It’s not a holiday tree. It’s a Christmas tree.
Yes, I know, my dear pagan and atheist friends. I respect your position that Christmas trees originated as a pagan symbol to celebrate the Winter Solstice. My bet, however, is that people put up trees in public places in December these days because they are a symbol of Christmas, not because they are a symbol of the longest night of the year. I think we can all be honest about this.
Calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree is like calling a menorah a holiday candelabra. It’s ridiculous.
Lincoln Chafee, the governor of Rhode Island, doesn’t think so. He insists on calling the new evergreen installed in the center of his Statehouse a holiday tree. He says, according to the Associated Press, that, “… calling the 17-foot-tall spruce a holiday 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.” Just so you know, the blue spruce in question was purchased at a CHRISTMAS TREE FARM!
I just can’t stand intellectual dishonesty, as if the idea of calling something what it really isn’t will somehow convince people otherwise. What must children think when they hear grown-ups have these conversations? Probably that we’ve all lost our minds.
Everyone knows what a tall evergreen outfitted with twinkly lights represents in our time: Christmas. It doesn’t mean that people who don’t believe in Christmas can’t or shouldn’t have a tree. Trees are equal opportunity entertainers and can brighten anybody’s home, either in December or throughout the year. I’m just a little tired of politicians trying to have their cake and eat it too by putting up a tree right after Thanksgiving to please their Christian constituents but then renaming it to somehow magically confuse everyone else.
If you say you want to respect the diversity of religion in our country, then do that. Have a Christmas tree, and a menorah and whatever else helps reflect that variety of faiths of the people of your state. I like seeing people celebrate what is important to them, even if it’s not important to me. Just don’t put up a Christmas tree and lie about what it is. I mean, really.
Sometimes being politically correct can be useful because it helps protect people and reminds us to be respectful of others. Other times it’s just embarrassingly stupid.
Own your unique traditions: How to teach tolerance and diversity