Benton County is a crime scene. Last week, thieves were busy stealing Christmas decorations. If police catch the culprits and secure a conviction, they could face up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine for misdemeanor theft of less than $500. If the value is more than $500, we're talking felony and up to 10 years in Tucker.
On the night of December 1, someone stole the lights and decorations from the van that the Benton County Democratic Women's Club entered in the Bentonville Christmas parade. That same night, thieves absconded with plastic figures of Joseph and a donkey from the lawn of Arlene Foster on West Ash in Rogers, the same scene where an angel was stolen a few years ago.
This is part of an annual epidemic. In New Jersey, thieves made off with 27 statues of Baby Jesus, and in Chicago someone stole 32 plastic replicas of the Christ Child. In Plaistow, New Hampshire, someone filched the plastic Baby Jesus from the front lawn of a home and replaced it with a beer can.
More distressing are the actions of those who try to kidnap the real Jesus year 'round and hold him hostage for their own gain. Take the words from the Sermon on the Mount, for instance. We are told, "Blessed are the peacemakers," but they are hard to find in these parts. We are advised, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth," yet some vigorously ignore that advice. And when told, "Judge not, that ye be not judged," there are some who are ready to condemn hard-working immigrants seeking a better life or loving couples wishing to adopt homeless children.
Who really stole Baby Jesus?