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'Holiday tree' or 'Christmas tree' in State Capitol? [Madison, WI]
Capital Times ^ | 11-26-07 | Hannah Young

Posted on 11/26/2007 3:49:08 PM PST by SJackson

Another battle over separation of church and state may be on the horizon with a proposal scheduled to go in front of an Assembly committee Wednesday.

The issue? What to call the tree that sits in the State Capitol during the holiday season.

Currently the tree is referred to as a "holiday tree," but the resolution that will be brought to the Committee on State Affairs would rename it as the Wisconsin State Christmas Tree.

Michael Schoenfield, legislative aide to Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, who is sponsoring the resolution, said the state should refer to the tree as a Christmas tree because that is what it is.

"A rose is a rose is a rose," Schoenfield said. "Whatever you call it, it is going to be a Christmas tree, so call it what it is."

The tree has been referred to as a holiday tree ever since 1985, according to the resolution. Schoenfield said Schneider brought up the idea of returning to the name Christmas tree because it symbolizes a part of many Wisconsin citizens' heritage.

Schoenfield said that for some, the name holiday tree may also be offensive.

"As a Jew, I have a problem calling it a holiday tree," Schoenfield said. "It's not my holiday."

According to Mike Westling of the state Department of Administration, the tree is not the only display put up in the Capitol to celebrate the holidays.

Westling said there will be a menorah on display Dec. 4-13, a Baptist Church holiday sign up Dec. 3-8 and an interfaith awareness display Dec. 10-14.

Schoenfield said he has not heard any opposition to the resolution so far, but also said he anticipates there will be somebody who has a problem with it.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, said Schneider should withdraw the resolution and added that he needed a civics lesson.

"When you call it a Christmas tree, that's a celebration of Christmas, which is a Christian holiday," Gaylor said. "So what does the state of Wisconsin need with a Christmas tree?

"It is a proposal that shows ill will, and it isn't necessary," Gaylor said. "What does it say to the rest of us who aren't Christian if you call it a Christmas tree? Why is he forcing it to be a state-owned Christmas tree?

"It is just a tree, but when you put Christian in front of it, it becomes a symbol of the majority," Gaylor said.

The tree is being put up in the Capitol rotunda today.

TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: christmas; erasure; holidaybs; madison; revisionism; waronchristmas; waronchristmas2007; wisconsin
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To: SJackson

Oh, just let them put up the red crescent and get it over with.

That place sucks.

41 posted on 11/27/2007 7:51:44 AM PST by ryan71
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

There are a few conservatives left in Wisconsin.

I do remember when this came out.

Imagine the suggestions that were made on where our liberal governor could stick that festivus pole????

42 posted on 11/29/2007 7:53:12 AM PST by KCRW
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