Town Faces Backlash After Trying to Ban Religious Symbols From July 4 Parade

A community in Idaho learned the hard way that it’s not the right approach to honor the nation’s lasting liberties by prohibiting the most powerful symbol in Christianity.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s Fourth of July parade rules initially forbade religious symbols from participating in the parade, which is a cruel irony in a nation where the First Amendment guaranteed the freedom of religion.  Eventually, the organizers had to retreat due to the backlash.

The Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber declared a prohibition on religious symbols and any possibly objectionable content related to the celebrations. According to Chamber President and CEO Linda Coppess, the ban was not meant to be seen as anti-religious or to isolate people.

Coppess said that the chamber had already fielded many complaints over objectionable exhibits, such as derogatory illustrations,  Confederate flags, aggressive politically-based speech, and graphic photographs.

The residents of the Coeur d’Alene area, who are the true lifeblood of community celebrations like Independence Day parades, just would not tolerate it.  Over the weekend, a growing clamor persisted, prompting the board to reevaluate and provide an exemption for religious symbols in response to the criticism.

The parade included many crosses, according to the images posted to social media.

Since the first European immigrants came to the Americas in search of religious freedom, religious liberty has played an important role in shaping American history. While the First Amendment’s protection of free speech forbids the government from interfering with religious activities, The Constitution prohibits government employees from promoting religious materials in the workplace, and the Declaration of Independence recognizes God as the origin of human rights. No matter their religious views, the Founding Fathers wanted the government to stay out of religion. It would come as a shock to them if a clause prohibiting religious practice were included in a parade honoring their nation’s birthday.