Columns » Ranger Rich

Focus' mixed messages



I don't know what you'll be doing on Christmas Eve this year, but I'll be bundled up and sipping hot apple cider in the Focus on the Family parking lot as the crisp night air resonates with the enchanting voices of the newly formed, 149-member They Fired Us Just In Time For Christmas Choir.

The program calls for the laid-off Focus workers to lift their worried and frightened eyes toward the $58 million marble and gold palace and kick off the concert with the always popular "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, You Hypocritical Phony Bastards." This will be followed by a moving rendition of "All I Want for Christmas is to Have Our Electricity Turned Back On."

Huddled in the middle will be the singers' children boys and girls in brand-new burlap clothing with Christmas-themed rags wrapped around their feet. They'll gather around a fire in the metal barrel they found down by the train tracks where they're spending their days now, looking for chunks of coal that fall from the freight cars.

(As midnight looms, the children will use the fire to warm up their slices of Spam. Each laid-off worker got a can of the meat-like treat as part of a generous "severance basket" that also included half an orange and a copy of Focus founder and president James Dobson's latest DVD, If God Didn't Want Me to Wear $1,800 Suits, Why Has He Stuffed So Many of Them in My Closet?)

Then, as the stars twinkle and another magical Christmas day draws near, the voices of the employum chorir fireium (choir of fired employees) will fill the parking lot with more beloved carols, including the classic, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Tasted a Little Gamey."

Focus, which performs God's work here on Earth, work such as hating people, tossed 149 of its workers onto the streets last week, while also deciding not to fill 53 vacant positions, as the holidays drew near. And by holidays I mean Christmas, the so-called "Granddaddy of Them All" although it's possible I'm thinking of the Rose Bowl football game.

The point is, the firings came the very same week that Focus, a Christian Unified Liturgical Theocracy (CULT), demanded that its intelligent and independent-thinking followers (motto: "Baaaahhhh!") boycott stores that don't use the word "Christmas" in their advertising.

Focus even categorized some 30 or so big national retailers as "Christmas-friendly," "Christmas-negligent" or "Christmas-offensive."

Among the "Christmas-friendly" stores is Cabela's. This rating comes despite the apparent anti-Christian bias held by the outdoor megastore, which, by way of example, offers a full line of camouflage clothing that allows you to hide in the bushes, leap out and "scare the be-Jesus" out of someone.

Among the middle-ground, or "Christmas-negligent," stores is Bed, Bath & Beyond, even though most patrons of the bedsheet-and-towel palace know "Beyond" is a reference to the icy house of darkness that is home to the red-horned Father of Lies.

(That was just a joke, of course. The "Beyond" actually refers to handy household items such as a $69 Leifheit-brand polished stainless steel paper-towel holder that looks way nicer than the one I have now, made from a coat hanger and a stick.)

As for the "Christmas-offensive" stores, Focus has told its Mensa following to steer clear of five such places. I will not name them here, but suffice it to say all of them made the list by refusing to do away with their 20-percent-off "God is a Myth" special every Thursday.

And not that it matters, but Focus cut the 202 jobs the declining economy, you know after it gave $539,000 to help pass the gay-marriage ban in California. Just like any good family, for the important stuff they always seem to find the money.

Anyway, maybe I'll see you in the Focus parking lot on Christmas Eve, sipping the cider and listening to the fired Focus singers as they cap off their concert with perhaps the most uplifting of all the Christmas carols, "Jolly Old Saint Nick Can Stick It Up His #@%."

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