Wisconsin Christmas Tree Prayer?

Now we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have seen everything! Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott captured these images while passing through the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison during lunch Wednesday to check on FFRF's Winter Solstice display, which is frequently being moved by religious visitors. Note that a woman even brought her own statue of the Virgin Mary.

Patrick suggests entitling the first photograph "Matthew 6:5" (warning believers not to be hypocrites and pray in public) and the second Exodus 20:4 ("Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. . .").

"I may contact my legislators and encourage them to install kneelers," Patrick quips.

We nonbelievers know that Christians "stole" Christmas, including the pagan trimmings of decorated evergreens at this season of the Winter Solstice. Not only are confused believers literally turning a "Christmas tree" into a devotional object, but so are Wisconsin politicians.

With petitions circulating for his recall, Walker apparently decided he might win some easy votes by manufacturing a phony controversy and announcing the State Holiday Tree would forthwith be called a State Christmas Tree. The state tree has been called a "holiday tree" since the mid-1980s, when then-Gov. Tony Earl decided correctly to remove any sectarian references and thereby make it more inclusive.

State Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, has gone so far as to introduce a bill to rename the Capitol Holiday Tree the State of Wisconsin Christmas Tree. Yes, with the economy imploding around us, this is what is occupying some of the current occupants of the State Capitol. From the joint resolution:

"Whereas, the state of Wisconsin respects all religious and cultural customs and is desirous of properly naming the publicly displayed symbols of our state's diverse holiday traditions out of respect for all traditions;"

"Diverse" holiday traditions? And "all religious and cultural customs?" All Christian ones, it's clear.

Woe betide these blasphemous Christians and Christian politicians, who clearly need to brush up on their bible. They are committing sacrilege. The bible expressly warns about such idolatry in Jeremiah 10:2-8:

"Learn not the way of the heathen . . . For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest . . . They deck it with silver and with gold. . . "

Perhaps the saddest part of Steineke's resolution is where it's been referred to for debate: the Committee on Homeland Security and State Affairs. What keeps us and our liberties safe is our Constitution, not one religion's symbol of the birth of one of its prophets.

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