Rhode Island Governor Wages War on Christmas

Christmas tree lighting
A general view of the 2011 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting on November 30, 2011, New York, NY. (Sipa via AP Images)

A Christian business owner might take back the Christmas tree he donated to the State House for the annual Christmas tree lighting celebration—and he has made his reasons clear to the governor of Rhode Island.

For the past five years, John Leyden, owner of Big John Leyden Christmas Trees, has donated a Christmas tree to the State House Rotunda for the annual event. This year, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee proclaimed the Christmas tree must be referred to as a "holiday" tree. Chafee says it cannot be called a "Christmas tree," claiming this counters Rhode Island's founding as a haven for religious tolerance, where government and religion were kept separate.

The governor's decision shows clear discrimination against Christmas. More than 70 percent of Americans polled would rather be wished "Merry Christmas" than "Happy Holidays."

Chafee, however, is ignoring a resolution recently passed by the State House Legislature that stated trees during this season would be called "Christmas trees." State Representative Doreen Costa, a co-sponsor of this resolution, has said she will hold her own Christmas tree lighting celebration for those who want to actually celebrate Christmas.

"Anyone knows the green, pointed, prickly trees we decorate in December are called 'Christmas trees.' A Christmas tree celebrates only one holiday and it is called Christmas,” says Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law. “Gov. Lincoln Chafee ought to wake up and exercise common sense. By trying not to offend people he has offended the vast majority of people, and he has made his action look absurd. He ought to immediately reverse his decision and do the right thing by calling the tree by its proper name."

Citizens have the opportunity to help bring back Christmas to the state of Rhode Island. Call Gov. Chaffee's office today at (401) 222-2080 and urge him to reverse his decision.

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