Santa, Yes, Jesus, No
Sunday, December 05, 2004
By Scott Norvell
A December parade in Denver [featured] everyone from Chinese lion dancersto gay and lesbian shamans, according to the Rocky Mountain News, but not Christians who want to sing yuletide hymns or carry a Merry Christmas message.
Denver pastor George Morrison said his request to enter a float in the annual Parade of Lights, which apparently only coincidentally happens in late December, was rejected because parade officials won't allow any "direct religious themes."
"It's a little confusing to me," said Morrison. "Here we have this holiday, Christmas, approaching, and Parade of Lights is suddenly changed into something where you can't even sing a Christmas song?"
The one-hour parade features elaborate floats with holiday symbols such as Santa Claus and gingerbread houses, plus an "international procession" of cultural groups.
The international portion this year features the Two Spirit Society, which honors gay and lesbian American Indians as holy people; a German folk dance group; and performers of the Lion Dance, a Chinese New Year tradition "meant to chase away evil spirits and welcome good luck and good fortune for the year."
Those groups are considered examples of ethnic diversity, not religious groups, a parade official said.