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Yearly parade in Leesburg gets a name change

Mayor Kristen Umstattd and the Leesburg Town Council voted Oct. 11 to put a bit more Christmas into the town’s December parade. The Holiday Parade has formally held that name since Leesburg’s Department of Parks and Recreation started it in 1994. After Tuesday night’s vote, it will be called the Christmas and Holiday Parade.

The topic of the name change arose when someone petitioned council last month to change the name of the parade to something that had Christmas in the name of it.  The out-of-town resident pointed out that Christmas should be placed in the name of the parade, adding that Middleburg has a Christmas Parade every year with little to no objection to the name of it.

Council Member Marty Martinez brought up the fact that since his time in Leesburg, he and everyone he knows has referred to the parade as the Christmas Parade, and he has no problem with adding Christmas into the name.

The actual parade was never formally named the Christmas Parade; it was just referred to that throughout the town, Martinez pointed out.

“This started as a Christmas parade. I’m not going to say that we should focus on that. The point is that everyone should have a chance to participate,” Martinez said.

“Why can’t we get along and be nice about it and be tolerant about it? I’ve always wanted it to be the Christmas Parade. I see no harm; it covers everybody, I’m going to support it.”

Council members were concerned that placing Christmas in the name along with the word holiday could turn the parade into something similar to what happened last year on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn, when signs popped up during the holidays representing every group and cause imaginable.

“I thought the whole idea was not to put the word holiday in it because all parades are holiday related,” Council Member Katie Hammler said.

Council Member Tom Dunn said that council was making too big a deal out of the naming of the parade. For example back in 1998 the name of the “Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony” was renamed the “Tree Lighting Ceremony.” It was then changed back to “Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Menorah Lighting” in 2010.

“I love the word Christmas, and I’d like to see it part of the name of this parade. This is the Christmas season. The White House recognizes Christmas,” Umstattd said. “I think this is the right way to go.”

Council Member Dave Butler did not agree with renaming the parade.

“I will not be supporting this. I am absolutely stunned that the council would be supporting it. It’s a holiday parade; everyone is invited to attend,” Butler said. “I’ve already heard that it will ruin this parade. Coming this fall, or next fall we’ll have floats and arrangements, and the parade is going to look like the courthouse lawn, and we will absolutely deserve it. People will start to boo and hiss and protest these signs. Worst case we’ll get disgusted with this and cancel the parade. It’s not broken, and it’s a wonderful event.”

“Our holiday parade does not fall on a particular day. This parade actually falls closer to Thanksgiving than Christmas,” Dunn said. “I also feel as a Christian, the parade is more of a commercialization of my religion and it’s more of a holiday parade than a Christian parade. The son of Israel does not do the bidding of the town council.”

Council voted 6-1 with Butler dissenting to name the parade the Christmas and Holiday Parade.



Separation of church and state does not mean you can’t present the two together you just can’t force people to participate or punish them for not. Why does no one get that? Read your history books, that is why we came here in the first place.If you don’t like ti you don’t have to go and no one will burn you at the stake for being a witch.

Oh, No, its Mike(al) Jackson.  Point being, for some, its about censorship.  Take out a word, like Christmas, from all view.  And do it under names like John Wayne, when clearly its all the same poster.  Say it a million times, and it doesn’t change the words, or the message.  So, to all those dead people who are posting, have a Very Merry Christmas!

Congratulations, Laugh!  You have just set the record for most words typed without making a point!

John Wayne, I thought you had died!  Gosh, I’m glad to see I was wrong.  Of course, the topic would be boring for you, if you were dead.  But then again, maybe in the spirit world, your being dead might be seen as somehow ‘spiritual’ and as such, bordering on RELIGION, in which case, Mr. Myers would go to court to end your ‘existence as a spiritual person’ or something like that.  That is of course, if your being a spiritual existence is somehow sanctioned by government.  After all, you lived on film, which of course is protected against pirating by federal law, which is goverment, which means, darn it, that you have to go.

Need to go take a nap.  Laugh’s last pile of written garbage just put me to sleep.

Hurray!  Merry Christmas to All!!!!

Ed Myers, what a guy.  Love how he defines things.  Sooooooooooo, now when does Mr. Myers take the next step and demand that dictionaries remove the word Christmas, because, after all, the Library of Congress has editions of dictionaries, and copyright laws are governmental laws, and dictionaries are copyrighted.  And calanders, darn if they are not copyrighted to, and so they must all be changed.  What a sad ittle world Mr. Myers lives in.

I can’t be the only one who thought the courthouse lawn display was something special.

I had no idea that the word Christmas was actually a definition.Well, Congrats The Lord for the Christmas Parade (Holiday is Silent).

Chuckie, there is a thin line between free exercise and establishment. When government says you can’t have a Kwanza parade because it interferes with the Christmas parade, that’s establishment. When government regulates Christmas lights that’s Free exercise infringement. What is unacceptable is for a sectarian faction to get the government to promote their worldview exclusively. Calling the parade a christmas parade is symbolic that government has taking sides and is promoting one sectarian Christian view over others (both religious and secular) The solution is for government to stop organizing the parades and let anyone hold a parade. The problem is that some people are offended when others exercise a faith they disagree with. The constitution doesn’t protect citizens from being offended but it does protect against the government participating in that offense by picking sides.

@burndude, I appreciate your comments. And I actually agree that government should NEVER promote religion. But that’s a very different definition than from recognizing one. As a christian I don’t have a problem if another faith has their own event. The issue is in saying only cleansed non-specific and vague is allowed. That serves no one.

See, for you to secularize and sanitize everything in society as to not offend anyone - it offends me. Those that don’t hold to a particular faith all still have one and their sanitized and secularized version to me is an establishment of their religious beliefs over mine.

  There is no such thing as non-religion.

  Everyone has a worldview and if anything has been hijacked by government it’s the failed belief that secularism is not a faith equal in religion.

Always funny to hear people cry about government interfering in their lives, yet being proponents of government being in religion. 

@mark - appreciate your thoughts, and i will continue to express my voice with my ballot.  i’m not crapping on religion at all - i’m just trying to understand why there should be any intersection between religion and government.  i’m just as likely as you to be at the parade in fact.  i just see a slippery slope ahead, and I believe our forefathers warned us of this in their writings.

@chuckie - i’m not a faith-hater.  quite the opposite.  i just don’t want religion hijacked by government.

For all of you Faith-Haters who cling to your own book of fantasy - shut the hell up. Deal with your own weak leanings instead of plotting against your neighbors. The parade was here before you were.

  For the hard of healing, this is what the first amendment says.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

At every parade there are many who celebrate the good news of Jesus, which in an of itself is a free exercise of religion. People peacefully assembling sounds like it’s protected. Oh my, religion is not a crime! How dare the government!

  What is really going on is that while try as you might with the stupid signs and high brow self belief - it ain’t-a workin’ is it bud? When life get’s raw and real as it is now, we all know deep inside no amount of secular psycho babble will help.

Your monkey to man drawings look real good on paper but when every month there’s a new arm or leg that breaks the chain you just look silly. Looks like you have more faith then we do actually.

So pick up that shining example of man’s achievement - your iPhone that you absolutely love for all it can do. Tell me that would have happened without Steve Jobs. Intelligent Design ALWAYS requires an Intelligent Designer.

  By the way peeps, you’re also welcome to come to the parade. We’d love to have you…

@burndude, this is part of the fabric of our nation. You are more than welcomed to participate and be included. If you don’t want to participate that is your right. But again, this is a federally, statewide and locally recognized holiday. I’m not telling you to go home, I’m telling you to go somewhere else and live if you don’t like it. IT’s your freedom to do that. But don’t impede us for celebrting what we’ve been celebrating as a nation for over hundreds of years. Like it or not, this country was founded on Judeo Christian beliefs. Our forefathers are probably rolling in their graves because of people like you. I don’t like my tax dollars going to support abortion clinics or people who don’t want to work either. But you know what I do, I go to the ballot box and try to elect people who have the same beliefs as me. You also have that right, in some places you don’t have that right, depending on where your ancestors came from you may not of had that right either if they didn’t come here. So if you don’t like it vote for people who have your same opinion. Thats what this country is all about. Merry Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukah, Kwanza or Festivus for that matter, whichever you celebrate, if any

@Mark - why do you and others insist that people should go back to where they’re from??  doesn’t make sense.  i’m locally born and raised.  i’m not Christian.  doesn’t the fact that i’m here (regardless of locally born/raised) inherently give me the right to voice my opinion?  or is that an option only available to those who are Christian? 

i’m not saying there should not be a Christmas parade.  i’m saying let it be a private affair - funded by those who wish to participate.  Frankly, if i had my way, i wouldn’t want my tax dollars going to any holiday parade when we’re in such financial misery.  Why not get government out of the parade business all together and let the private sector make it happen?

Christmas is an American recognized holiday and has been since way before any us of graced this earth. Lets keep it that way. If your a Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or any other Religion you are welcomed to celebrate this great holiday with us. If you don’t that is your freedom to do so. But it is part of our Heritage and part of the fabric of our country, you knew we celebrated this before you got here and if you don’t like it then go somewhere else and live. And don’t try to force your beliefs or try to push your agenda on the majority. If you’re offended, too bad, I’m not an apologist.

You non-Christians are all out of your minds!  Except for the ones who give me campaign money!

Come on people, with everything else going in in this world is this really such a big deal? Take a look at your calendar and see the holiday title for Dec 25th - Christmas. Whether you celebrate Christmas as the birth if Christ, the day Santa wedges down your chimney or just a day you get off work, the bottom line is the day is titled Christmas! If you don’t like the idea don’t go to the parade, but respect those that do attend.

So many of you balk at the notion of Christmas.  OMG, having a parade to reinforce people’s beliefs in the Christmas traditions?  Do you people ever do anything but drag this subject up ad nauseum?  Got one question for you:  If you HATE Christmas so much, and all the wonderful spirit of the season, do you complain when you get that day (or even perhaps Christmas Eve) off as a holiday from work?????  Just curious.  Didn’t realize Loudoun had so many athiests.  How truly sad.

As a Jew, I am not angered by your calling the parade a Christmas parade.  I am angry that you will use my tax dollars to pay for the police who work on the route, the road that you parade on and the cleanup of that road.  The notion that many posters think the term Christmas Parade is inclusive of everyone doesn’t make sense to me.  Then again, I also consider Santa Clause and Rudolph to be symbols of Christmas, not the season.  Those symbols, nor a Christmas parade, represent me.

Who is angered by calling the parade what it is, a Christmas parade - jews?  muslims?  What are they doing at a Christmas parade, anyway?

rabidrabi - Agree, except in this case ONE individual from outside Leesburg made the suggestion. In turn, the Mayor placed it on the agenda and moved it along.  Certainly there are more pressing/appropriate issues to be addressed by these government leaders.

Someday, we’ll get politicians who will actually think about something before they do it—rather than pandering to the loudest (and often most obnoxious) voices.  There’s no reason on earth to add Christmas to the name of the holiday parade except to somehow exclude or diminish those who might have a different religious tradition.  I really doubt anyone walked up to the holiday parade and asked “what holiday are they celebrating?”

Praise the Lord and Pass the votes.

@gstern1994 Agreed. When religion is introduced to government and vice-versa, we are setting the stage for bad things to happen.  Let’s keep both institutions where they belong…independent of one another.

Let me be clear - i’m not one of these anti-God in government folks.  I don’t believe that God needs to be removed from the pledge, currency or other government items.  I do believe however, that assigning specific religions any credentials within government is dangerous.

So the proponents for keeping/adding “Christmas” to the parades’ name are either selectively ignorant or just proactively stupid.

America was founded by men who were Christian but not evangelicals, nor were they fundamentalists, but borderline deists. They (Jefferson anyone?) railed against making America in the image of the despised theocracies of Europe. The Constitution is not the bible or vice versa, no matter how much you want it to be so. Unlike the bible, the Constitution and its amendments try to protect the liberty of the individual and does not mention nor require an oath to a particular denomination. This whole argument is just a device that exposes the reality of a changing demographic and the influence of multiculturalism in the region. I think many would like to go back to time when Christianity held sway as the de-facto national religion and everyone else just had to deal with. A commenter above made a great point about if Islam was the dominant faith in the region and held political sway, would there be so many who would support a public display of Ramadan on the taxpayers dime? I doubt it. Those who wish to see their faith/tradition elevated above others seems to be the agenda here. The Tea Party seems to embody some of the ideals here, namely: a selective reading of historical documents, cultural nostalgia for times gone by (or that may never have really existed), and the demonization of those who just have a different point of view.

Religion belongs at the center of our government.  We will take back the government from the secularist liberals.  Too many people like to ignore God’s word and his mandates.  Godly leaders like Dick Black will help save those of you who are not saved.  You should be thankful people like Dick Black are looking out for your souls.

question for the religious: Do you want to keep government out of religion?

Because if you bring religion into government, your’re going to get government into religion. So, which religion (of course, only christianity)? Catholicism? Baptist? Methodist? I’m sure you’re fine with all of them getting involved in government right?

Personally, I could give a s**t what they call the parade. I don’t care if you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. I don’t care if pray before you eat or if you sacrifice a goat for harvest time.

But if you tell me I have to pray to any of your bulls**t deities, you’ll get a boot up your a**.


@MKelley Sorry, i’m unaware of a specific document outlining the founding of Loudoun County based on Christian principles.  Further, I have a Christmas tree and decorations on my lawn every December…so simply trying to throw me aside won’t work.  If I were to leave and “go back to where I came from”, I would end up right back here in Loudoun.  So spare me your tirade.

Show me where it says that Loudoun was founded on Christian principles.  You’re opening pandora’s box by letting religion and government intermix.  No one is taking “YOUR” Christmas away.  It simply isn’t part of government.  Fact.

I think you should give the Democrats praise for voting to put back Christ in the name.  They are usually the first ones to vote for the separation of God and everybody.  Who is the son of Israel?  Christ is the Son of God or in other words God Himself.

“This Country (USA) was FOUNDED on the Christian Faith”

Really? Please name the historical document (i.e. Declaration of Independence, etc.) which shaped our nation that states this.

THANK YOU MKELLY~~~~~ WELL SAID!!!  Thats the way I feel as well!!!!!

This County (USA) was FOUNDED on the Christian Faith and what makes the USA so GREAT is that this COUNTRY allows ALL religions, BUT it should not stand by and let the FOUNDING FAITH be changed because of people entering the US for a better life not agreeing with Christmas.  If YOU are that opposed to OUR Christmas, then I have one word for you LEAVE and go back to where you came from

Wedge of pie, issues, whatever.  I take the pie.  Forget the rest of the posters here, who want to make up a controversy so that they can jump up on a soap box.  If the efforts of some is a ‘political message’ come out and speak on election day.  That appears to be the proper day of observation.  The rest, have a Merry Christmas.  Hope to see you at the Christmas parade.

I’d like to pose a hypothetical question to all of you…

What if (big what if here) Leesburg was predominantly Muslim?  Would it be ok with you if Islamic tradition and culture were promoted? 

I’m a huge proponent of keeping religion out of government - PERIOD.  No exceptions.

I’m also astonished that we spend this much energy on such obvious wedge political issues and not on issues that make our community and country better.  While we debate the merits of Christmas vs Holiday, the rest of the world is passing us by. Wake up.

Dick Black?!  When it comes to politicians taking advantage of a holiday/halloween/christmas parade for political reasons, he will be the worse offender.  He is the scariest thing at the Halloween parade.

What is the most saddening about his whole exercise is that one council member, Mr. Butler, voted against the motion BECAUSE it had the name Christmas in it.

At a time when the atheists are celebrating their victory on the Loudoun County Courthouse Lawn, Mr. Butler’s vote only gives them more justification for their actions.

They are doing this because they are scared to death of Dick Black returning to public service, and fighting for all that is holy and just.  Surely Colonel Black will legislate away any attempts to take Christ out of Christmas. 

The liberals are running scared - you all need to move to communist Maryland, Virginia is for the God fearing.  Praise be to God that we will soon be led by men of distinction and honor like Colonel Dick Black.

@BM: Protesting government’s intrusion into our private lives is the hobby. Suing is the occasional method, not the hobby itself. I don’t really like the legal part of it but if we are to preserve our civil right we have to test whether the courts are for or against us.

But don’t forget Katie “what’s a holiday?” Hammler’s efforts to so muddy up the waters on this one, that you could not tell what side of the question she really was on.  Which is not a surprise about Katie “Defines Stupid” Hammler.

I remember lots of your stuff, Mr. Myers.

Most notably the interview you gave the WaPo in which you stated that suing the government was your hobby.

Have a nice day.

@David: You can say that again!

If all it takes to make people happy is a little redundancy, so be it.

Where are the Occupy Leesburg protesters?  I know the local leftists are itching to organize against the rich residents of Loudoun County.

Bravo, it’s about time to get Christ back where He belongs. In the forefront of every issue. Political or other wise, keep Christ the center and watch things change for the better (of course), for this town, county, state and nation.

Barbara, my xmas display had nothing to do with Christmas. It was scheduled for the anniversary of the bill of rights and had it not been vandalized would have been removed before the Christmas season. It was a political message and not a religious one. Political speech can never be characterized as Profane unless you are making government a god and trying to restrict criticism of government.  I’m surprised you still remember it. It must have been a better protest than I thought.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!  Its about time, and if you want to see Jesus in it, I would have no problem displaying his figure on a float!!! I would be proud to do so!!!

Beltway Atheists and Mainstream Loudoun hardest hit by the news.

It’s been the “Holiday Parade” for 17 years.  Why change it?

Mr. Myers, anyone honestly concerned about respect for God’s name probably wouldn’t have placed a display at the Courthouse of a Christmas Carol rewritten in foul-mouthed double entendre.

Jonathan, so, when you next go protest something in Leesburg having to do with any holiday displays or events, your input should be discounted because you aren’t a resident?

Yea for the name change….the parade won’t change a bit, but at least we are calling it what it really is…a CHRISTMAS parade.  Now let’s figure out other issues that our town faces.

For some odd reason, maybe it’s something in the water, I don’t quite understand this.  Why did this out-of-town request get promoted and embraced by the Town Council?

This strikes me as the perfect storm for the “government can do no good” ideology.  Flood government with social and religious culture war issues and then blame government for not getting its work done.  Let’s outsource the parade to private enterprise and let the free market deal with it.

Using Christ Mass (Christmas) for political purposes is using God’s name in vain and is both disrespectful and forbidden by the 2nd Commandment. Don’t vote for those who have no respect for other people’s religion by trying to co-opt it.

Calling a political event a holiday parade was acceptable. Renaming it a Christmas parade is blasphemy.

Merry Chrismakuanzakah…..

Problem is we are told to embrace diversity, unless it has to do with the perceived majority, then it is somehow offensive.  If someone wants to have a Kwanzaa parade it would be allowed, which is fine with me, our differences are what makes us a great country.  But if it is “Christian”, then all of a sudden people are offended.

What a joke, to most people Christmas has nothing to do with religion, it has everything to do with giving and receiving presents. It is a sprit of the year. Now if Jesus instead of Santa Claus shows up on the end of the float, then I could see a real argument there.  Fact is he doesn’t. Such a stupid argument it really is.

Next year, it will be known as the Kwanza Christmas Hannucha Eyd Holiday festival.

Yeah - Christmas is a real bummer when people bring religion into it.  Let’s just stick to it’s original intent - Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, out of control shopping, etc.

@burndude-Agree.  And you are right.  These issues always come up during an election cycle—distraction.

@see - I miss the days when dialog and debate in this country were about issues around how we become better than the rest of the world.  Funny how our politics are based on wedge issues, and not the real issues facing the next generation of Americans.  Here we go with another winter debating the semantics of Holiday vs. Christmas while the rest of the world gets read to lap us.

I suspect many will disagree with me on here, but I personally miss the days when schools had a xmas tree up in the lobby with gloves collected from students hanging as ornaments. I miss the days when a xmas tree would be displayed in the town circle where I grew up.  I guess the White House xmas tree will be next. :/

When will the Festivus celebration parade start

OMG…change the name and world will come to an end…get real Butler.  Where do these nut jobs come from.  Who are the nut jobs electing them.

OMG wait until the ACLU hears about this!

I had no idea that the word Christmas was actually a definition.  Guess Ed M. is just going to have to move to an alternate universe, with a different edition of Webster’s Dictionary as company.  Especially since calling the Christmas parade the Christmas parade will have such a dramatic impact.  Right Ed?  Get Real, Ed, and grow up!

Government once again trying to define religion. We don’t need politicians or businesses telling us how to celebrate Christmas. We want to be free to celebrate Christ’s birth without interference from politicians aligned with one religious   viewpoint imposing their theology on the rest of us.  Symbolism and ritual define religion. Allowing government to hijack Christmas for political purposes will kill it.

Well, if it’s anything like the 4th of July parade, just call it The Election Rally.

Praise The Lord for the Christmas Parade (Holiday is Silent).

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