November 29, 2011

So If the Governor Holds a Hanukkah Celebration at the State House, Will He Call it the "Candle Holiday"?

Monique Chartier

... at which he displays a candelabra rather than a menorah?

In view of his renaming of this event,

Governor Chafee is facing criticism from State Representatives for calling the annual tree lighting in the state house a "holiday" tree lighting instead of a Christmas tree lighting.

the Governor should clarify how far he believes we should go with taking the religion out of holidays. Or does it only need to happen with one religion in particular?

[WPRO's John Depetro has started a petition on his Facebook Page.]


Depetro just read a statement from the Governor pointing out that referring to this event as a "holiday tree lighting" continues past practices of prior governors. I would suggest that the Governor needs to correct this erroneous blandizing of the event and revert to its more accurate name. Certainly the Governor did not allowed precedent to stop him from taking a new direction in another matter.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Yet another good reason why government shouldn't be involved in religious ceremonies.

Posted by: Dan at November 29, 2011 11:49 AM

I think it makes perfect sense to call the tree a 'holiday tree'. It wasn't even associated with Christmas when the Declaration of Independence was signed. My Jewish and atheist friends mostly have them because they're ubiquitous.

So if the state wants to 'brighten the darkest season' a bit by celebrating, and they want to do it without 'establishing' a preferred religion, call it a 'holiday party/tree' and have a blast.

The 'real' symbol of Christmas, the one with any actual relevance to the events being celebrated, is the nativity scene. That's a much closer analog to the menorah and Hanukkah.

All these folks calling talk radio are taking massive offense, as if Christianity is under attack. That's not what's happening. What's happening is that people want to open things up and secularize a bit. Nobody is offended by Christmas, it's the Christians who are offended by reasonable, law-abiding, inclusive secularists.

Posted by: mangeek at November 29, 2011 12:45 PM

I always find it humorous when some kind of religious banner, display, or plaque is erected on pubic property, somebody objects to it, and then the Christians attack the person for being a busy-body or pushing their values onto them.

The obvious questions that come to mind, without even examining the Constitutionality of the issue, are:
1. Why did you put it there in the first place?
2. Why does it have to be religious?
3. Why does it have to be on public land?

In answering the first two questions, they usually end up admitting that they are the ones doing the pushing of values and what they are really objecting to is the push *back*. I've never received a good answer to the third question.

Posted by: Dan at November 29, 2011 1:20 PM

Dan, the answer to number 3 is simple:

"Because Baby Jesus!"

That's all it takes to curry majority support.

Posted by: mangeek at November 29, 2011 1:47 PM

I know it's politically correct to blame Chafee, but if you check out Ted Nesi, you'll find that Carcieri and Almond used "holiday," too.
You didn't hear that from DePetro and Costa, however.

Posted by: bella at November 29, 2011 2:37 PM

Remind me what city is our state house located?

Oh . . . . right "Providence," one of five U.S. state capitals with a distinctly religious name.

And what of the state flag bearing the Anchor and the word "Hope" . . . any idea of the origin of hope as an anchor? (Hint: it was written by someone who has a state capital named after him . . .)

And, mangeek, I think you'll find that the custom of decorating trees at Christmas in parts of Europe long precedes the Declaration of Independence.

Posted by: brassband at November 29, 2011 2:44 PM

We reach out and light the menorah, celebrate the Muslim religous holidays, but if it's Christian, oh no, can't do that. You can't have a creche in the statehouse and now you can't have a Christmas tree.

Posted by: Kathy at November 29, 2011 3:02 PM

"We reach out and light the menorah, celebrate the Muslim religous holidays, but if it's Christian, oh no, can't do that. You can't have a creche in the statehouse and now you can't have a Christmas tree."

Well you can't have a state-sponsored Creche, a Menorah, or anything endorsing a specific religion (or religion at all); it's not an attack on Christianity. People are welcome to practice religion and don their own offices with religious stuff, but the state can't endorse or support it. Renaming the tree a 'holiday tree' that everyone can gather around is a way of preserving a tradition while meeting the spirit and word of the law.

You can teach ABOUT religion in public schools, but you can't teach the religion itself. There's a difference between saying "Christians believe that XYZ" and "XYZ is true." or even "WE believe in XY and Z."

I have a friend who's 9-to-5 job involves fair treatment of religion in public schools (he's a devout Jew). It's an issue that's honestly a little too complex to fit into talk radio soundbites.

Posted by: mangeek at November 29, 2011 4:58 PM

I have an idea, let's cancel the "retail holiday".

Let's face a few facts, at present, and into the foreseeable future, we are a Christian nation. Erecting a Christmas tree, on public property, and calling it that is not the "establishment of religion". Some people may be offended. Well folks, "man up" no harm is coming to you.

To my mind, "Happy Holidays" does not have the cheerful ring of "Merry Christmas" and "Good will to all".

I get so tired of hearing about this every Christmas. It is a tempest in a teapot. I suppose it is changing times. I received a catalog from a firm that specializes in hunting clothing. I notice no one in the catalog any longer carries a shotgun, now they carry walking sticks. But the hunting/walking jackets still have a "bird bag" built into the back.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 29, 2011 6:40 PM

I don't see how acknowledging the religious holidays that are coming up is the same as endorsing religion. I don't need to see a Christmas tree in the statehouse to celebrate Christmas and I doubt anyone would need to see a menorah in the statehouse to celebrate Hanukkah. What I find annoying about the "holiday tree" issue is the deliberate renaming of something that is a widely recognized symbol of one particular holiday. Throw up a decorated evergreen tree between Thanksgiving and New Years and the vast majority of people would assume it is a Christmas tree. Just like if you see people wearing a green three-pronged leaf on March 17th, many people would think it was related to St. Patrick's Day. I think there is a real difference between "acknowledging" and "endorsing" religious holidays.

Posted by: Bucket Chick at November 29, 2011 6:51 PM

OK-Governor Gump has struck again with stupidity for the sake of it.
This pales compared to his refusal to turn Jason Pleau over to Federal authorities in the David Main murder/robbery case'based on so-called jurisdiction and the death penalty issue.
Pleau's co-defendant plead out in FEDERAL Court today.Hey,has this "Governor"even got a functioning brain?Apparently he only objects to death penalty eligible people going to Federal court.
Of course,we all know where Chafee's "thoughts"come from-the evil,sly little Rasputin Richard Licht who himself couldn't get elected dog catcher if there were a rabies epidemic.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 29, 2011 7:01 PM

If the purpose of allthis re-naming is "inclusiveness", I commend Fred Reed's latest blog

I should point out that in addition to being a Navy SEAL, Fred taught math.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 29, 2011 7:49 PM

This really is quite simple. Those pines trees decorated so beautifully in the month of December are CHRISTMAS TREES. What Gumpy or his evil handler Dick Leech want to call them is quite irrelevant....much like Gumpy and his handler.
Btw the Christmas tree is not a religious symbol. The menorah is.
Oh the hypocrisy of it all.

Posted by: Tim at November 29, 2011 9:30 PM

Perhaps it seems best that government not recognize any special religious days. Other governments have done that. We can all research which.

If the Governor of our state is participating in a Menorah lighting ceremony,while insisting that a Christian symbol is off limits for recognition,he is engaging in religious bias.

Further,on a radio program today,it was mentioned that Guatamalians have a creche on display at one of the state house trees.

Does this mean that the expression of Christianity is now denied to Americans within our halls of government,but is allowed to those of other nations?

Posted by: helen at December 2, 2011 1:30 PM
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