Greatly Upsetting Parents, This Vicar ‘Shell-Shocked’ Young Kids By Divulging Santa Isn’t Real

Irony, thy name is Reverend Simon Tatton-Brown.

The Anglican vicar, ad-libbing to a student assembly of children ages five to eleven, told his shocked audience that God isn’t real, and that the Bible is full of child murder and perversion.

No wait, my bad. I’ll try again:

A vicar has been forced to apologise after claiming at a primary school assembly that Father Christmas does not exist and recounting the gruesome story of Saint Nicholas.

Reverend Simon Tatton-Brown infuriated parents of youngsters at Charter Primary by questioning the existence of Santa.

He told children that Father Christmas was based on a grisly legend about Saint Nicholas, who bought three murdered children back to life.

The Church of England vicar described how the youngsters were killed by an evil butcher and placed in a barrel to be pickled and sold as ham. Parents complained when their children, aged between five and 11, came home shell-shocked and the vicar of St Andrew’s Church in Chippenham, Wilts. has now apologised.

Tatton-Brown said in a statement that he supports parents who want their children to enjoy Father Christmas and the standard Christmas tales:

“I had no intention of undermining their belief in the reality of Santa Claus.”

I imagine he will spend the rest of his years in penitence, explaining to children how Abraham was totally fine with God telling him to slaughter his own son, how Jephthah burned his only daughter to death for God, and how Moses commanded the mass rape of captured virgins and the murder of their relatives. You know — true, wholesome stories from the Bible.


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  • Terry Firma

    PSA: The shirt with the Jesus/Santa selfie is 10 bucks a tshirtbordello dot com.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Irony, thy name is Reverend Simon Tatton-Brown.

    Thank you Terry, for this tasting. Lately we have been having so many articles and incidents involving irony in religious people’s remarks and shenanigans, and their utter obliviousness to it, that I’m beginning to experience irony’s many facets like fine wine. It can have flavor, bouquet, and body. Some ironies are bold, some subtle, and some have rich, long, complex aftertastes. Mmmm. Encore, s’il vous plaît.

  • Michael

    If it’s the one I think then the message I took from it was that if you wish really hard you won’t have to do things you don’t want to.

  • Intelligent Donkey

    We have to give the little gremlins critical thinking skills some way or another.

  • Andy Anderson

    I don’t know how many other kids had to grow up with this, but here’s why I won’t lie to children about Santa:

    Growing up, my parents took the Santa thing very seriously – it seemed to fit in well with their devotion to Catholicism. My siblings and I were frequently admonished not to question the holes in the Santa stories we were told and the “evidence” we were shown: sooty footprints from the chimney to the tree that oddly matched an old pair of dad’s work boots, a camcorder video they faked one year of the tree with no presents and then *poof* presents, bricks that had fallen onto the ground from the old chimney because “Santa must have had more cookies this year” etc.

    Often we had the threat of not having a Christmas at all held over our heads – “if you believe, you receive, if you doubt, you go without!” is what we heard over and over again, along with things like “well if you don’t want to believe in Santa we’ll just take down the Christmas tree right now and you’ll get a stocking full of coal!”.I remember being angry with my young peers who insisted that Santa wasn’t real, because I sincerely believed I had evidence that he was – evidence that was faked by my parents and then reinforced through the trust I had in them and constant social pressure to believe in spite of my doubts.

    After all, we had been conditioned from birth to believe in Jesus without any evidence, because older people we trusted told us we had to or else something bad would happen. We were rewarded for displaying ‘faith’ in spite of good reasons we had to doubt, and our entire social circle consisted of people who did the same with regards to Catholicism. An entire lifetime of ” Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” primed us to suppress any questioning we might have done about what we were told.

    When I finally figured the Santa thing out, I was absolutely devastated, and it had nothing at all to do with presents.. I felt my parents had completely betrayed my trust in them, knowing full well I would believe what they told me because I didn’t think they would lie to me about something so important (to a 9 year old kid). I had made a fool of myself with my young peers because I trusted what my parents told me in spite of doubts and argued for what I sincerely believed was true. I had acted to enforce Santa orthodoxy with my younger siblings when they questioned it, repeating what I had been conditioned to believe by my parents. I honestly didn’t think they would go so far out of their way to deliberately deceive me and use such tactics to condition me to never openly question it.

    Growing up, I have always done my best to take little children seriously when they ask me questions, and be as honest as I possibly can with them. I occasionally get the ‘Santa question’ from kids who know me and trust that ‘Uncle Andy’ wouldn’t lie to them. Thankfully most of the people I know don’t work as hard as my parents did to deceive their children so all I usually have to say is “well, some people believe in Santa Claus and some people don’t, but most everybody who celebrates Christmas gets presents. Why do you think that is?”

    It’s one thing to play ‘the Santa game’ with your kids, when they know it’s a game. It’s another thing entirely to deliberately deceive children and abuse the trust they have in you.

  • Randay

    I have noticed even small kids in supermarkets or with their parents who are carrying things in the street. In the supermarket they want to help and push the cart, select things, and finally put them on the check-out counter, even count out the money. Outside, they are eager to take the empty cart to its collection place. I see them in the street wanting to carry something for their parents, or baby-sitter. Some even have small rolling bags that they can put a few things in to pull along.

    I see young children who are curious and want to be helpful and want to learn. No parent is telling them to do it. I wonder why there is a religious War on Children.

  • Randay

    In the meantime, here is a PlayStation for Xmas.

  • Intelligent Donkey

    Lies and falsehoods!

    They were bronze-age, barbaric goat herders.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Busted! :-)

  • HAHAHA

    “Loads of kids went home crying – it has ruined Christmas for them. It
    wasn’t a nice story for children to hear, there were lots more he could
    have told. Not only has he spoiled Father Christmas for them, a lot of
    them are now questioning the existence of the tooth fairy as well.”

    And we know that once children lose their faith in both Santa Claus and the tooth fairy we’re getting close to armageddon.

    Whatever will we do.

    LOL

  • Andy Anderson

    The old stories were far more metal than this Disneyfied crap there is now.

    “My wicked mother slew me,
    My dear father ate me,
    My little brother whom I love
    Sits below, and I sing above
    Stick, stock, stone dead.”

    Imagine that being animated into a feature-length pop music video.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I would only modify the statement that you taught them empathy. I don’t think it’s learned as much as it is inherent. One of the greatest evolutionary advantages we have really. It’s just that instead of telling them that they’re a depraved, unworthy sinner…tell them that they’re unthinkably lucky to be here but that doesn’t make them any less awesome. Morality ain’t as hard as religious people make it seem.

  • LDavidH

    As I said, there is no indication that God approved or wanted him to sacrifice his daughter. It’s a tragic story, and it reminds us that virtually every human being in the Bible did something stupid or evil or inconsiderate. That doesn’t justify it, obviously; but don’t blame God for it – he doesn’t justify it either!

    As for the she-bears, let’s look at the context: we have a new, probably young-ish prophet being harassed by a huge mob of rowdy youngsters – the Hebrew doesn’t imply little children, and if 42 were mauled (again, text doesn’t necessarily imply killed), how many got away unharmed? I should think the prophet was the one who was terrified here. I agree that the punishment seems harsh, but then again, why should our standards determine what God can and can’t do?

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    That doesn’t justify it, obviously; but don’t blame God for it – he doesn’t justify it either!

    The oath was to YHWH, which places the result even more than the usual into his domain. (Recall why the prohibition against uttering the Name of God exists in the first place.) Given that the offering was to him, he had an engraved invitation to intercede. You know, something along the lines of: “I already covered this with Abraham; I really don’t want people sacrificed to me or in my name. Cut it out.” Given that the offering was to Him, His silent acceptance of the offering is tantamount to approval.

    As for the she-bears, let’s look at the context: we have a new, probably young-ish prophet being harassed by a huge mob of rowdy youngsters – the Hebrew doesn’t imply little children, and if 42 were mauled (again, text doesn’t necessarily imply killed), how many got away unharmed? I should think the prophet was the one who was terrified here.

    W. T. F.

    I agree that the punishment seems harsh, but then again, why should our standards determine what God can and can’t do?

    Because the entirety of the argument that God can be a judge or purveyor of morality that humans should respect rests on a hidden premise: that God’s moral judgment itself isn’t premised on axioms that radically devalue the things that humans find valuable. Creation grants no inherent moral authority; a parent is no more entitled to devalue their children than any other person. If God is all-powerful and has His own goals, sure, He can do what He wants. If He wants to have our regard of Him to be based on anything except for fear and terror, then He needs to step up His moral game.

  • CottonBlimp

    On the plus side, it’s the first massive hint for kids that they should question the bullshit their parents tell them.

  • CottonBlimp

    Okay, pet peeve here, why are people freaking out about him saying Santa wasn’t real?

    Does anyone think it’s possible that maybe kids don’t really care that much about whether Santa exists or not? MAYBE they were a little more traumatized about the story of the murdered and mutilated children?