A New York City YMCA chapter came under fire Sunday after deciding to celebrate the Christmas season with Frosty the Snowman instead of Santa Claus.
But the politically correct West Village YMCA defended the change, claiming the organization was undergoing a "rebranding," transitioning the Young Men's Christian Association to "The Y," the New York Post reports:
Kids who once thrilled at sitting on Santa's lap at the 14th Street McBurney YMCA's wildly popular annual holiday luncheon will now suffer the icy embrace of a talking snowman and his sidekick, an anonymous penguin, at today's event.
Forget about bringing a list or checking it twice -- Frosty doesn't take gift requests, and doesn't care if you're naughty or nice. ...
"It wasn't replacing; it was transitioning," said John Rappaport, executive director of the McBurney YMCA. "We realized that change is sometimes good, and that Frosty is a great winter character who would appeal to a broader number of kids."
The decision to ditch Father Christmas came down from McBurney branch administration, not the Y's Chicago headquarters.
The YMCA was founded in 1844 as an organized effort to spread Christian values. The decision to "transition" from St. Nick to a secular cartoon character didn't sit well with religious leaders.
"Christmas is not about Jack Frost; it's not about snowmen," fumed Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. "We're not talking about some secular organization that has no religious roots. If they can't celebrate Christmas, then they should check out. What a bunch of cowards."
"Santa belongs to all the people," added Ed Bobrow, who has played Santa at Central Park's Belvedere Castle for years. "He represents openness and an invitation for anyone and everyone to celebrate good will toward man."
Bobrow, who is Jewish, says it's the kids who will miss out. "Try to see it through the eyes of the children," he said.
"It's sad that people are so offended by a man in a red suit," said Taylor Patterson, an 18-year-old member of the McBurney Y. "It's not a Christian thing. It is the spirit of the holiday that counts. I think the Y is well intended, but misguided."
But "The Y" is standing firm, insisting that all are welcome to its new "holiday" celebration, including Santa, "if he's in town," Rappaport said.