Friday, December 28, 2007

Creche vandalism, close to home

From today's San Jose Mercury:

Laura Spoelstra's trying to find Jesus. Baby Jesus, that is. Not once, but twice in one month, thieves have absconded with a Baby Jesus figurine from the front yard of her San Jose home.

The first time it happened the night of Dec. 10.

When Spoelstra woke up the next morning, she noticed the cherished figurine from her nativity scene was gone. She had owned the set for 15 years.

She quickly put out a sign in bold marking, "Who stole Baby Jesus?" - a notice that, ironically, attracted more attention in the neighborhood on Vistamont Drive then the nativity scene itself.

Luckily, the Spoelstras were able to find an identical one, which they bought Sunday. Again they displayed it. But this time, they took it inside before they went to bed and displayed it only during the day. By Wednesday afternoon, however, it, too, was gone. She added an addendum to her sign that read, "Again."

So just who's stealing Baby Jesus, anyway? And, really, is that what Jesus would do?

Spoelstra said her dog began barking loudly around 1:30 p.m. When she went outside, her mail carrier was there, standing and staring in disbelief. He told her that he saw a young man, laughing, jump out of a car, grab the figurine and speed away as another man, laughing, waited in the car.

Whether it's someone truly in need of Jesus or just a childish prank, Spoelstra's not feeling particularly forgiving. She just wants it returned. No questions asked.

"I don't know if they think they're just being funny. But they should at least bring one of them back. They apparently really do need Jesus in their lives, but if they have to steal for it that's not really a good way of going about it."

All right, now I'm imagining whether this story would have been written quite so flippantly if the object stolen had been a menorah or -- horrors! -- some Muslim symbol.

Seriously, vandalism of a crèche should be a hate crime. If we're going to have the latter category at all, I want Christianity protected by it.