Rhode Island to leave 'Christmas' out of tree ceremony
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 to 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."
Chafee's decision not to use the word Christmas in reference to the tree drew criticism from conservatives last year, including one state lawmaker who dubbed him "Governor Grinch." Some Christians see the trend towards "holiday" parties, cookies and trees as part of a secular drive to scrub the lexicon of references to Christmas.
The governor has argued that the term is consistent with the state's history of religious tolerance, and Hunsinger noted that Chafee's predecessor also used "holiday tree" on official invitations to the ceremonial lighting.
Rhode Island was founded as a 17th century haven for religious dissidents from England and neighboring Massachusetts. (Reporting by Jason McLure; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Ciro Scotti)
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Manchester's Holy Family Academy named School of Excellence - 0
- Weare teen to compete in Bible bee - 0
- More churches reporting scam - 0
- Bishop of Rochester, N.Y., will be homilist for annual Red Mass - 0
- Religion Briefs: Divorce and separation support group meets in Goffstown - 0
- Annual dedication of Starr Memorial Garden scheduled - 0
- Bethany Covenant Church in Bedford celebrates 125 years, looks toward future - 0
- Season of Epsom Bible Church AWANA Clubs to begin - 0
- St. Michael's church in Exeter to offer financial course - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Manchester family heartbroken after finding lost kitten was adopted from shelter, family refuses to return it - 1
- Body found under Manchester bridge identified as local woman - 0
- Chester deputy fire chief jailed for allegedly violating restraining order - 0
- Manchester police release photos of men they believe robbed mother, daughters at local Holiday Inn - 0
- Scots spurn independence, vote to stay in the United Kingdom - 1
- Roger Brown's First and 10: Answers forthcoming - 0
- NHMS chief Gappens is on board with the Chase changes - 0
- Another View -- Ben Rose: How NH's John Stark helped defeat the British at Saratoga - 1
- Celebrating Claremont: A 250th birthday party - 0
Mark Hayward's City Matters: Dean Kamen is a genius inventor, and he's pretty good at oratory, too
Casino gambles: Hopes dashed all over
Ayotte pushes bill to combat 'spice'