Inhofe Says Put “Christ” Back in Tulsa Parade of Lights

I haven’t been to Tulsa’s Christmas parade for many years, but as of last year if I had wanted to go, I could not because we no longer have a Christmas parade. We have the Tulsa Holiday Parade of Lights, and our senior Senator, Jim Inhofe, is refusing to participate in protest to taking Christ out of the event. One lone letter sent to the editors of the Tulsa World last year changed a 70-year-old tradition and turned into a commemoration of nothing.

Jim Inhofe – 2004 Tulsa Christmas Parade

For many, many years Inhofe has been one of the stars of the city’s Christmas parade, usually appearing on his horse:

“Last year, the forces of political correctness removed the word ‘Christmas’ and replaced it with ‘Holiday’ instead,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “I am deeply saddened and disappointed by this change.”
Inhofe, who was Tulsa’s mayor from 1978 to 1984, said he had participated in the parade annually, riding a horse as his children and grandchildren watched.
“I did not do so last year because I’m not going to ride in a Christmas parade that doesn’t recognize Christmas,” he said. “I am hopeful that the good people of Tulsa and the city’s leadership will demand a correction to this shameful attempt to take Christ, the true reason for our celebration, out of the parade’s title. Until the parade is again named the Christmas Parade of Lights, I will not participate.”

There would be no December parade were it not for Christmas. It was a Christmas parade for all of my life and beyond in Tulsa, so get real: lo those many years ago, no one suggested a Jewish parade, or a Muslim parade or a Buddhist parade – but they did think of a Christmas parade, as did cities all across the map. And so a tradition began. Now that tradition is dead.

How does a 70-year tradition get sidelined? In this case it was one lone letter, written to the editors of the Tulsa World who undoubtedly championed this poor victim to the detriment of Tulsa history and convinced the powers-that-be to make everything fair and equal. Nevermind that Christ’s birth day is the only reason for a Christmas parade. One letter of complaint and a lifetime of Christmas parades come to an end.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said if it was up to him he would call it a Christmas parade. It isn’t up to him.

What do we say about all the non-believers who excitedly put up their Christma trees and celebrate Christmas without believing? I say it’s a wonderful thing, but why can’t we have our Christmas parade to commemorate one of the most important events in Christianity – without which there would be no Christmas. After all, we thought of it first. After all, the parade’s board chairman said viewers come whether or not they celebrate Christmas. Exactly.

Last year Inhofe cancelled his position in the event when he learned of the name change, but it got little publicity as the health care debate was consuming Washington, D.C. A spokesman says Inhofe may participate in Broken Arrow’s [a bedroom community] Christmas parade. I hope that happens.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Jim Inhofe refuses to participate in Tulsa's Holiday Parade until it becomes a Christmas Parade again #TCOT --

  • Pingback: Tulsa Holiday Parade Solicits Sponsorships Under Tulsa Christmas Parade Name | Maggie's Notebook()

  • Sean

    ummmmmm …..

    Actually, the parade was called “the Parade of Lights” for over 70 years. “Christmas” was only put in the name in recent years.

    This is just another example of a politician making an issue out of something that is not that big of a deal in a blatent attempt to fire people up.

    I was raise a Christian, but there are plenty of people in Tulsa whose tax dollars will be used to pay the police and fire personnell, etc who are part of this parade who are not. Who is diminished or demeaned if the name is changed BACK to what it was for over 70 years so as not to alienate or disinclude taxpaying American citizens from this parade?

    What happens when police and fire are asked to provide services for the Buddha parade, or the Hannukah parade? My bet is those same Christians outraged that Christmas has been taken BACK out of the name of this parade would be outraged.

  • Sean, I believe you are wrong about the name. I’ve been to many, many Christmas parades and the history is not the Holiday Parade of Lights.

    Tulsa would never turn down support for a Hannukah parade. But here’s the thing, others have the right to organize a Christmas parade, and it appears that is what will happen.

  • Sean

    I got drug to that parade every year as a kid, marched in it every year all through junior high and high school, and got drug to it every year as an uncle and father till (finally) they outgrew it. Now I get drug to it every year as a grandfather.

    While it is, and always has been called “The Christmas Parade” by regular folks, the actual, official name was “The PSO Parade of Lights”. “Christmas” wasn’t added till 10 years (or so) ago.

    • Sean, I can’t argue about this because I don’t have proof that I can point to. The PSO Christmas Parade of Lights goes way back – at least to 1995, but I believe it was always the Christmas parade.

      There is a blog that has a lot of past history on this, but unfortunately I can’t remember the name.

      I think many of us did not realize this is a private parade. We just need to have a Christmas parade if we want to. Let others do what they want.