Tree name ignites controversy in US

2011-12-06 22:43

Providence - Some Christian groups are enraged over a US state governor's decision to call the state's official Christmas decoration a "holiday tree".

The Roman Catholic church and others are offended. An hour after Governor Lincoln Chafee lights the official tree, state Republican Representative Doreen Costa intends to light what she is calling a "Christmas tree" outside her legislative office in protest.

Several past Rhode Island governors have called the official evergreen a "holiday tree" to be more inclusive of those who do not celebrate the Christian holiday.

Chafee's event also features Santa Claus and a specially decorated tree honoring the US military.

There has been debate since the founding of the US over how separate religion should be from government. Some Christian conservatives see de-emphasising or altering Christmas traditions as a rejection of their beliefs.

  • Vivian - 2011-12-07 04:34

    Crazy to change a Christian holiday to make all the other religions happy, why not change the names of their holidays too.......To me it will always be Christmas.......The end

      John - 2011-12-07 08:17

      Even if the 25th of December is not birthday of Christ? It is actually slap bang in the middle of one of the biggest pagan festivals, the winter solstice! Funny how the Christians get their nickers in a knot over a pagan holiday .......weird!!

      Hans - 2011-12-07 09:07

      Christmas isn't about Christianity anymore.Sadly, commercialism took over long ago.It's about exchanging gifts and people from all religions do it.

  • gareth.mann - 2011-12-07 07:22

    Pretty ironic that the controversy's about a Christmas tree of all things - I know people who refuse to put up a Christmas tree because they feel that it's a pagan symbol with no real link to Christianity!

      John - 2011-12-07 08:18

      Spot on!!

  • Victor - 2011-12-07 08:27

    Well, since it's a pagan festival highjacked by christians should it not be changed to another name?

  • Judy - 2011-12-07 08:56

    Christians are told specifically in the OT not to cut down a tree from the woods and decorate it. If that's the case, then why don't they listen. The December 25 celebration is definitely pagan, celebrating the birth of a number of pagan gods, the solstice, and has nothing to do with christians.

  • kerrimg - 2011-12-07 09:18

    to me it is still a Christmas Tree...........

  • Hennie - 2011-12-07 10:06

    I don't know what the fuss is about. The tree is not a Christian symbol. It was adopted by the church to combat a fertility ritual done by pagans at the time. In fact the whole concept of Christmas was created to combat that pagan holiday. I believe in God and Jesus Christ and I don't celebrate Christmas, because you should celebrate Him every day. I'm not going to make my faith cheap, just to compete with a pagan ritual. If you ask me I say do away with Christmas completely, as it has become a gross commercial excuse to sell stuff and to put emotional pressure on people.

  • fishycraig - 2011-12-07 10:46

    I love the fact that the people arguing for and against Christmas are adults. For pete's sake it is a time for kids really. Whether you believe in god, Jesus or little green men from the planet Zighpon Christmas is about kids getting something. And it is an altruistic giving. Even though it is the parents who buy the gifts it is an invisible person (Father Christmas) who the kids think gives them. So adults, shut up, go put up a Christmas tree, get a few pressies and see the happiness on your kids' faces.

      Hennie - 2011-12-07 11:06

      I admit we do buy presents for the kids, because not to will be cruel. But my kids has never thought an invisible person buys the gifts. They are not stupid you see. Kids only believe the ridiculous because parents teach them those things. It seems to me as if parents doesn't respect their kids enough to teach them the truth. My kids are as happy and excited about Christmas as the rest of the poor, lied to souls. They eagerly discuss what they hope to get with their friends and each other. Luckily I taught them not to make fun of those that believe an invisible man flies around the planet, visiting every home. ps. Adults are writing these comments, because few kids read news sites. Makes sense really.

      fishycraig - 2011-12-07 11:32

      Can't comment on your kids but you take your average kid and they will believe in the toothfairy, Easter Bunnies, Father Christmas, monsters under their bed and yes, even god. I am not interested in what parents think. There is so much "truth" out there right now I think kids can be spared a bit. And you miss my point. I am saying that it is adults, with all their baggage and "mature" wisdom who are arguing what is, ostensibly a holiday for kids. I do think it should be more of a holiday in respect of St. Nicholas but that is another argument. I just say leave it alone. Unfortunately it seems the imagination, dreams and wonderment bestowed in children gets lost as they grow older. P.S. I am writing this eating humble pie. As an atheist I used to believe all religious holidays should just be stopped. But how dare we (as adults) stifle our children with our beliefs. When they are old enough they can make their own decisions. Whatever floats your boat. Or Ark.

      Hennie - 2011-12-07 13:05

      Well as a person who believes in God and Jesus, I support you in saying the holiday is for the kids. They should change the name completely. Call it whatever they like and stop associating it with any religion whatsoever. I don't think Jesus appreciates us dragging him into this horribly commercial holiday anyway. I suppose at the end of the day how much people teach their kids or what the reason for celebrating might be is not a relevant issue. I know why I buy presents and watch the Christmas movie. It is because my kids smile and laugh and enjoy that week more than any other. That to me is a good enough reason to keep on doing it. And one day when they are old and cynical we will keep on doing it with the grandchildren. LOL

      fishycraig - 2011-12-07 14:35

      Yeah, we probably agree more than disagree. I just get angry because it seems that this is more out of political correctness than any thought of its relevance. If they called it St. Nicks Day then yeah, I would run with that. But the movement behind it is not thinking like that. They are hell-bent on taking away any semblance of Western history, culture and beliefs. And I disagree with that. Even an ol' cynical guy like me still puts up Christmas decorations on the tree up here in the bushveld. Being a fever tree is probably apt seeing Christmas is a bit on its way out!

      Hennie - 2011-12-07 14:41

      Cool... a fever christmas tree. I guess christmas took on a new meaning there? Isn't the fever tree legend that if you fall asleep under one you wake up with malaria? Seem to remember a story like that from a game drive. Like it more than the traditional tree. More pretty.

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