Queens Congressman Gary Ackerman Has a Problem With Santa

Ackerman
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This year in Washington, Iowa State Rep. Steve King introduced a resolution saying Christmas is important. Really. The measure called for the House to recognize that "on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, a holiday of great significance…celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world," etc. It was silly and obnoxious, but it passed by a landslide on Tuesday; either because everyone in Congress fears the wrath of Bill O'Reilly or because, well, duh. But there were a few souls who stood up to Big Santa and his Midwestern minion. Nine out of the 381 members of Congress who voted, voted against Christmas; and, naturally, two of these heathens are from our own godless city: Yvette Clarke, from Brooklyn, and Gary Ackerman, from Queens. We caught up with Ackerman and asked him why he hated Christmas. "We don't get presents," said the congressman, who is Jewish. "Nobody wished me a happy Purim!" But seriously, he said, he voted against the resolution for a couple of reasons. One, he doesn't really think Christianity needs special recognition at the moment. "Forty-four out of 44 presidents isn't a bad record," he said, referring to the fact that every president ever has been Christian, although, in actuality, there have only been 43 of them, but never mind. There's also that whole First Amendment thing. "For the Congress to spend time talking about the coming of the Messiah really broaches the wall of separation of church and state," Ackerman says. So, his Christmas message to Christians who worry for his soul? "Light a candle for me." —Drew Armstrong