[#] Fort Apache: North Pole

So after Santa came to my house this Christmas, and my kids packed up and went to their grandparents' house for a week of peace for me and the wife, I find that Southern Baptist intransigence has a new champion, and his name is Glenn.

Who knew they needed a new one?
Dude- Chill out on the Egg Nog!

(1) Santa's coming to my house.
No, he is not. Get over it.
You didn't check my stocking before you wrote that, did you? That's what I thought. Turns out the fat man ate my cookies, left W-A-Y too much stuff for my kids and my wife, left me candy and pistachios just I like I like, and didn't even set off the burglar alarm. He's brilliant, as usual.

What's your point?
(2) Hey teach: let's assume that Santa is harmful and false
As opposed to being... Harmless and True? And what ARE you saying about kwanzaa... is it harmless, or true?
Actually, I'd think a guy who was going to try to use symbolic logic later in the comments would have better reading skills and better reasoning skills than this. It's obvious even to the chimps at BHT that there are 4 logically-possible outcomes for any event that has "harm" and "true" as possible characteristics.
- harmful & true
- harmful & false
- harmless & true
- harmless & false

So, for example, Kwanzaa is actually harmful and false. Now, the devil's advocate here would say, "cent: you just spent oodles of bandwidth decrying the statement that Santa is not false; how can you now say that Kwanzaa is false?"

Well, like this: Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 and is essentially unknown in Africa even though it is allegedly a celebration of African heritage. Its inventor was confessedly a Marxist subversive. Its objectives have nothing to do with Africa and everything to do with a socialist world agenda.

So while "Kwanzaa" exists – people practice it – it is "false" in that it does not represent what it purports to represent and it is not founded on what it claims to be founded on. And in that, it is "harmful" because it uses lies to misdirect people away from those values which protect and safeguard their ultimate political well-being and toward values which will rob them of these things.

So how does Santa match up to Kwanzaa? For example, we can say that "Kwanzaa" exists because about 29 million people allegedly celebrate it worldwide. Santa, based on that kind of evidence, exists because at least 100 million people in the US (and that's W-A-Y conservative) celebrate him. So in the same way that Kwanza exists, Santa certainly exists.

But is Santa "true" or "false"? For example, what does Santa represent? Well, son of a gun, I think Santa represents Christmas. C.S. Lewis sure thought so. Coke thought so well enough to make him an advertising franchise for the season in the 1930's – after more than 100 years of the NY Dutch use of the St. Nick image in celebrating Christmas and as the patron saint of NY. Prior to that, St. Nick was a traveling companion of the Christ Child who himself was the fantastic bringer of presents to children in 18th century Europe.

But did the 18th century Europeans call St. Nick "Santa"? Oh for pete's sake: of course not. What has that got to do with anything? Santa is a tradition, and over time the name of the tradition changes for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the custom traveling across cultural and linguistic lines.

Santa – St. Nick, Sinter Klaas, Christkindlein – is an image of Christmas good will dating far back prior to modern materialism, and far into Christian celebrations of the birth of the savior. He has been this as long as he has been celebrated. Unlike Kwanzaa, which has to disguise its ultimate motives to gain supporters, Santa is what he is – and is recognized worldwide as a symbol of Christmas.

So in that respect, Santa is true. Does an actual fat man travel the earth in 24 hours and deliver billions of toys? Do we have his finger prints? How about his shoe size?

Now let me ask you: because we don't have Santa's shoe size, and we don't have his finger prints, is he harmful? Can it be that Santa is true but harmful?

For this discussion, that question is only relevant when we get to Christians who think Santa is the problem with Christmas. For the substitute teacher who did what was done in the article I linked to previously, she did not believe that Santa was true but harmful: she thinks Santa is false and harmful.

She is an idiot. Her definition of "false" is so narrow that I promise you she didn't make it to the restroom after that class without doing something false in spite of her confession of high objectivity on the matter of truth.
(3) Now let's assume that Santa is not harmful and false.
The logic of this sentence loses me... Given the following variables: S=Santa, H=Harmful and F=False which of these argument are you assuming?

{S (H+F)}|or
Then here are the baby steps, Glenn: the teacher in the news item wanted to assert that Santa was false, and therefore harmful. To start somewhere with her daffy worldview, I started with her own assertion that Santa was false and therefore harmful. No complex symbolic logic necessary.
allows the parents to teach a message of selfless love...HAW HAW HAW!!! Now THAT'S funny. Santa is all about "selfless love." That one's gonna keep me cracked up for a while.
So you're an advocate that giving gifts is not an act of selflessness or of love? No wonder you think this is so preposterous: you're from Mars.

See: on Earth, even degenerate parents have the ability to want to give their children good things – Jesus said so explicitly(cf. Lk 11:13). And when even degenerate parents give gifts to their children "from Santa Claus", they are using the Christian symbols of the holiday. What they do on Mars I have no idea, so you can enlighten us when you can do more than laugh like a jackass from a Pinocchio cartoon.
... the actual story of Christmas and the delivery of a gift more precious than Santa can bring?
Uhm, I'm pretty sure this teacher would have no problem telling your children that the whole Jesus thing is just a myth based on a guy that died a long time ago as well. Try not to be a jerk about the truth if THAT ever happens.
Here's another problem with your reply, Glenn: it omits facts like this one from the net argument. I would agree with you that this teacher probably doesn't think there was a literal virgin birth in a literal manger – and part of her argument would be that even if there was a birth in a manger, it wasn't on Dec 25, Year Zero.

See: again, her view of "TRUTH" is "rote facts which can be scientifically measured or verified". The problem is that she's supposed to be teaching a poem. Do we get the meaning of a poem in angstroms? Or do we measure meter in wavelength oscillation? What about metaphor or allegory – can we reduce that down to something on the Periodic Table to understand what makes up a poem?

Well, of course not: we are talking about a different mode of truth. But that matter of epistemology doesn't have to enter into a music class full of 8-yr-olds. The genre is poetry, the context is Christmas, and the subject is Santa Claus. Read and enjoy. Turns out that this poem in particular is an interesting way in which people from 100 years ago viewed Santa. How do we view Santa today? What do we associate with Santa? What's that, Jimmy? "How could Santa live 100 years and still be able to get around?" That's a great question for you to take home to your Mom and Dad to discuss.

Now look at that: no need to foist the idiotic distinction that Santa is "false" on 8 year olds. To underscore that, and because Glenn thinks my idea about the Packers being "our team" is lack-luster in terms of this discussion, I'm going to trot it out once more just to give him the stink-eye.

Is the statement "the Packer are our team" true or false? If we use the method of thinking that the hapless substitute teacher used, it must be called a false statement. Because, for example, no reindeer landed in my lawn on the evening of December 24th 2005, Santa is false. Well, I don't own any Packers stock. I'm cheap, so I always watch them on TV. They don't come to my house. They don’t have to do what I say at any level. Yet I have the audacity to call them "my team". In what way are they "my team" or "our team"?

The answer is "in a symbolic way, the Packers are our team". And in the exact say way – the symbolic way, the allegorical and celebratory way – Santa comes to my house at Christmas. Santa cannot come without Christmas. Santa comes because of Christmas. Santa is a (derivative) part of Christmas.

No amount of Hee-Hawing or pessimistic concessions to stupid substitute teachers can deny that Santa comes on Christmas in exactly the same way the Packer are our team: the statement is true without being scientific; it is true without being evidenced by video; it is true without requiring a forensic team of investigators to verify its truth. It is true in an allegorical and/or metaphorical way which corresponds to something other than the tonnage of venison that walked around in my neighborhood this last week.
(4) Ever bounce a check? How about missing a payment date on a bill? Or how about this one: have you ever told a lie to get out of doing something at work?
Yes, Yes, and Yes. I can answer yes to a few other questions you may have as well. None of that makes my truth claim about Santa invalid.
Here's the real irony: what the teacher did in that class militates against the actual kind of truth she was supposed to be teaching. Here's the direct report from that news item:
    Theresa Farrisi stood in for Schaeffer’s regular music teacher one day last week. One of her assignments was to read Clement C. Moore’s famous poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” to a first-grade class at Lickdale Elementary School.

    “The poem has great literary value, but it goes against my conscience to teach something which I know to be false to children, who are impressionable,” said Farrisi, 43, of Myerstown. “It’s a story. I taught it as a story. There’s no real person called Santa Claus living at the North Pole.”
Interestingly enough, the poem in question does not say anything about the North Pole. So she would have had to teach that because ... ? I see: if she was teaching the poem, she wouldn’t have had to talk about the North Pole. However, I am certain that she could have, instead, taken issues with the 8 tiny reindeer and the visions of sugar plums.

Now pray, tell: why decry the jolly fat man's home address which is not in the poem, but leave open the problem of "visions of sugar plums", which is actually in the poem. Does it make any sense to teach a poem based on what is does not include? What about what it actually does includes? Her truth claims about Santa – which were supposed to be for the sake of conscience and the matter of truth – addressed things that the poem doesn't even discuss.

How is her view defensible? What was she talking about? If I was teaching High School seniors about Hemmingway's Old Man and the Sea and started on a tangent on the problem that this old man was an imaginary creature and as such we shouldn't place any stock in him and his battle with nature and the great fish, would I seem a little loopy for making that point? So why is it that when this other teacher of children more impressionable than HS seniors starts with the dissertation about truth claims in poem which the poem doesn't make, it seems reasonable to anyone – especially anyone who is an advocate for the Gospel?
People who dally with Santa as a moral cause for objective truth make my skin itch.Have you tried calomine? Seems like you've got quite a rash.
No Glenn: I blog instead. It's very effective.
...so-called "Christians" who don't "do" Santa. Jerks.I am not a "so-called" Christian. I am a jerk.
Well, you are SBC, so whether you’re a Christian or not is still up in the air, isn't it? I mean, the IMB hasn't reviewed your baptism so you might not actually be a Christian.

BTW: that's exactly the same kind of claim this daffy substitute teacher made, so if you don't like it here, you better not like it there.

And as to the claim of being a jerk, we can start a club.
Saint Nick is a Christian hero...
No argument. Do you really think the fat guy coming down the chimney is that same hero? Or did St. Nick earn his sainthood the old fashioned way... serving his Lord Jesus in real and practical ways?
It's a non sequitur to say that because St. Nick is a Christian hero that he ought not to be honored or that we cannot use him for the purpose of celebrating Christian values and holy days. In fact, I would say it is a contradiction to require that we think of him as a saint and refuse to use him for those purposes.

The whole point of the "cloud of witnesses" is what? Nothing? The purpose of the cloud of witnesses is not to have prayer partners with better access to Jesus than we have: the purpose of the cloud of witnesses is to be encouraged through their example of faith.

My heavens! If St. Nick "earned" sainthood, what's it good for? Is it good for him – of some benefit for him – or is it of some benefit for us?
...And don't start with the Coke Santa thing. I'll load the other barrel.
Bring it on. I'll have you know that Pepsi makes MY skin itch.
I have already brought it.
You don't own the Packers; I don't own the Packers. So is it a lie to say that the Packers are "our team"...
This argument has NO legs. Your "suitcase of bricks" was slightly flawed, but at least made some sense. This line of reasoning is just "annoyingly stupid or foolish."
Nice try. Dismissing it is not an argument. I have fleshed out the Packers thing here further, and you are welcome to do more than snort like a horse at it if you can.
All literature, using the standard she is establishing, is "false".
David K answered this point perfectly ("We read fiction, and encourage our children to read it. We just don't call it non-fiction") By the way, the whole Narnia thing doesn't wash either, because no one is arguing that ASLAN IS REAL. Can you point to any parents that are actually telling their children that there is a real talking lion going around bringing statues to life by breathing on them.
What do you mean by the statement "Aslan is real"? I think you mean, "Aslan can't come and visit my house and crack a soda with me," but it turns out that Aslan comes to my house frequently as my kids love those stories and demand that we read them over and over. My kids love to visit Aslan, but it's not the same as visiting their Mimi. And he doesn't drink that much.

Is Aslan an historical figure, or is he a literary figure? He's the latter, right? OK: is Aslan "true" or "false"? See – those are the categories substitute teacher used to make her point, and they are illegitimate category distinctions. In literature, the question is if Aslan represents correct truth claims – not if he is a being of flesh and bone who roams a multiverse of pocket realities and can call you out of this humdrum world into a fantastic world where beasts can talk. Consider Aslan vs. J. Alfred Prufrock – I submit to you that one of them is false, and it's not the talking Lion.

However, those of you who are demanding that the truth claims for Santa are bogus want to class allegory for the sake of celebration in the same bucket with cost accounting. It's a false conflation. You cannot use accounting methods to determine the truth of Christmas or of Santa, and Santa would make a felonious accountant at tax time.
For a teacher to decide that she is a better arbiter of the truth values of social customs than all of the parents of the children she is teaching on a substitute basis is statist at best.
I'd love to see how you flesh this idea out in the context of the Dover court decision. What megalomaniacs those teachers are, telling those kids that ID is not science! Or is the judge a megalomaniac? But hey, what's up with that "arbiter of truth values" stuff? Are you saying that truth is merely a value that can be arbited?
Once again, like Kjos, you have jumped off the matter here – which is whether this substitute teacher had the right and authority to enforce her view of the celebration of Christmas on a classroom full of children – into something that is related only at the highest level.

Whether ID is true or false has nothing to do with whether a 100-year-old Christmas poem conveys scientific truth – except that the answer to both questions rely on a God-centered epistemology and metaphysics.

Listen: when itinerant teachers use their podiums to dismiss religious or cultural practices from a position of authority under the cover of "conscience" and "truth", we have become Animal Farm; we have become 1984. They are exercising their authority in ways not at all appropriate because it overturns the parental right to raise kids, among other things. Whether ID is true or false has nothing to do with a family's right to celebrate a religious holiday as they see fit, including the use of allegorical celebration. She's an employee of the state. The state has no authority to determine matters of conscience for the individual, and in the end Santa is a matter of conscience and not a matter of science or law.

Thus, if you care to discuss Santa, then please continue on, but if you want to continue to conflate Santa and all other matters people who call themselves Christians might be advocating, you’re out of the kiddie pool and you better bring your floaties.
...well-meaning conservative Christians toward treating Santa as if he is the problem...
You are beating up on a straw man, Frank. I thought you were tougher than that. Can you point me to a "well-meaning conservative Christian" that considers Santa to be THE problem? I think most of us are not that shallow. Your implication that those of us that aren't Santacrats are that shallow is offensive. Call me a jerk if you will, but for that implication I think an apology is due to your readers.
You're going to invent a term called "Santacrat" and then say I'm the one beating up a straw man. That's a good one.

Here's your chance: make your case that one ought not to celebrate Christmas which includes Santa Claus – that is, you agree that we ought to celebrate Christmas, but not with Santa. After you make your case, ask yourself this question, "Using my argument, what can I say about celebrating Christmas on December 25th?"

If there is no application, or if the application makes Dec 25th seem like a better idea than when we started, then I'll provide the apology. However, if we look at your argument and find that it forces us to abandon Dec 25th as the date to celebrate Christmas, I think you'll need more than a huffy tone of voice to get an apology out of me.
...Aslan is a lie.No, Aslan is fiction. A fat guy putting coal in your stocking as punishment is a lie. Stomping boot prints in the carpet by the fireplace is a lie. Good grief, I didn't major in literature, and I can still tell the difference!
You don't have to major in literature to know that not every allegory is in writing, and not every fiction is a lie.

You don't like – and as I write, you haven't had a chance to respond to – the Packers analogy further fleshed out. That's OK: let's talk about your driver's license. If I take my son to the DMV (he's 6) and have them make a DL for him, does that mean he knows how to drive? After all – he has a driver's license.

Doesn't having a driver's license mean he's qualified to drive? "Cent: pinhead," you say, "having a piece of plastic in your hand doesn't give you the ability to drive. Saying it does puts the cart before the horse. The license is a result of the process for becoming a driver."

HUH! Really? So the License is the representation of the object, and not the object itself?! The license is a symbol, yes? It means something, but it is not itself that thing. Therefore, on the one hand, the license does not invest in me anything I didn't already have. That is to say, on the day I got my license, it only verified my ability to drive, it did not cause it.

However, on the other hand, if you surrender the symbol of that object, you lose the right to exercise that object. Without the card, if you are stopped by the law, you're in big trouble. The question is not whether you can operate the vehicle: it is whether you carry the symbol. The symbol is the categorical means of communicating the object.

So the last case is when you wrap your car around a telephone pole. Is the symbol – the license – a lie because you proved that you don't actually know how to drive? Well, of course not! There are 100 reasons you might have had the accident – some your fault and some not – but it doesn't follow that because you drove badly the license is a lie.

One of the ways – for centuries now, even predating the Reformation – that we "prove" or demonstrate Christmas is by the use of Santa and his fore-runners. Santa doesn't cause Christmas; Santa doesn't come before Christmas. Santa is a result of Christmas, and as such he is a symbol of Christmas. Just like your tree; just like the manger scene; just like the star.

In that, saying "Santa" and the elaborate celebrations around him are "false" is like saying, "your driver's license is false because you had a car wreck." It is an epistemological mistake because it forgets that symbol and allegory are not just grammatical categories. The 4th of July is a metaphor for the independence of our nation – because it took longer than one day to finish the work started on that day. New Year's Day is a metaphor – because there's nobody I know who would advocate that the first day in Genesis was a calendar day Jan 1. And, most importantly, Dec 25th is itself a celebratory metaphor for Christmas – because Jesus wasn't born in December.

It is not a lie to celebrate. In fact, I would argue that it is more true to celebrate than to refrain from doing so because of clumsy, compartmental views of what constitutes truth.
So do we cut and run from ol' Saint Nick, or do we fight to get him back from the pagans who are abusing him for their own purposes?
Let's wage that fight... But let's do so without misleading our children about the nature of the war we are in. If we expect them to continue the fight after we are gone, we need to teach them the truth, and to stand for that truth. Kids that curl up on the floor because a teacher said an unkind word about what their parents taught them are NOT being equipped to fight that battle.
Oh please – that's what I call throwing your kids to the lions.

Here's what you're saying: in a classroom, which we have taught our kids is a place where an adult has a kind of authority – and frankly, an adult needs a kind of authority in order to do what we intend to have happen there – we should tell our 8-yr-old kids to forget about authority when they think they have the moral high-ground. Listen: 8-yr-olds are not equipped to take the moral high ground – and not because we as Christians are lousy parents. It's because they are 8.

Our kids ought not to have to engage the culture war at the age of 8: we should be waging it for them with every means at our disposal, and in this case, Santa is a means of the culture war.

I am anxious to see what you are willing to say is the actual argument you are making for Santa being "false". There's an impasse here that can't be taken care of until you make that argument.
Right? So how many of you anti-Santa folks are not trading gifts are Christmas?
I know there's a latin term for this particular falacy, but I'm not schooled enough to be able to put my finger on it. Uhm... could it be Changeous Desubjictus? What bearing does that possibly have on the truth value of the Santa Claus claim?
That is hardly changing the subject. Point (3) of my extended comments asking those who are non-Santa people is that they are actually doing something about materialism rather than just knee-jerking against the fat guy in the red suit.

Here's what I read in the comments so far:
(1) Santa is an icon of materialism
(2) We're dumping Santa to object to materialism
(3) We're still trading presents, tho. That is a time-honored tradition.

That is itself a joke. It's about as historically-informed as saying that Kwanzaa is a rich tradition of Afro-centrism. Presents don't instigate materialism; Santa instigates materialism. The Christian Saint is the problem, not the material goods we trade.
She's a pomo who suddenly has one objective truth she wants to wrangle over --
Who's the pomo here? "Arbiting truth values" and all... But I'm sure there is at least ONE other "truth value" she's willing to take a shot at. Standing up for Santa pales in comparison to preparing your kids to deal with THAT attack on the family "truth values of social customs" when it comes up.
I see: believing that kids are at a strict disadvantage at the age of 8 against a teacher with a muddled epistemology that wears a mask with the words "truth" and "conscience" and strikes when parents are frankly unavailable is "pomo"?

Given that you reject the idea that Santa is worth fighting for, do you think there is any reason to be upset by what happened in that classroom? If not, can you think of an example that is worth getting upset over?
So let's dispense with the silliness... ...let's not pretend that Santa is the problem here...
Who said that Santa is the problem? Are you still trying to accuse us non-Santacrats of being so shallow in our faith as to believe that? You are the one being silly, Frank
Again, when you will front up your reasons for rejecting the practice of Santa at Christmas, I can address your statement here.

And let's remember that you are the one rejecting Santa – you have, by your own admission, made a choice to engage this season without the jolly fat man; you have said he's a problem. That is, itself, silly.
my primary concern is that this teacher is subverting the prerogative of families to raise their kids as they see fit.
OK, let's dance. I see fit to not teach my son that a fat guy in a red suit will land on our roof and go down our chimney. Does that mean I call everyone that does teach that a liar? Well, not to their face! But I will certainly not participate in telling their children that myth.
Glenn, like every other Christian non-Santa robot before you, you have simply given up the ship. You have not corrupted the Gospel or anything like that: you have simply surrendered joy and zeal in the season. Why is it such a tragedy to enjoy Christmas through the models and iconology of saints who lived before us? We're not praying to Santa (sure: we write him a letter; can you tell me if that's dulia or latria? What if it's neither?); we're not saying he's the reason for Christmas. We're saying he does what he does because of Christmas.

And in that, as I have said twice and let's make it three times, in your house, you do as you see fit. It is simply inexplicable that you think this is the moral, ethical, social or religious high ground.

Yet, you do! How do we know? Because it is either that one does what you have done, or one is a liar. You believe that your version of the celebration is not just reasonable or conscionable, but categorically true as opposed to false. And let's be sure you hear exactly what I am saying: it is your view that using any historical or metaphoric figure in an iconic method in order to demonstrate a moral or theological truth about a religious celebration is, itself, a lie – especially if the method of using that icon is elaborate or imaginative. In that, Santa-practicers are liars.

And this is inexplicable because the Christian faith is itself one dependent historically on iconography and symbolism. Baptism and the Lord's Table are the highest expression of these, but viewing the church as a body is a symbol; viewing the church as a bride is a symbol; viewing a pastor as a shepherd is a symbol.

When we abandon our symbols, we are abandoning our greatest tools in the culture war. And when we let some ignorant agnostic with a low view of truth teach our children a low view of truth, we are not fighting the culture war: we are surrendering the culture war.
It does become an issue at some point, though, of what is the age at which it is acceptable to speak of these things in honest terms without fear of offending someone's sensibilities on the matter? Can we discuss the true history of Saint Nick with a room of kindergardners? Fifth graders? I don't doubt the teacher was agenda driven, but what if a child had raised the issue in front of the class? I teach K to 5th grade each Sunday... I know what type of questions they are able to pose at the most inoportune time. If I am iFrank, Do I say "Heck yes, the fat guy is coming!" or do I crush the kid's dreams in front of the group? Or is this a false dichotmy? Is there not another approach in this hypothetical situation? And can that middle ground be trod, while remaining true to the convictions of my conscience, without offending anybody?
Isn't it funny that your argument has now taken the form, "as a teacher, the kids run me around and I can't be responsible for every jot and tittle of what they believe?" My response to your question as you have phrased it goes like this:

A. St. Nick as an icon is designed for children. Your question is like asking, "what do I do if some kid in Sunday School asks me if baptism is real?" Dude: baptism is real. If you can't explain in what way Baptism is real, you don't belong running the class. In the same way, if a child asks you "Is Santa real," do you think that kid is saying, "I think my parents are doing something dishonest by pretending a fat man brings presents to my house," or is he saying, "I'm worried that Christmas is fake because the kid with the joyless father told me that there is no Santa?"

B. As an icon, Santa is real – in the same way Aslan is real. Just because Baptists rightly shun and reject burying statues of St. Joseph upside in the yard to get a house sold doesn't mean we can't use the images of saints to teach valuable lessons. And if you are unable to turn a kid back to his parents for guidance if what he means is, "is there a guy who lives at the north pole" without ruining the fun for all the kids in the class who still get a charge out of Santa, you are as wily as a piece of chalk.

C. If you're having a brutal pang of conscience over telling kids that Santa manifests the true meaning of Christmas by bringing small presents to celebrate the great gift of our Lord and Savior, what do you do when you break the speed limit? What do you do when you fib at work to escape a deadline? What do you do when you bounce a check? Good heavens – how do you get out of bed?
The question is whether classing "Santa" as a "lie" is a sound premise.|I say the Santa myth, as commonly represented and used in American culture, is a lie. (Yes, I'm a jerk.)|"In what way is calling the Packers 'our team' a lie?"|Once again, "let's dispense with the silliness." You're a smart enough guy to know that one is not like the other.
Until someone answers the Packers analogy, or the license analogy, or the Aslan analogy, and defines what they mean by "lie" rather than simply saying "something not true", there's no way to take this any farther.
...ask yourself how credible a truth that is. Is it even remotely interesting as a truth claim?
OK, I think we're close to getting Frank to admit that Santa does not exist...
Oddly, that's not even the question that the teacher in the classroom was addressing. Please: re-read that article and see if she was concerned about the "existence" of Santa: she was really worried about the meaning of Santa, whether true or false. She concedes the historical facts of St. Nick: she denies they mean anything today. Them's fightin' words.
...ways in which truth can be expressed (from a naturalistic viewpoint) in epistemologically-sound packages which do not constitute falsehood...
Whoah, big words there, fella! Let's slow it down a bit, and talk about them legos! For what it's worth, my boy knows the difference between a lego and the robot represented by legos being stuck together. Understanding that the Santa myth is false does not make my boy any less capable of using his imagination.
No, what it proves is that you think it's OK to engage the non-scientific sense of truth in play, but not in education and certainly not in theological expression. If your son has your blessing to call a pile of legos made vaguely into the shape of a robot a "robot", but he has been taught – one way or the other – that Santa is "false" because he is a "myth" and not a person who circumstantially locates toys in your house specifically, then your son has been taught a contradiction.

That robot is no more a robot than Santa is a jolly fat man. And some day, he's going to find out that, for example, baptism is not a regenerative act but a symbolic act – it looks like regeneration, it looks like the second birth, but it is no such thing. In that, should he call it "true" or "false"?

By the robot standard, he should call it "true"; by the Santa standard, it must be "false". God willing for your sake he chooses the legos – the godless model – over the religious standard. However, what are the odds of that?
Yes, we still are able to have fun! We even can play pretend games! My son has built a whole city of legos, with plenty of character history. Not once has he ever indicated that he seriously thought that his lego people were really alive. I doubt you have ever tried to convince your boy that his lego robot was a real, true-life, "living" robot. I think he would see through that sham pretty easily.
Actually, my son recognizes something in imaginative play that most kids his age don't: some things can be imaginary and true at the same time. Unfortunately, many adults don't understand this at all.