State

Parade stays 'Christmas' in Merced

MERCED — The Christmas Parade will live on, after the community response to calling it a "holiday parade" emerged as frigid as the North Pole.

"We never wanted to be the Grinch that stole the Christmas Parade from Merced," City Manager John Bramble said in a statement.

The 15th annual Christmas Parade will begin at 3 p.m. Dec. 5 on Main Street.

The city was handed the parade this year after its longtime sponsors said they didn't have the energy to organize the event.

City staff quietly renamed it the Holiday Parade in an effort to be inclusive and avoid a costly lawsuit involving the constitutional question over the separation of church and state.

The change was blasted by many as an indication of a society bent on political correctness at all costs. Residents called City Hall to complain and wrote letters to the editor of the Merced Sun-Star.

"If someone wanted a Hejira parade (Islam), I wouldn't try to change it," resident Jason Tucker wrote. "Why is it that today in my town someone wishes to deny our Christmas parade?"

Tucker said he was pleased to learn the city changed the name back.

A lawsuit could be filed, arguing that the city is endorsing one religion above another by organizing a Christmas parade.

Parade entry applications are available at www.cityofmerced.org.

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