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Cancer Hospital Kicks Out Santa -- Then Changes Mind After Public Outcry

"People who are Muslim or Jewish or have no religious beliefs come here for treatment."

It's never too early for reports about the "War on Christmas" to begin making their way into the media.

The latest example of perceived anti-Christmas sentiment occurred at the Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston, South Carolina, when hospital staff decided to give Santa the boot this year.

According to The Post and Courier, hospital volunteer Frank Cloyes has donated his time over the past two years to help make those suffering through chemotherapy feel a bit more cheerful. The 67-year-old, who is a retired insurance executive, would dress up as Santa Claus, hand out snacks and engage the patients.

Nothing more than the thirst to instill holiday cheer has driven his efforts in the past. Cloyes even footed the bill for his own costume rental. But yesterday, he was told by a volunteer coordinator at the hospital that his goodwill was no longer needed.

Hollings spokeswoman Vicky Agnew said that the hospital's state affiliation made Santa's presence problematic. This, of course, was never a problem in the past. Hollings, as FOX Nation notes, is part of the University of Southern Carolina.

Adnew also said that decorations would be "more secular and respectful to all beliefs." She continued, "We don't want to offend a volunteer with good intentions, but we need to think of the bigger picture. People who are Muslim or Jewish or have no religious beliefs come here for treatment."

Cloyes, who is a self-described libertarian with no religious affiliation, didn't agree with the decision. "Santa is a tradition and everyone loves him," he said. "It's just something that makes people happy for a while. Kids liked it, staff liked it. People took pictures."

But the story doesn't end there. This afternoon, following public outcry, Agnew issued a statement saying, "We've received a number of strong responses to the Santa story, and it prompted another discussion on our end. As a result, we've decided to allow a Santa presence this year."

The Courier continues:

In a statement Wednesday, Hollings spokeswoman Agnew said: "When we discussed not having a Santa presence this year, we were actually responding to previous complaints from patients with other holiday beliefs who felt excluded."

Hospital officials based their decisions on respecting "the different cultures and beliefs of the patients we care for," Agnew said in the statement. Santa and other holiday traditions now will be allowed "because we recognize the emotional benefit to patients," she said.

It's interesting what a little public relations drama can do to an institution's decision-making processes. It seems Santa won -- this time, at least.

(H/T: FOX Nation)

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