Christmas is about to swing into high gear. The latest charge comes out of Rhode Island where a state representative is calling Gov. Lincoln Chafee “Governor Grinch” after Chafee defied lawmakers and decided the state would have a ”holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree.”
Start the pearl-clutching.
The move has so offended Rep. Doreen Costa that she’s taking matters into her own hands and lighting her own Christmas tree at the state house, and a conservative group of pastors out of Pennsylvania has grabbed onto the story to push the never-ending narrative of Christian oppression during the holiday season.
“This time of year,” says Colin Hanna, president of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network and Let Freedom Ring, “some get so wrapped up and wound so tightly about the political correctness of Christmas. We change everything to ‘holiday,’ and are afraid of mentioning anything with ‘Christmas’ in it for fear of offending someone. What about Christians who hold Christmas so dear? Isn’t it offensive to the majority of the U.S. who celebrates this blessed time of Jesus’ birth to take it to such a generic level?”
One reason why state displays with holiday-themed narratives are enacted on a “generic” level is the First Amendment’s prohibition against government-sponsored, backed or endorsed religious activities. A failure of the government not to embrace and promote a specifically Christian world view is not political correctness run amok, it it constitutional fidelity.
Photo from Harry Wood via flickr.