Alabama Residents React to Atheists Changing Holiday Parade Theme

Keep Christ in Christmas

Officials in Alabama did not realize the backlash they would receive when they adopted the phrase “Keep Christ in Christmas” as this year’s holiday parade theme but an atheist group intervened to ensure the discriminatory tag line was dropped even before being installed.

Piedmont Mayor Bill Baker told the media that this particular theme was chosen to commemorate the true essence of Christmas but it was not long before a non-believer complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), and the church-state separatist group demanded the town changes its plan. To assert its point, FFRF sent out a letter to Piedmont officials, reiterating how the phrase used as the holiday parade theme’s motto is unconstitutional.

“It was a great theme. I was totally shocked when I received the letter,” Baker said. “It’s a small town. It’s a small Christmas parade. We didn’t think there would be any problems at all.”

FFRF’s letter asked Piedmont to choose a more inclusive, more appropriate and constitutional theme after insisting that the chosen theme excludes non-Christians and other residents of Piedmont who do not believe in prayers by turning them into political outsiders within their own community. The mayor immediately consulted a lawyer who clarified that the chosen theme did in fact violate the law, after which the town decided to drop it.

“Nothing has really changed. We still have the same religious floats. We still have the churches. We still have the beauty queens,” Baker said before the parade unfolded earlier this month. “We’re still going to have this wonderful Christian parade regardless of if we have a theme or not.”

However, several residents of Piedmont found ways around FFRF’s letter of complaint and decided to hold up placards reading, ‘Let’s Keep Christ in Christmas’ along with other religious slogans while marching down the town’s streets. This, FFRF explained, was a creative and legal alternative to using the same phrase as the holiday parade’s theme. Despite numerous residents coming out in support of using Christian symbols during the holiday parade, Baker said he was unhappy with FFRF’s involvement in the joyous festivities of the season.

“It annoys me that a small group of people can do what they do and get away with it and the majority has to suffer,” he said. “They are infringing on my beliefs.”

Photo Credits: WEIS Radio

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