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Fourth of July Parade Participants in Coeur D’Alene Carry Crosses Following Pushback Against Chamber of Commerce

Fourth of July Parade
Screengrab from X / @IdahoTribune

Some participants in the 2024 Fourth of July Parade in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, proudly carried crosses alongside American flags after the city’s chamber of commerce reversed its decision to ban religious and political symbols in the parade. A spokesperson for the chamber said that the intent with the original decision was to eliminate “offensive displays” and to “ensure we honor America’s military.”

“As a person of deep faith, the recent events and accusations have been especially heartbreaking,” said Linda Coppess, president and CEO of the Coeur d’Alene (CDA) Regional Chamber in a statement posted to Facebook July 1. “Our goal for the Fourth of July American Heroes Parade is to create a celebration that honors our military, fosters family-friendly fun, and respects all attendees.” 

Fourth of July Parade in Coeur d’Alene

A video posted by the conservative media outlet Idaho Tribune on the afternoon of July 4 showed people marching in a Fourth of July parade carrying crosses and American flags. “Banning Crosses didn’t work out well for the @cdachamber,” said the caption. “We the People have had enough of the anti-Christ tyrants that are in control of Coeur d’Alene. CHRIST IS KING!”

However, in a statement to the Coeur d’Alene Press, Coppess said that the rule banning “symbols associated with specific political movements, religions, or ideologies” was a response to the many complaints the chamber had received about offensive signs, including those portraying “Confederate flags, derogatory illustrations, harsh politically-based language, and graphic photographs.” 

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The ban was not targeted at Christianity, or even religion in general, but included controversial political signs. “The original policy was not meant to isolate individuals or be considered an anti-religious policy,” said Coppess. She told the Press that last year the chamber received over 50 complaints about displays that people found offensive.

On June 28, the Idaho Family Policy Center (IFPC) posted an alert urging people to “push back against this censorship of our founding values—and stand with conviction for religious expression at local Independence Day celebrations.”  

On its website, IFPC describes itself as “a ministry that advances the lordship of Christ in the public square through engaging the church, promoting God-honoring public policy, and training statesmen.” The organization encouraged people to email the CDA Regional Chamber “asking them to allow Christian parade participants to express their faith.”

In a post on June 29, IFPC said, “It’s time to double down. We’ve heard from a local church that the Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber called to tell them that they still cannot display their cross—despite receiving over 1,000 emails since yesterday and seemingly flip flopping on their policies regarding religious symbols.”