Charge of the Light Parade : 2004-12-03
The December 3, 2004 Rocky Mountain News reported a blatant case of anti-religious discrimination by the parade officials for Denver's Parade of Lights. In an article titled Christians to cool controversy with carols
, Jean Torkelson explains:
Pastor George Morrison of Faith Bible Chapel touched off a national firestorm Wednesday when he told the Rocky Mountain News that his idea for a Christmas-themed float had been spurned by parade officials.
The one-hour parade, a glittering spectacle mounted by a private nonprofit group, the Downtown Denver Partnership, doesn't allow any religious themes. The event features marching bands, cultural groups and floats with secular yuletide symbols such as Santa and gingerbread houses.
So we have a December parade that doesn't allow religious themes, but floats can have secular yuletide symbols. "Yuletide" means Christmas, by the way. Of course, Santa Claus is okay, because he represents consumerism rather than Christianity. Just don't call him Saint Nicholas, or your float will get the boot. The story gets more curious:
The parade's no-religion policy evolved over the past 10 years or so, said Bill Mosher, the partnership's president and CEO from 1990 to 1999.
"It's evolved and changed to reflect the thinking of the day," Mosher said, adding that his recollection was that in the early years Christmas themes played a major role in the parade.
9News is a parade sponsor. Their website poll regarding Faith Bible Chapel's float showed that only 21% of respondants were opposed to the float, so "the thinking of the day" may not be quite as secularized as the organizers suspect. It's sad to see another misguided attempt to marginalize Christianity. Yes, they say they're excluding all religions, but it's a Christmas parade birthed from a Christian tradition, so no matter what they call it, the anti-Christian bias shows through.
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