Christmas Is Canceled in Rhode Island (Well, Not Really, But Sort Of)

Christmas tree, Rhode IslandIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere except Rhode Island, apparently, where Governor Lincoln Chafee has zapped an annual celebration of that pesky “C” word. If you, like an evident number of residents in the Ocean State, tire of all the repeated mentioning of and hoopla about the birth of this Christ guy ‘round this time of year, head on over to their upcoming celebration, where onlookers will light a “holiday tree.”

That, in case you’re unsure, is like a Christmas tree 4.0: all the glitz, all the decorations, none of that overt, in-your-face Christianity. Phew. Sweet relief. Finally a place to celebrate Christmas without the cumbersome mentioning of Jesus.

Wait. Whaaaaat? 


Indeed, a spokeswoman announced on Tuesday that "the governor has stated his position very clearly: He believes 'holiday' is more inclusive,” adding that the event will take place “in a building paid for by all Rhode Islanders.” Too bad, so sad for you self-absorbed Christians who just want to gather round and sing off-tune renditions of “O Holy Night” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Not at the official holiday ceremony in Rhode Island you won’t. Not on the dear gov’ner’s watch.

Last year, he attracted similar criticism from conservatives and Christians in the state not surprisingly disgruntled by the trend to take the Christ out of Christmas and the Christmas out of parties, cookies, and tree lightings in an effort to make the holiday more secular and less sacred. Govs insists using “holiday” in the festivities is consistent with the state’s history of religious tolerance.

Le sigh. Political over-correctness rears its ugly head again. If we start watering down traditions based on inclusion, we're not really staying true to diversity at all. (Even though the tree isn't really part of the original birth-of-the-Lord-and-Savior program, but still...) It would be impossible to understand the intrinsic value of Diwali or Hanukkah or Easter or Eid al-Adha, for example, if its celebrants were forced to compromise the authenticity of their observations in order to accommodate folks from outside the culture or religion. That’s not doing anybody any favors.

Anyway, I invite everyone from Rhode Island to the lighting ceremony here in lovely Washington, D.C. on December 4, where Christmas trees are still Christmas trees and the streets will be filled with endeared and sentimental onlookers. You may have to gird your loins for the Metro ride back to your hotel room and cut an old lady off for a parking space, but it’s a small price to pay in the name of Jesus.

Do you agree with the Governor Chafee’s decision to obliterate the mentioning of Christmas?

Image via janineomg/Flickr

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