Thursday, November 10, 2011

Culture Wars 2011

Getting an early start on the culture wars...

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker sent out a press release about the lighting of the annual Christmas Tree. This has the easily offended in an uproar. It seems that Walker is the first governor since 1985 to call a decorated evergreen a "Christmas Tree" instead of a "holiday tree".

To put this in perspective, this week also had news reports about the National Christmas Tree starting its journey to the White House where President Obama will light it.

So, Walker is playing to an extremist theocratic base and Obama is not, even though both are lighting official Christmas Trees. Obama is the 5th US president to light a Christmas Tree since Wisconsin decided that the term was too inflammatory.

I don't know about Wisconsin, but Ohio started calling its tree a holiday tree after the KKK sued to be allowed to erect a cross on the statehouse grounds. Being the KKK, it was not a religious cross. Instead it was white with epithets on it. That should have been enough to disqualify it. Instead Ohio dropped all references to Christmas. Apparently they believe that no one will realize that it is a Christmas Tree if we call it a holiday tree. It had nothing to do with other religions.

I am sure that some religious minorities will be offended by Walker's action, not because he did anything wrong but because they have been told that they should be offended. Here is an example:

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has opposed the term Christmas tree, saying it offends nonreligious people and amounts to a government endorsement of Christianity.

The president of that group, Annie Laurie Gaylor, called Walker's decision rude and insensitive to non-Christians.

"The reason that it was turned into a holiday tree was to avoid this connotation that the governor chooses one religion over another," she said. "It's essentially a discourtesy by the governor to announce that. He intends that to be a slight and a snub to non-Christians, otherwise he would not do it."

The vast majority of America celebrates Christmas. A greater number of people celebrate Christmas than are Christians. No other religion decorates a tree in December. At the same time, decorated trees are not part of Christian doctrine. For Gaylor to say that it is alright to erect a Christmas Tree as long as we call it something else and that giving it its proper name endorses Christianity is hypocritical and downright silly.

Since people seems to accept Obama using the term, I can only assume that this is faux outrage by people who suffer from Walker Derangement Syndrome.

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