Piedmont, Alabama's annual Christmas parade committee chose "Keep Christ in Christmas" for this year's parade theme, but a national atheist group quickly put a stop to that.
"It was a great theme," Piedmont's Mayor Bill Baker said. "I was totally shocked when I received the letter. It's a small town. It's a small Christmas parade. We didn't think there would be any problems at all."
But one citizen reportedly complained about the Christian theme in a public event, and Wisconsin's Freedom From Religion Foundation stepped in with a letter insisting that the mayor would be breaking the law if the parade's theme continued.
"The City's coordination of this religious even poses serious constitutional separation of state and church concerns," the FFRF's letter stated. "The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from endorsing, advancing or promoting religion."
The letter from FFRF's attorney, Andrew L. Seidel, went on to insist that the city find a "more appropriate, more inclusive, and constitutional theme" for the parade. But even the city attorney agreed that the FFRF was correct and there's nothing they could do to fight the demand.
Piedmont has been the target of atheist activists in the past when a group demanded that the city's high school stop reciting prayers before football games. But the citizens of Piedmont refused to be bullied for their beliefs and started gathering on the field before each game to recite the Lord's Prayer out loud. "One week we had the entire football field encircled by people," the mayor recalled. "It was really wonderful and very moving to me to see people come together and praise God and speak His name out loud."
That resistance to political correctness pressure carried over to this week's parade as the city decided to show how they plan to keep Christ in Christmas through other means.
"Nothing has really changed," the mayor told Fox News. "We still have the same religious floats. We still have the churches. We still have the beauty queens. We're still going to have this wonderful Christian parade regardless of if we have a theme or not."
Local citizens marched in the parade with signs that read "Let's Keep Christ in Christmas," which was not against any laws considering it wasn't an official theme of the parade.
"They paid their entry fees," the mayor continued. "It's a positive march - it's not a protest march. They are keeping the theme alive even though legally we had to do away with it. The town has rallied. I appreciate all the citizens who got on Facebook and the telephone and talked to each other. It's heartwarming to me to see the Christian response that has developed."
But even after the citizens were able to finally hold the town's parade the way they wanted, one question remained on the mind of Mayor Baker: Who complained?
"I'd like to tell that one person - whoever he or she is - if they even exist - to stay at home," he said. "If they don't like a Christian theme, if they don't like a Christian parade - stay at home."