In an interview with CNSNews, Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-R.I.) said that he calls the evergreen tree in the Rhode Island State House a “holiday” tree and not a “Christmas” tree because his predecessor also did, and he wants to keep with the tradition of the state.
Chafee acknowledged that Christmas is a religious holiday, and celebrates the birthday of Jesus Christ, but said he was simply upholding the tradition of governors before him.
Chaffee likened the labeling of the tree as a Christmas tree to the removal of the Lord’s Prayer from public schools in 1962, ignoring the fact that students were required to recite something that may have conflicted with their own faith as opposed to the government simply acknowledging the Christmas tree as exactly what it is. There is no compulsory mention of the Christmas tree required from Rhode Island citizens.
The Governor’s predecessor, John Carcieri, called the tree a holiday tree, but Rhode Island State Rep. Doreen Costa, recalled Carcieri calling the tree by both names. She said, “Governor Chafee, his famous line, which he says about everything, is that ‘times are changing.’ He said times are changing and he wants to be politically correct. Well, with me political correctness doesn’t really work.”