At first, the parents try to ignore the screaming man at the mall telling their children they’ve been lied to about Santa Claus.
Then it becomes clear he’s not going to stop.
“Kids, I want to tell you today that there is no such thing as Santa Claus,” the man tells people waiting in line for Christmas photos at the Westgate Mall in Amarillo, Texas. “Santa Claus does not exist. The Christmas season is about Jesus.
“The man you’re going to see today is just a man in a suit dressed up like Santa.”
The shouting man is David Grisham, an evangelical street preacher from Anchorage, Alaska, who has shouted his sermons at people across the country for nearly a decade, whether they want to hear them or not.
On Saturday, his unwilling audience was a group of families snaked around Westgate’s seasonal Christmas village at the food court near the Hot Topic and the Gap.
Grisham paid no heed to calls to “chill out” from parents — and as his sermon picked up momentum, things were about to get ugly.
“Don’t lie to your children and tell them there’s such a thing as Santa, when you know in reality that there are no flying reindeer, there is no workshop at the North Pole … that you buy all the gifts and put them under the tree.”
A girl in a Santa hat stared, wide-eyed. Other children shot confused looks at their moms and dads. And a few parents decided to take action.
A man in a blue T-shirt approaches. He’s so close to Grisham that the pastor’s cellphone camera captures only his torso.
“Stop,” the man says, speaking over Grisham.
“Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop.”
“Quit talking this mess, you understand me,” the father says. “I got my kids over there, we don’t need you coming over here blabbing whatever the hell you’re blabbing.”
Other parents approach, diverting Grisham’s attention from his message as tensions rise.
This kind of conflict is not foreign to Grisham, the founder of Last Frontier Evangelism. He travels the country with his wife, spreading the Gospel to people who are, for the most part, minding their own business.
He told The Washington Post that God spoke to him a decade ago while he and his wife were on vacation in Mexico. He’s been street-preaching most weekends ever since.
On Saturday, he whipped out his cellphone camera to record his Santa truther episode, hoping a viral video would help spread the Gospel.
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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune, Cleve R. Wootson Jr.