Dundee City Council will no longer drop references to Christianity from its ‘winter festival’, prompting delight from local church leaders.
Christians had complained about the Council’s policy of removing all references to Christmas.
The city’s only Muslim councillor, Mohammed Asif, had said the most important cultural celebration for families in Dundee should be staged as a ‘Christmas’ festival.
Dundee’s Lord Provost, John Letford, admitted that the policy of dropping Christmas had “caused a great deal of embarrassment for the Council.”
He added that the situation “will all be sorted for next year and we will not allow this to happen again”.
He also said: “We should not forget that Christmas is a time to remember the message of Jesus and it would be wrong not to let people exercise that right.”
Representatives from local churches will now join the procession at the Christmas lights switch on.
The Revd Allan Webster of the Church of Scotland’s Dundee Presbytery said: “I will be giving a Christmas message at the conclusion of the parade in the City Square. Everybody is delighted.”
Recently the Bishop of Chichester called on Christians to speak up for their religious traditions. The Rt Revd John Hind pointed to “growing hostility in the public towards witnessing our faith in society.”
He said that there had been “a number of recent attempts to marginalise the meaning of Christmas or to suppress the rights of believers.”
Just this week the Employers Forum on Belief (EFB) suggested that putting up religious decorations at Christmas time could be seen as discriminatory by non-Christian staff.
Earlier this year Rochdale Borough Council put up ‘Christmas’ lights in August in order to celebrate the religious festivals of several faiths. The first of the lights were installed as many as 127 days before Christmas.