By Sandhya Bathija
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is not happy this holiday season.
He feels his religious beliefs have been snubbed now that his hometown has taken the word “Christmas” out of its seasonal parade and exchanged it for the word “holiday.”
“I feel like if they take Christ out, then take me out, too,” said Inhofe, despite the fact that the parade is still replete with Christmas symbols and decorations.
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The mere name change from Tulsa’s Christmas Parade to Tulsa’s Holiday Parade of Lights last year has caused Inhofe a great deal of hardship, which he has explained to several news outlets.
The senator usually participated by riding a horse in the parade with his children and grandchildren watching. This year, he decided to head to nearby Broken Arrow, which still has an event it calls a Christmas Parade.
Inhofe, enraged by the situation, said he wants to know why Christians in America always end up getting the short end of the stick.
As he said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” Dec. 5, “[Christians are] the ones to get the hit. …I think there are a lot of people of other faiths who wonder also, why do they always pick on Christians?”
I’m afraid I have some more bad news for Inhofe: Most people – Christian or not – aren’t wondering that.
With churches on every other block, Christmas carolers roaming free and members of Congress pushing for Christian-based legislation, I think it’s safe to say that Christians as a whole are not suffering religious persecution in the United States.
Nonetheless, every December, we hear the same old babble from the Religious Right. Somehow, people like Inhofe think being inclusive of all is a direct attack on Christianity.
A couple years ago, Bill O’Reilly went on a rant about how Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington “insulted Christians all over the world” when she allowed a Winter Solstice display to stand next to a Christmas tree and a Nativity scene in the state’s capitol building. A court had concluded the capitol rotunda must be open for all, and Gregoire was just upholding the ruling. Still, O’Reilly and his allies were up in arms.
And, believe it or not, some Religious Right groups are still complaining about the terms giant corporations use in circulars and ads. The American Family Association is furious because Radio Shack, Office Depot and Staples have chosen to use the terms “holiday deals,” “holiday prices,” “gifts” and “happy holidays” in some of their advertising.
The AFA alleges that Staples said it chose this language so as to “not offend any other religion.” Who knows if any of this is true, but it sounds like a good motivation to me.
Nevertheless, the AFA issued an e-mail alert this morning to its members asking them to contact the three store chains and let them know how offensive it is to “purposely eliminate Christmas” from their advertising.
That’s what they find offensive – that the wrong words were used in a newspaper ad? Like Inhofe, the AFA just sounds rather petty.
You’d think as Christians, Inhofe and groups like the AFA would want to join in the holiday spirit and be welcoming to all. Instead, it turns out they are nothing but a bunch of Grinches.