The Freedom From Religion Foundation applauds Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee for designating the Statehouse tree, a "holiday tree." Gov. Chafee contends in an ABC news interview that, "he's just respecting the state's history as a place respectful of all religions."
Unlike the recent declaration from the east coast, a bill introduced in Wisconsin would compel Wisconsinites to join the "millions of American families in celebrating the Christmas season."
Rep. Jim Steineke R-Kaukauna has positioned himself behind "the times" by attempting to rename the "Capitol Holiday Tree" the "Capitol Christmas Tree."
Sadly Rep. Steineke left out the 49 million Americans who do not have a religious affiliation. It is these Americans who feel excluded when the government endorses one religion over another, or religion over non-religion.
"I don't consider a tree a religious symbol, but unfortunately when you label it a 'Christmas' tree, that does attach a Christian connotation to it and sends an unfriendly message to non-Christian citizens," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. (As FFRF always points out, it's not a "Christmas" tree – it's a "Winter Solstice" tree. Evergreens have been decorated for millennia in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year. The Christians have "stolen" Christmas.)
Gov. Chafee deserves thanks for being inclusive. (He will undoubtedly receive a lot of criticism from Christians and needs to hear from you.)
Gov. Lincoln Chafee
Office of the Governor
82 Smith Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2080
Wisconsin needs to step up to the plate and become a state defined by action, not Christianity. Please send a compelling note to Rep. Steineke, asking him to honor all Wisconsin residents and rescind his sectarian bill.
Rep. Jim Steineke
Room 304 North
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
Phone: (608) 266-2418 or (888) 534-0005
Fax: (608) 282-3605