Poll: Christmas Tree, Or Holiday Tree?

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is hosting a 'holiday tree' lighting next week, despite objections.


Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is calling the 17-foot spruce tree that will be lit inside the Statehouse rotunda a "holiday tree," even though the General Assembly passed a resolution calling it a "Christmas tree" earlier this year.

According to The Providence Journal, the governor is defending his use of the term, saying it honors Rhode Island's heritage as a refuge for religious tolerance three centuries ago. Some state lawmakers criticize his position, and an Associated Press story on the issue has been picked up across the country. News outlets such as The Washington Post, MSNBC and the Huffington Post have all run with the story.

Earlier today, the Providence Journal also released the findings of a PolitiFact review, which found that local radio talk show host John DePetro falsely claimed that former Gov. Donald Carcieri had used the term "Christmas tree" for all eight years of his administration.

The governor is inviting all Rhode Islanders to join him and his wife for the annual lighting next Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 5:30 p.m.

What do you think? Let us know by voting in our poll, and adding your comments below.

Paul Ruggeri December 14, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Pt I Apart from that being one of the worst contortions of logic I’ve ever seen, it has NOTHING to do with the point. How the heck does that prove that there’s no such thing as a holiday tree?? Baffling MAD logic, there. Ya know what? I’ll prove you utterly wrong. I usually call it a Christmas Tree, but I haven’t had one for years. Next week I am going to go out and buy a tree. When I bring It home and decorate with lights and non-christian ornaments I will designate December 28 as the day I actually celebrate (doesn’t matter what I celebrate) and I will make a pronouncement in my home that it be referred to as a “Holiday Tree.” Kinda makes your assertions look pretty silly, huh? Cuz here is a Holiday Tree in direct contradiction to your claim that it does not exist. You can deny the legitimacy of my actions all you want. It will still be whatever I choose to call it in my home.
Paul Ruggeri December 14, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Pt II As for others asserting that it is strictly Christian symbol in the modern sense (and so what if it’s a Pagan holdover), How many people put NON-Christian decorations on their trees? Snowflakes, snowmen, elves (of the DEVIL), strings of popcorn, LED lights, STAR TREK ornaments, Lord Of the Rings ornaments, military and sports themed ornaments, etc and ad infinitum. There are MANY people that have trees with NO CHRISTIAN references at all on them, even a star or angel (Well, maybe a Death Star in the case of Star Wars Fans)… Not such a strictly Christian symbol now is it? Or THIS in the case of Trek fans: http://tinyurl.com/7lzhczj (and I LOVE this one for Star Wars Fans: http://tinyurl.com/bqo2y5r) So how Christian is it now? Scarelige? Heresy? Perhaps, but too bad. Christians co-opted the tree from someone else, and now someone else is co-opting it from you. Millions of people are doing this. Get used to it.
Paul Ruggeri December 14, 2011 at 12:26 AM
PT III One of the points of this WHOLE controversy that everyone keeps missing is that the State can't call it a Christmas Tree – well they can, but they’d be in violation of the establishment clause and invite a lawsuit. We all know what it is – a Christmas Tree – the state calling it a “Holiday Tree” is just a pantomime dance in concession to allow a tree to be on display at the state house. The other point is that all Chaffee did was call it a “Holiday Tree” (as was done before him) in a press release and then reasonably defend his choice of words when challenged on it. He made no mandate, no edict, put no resolution – nothing of the sort. It was a press release and now all the religious extremists are crying foul that their religion is being oppressed, that they are being persecuted and that free speech itself has now been codified. When NOTHING of the sort has happened. I was just a PRESS RELEASE for crying out loud – say it with me, “It was a PRESS RELEASE!!” There really aren’t any rules or regulations that codify what can be said in a press release – THAT would be an abridgement of free speech. And now everyone is moaning that the Governor should be saying “Christmas Tree” when it really doesn’t matter AT ALL what it’s called. Are we going to start regulating now what our elected officials can or cannot say? Oh wait, they’ve already DONE that! Last January Dorreen Costa introduced this legislation: http://tinyurl.com/6utf3n6
Paul Ruggeri December 14, 2011 at 12:26 AM
Pt IV Even though it was non-binding, her minions have been acting as though it should carry the force of law. This resolution even as a non-binding one is barely constitutional – and if any of the reps sitting on Jan 6 had actually bothered to read it, it would likely have been a fight to get it through. Good thing for you guys that your elected officials don’t bother to read or understand bills that are put before them, eh? So please… get over yourselves and do try to get on with actually HAVING a Merry Christmas and stop complaining about how your Christmas is ruined because someone else calls it something different. That is the very height of childish dysfunctionality. Get over it. Have a Kwazy Kwanza.
Joe The Plumber December 14, 2011 at 01:03 AM
Brum, Janus, Rugierri, Tell us. Are you all atheists?
Small Change December 14, 2011 at 03:00 AM
+Get over it, and focus on something worth getting all worked up about.+ I take it you did notice the latest 4 part rant by the anti-Christian directly following that. With the four of you blasting away hour after hour here, accusing ME of 'getting all worked up' for a sober, measured observation may well earn you a spot in the LJ PR hypocrisy Hall of Fame. ;-)
Paul Ruggeri December 14, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Why do you care, JTP? The facts have nothing to do with religion or atheism. They are just the facts.
Richard Brum December 14, 2011 at 03:38 AM
SC: I bet you didn't even read any of it. Because then you'd know he's not anti-Christian, he's anti-DOMINIONIST. He's against Christianity asserting itself in our government. That's not anti-Christian... because it's hardly a Christ-like move to demand the government do things YOUR way. Also, YOU are the one getting worked up over this being called a Holiday tree, SC. I'm simply responding to your arguments and comments. When somebody says, "Why do you care so much?" you can't just come back with "Well, why do YOU care so much, huh? You responded to my ranting!" Again, why are people so offended over Chafee calling this a Holiday tree? What's so offensive and horrific about that? If anything, he's avoiding a potential lawsuit, like EVERY OTHER GOVERNOR BEFORE HIM FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS has done. Again, let me re-state that: For years, this has been done, and nobody, not once, complained about it. At all. This year, suddenly it's a controversy? Why, because he's not a Republican? It's so pathetically obvious.
Paul Auger December 14, 2011 at 11:16 AM
Gee Joe I feel left out, I don't want ANY tree or other holiday decoration in the state house. NONE, no matter who's holiday the represent. But you don't ask me if I am an atheist. I am hurt Joe.
Joe The Plumber December 14, 2011 at 05:36 PM
It has eveything to do with this discussion. You have all (and I will include Auger in this) insulted, mocked and been intolerant of Christians and of their religion here. So, your own militant anti-Christian remarks have made it relevant. So, I will ask for a third time if you all are atheists.
Haavey December 14, 2011 at 06:35 PM
Why is it important to know if someone is an Atheist or not? Does being an atheist make someone a bad person?
Yvette M Ayotte December 14, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt
Paul Ruggeri December 14, 2011 at 07:53 PM
JTP > You have all (and I will include Auger in this) insulted, mocked and been > intolerant of Christians and of their religion here. Do we really need to do this again? Do I HAVE to do what I did over on the Prayer Banner thread and go thru every last post to rub your nose (like a puppy that peed where it shouldn’t have) into the facts? If you remember I showed exact references, dates and times showing exactly WHO started first with the mocking, insulting and name calling (JTP) and WHO (JTP) was guilty of the worst of it. Do you really want me to do that again? Because THAT shut you up for a LONG LONG time, didn’t it? And it was so worth it, that I ~will~ take the time to do just that. And I’m willing to bet on who’s name appears at the very top of the list: ****“JOE THE PLUMBER!!!”**** That’s the problem with wingnuts – they’re stupid enough to think that if you play the victim, then everyone will immediately forget that you yourself are *monumentally* guilty of the exact same transgression you’re WHINING about. This is why I will continue to refer to you as a filthy, disgusting, idiotic HYPOCRITE.
Paul Auger December 14, 2011 at 08:08 PM
So Joe I would invite you to cut and paste every time I "insulted, mocked and been intolerant of Christians and of their religion here" on this thread. I could be wrong but for the most part I have kept my comment on My experience with the bible. That's not mocking that's just reporting what my experience was. the fact that the church is using the legal system to bend civil law to match church law much like the Taliban that's not am insult it is a comparison between 2 religious groups trying to use the legal system to get what they want. I questioned if Costa non binding resolution was constitutional something I have every right to do. I pointed out that she refuses to cite the portions of the constitution her tree resolution was based on and that Glover would not hold her feet to the fire. butr where did I abuse any one cut and paste it for me
Eric Carpenter December 14, 2011 at 08:26 PM
FOOLS! Everyone knows it's a Cthulhu-Tree. So, can the discussion end now?
David Davis December 14, 2011 at 09:49 PM
I think it is high time we break out the FESTIVUS pole and have the annual airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength (i.e. wrestling match). My money is on Janus over JTP.
Liberty Janus December 14, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Liberty Janus December 14, 2011 at 10:03 PM
"OH GREAT CTHULHU...where are you?"
David Davis December 15, 2011 at 01:43 AM
Wow, I actually found common ground with Janus.
Joseph Hutnak December 15, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Hi Joe The Plumber: As your own post states, you have asked this question four times and not received an answer. While I do not intend, in any way, to make a statement about your purpose in asking the question, you are repeating yourself, and I would ask that you refrain from doing so. Also, two of your later posts have been removed because they involved name-calling, which is a violation of our Terms of Use.
Joseph Hutnak December 15, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Hi Paul: Your later post has been removed because it included name-calling, which is a violation of our Terms of Use.
Richard Brum December 15, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Pt I: Joe the Plumber: In your deleted comment, you quoted us as insulting your beliefs, then conflated that with insulting you personally. They are not one in the same, Joe. If you have silly beliefs (like if you believe breaking a mirror will cause 7 years of bad luck), then they are open to ridicule. If there is no evidence other than a millennia-old book for your beliefs, then they are open to ridicule. If I held any beliefs publicly, they would be open to ridicule as well. However, I profess no such beliefs. I am simple absent a belief in a god or gods, and with good reason: there isn't sufficient evidence, nor any good reason to do so. The claim "there is a god" hasn't passed my level of scrutiny. I'm sorry if I'm too skeptical to just eat up your claims that there's a god, he cares about us, he created us from two people ages ago, and he was revealed to nomadic goat-herders in the middle east. It just doesn't seem plausible to us. And when those beliefs are shoved down our throats on a daily basis, you'd better believe we'll ridicule them. Sometimes ridicule is a useful method for deterring people. I remember seeing bullies in school getting ridiculed by bigger kids, and it was a good deterrent for them, a good enough reason to stop. Sometimes ridicule is useful.
Richard Brum December 15, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Pt II: But we are careful (most of the time) to not insult you personally. I have never, once, said anything nasty about you as a person, Joe. And you need to learn to separate your beliefs from you, the person. They are two separate things. When we insult one, we are not necessarily insulting the other. And the reason why I haven't responded to your "Are you an atheist?" question is because I didn't want to play your game. You would have most likely said that we are "only" part of the 2% and therefore our rights don't matter. At what point do a minority's rights matter to you, Joe? What percentage value do you have to see before a minority matters? Blacks are a minority, and were also so in the 1960s. Did they not deserve equal rights? Would you have been against the Civil Rights Act, Joe? We as atheists have just as much of a right to not practice religion, as you have to do so. The government can't endorse either belief OR non-belief. The best way to ensure equality and freedom for all is to separate religion from government and not have either of them interfere with the other. That includes barring government from endorsing any kind of religion. If you don't like it, live in a country that doesn't have such a document as our Constitution.
Paul Auger December 15, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Joe at some point you listed a bunch of comments that you considered insults. You accredited them to me the truth is I never said any of those things. But thank you for thinking I could be creative enough to come up with: "ramping up of tribalistic babbling and waving of talismans that one would expect when cult members are presented" Gonna put a hex on us and give us the evil eye next? Wave those fetishes over the fire!!!" "Gotta run! I'm late for my Illuminati meeting! Tonight's pay night, and they only pay in gold (and sometimes virgins), so I can't just wait around for a check to come from them in the mail..." "Does god speak directly to you? Ask him what color socks I'm wearing" These are ALL stories, myths, histories (or what have you) that are accepted by Jews, Christians and even (to some extent) Muslims." Ok the last one I might have said something similar too but the rest I cant take credit for. As far as my being an atheist I thought I made that clear in other posts so I felt no need to answer you. But just to make you feel good (because we know it is all about YOU! -- What ever happened to he must increase and I must decrease or be wise a serpents and genital as doves?) Yes, Joe I am an atheist. Now tell me what does that have to do with what we call a blue spruce? How dose the effect the constitutionality of Costa's resolution? And where did you get such funny quotes I wish I could say they were mine but I cant!
Paul Auger December 15, 2011 at 06:55 PM
hey it is a FREE diner, cooked by right wing whack jobs why no go!
Paul Ruggeri December 15, 2011 at 09:37 PM
*I* said those things. Shows you how well JTP cares to get even basic facts correct.
Paul Auger December 16, 2011 at 12:39 AM
gee I knew it would be said by some one I like
David Bouchard December 16, 2011 at 01:39 AM
Paul - can you clarify that "genital as doves" thing?
Paul Auger December 16, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Dave my bad that was a typo. gentle i meant gentle I was quoting to bible verses John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.If JTP really believed this he would no make it about him but he would make this about his god, by Joe is making this about Joe, He is right, He is the victim He is being picked on. Joe is not worried about his god joe is worried about promoting Joe the next was Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Joe shows little or no wisdom.he wont back up his post with facts and when he does is not open to peer review, He dose not double check his research as evidenced by his quoting Paul R as me! Further more Joe will not admit when he made a mistake as I did with my typo. Joe is not gentle, at all. as his god commended him to be -- like a dove. But you know what Jesus says Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Seems to me the only fruit Joe bears is sour grapes.
Rob Borkowski (Editor) December 16, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Hi, everyone. Thanks for your input and your ideas on this debate. This thread is now closed to further comments. Please continue to add your views to the ongoing discussions in our towns. We look forward to continuing to host other thought-provoking discussions on our sites.


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