AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo pastor David Grisham told children waiting to see Santa Claus that the jolly red elf was not real – and filmed himself doing it.
Grisham posted a video to Facebook of him approaching children at the Westgate Mall over the weekend to tell them that Christmas was about Jesus Christ, not Santa.
"Maybe start changing the conversation away from Santa Claus and more towards Jesus Christ at Christmas time," Grisham told NewsChannel 10 on Monday.
"I believed in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter bunny and all the other nonsense and basically what happened with me was when I found out the truth, it destroyed my parent's credibility with me," he said. "I had an innocent belief that my parents always told me the truth," Grisham said.
Parents were not happy, and warned him of what they considered behavior far from being jolly.
John Bennett was one father who can be seen in the video standing in line with his children to see Santa. He says he was outraged when Grisham began to impose his beliefs onto children.
"Seeing the looks on my children's faces of them hurting made me hurt and I wanted to put a stop to it just like the rest of the parents in line did," Bennett said.
Despite the situation, Bennett said his children went on to speak with Santa and confide their lists in him.
"Yes Santa Claus is still real in their eyes and hopefully in the eyes of other children," Bennett said. "Seeing their faces when they smiled when they sat down in his lap brought joy to my heart."
Westgate Mall has released a statement saying, they do not condone the actions of this man. They want everyone at their center to have an enjoyable shopping experience, and Grisham left before security could take the steps necessary. Security will remain on the lookout for anyone disturbing those at the mall.
Grisham says he is surprised he is now getting death threats for his actions.