nor beyond the remit of a horror-themed attraction."

He said there was never any question of bowing to pressure to scrap it because of the large public demand for it.

At the grotto, the kirk's view was dismissed. Tony Bradford, an actor playing Satan, said: "The kids enjoy it a lot. All he (Satan) is doing is trying to cancel Christmas, but it wins in the end."

Amanda Oliver, 30, a secondary school teacher from Queensland, Australia, said Satan's Grotto was "not out of place in this context", adding: "I didn't regard it as offensive."

Matthew Griffiths, 22, another Australian, said: "It was good fun. Satan said he didn't like Santa Claus, but he didn't go too overboard."

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that a police force considered killing off Santa Claus as part of its festive anti-drink- driving campaign.

The suggestion of having him run over and killed by a drink-driver was made by Grampian Police as they tried to come up with ideas for their road safety message.

It was eventually scrapped in favour of the slogan "Cats have nine lives. You only have one," featuring its Jaguar traffic cars, after police decided the image of a dead Santa was not suitable for Christmas.

A force spokesman said: "Grampian Police wanted to attract as much media attention as possible to this important issue during the festive season and had a brainstorming session where a great many ideas were aired. Among the many ideas that we rejected was one involving a deceased Santa. But this was not thought to be appropriate."


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