The small town of Piedmont, Alabama attracted the attention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) for its Christmas parade theme.
Organizers of the parade selected “Keep Christ in Christmas” for the theme of the event which would host the championship-winning high school track team, the high school marching band, religious floats and Santa Claus.
Piedmont mayor Bill Baker said that the town has a church on every street corner and he never imagined that “Keep Christ in Christmas” would draw any criticism until he received a letter of complaint from the FFRF.
"It was a great theme," he said. "I was totally shocked when I received the letter. It's a small town. It's a small Christmas parade. We didn't think there would be any problems at all."
According to the letter, the theme "alienates non-Christians and others in Piedmont who do not in fact have a 'strong belief in prayers' by turning them into political outsiders in their own community".
The atheist organization urged the town to change the theme of the parade to be “more appropriate, more inclusive and constitutional.” The town did change the parade motto but baker says the parade’s content will remain the same.
"Nothing has really changed. We still have the same religious floats. We still have the churches. We still have the beauty queens. We're still going to have this wonderful Christian parade regardless of if we have a theme or not,” Baker said.
"The town has rallied...It's heartwarming to me to see the Christian response that has developed."
Publication date: December 9, 2014