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.
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.