Lacie Lowry, News On 6
TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- A US Senator from Oklahoma is explaining his refusal to take part in Tulsa's annual Christmas parade.
Republican Senator Jim Inhofe made his decision when the word "Christmas" was taken out of the official parade name.
News On 6 caught up with him as he rode in another Christmas parade.
It was chilly at the Broken Arrow Christmas Parade, but warm smiles were everywhere.
"A Winter Morning Sleigh Ride" was the theme, and among the nativity scenes, bands, and well wishers was U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe.
The senator has stirred up a Christmas controversy that he says was unintentional.
"It was not my intention to disrupt everybody else, but life is short and you do what you feel is the right thing and I think this is the right thing and I feel like if they take Christ out, then take me out, too," Inhofe said.
Inhofe is referring to Tulsa's Christmas parade, which was re-named the "Holiday Parade of Lights" in 2009. He says he didn't participate then because of the name change and will skip it again this year.
"Christmas means the birth of Jesus… I'm not politically correct, but I've never been accused of being that way before," Inhofe said.
Inhofe says reaction to his decision over the last week has been overwhelming.
"Other places like Philadelphia, the mayor of Philadelphia is now saying, 'well ours should be Christmas, too.' So it's having an effect beyond just the Tulsa parade," he said.
Other politicians share his stance. Republican State Representative Mike Ritze said:
Pretending a Christmas parade is not a Christmas parade offends common sense and severs a longstanding and cherished tradition in the Tulsa community.
Senator Inhofe has ridden horses in Christmas parades for three decades. He says he'll only ride in parades that have Christmas in the title.
The Tulsa City Council plans to discuss the parade name change at a special meeting next Tuesday.