The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter Monday telling the City of Piedmont, Ala., that its planned “Keep Christ in Christmas” parade is unconstitutional.
According to the Piedmont Journal, the theme “reflect[s] our strong belief in prayers.” The city’s annual Christmas parade is set to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4. Piedmont High School’s track and field team will reportedly serve as grand marshals.
The theme “alienates non-Christians and others in Piedmont who do not in fact have a ‘strong belief in prayers’ by turning them into political outsiders in their own community,” wrote Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel.
“The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from endorsing, advancing or promoting religion. A government celebration of Christmas is only permissible because courts have ruled certain aspects of the holiday, such as Christmas trees, to be secular symbols. The sentiment of ‘Keeping Christ in Christmas’ does not qualify” as a secular celebration, Seidel explained.
The letter concluded by asking the city to select a “more appropriate, more inclusive, and constitutional theme” for the parade.
FFRF also wrote to Piedmont City Schools, which promoted the religious parade on the official Piedmont High School Facebook page. Over the summer, FFRF convinced the district to stop broadcasting prayers over the loudspeaker at football games.
FFRF is a prominent national state/church watchdog, with 21,500 members including more than 200 in Alabama, as well as a state chapter, the Alabama Freethought Association. FFRF owns Freethought Hall, a meeting facility, and hosts its Atheists in Foxholes memorial to nonreligious veterans, in rural Talledega.