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Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:21 PM

 

Rhode Island Holiday Tree: State To Leave 'Christmas' Out Of Lighting Ceremony

Source: Huffington Post

Rhode Island Holiday Tree: State To Leave 'Christmas' Out Of Lighting Ceremony

Reuters | Posted: 11/27/2012 4:53 pm EST Updated: 11/27/2012 6:34 pm EST
By Jason McLure

Nov 27 (Reuters) - Rhode Island will go ahead with plans to hold a "holiday tree" lighting ceremony in the state capital despite controversy last year over Governor Lincoln Chafee's decision to avoid using the word "Christmas" in reference the tree.

The announcement on Tuesday that the state would hold a tree-lighting ceremony in Providence came just 24 hours after the governor's spokeswoman said the annual event had been scrubbed. Last year, protesters interrupted the ceremony with demands the conifer be officially referred to as a "Christmas tree."

Spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger blamed the confusion on a staff communication error and said there would in fact be a "holiday tree" lighting at an unspecified date.

"The governor has stated his position very clearly: He believes 'holiday' is more inclusive," she said. "It's in a building paid for by all Rhode Islanders."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/rhode-island-holiday-tree-leave-christmas-out-of-lighting-ceremony_n_2200397.html?1354059292&icid=maing-grid7|maing9|dl1|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D238802



GOOD!!!!

36 replies, 3621 views

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply Rhode Island Holiday Tree: State To Leave 'Christmas' Out Of Lighting Ceremony (Original post)
Great Caesars Ghost Nov 2012 OP
JI7 Nov 2012 #1
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #2
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #3
davidthegnome Nov 2012 #4
happyslug Nov 2012 #21
UndahCovah Nov 2012 #5
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #6
UndahCovah Nov 2012 #8
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #9
Nye Bevan Nov 2012 #11
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #15
WestCoastLib Nov 2012 #12
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #14
AlexSatan Nov 2012 #24
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #29
AlexSatan Nov 2012 #32
SpartanDem Nov 2012 #7
Behind the Aegis Nov 2012 #28
Nye Bevan Nov 2012 #10
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #16
840high Nov 2012 #20
Behind the Aegis Nov 2012 #30
hughee99 Nov 2012 #13
davidthegnome Nov 2012 #17
hughee99 Nov 2012 #18
Nye Bevan Nov 2012 #22
hughee99 Nov 2012 #23
Nye Bevan Nov 2012 #27
Throd Nov 2012 #19
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #31
Throd Nov 2012 #33
rug Nov 2012 #34
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #35
JudyM Nov 2012 #36
LanternWaste Nov 2012 #25
kestrel91316 Nov 2012 #26

Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:23 PM

1. what a great Governor

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:05 AM

2. Muahahaaa everything is proceeding as I have forseen..

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:21 AM

3. I think that life will go on.

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:24 AM

4. Well, "Holiday" is more inclusive...

I believe the tree was actually in some way a part of the ancient (and perhaps even modern) pagan celebration of the winter solstice - correct me if I'm wrong. So technically it belonged to them first. It's possible that that ritual was carried over from yet another religion some time in the even more distant past.

I've just never really carried what word people use to describe the most annoying day of the year.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:32 PM

21. Tied in with Oaks and Odin



An interesting tradition, part history, part legend and very popular in Germany, claims that the Christmas tree dates back to the eighth century. This legend is based on a historical figure, St Boniface, and even a historical event, the destruction of Odin's oak. St Boniface (675-754) was the English Bishop Winfrid who went to Germany in the eighth century, to Hesse to be precise, to preach the Christian faith as a missionary from the Church of Rome. After a period of apparently successful Gospel preaching, Boniface went to Rome to confer with Pope Gregory II (715-731). After a long absence, he returned to Geismar, Germany, for Christmas 723, and felt personally offended on discovering that the Germans had reverted to their former idolatry of pagan divinities and were preparing to celebrate the winter solstice by sacrificing a young man under Odin's sacred oak tree. Fired by holy anger, as was Moses by the golden calf, Bishop Boniface took up an axe and dared to cut down the oak. This courageous, historically documented act meant the triumph of Christianity in Germany over the pagan divinities.

All this is historically documented. The rest belongs to the legend which tells how, at the first blow of the axe, a strong gust of wind instantly brought down the tree. The astounded Germans fearfully recognized the hand of God in this event and humbly asked Boniface how they should celebrate Christmas. The Bishop, the legend continues, pointed to a small fir tree that had miraculously remained upright and intact beside the debris and broken branches of the fallen oak. Boniface was familiar with the popular custom of taking an evergreen plant into the house in winter and asked everyone to take home a fir tree. This tree signifies peace, and as an evergreen it also symbolizes immortality; with its top pointing upwards, it additionally indicates heaven, the dwelling place of God.


http://www.ewtn.com/library/chistory/xmastree.htm

I once read a variation of this story, that St Boniface, picked the evergreen for its branches were not strong enough to hang a man from to replace the Oak, the tree tied in with the ancient worship of the God Odin.

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:38 AM

5. Just silly

 

Hanukkah does not incorporate a tree, nor does Kwanzaa. Maybe at one point paganism did, but these days not so much.

Lets just call a spade a spade, eh? Its a Christmas tree. Its not offensive to other celebrations to refer to it by what it is. I for one would not want Ramadan referred to as "the fasting holiday month." It doesn't harm anybody to call a spade a spade.

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Response to UndahCovah (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:20 AM

6. It is not necessary for the state to engage in this AT ALL.

People want to celebrate, yippie skippy. No need for the State to officially endorse or sanction any of it.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 08:04 AM

8. Well yes and no

 

I mean, I agree in theory. But at the same time, most people (according to gallup 95% of Americans in 2008) celebrate Christmas, including 80% of non-christians who observe it as purely cultural/secular. Not that many people are offended by Christmas.

So its pretty much universal. and even though I'm not big on Christmas myself I'd be pretty pissed if they didn't cut me loose 2 or 3 hours early from work the day before!

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Response to UndahCovah (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:00 AM

9. I don't care if just ONE citizen is offended by it.

It is improper. It doesn't make it ok just because most people like it.

To what purpose does the state engage in religious observances? I think it's ok to declare it a national holiday, fine. But state-sponsored religious celebrations? Why? Even watered-down, general sort-of 'christmas'?

What for?

I celebrate Christmas at home in our own way, as individuals. I'm perfectly secular, so I fall in that 80%, just to 'get along' in society.

So they stick a Christmas tree in the state capitol building? What purpose does it serve there? Can't people put trees on their own property, or on private property where an owner consents?

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:35 AM

11. Are you OK that there is a Federal Holiday named "Christmas Day" on December 25?

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:59 AM

15. Yes I am.

I don't work for the government, but it makes sense for our company to shut down on Christmas as well, because none of our customers are there, and certainly none of them are calling us.

Less promotion, more reflection of reality. (And the vast majority of workers in this country want that time off anyway)

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:37 AM

12. Christmas isn't a religious holiday

Though some people choose to make it one.

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Response to WestCoastLib (Reply #12)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:57 AM

14. So we should be ok calling it a 'holiday tree' then right?

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 02:37 PM

24. Sure, and they should then put it up for all holidays or none

 

4th of July is a holiday. Put it up then.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #24)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:46 PM

29. Ok, but mine's gonna have fireworks on it.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #29)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:54 PM

32. THAT

 

would be an awesome holiday tree

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:40 AM

7. If they light a menorah are going to call it the "holiday candlestick"

It's a Christmas tree plain and simple. I'm all for including symbols of other groups, but don't use some stupid made up name.

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #7)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:45 PM

28. I completely agree.

No other religion uses a tree in their ceremonies for holidays in this time period. Even modern-day witches do not use a tree anymore. It is a Christmas tree. A menorah is just that, not a "holiday candelabra." I understand the idea behind it, but to me, it is just silly and pointless.

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:33 AM

10. Sorry, but pretending that a Christmas Tree is not a Christmas Tree

is political correctness carried to a ridiculous extreme, similar to calling a Menorah a "Holiday Candlestick".

If we can have a National Christmas Tree, a White House Christmas Tree, and a Christmas Day Federal Holiday, what is this guy's problem?

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:03 PM

16. Not following your logic.

"If we can have a National Christmas Tree, a White House Christmas Tree, and a Christmas Day Federal Holiday, what is this guy's problem?"


Federal law prevents recognition of same sex marriage (DOMA), yet Washington State has passed a referendum (and law) that upholds the letter and the spirit of the 10th and 14th amendments, for due process and equal protection in the face of that federal prohibition.

We have federal laws that prohibit the recognition of it. What's Washington State's problem, huh?

Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:09 PM

20. Good point.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:46 PM

30. Candelabra not candlestick.

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:40 AM

13. Which is more offensive,

calling it a "Christmas tree" and "promoting" one of the more secular traditions of a certain religion, or calling insulting everyone's intelligence by calling it a "Holiday tree" and pretending like it's origins aren't religious?

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:48 PM

17. Good question... however..

I think that the effort to make it a "holiday tree" is representative of the idea that everyone should be included in this holiday - to the extent that that is possible. However we celebrate at home, or in private is our business - but it is rather more inclusive of all members of society to call it simply a "holiday".

Is the Christmas tree still a Christmas tree? Maybe, or maybe it's a Winter Solstice tree. Maybe it's whatever the hell you want to call it. I mean, it doesn't make a huge difference to me, but I can understand the reasoning behind calling it a "holiday tree".

Speaking of Christmas and holidays... anyone else feeling the building stress of being unable to afford gifts for people? I really hate Christmas. It's the biggest, dumbest, most overwhelmingly annoying and stressful holiday of the whole year. Damn Christmas to hell. Bah Humbug...

Right... carry on.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:54 PM

18. Personally, I like the holiday decorations, regardless of their origin

I'm just not sure changing the name really make it seem much more inclusive. People know what it is and where it came from. It might make it technically legal, but people who found it offensive before probably won't change their minds.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #18)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:33 PM

22. A "Christmas Tree", named as such, on public land, is 100% legal.

See for example the National Christmas Tree.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #22)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:54 PM

23. Being currently 100% legal doesn't mean you can't get sued.

I understand the decision to change the name from Christmas tree to holiday tree, but I'm not sure if the name change has had much effect on how people feel about it. A number of these lawsuits have already been brought (most have failed or been dropped) but the town/city/state doesn't always recoup it's costs either.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #23)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:40 PM

27. Nothing can prevent frivolous lawsuits.

But this is well settled law so such lawsuits would fall at the first hurdle.

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:01 PM

19. As an atheist, I hate asshats who don't have the balls to call a Christmas tree what it is.

I will be putting Christmas lights on my house and a Christmas tree inside it.

I guess I'm not a very orthodox atheist.

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Response to Throd (Reply #19)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:48 PM

31. Do you not see the difference between you doing so on your own property

and the government doing so on public land (owned by everyone) as a function of the state?

Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971),

1.The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
2.The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
3.The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #31)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:13 PM

33. Yes I do. I just don't give a shit.

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Response to Throd (Reply #33)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:16 PM

34. +1

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Response to Throd (Reply #33)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:48 PM

35. Yeah, I see a lot of people don't give a shit about the constitution or rule of law.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #31)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 08:35 PM

36. Precisely. Not to mention spending taxpayer dollars, Christian and non-Christian alike, to do it. nt

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:01 PM

25. I imagine Christmas will soon be called Holiday Day by many...

I imagine Christmas will soon be called Holiday Day by many... so as to better edit both the history and the traditions commonly associated with it by the lower orders.

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Response to Great Caesars Ghost (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:09 PM

26. It's more properly called a Yule Tree anyway........

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