RI Christians Revolt Over 'Holiday Tree'

Carolers crash tree lighting as Catholics hold competing event
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2011 8:54 AM CST
Rhode Island Christians Revolt Over 'Holiday Tree'
People walk by a tree referred to as a "holiday tree" by Gov. Lincoln Chafee in the rotunda of the statehouse in Providence, RI Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(Newser) – When Scott Walker rechristened Wisconsin’s Capitol "holiday tree" a "Christmas tree," the atheists revolted; now, in Rhode Island, the opposite is happening. When the governor unveiled the Statehouse "holiday tree," angry carolers crashed last night's tree lighting, interrupting a children's chorus to sing "O Christmas Tree." Meanwhile, a block away, the local Catholic diocese held a competing Christmas tree lighting.

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Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he's honoring Rhode Island's founding as a haven for diverse religions, but the thousands of people who called his office to complain apparently do not agree. Says one tree lighting attendee, "It's a Christmas tree. It always has been and it always will be, no matter what that buffoon says it is." Chafee explained to the AP, "If it's in my house it's a Christmas tree, but when I'm representing all of Rhode Island I have to be respectful of everyone. Now we can get back to next year's budget ... with pleasure." (Read more Lincoln Chafee stories.)

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