The city of Tulsa has had a “Christmas Parade” downtown for about 70 years, put on privately. Originally it was moved to downtown to attract business, or so I’ve been told.
Last year, the organizers changed the name to the “Holiday Parade” to be more inclusive. I don’t remember a flap about it then, but we have one now. The publicity seemed to have taken off when Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe declined to participate as a form of protest over the name change. Since then, the situation has been mentioned by Conan O’Brian, John Stewart and Bill O’Reilly. And by a few locals who have felt compelled to address the issue.
Earlier this week, the City Council approved the parade permit amidst a torrent of discussion. The Tulsa World carries the story here. You might also be interested in some of the other articles, including letters to the editor concerning the situation.
While I am obviously a Christian and not a participant in anything else the organizers are trying to include… my primary concern is with the behavior of people who have reacted negatively toward the move.
More specifically, I don’t think people calling themselves Christians should sin in defense of, well, of anything, much less the defense of a parade’s name.
If you don’t agree with the parade organizers, then you are free to say so. If you don’t want to participate, then you are free to do something else with your time.
What you are not free to do is incriminate the Name of Christ by doing what He would not. Be careful with your words. People are listening. Jesus said it is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out.
Example: I have a friend, a Christian, who works in a local business participating in the parade. After the City Council meeting where the debate and subsequent permit approval vote was held, a woman attempting to represent Christ called the business where my friend works and berated him over this issue for ten minutes. When he got off the phone, his coworkers told him that it was because of that kind of stuff that they didn’t want anything to do with being a Christian.
Bottom line: Take every stand you feel you should, but do so in a way that Christ would, or have you to do so.