Phoenix: The Right Reverend Billy Joe Bash affiliated with the First Church of the Divine Explanation denounced Santa today, claiming Santa was really Satan.

"Santa" and "Satan" are spelled with exactly the same letters," Bash cited.

"And both wear red outfits," he added.

Bash wants all references to Santa stricken from print, television, radio, music, and whatever new fangled communications contraptions are out there.

"Any reference to Santa is simply a promotion for Satan, so he's got to disappear," Bash said.

Bash's group plans to set fire to plastic santas in the next few days to bring attention to their effort called "Get Satan Out of Christmas".

A spokesman for Jolly Old St. Nick at the North Pole responded to the news that a US religious group was seeking to banish him in America.

"When is someone going to figure out why the rest of the world thinks Americans are crazy?"

Santa does not plan an active resistance to the Bash Santa campaign.  "Giving toys to millions of kids gives me a pretty strong support base," Santa snickered.