January 2023 Church & State Magazine - January 2023

Inclusive Holiday Parade Divides Residents Of Central Texas City


A disagreement over the inclusion of LGBTQ residents in an annual holiday parade in Taylor, Texas, grew so heated that the community ended up having two separate events.

After the 2021 holiday parade, a priest at a local Catholic school complained to a ministerial alliance that runs the event in conjunction with the city about a rainbow-themed float that included drag queens dancing and lip-synching to Christmas carols, reported The Washington Post.

In response, the ministerial alliance changed its policies, demanding that floats must “not conflict with traditional and biblical family values.”

City officials rejected the change.

“We couldn’t co-sponsor an event that wasn’t open to everybody in the city,” Stacey Osborne, a city spokeswoman, told The Post. “Not only did we not want to open up the city to any type of legal action, but more importantly we have worked hard to make the city a welcoming place.”

But the ministers would not budge.

“We do not feel like drag queens dancing in the Christmas parade, that these are the values we want to communicate to our children,” the Rev. Jeff Ripple, a member of the alliance, told The Post. “I don’t hate LGBTQ individuals. I don’t hate adulterers. There’s lots of sin out there. I believe the most loving thing I can do is tell people the truth, that if they don’t repent of their sin – and that’s any sinner – they will spend an eternity separated from God.”

The city’s compromise was to allow the ministers to hold a Christmas Parade of Lights on Dec. 3. Shortly after that, the city held its own procession, the Very Merry Holiday Parade, along the same route. Most people watching, the newspaper reported, stayed for both parades.

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