Calif. town changes Christmas parade to ‘holiday’ parade

ADF attorneys send letter to city of Merced, urging mayor, town officials to stick by former parade name
Monday, November 30, 2009

MERCED, Calif. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys sent a letter Monday to the mayor and officials of the city of Merced urging them to change the name of the town’s newly dubbed holiday parade back to the Christmas parade. City officials replaced “Christmas” with “holiday” in the name of the town’s public parade, but ADF attorneys have assured them that, if the change was motivated by fear of lawsuits, keeping the former name is a decision that is constitutionally protected.

“It’s ridiculous that the people of Merced have to think twice about whether it’s okay to have a ‘Christmas’ parade. An overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas and are opposed to any kind of censorship of Christmas,” said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum.  “City officials shouldn’t self-censor the perfectly constitutional name of their town’s Christmas parade because of unfounded beliefs spread by groups hostile to our nation’s traditions.”

The city of Merced has held the annual Christmas parade since 1995, but this year, on Dec. 5, the new “Downtown Holiday Parade” is scheduled to take its place. ADF attorneys contacted city officials through a letter encouraging them to uphold their town’s traditions and retain the name of the Christmas parade in full confidence that such a decision would be constitutionally protected. In the event of threatened litigation, ADF attorneys have offered free legal assistance.

“You can be assured that your participation in and acknowledgement of the Christmas holiday and a Christmas parade are constitutionally protected activities,” the letter stated. “The City is free to support a parade regarding Christmas, and you are under no obligation to satisfy the demands of any disgruntled individual or civil libertarian group that may oppose such action.”

Despite the widespread coverage given to those opposing Christmas, a 2008 Gallup Poll reported that 93 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, and a 2005 Gallup poll reported that 97 percent of Americans say they are not bothered by the public celebration of Christmas.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.