Grand Rapids Christmas parade rejects pro-life float because it’s not ‘neutral’

Its float would have said, “Life: A Precious Gift."
Mon Nov 25, 2013 - 5:28 pm EST

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, November 25, 2013 ( – Organizers of the Grand Rapids Christmas parade have denied the local Right to Life group the right to take part in the parade, because the officials said its message was not “neutral.”


The group sought to enter a float in the Santa Parade with the message, “Life: A Precious Gift.”

Last year, the parade allowed the organization to participate, with children wearing Santa caps throwing candy to onlookers.

But this year the Jaycees, who oversee the event, said the group's message crossed a line.


The pro-life group protested the decision. “We don't think anything we do is controversial, particularly in the parade,” Laura Alexandria, the director of operations, told Fox 17. “Our float is very neutral. Our message says, 'Life: A Precious Gift,' and I think everyone can agree with that.”

Similar messages have been stirred controversy in the past.

Right to Life of the Holland (Michigan) Area was not allowed to participate in Holland, Michigan's Tulip Time Parade in April 2009. Its theme that year would have been, "Life – A Special Gift."

Although the group had taken part in Holland parades for the past 25 years, it was disqualified after gaining the ability to influence legislation.

"Right to Life should consider itself fortunate for having been in Tulip Time as long as it was," said Tulip Time board member and attorney Mark Zietlow at the time.

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Although thought of as a conservative, Calvinist city, Grand Rapids Mayor and United Church of Christ minister George Heartwell (who is now in his third term) warned last year that “the forces of darkness seek to deprive women of” the right to abortion-on-demand by defunding Planned Parenthood.

Alexandria said the city's Jaycees said the group may apply next year, something it plans to do. 

  grand rapids

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