In Defiance of Proposed Ban, Christians in Deep Red State Parade Crosses During July 4th Celebrations

By: Georgia | Published: Jul 05, 2024

At the heart of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, this year’s July 4th parade was marked by a striking display of crosses, following a recent lifting of a ban on religious symbols. 

Local participants proudly blended symbols of their faith with American flags, turning the parade into a vibrant expression of both patriotism and spiritual identity.

A Turnaround on Religious Symbols

Initially, the Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber had prohibited religious symbols in their annual parade. 

An adult male in a casual t-shirt labeled "FREEDOM" carrying a large wooden cross over his shoulder during a sunny parade

Source: Idaho Family Policy Center/Facebook

However, this decision was promptly reversed, granting attendees the freedom to carry symbols like crosses. This policy change transformed the event, allowing expressions of religious faith to stand alongside patriotic fervor.


Addressing the Backlash with Open Arms

Responding to widespread disapproval from the local community, the Chamber quickly retracted their initial ban. 

A smiling woman wearing a patriotic hat and sunglasses holds a small wooden cross in a busy street during a Fourth of July parade

Source: Idaho Family Policy Center/Facebook

Linda Coppess, the Chamber president, clarified, “The original policy was not meant to isolate individuals or be considered an anti-religious policy.” 

Feedback Spurs Policy Revision

After receiving over 50 complaints about offensive displays—including Confederate flags and harsh political language—the Chamber felt compelled to reconsider their stance.

A diverse group of adults and children marching in a parade carrying American flags and wooden crosses

Source: Sarabellag/X

Linda Coppess highlighted how this substantial feedback prompted a thorough reevaluation of the parade’s policies.

Seeking Guidance for a Friendlier Parade

To tackle the concerns raised, the Chamber sought advice from national organizations, striving to cultivate a parade atmosphere that was both welcoming and family-oriented. 

A lively crowd walking in a parade, carrying wooden crosses, American flags, and various banners

Source: Sarabellag/X

This collaborative approach aimed at refining the event to better serve the community’s diverse expectations.

The Goal Behind the Original Ban

“The original intention was to create an environment where everyone feels welcome and respected,” explained Linda Coppess. 

Two young girls, one wearing a tie-dye shirt and the other in a patriotic dress, watching a firetruck pass by in a Fourth of July parade

Source: Ian MacDonald/Unsplash

This foundational goal drove the Chamber’s initial decision, aiming to foster a parade environment that embraced all participants and spectators without causing discomfort or exclusion.


Community Voice Drives Change

The quick reversal of the ban on religious symbols was a direct response to the community’s vocal dissatisfaction. 

A festive float in a Fourth of July parade features a large puppet resembling a stylish figure in sunglasses and a top hat, surrounded by parade participants carrying American flags.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This incident highlighted the Chamber’s agility in adapting to public sentiment, ensuring that the parade remained a beloved staple of the community’s July 4th celebrations.


Reaffirming the Parade’s Purpose

In the wake of the controversy, Linda Coppess expressed deep personal regret over any upset caused, reiterating her commitment: “Our goal for the Fourth of July Parade is to create a celebration that honors our military, fosters family-friendly fun, and respects all attendees.” 

A group of Boy Scouts in uniform marching in a parade, each carrying an American flag, with spectators lining the streets

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her statement reaffirmed the Chamber’s dedication to an inclusive celebration.


Support from the Spiritual Community

Paul Van Noy, a prominent local religious leader, praised the decision to allow religious symbols. 

A serene sunrise behind a wooden cross, overlooking a valley with a lake and mountain ranges in the background

Source: Hugo Fergusson/Unsplash

“Any and all religious symbols should be allowed. Everybody should have their right to be represented faithfully and properly,” he stated, reflecting a widespread desire for representation and respect at the parade.


Balancing Unity and Expression

Before the policy change, the parade only permitted non-offensive signs that promoted unity or paid homage to military and first responders. 

A historical reenactment group dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms marching down a city street, carrying American flags, with onlookers and modern buildings in the background

Source: Richard Dykes/Unsplash

The Chamber’s careful regulation was designed to keep the focus on community solidarity and appreciation for service members.


New Guidelines to Enhance the Parade

Post-reversal, the Chamber implemented new guidelines to prevent offensive displays while accommodating diverse symbols, including religious ones. 

A vintage red truck decorated with American flags and patriotic banners, carrying a group of people and balloons, participating in a sunny Fourth of July parade through a residential area

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This strategy was meant to balance respect for different beliefs with the decorum expected at such a national celebration.


Maintaining Order at the Parade

The Chamber was clear: non-compliance with parade rules could lead to immediate removal. 

A Civil War reenactment group dressed in Union uniforms marching through a residential neighborhood, carrying a large, waving American flag, accompanied by police on bicycles

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This firm stance was part of a broader strategy to ensure the parade remained a respectful and engaging event, fostering a strong sense of community pride among attendees.