Battle Brews After RI Governor Calls the State’s ‘Christmas Tree’ a ‘Holiday Tree’
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (The Blaze/AP) — The battle over holiday versus Christmas trees continues to rage on. First, an epic battle was underway in Wisconsin. Now, Rhode Island is the new epicenter, with the state’s governor deciding that “Christmas” isn’t an inclusive enough title.
On Tuesday, the state’s top leader said that lawmakers upset with his decision to call the blue spruce erected in the Statehouse a “holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree” should focus their energy on feeding the poor.
According to Gov. Lincoln Chafee, calling the tree a “holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree” is in keeping with Rhode Island’s founding in 1636 by religious dissident Roger Williams as a haven for tolerance, where government and religion were kept separate.
“I would encourage all those engaged in this discussion – whatever their opinion on the matter – to use their energy and enthusiasm to make a positive difference in the lives of their fellow Rhode Islanders,” Chafee said, offering an initiative to feed the needy as a good place to start.
But critics of Chafee’s seasonal semantics said the independent governor is taking political correctness too far – and defying the will of the Legislature.
In January, the House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution declaring that the tree customarily erected this time of year be referred to “as a ‘Christmas tree’ and not as a ‘holiday tree’ or other non-traditional terms.”
The resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Doreen Costa, said she plans to erect and decorate a tree at her Statehouse office on Dec. 6, the same day Chafee plans to host a tree lighting event. Costa said she’ll be taking up a collection of canned goods.
“Anybody that wants to go see a holiday tree can do so, but I will be decorating a Christmas tree,” Costa, R-North Kingstown, told The Associated Press. “It may only be a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree but at least it will be a Christmas tree.”
Chafee isn’t the first Rhode Island governor to refer to the annual Statehouse tree as a `holiday’ tree. His predecessor, Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri, used both `holiday tree’ and `Christmas tree’ in his correspondence. Other past governors have made no specific reference to Christmas at all with invitations to “holiday celebrations” featuring a “tree lighting.”
The 17-foot Colorado blue spruce at the center of the holiday hullabaloo was donated to the state by Big John Leyden’s Christmas Tree Farm in West Greenwich, R.I. Tree farmer John Leyden said he’s disappointed with Chafee’s yuletide word choice.
“It’s not a holiday tree or even an `X-mas’ tree,” he said. “We’re a Christmas tree farm, that’s what the name is.”
Chafee insists he’s just respecting the state’s history as a place respectful of all religions.
The colony’s hands-off policy toward religion quickly attracted sects that had been persecuted elsewhere. Rhode Island boasts both the nation’s first Baptist church and the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue.
- John McCain Lectures Tea Party Senator on How ‘Business’ Gets Done in Congress: ‘That’s What We’ve Been Doing for a Couple Hundred Years’ 557 Comments
- Boy Scouts of America Vote to Allow Gay Members 508 Comments
- Pope Francis’ Sermon Sparks Debate: ‘Even the Atheists’ Have Been Redeemed ‘With the Blood of Christ’ 482 Comments
- Obama Doesn’t Return Marine’s Salute, Shakes Hand Instead — Is This a Protocol Misstep? 335 Comments
- Piers Morgan Bans Dana Loesch From His Show Following Twitter Spat: ‘Show Some Bloody Respect’ 333 Comments
- Game-Changing Bombshell? There’s a Major Twist in the Story About a High School Student’s Lesbian Relationship With a Minor 234 Comments
- Is the Boy Scouts’ Gay Amendment the ‘Beginning of the End’ for the Group? (Plus: Tell Us Where You Stand) 232 Comments
- MSNBC Hosts Martin Bashir and Chris Hayes Claim London Machete Killers Aren’t Terrorists: ‘These Are Just Murderers’ 141 Comments
- Did You Catch the Possibly Policy-Changing Ft. Hood Reference in Obama’s Terror Speech? Read More
- Dem. Rep. Apologizes for Attending ‘Racist, Anti-Semitic and Homophobic’ Speech Read More
- Have You Had Scotch at a NJ TGI Friday’s Lately? You Might Have Been Drinking Rubbing Alcohol Read More
- Venezuelan President Blames Toilet Paper Shortage on the Rich Read More
- This Terrible Chart Shows the Change in Food Stamp Participation Over the Last 10 Years Read More
- Disney Makes Absolutely Mortifying Photoshop Mistake Read More
- Trey Gowdy at It Again — This Time with a Jack Bauer Reference! 117 Comments
- Lion Named ‘Bonedigger’ and Small Dog Make Most Unlikely Companions Read More
- Rocket Bike Sets Land Speed Record — and Uses a Fuel You Wouldn’t Expect Read More
- How 3D Printing Technology Created a Special Part for Baby’s Windpipe and Saved His Life Read More
- 6 Fascinating Spy Gadgets You’ll Probably Want (and Can Have) After Seeing Read More
- How Would a 3D-Printed Shotgun Slug Hold Up? Here’s the Test Read More
- NYC lawsuit alleging Favre sent racy texts settled
- Trucker bumps I-5 bridge, sees tragedy behind him
- Journalist and author Haynes Johnson dies at 81
- Report: Yahoo, pay-TV operators among Hulu bidders
- Principal recounts storm hitting Oklahoma school
- Toronto mayor denies he smokes crack cocaine
- McIlroy, Donald miss cut at BMW PGA Championship
- Ex-Guatemala president extradited to US