The Deacon's Bench

An early skirmish in the annual “war on Christmas” ended quickly, and without any apparent bloodshed, after the party which fired the first shot waved a white flag of surrender.


Richmond will have a “Christmas” parade after all.

The nonprofit group that organizes the annual holiday march down Broad Street announced yesterday that it had re-adopted “Christmas” as part of the event’s name.

Last week, organizers said they had decided to drop “Christmas” in favor of “holiday” in an effort to promote diversity.

However, the decision prompted an angry outcry from the community and some political action groups that showed no sign of lessening, said Robert Kelly, chairman of the parade and president of Richmond Parade Inc.

“I was beginning to see the possibility of this hurting participation,” he said.

One corporate sponsor had reduced its contribution because of the decision to remove Christmas from the event’s name, Kelly said.

Dominion Resources, which was announced last week as the parade’s title sponsor for 2010 and 2011, did not ask for the initial name change or for the reversal, Kelly said. Nevertheless, the public utility company received plenty of criticism over the issue.

“We felt we owed it to them” to revisit the matter, Kelly said.

Richmond Parade’s board of directors voted 7-0 to re-adopt “Christmas” in the name. The Dominion Christmas Parade will be held Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. along Broad from the Science Museum of Virginia to North Seventh Street.

The decision to remove Christmas from the name prompted more than 100 complaints to the Richmond Times-Dispatch in the form of calls and e-mails and reader comments on the newspaper’s website and Facebook page.

At least one Facebook group, Keep Christmas in Richmond, was organized to oppose the name change.

Read on.

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