'Christmas' is back in Rhode Island State House
December 2nd, 2013
01:14 PM ET
8 months ago

'Christmas' is back in Rhode Island State House

(CNN) - "Christmas" is returning to Rhode Island's capitol building.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee put out a statement Monday announcing that the tree at the State House will be called a "Christmas tree," ending a two-year long controversy.

In 2011, in his first year as governor, Chafee's calling of a "holiday tree" sparked protests, including a competing Christmas tree lighting ceremony. A state lawmaker even called the governor a "Grinch."

Chafee, a Republican turned independent turned Democrat, said in a statement that "In 2011, my first year celebrating December in the State House I gave a simple six word instruction to the planners of the annual tree lighting: 'Do what they did last year.' "

Previous governors had used the term "holiday tree," as well.

"Despite the myriad of pressing issues facing Rhode Island and the nation, this presumably happy event became a focal point for too much anger. Strangely lost in the brouhaha was any intellectual discussion of the liberties pioneered here in Rhode Island 350 years ago in our Charter. Because I do not think how we address the State House tree affects our 'lively experiment,' this year's invitation calls the tree a Christmas tree," Chafee continued.

The tree lighting in the State House rotunda in Providence, Rhode Island is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.

Chafee announced in September that he would not run for re-election next year.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.


Filed under: Lincoln Chafee • Rhode Island
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. much thunder..little rain

    thank you gov.

    December 2, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Donna

    Good news... another defeat for the faqr left and their war on our values and traditions. Merry Christmas!!!

    December 2, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    The real war is not the alleged Fox News, "war on Christmas," it is the republican war on Christian ideals.

    December 2, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Can you imagine any modern republican worshipping a child born in a manger? The innkeeper, on the other hand, would be the GOP ideal businessman..

    December 2, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Yes, nothing says Christmas like the return of conservatives whining hysterically about the imaginary state-sponsored persecution of Christians by Dems/liberals...all because they can't force everyone to pay for the town hall to put up a Xmas tree images of Jesus and then have all the children be exposed to a constant stream of Christian prayers while captive in school. Everyone should have a mixed-tape for Xmas that goes something like this: Bing Crosby's White Xmas -> Jingle Bell Rock -> Shrieking Nutbag Liberty University Graduate Interview on Bill O'Reilly's Show -> Handel's Messiah....

    December 2, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Previous governors had used the term "holiday tree," as well.
    -----------------------------------------–
    Here we go again with the gotcha politics. I guess I'll get a lot of flack from the religious right for spelling Christmas, Xmas. Whatever!

    December 2, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. anonymous

    Tampa Tim
    The real war is not the alleged Fox News, "war on Christmas," it is the republican war on Christian ideals.
    --

    What does a Godless lefty know about Christian ideals?

    December 2, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    All it took was democratic leadership, something a republican could not do.

    December 2, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. current state of the union

    Donna, please explain this war on Christmas, crickets?

    December 2, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    Good news... another defeat for the faqr left and their war on our values and traditions. Merry Christmas!!!
    ------------------
    I must apologize to all the American people of non-Christian faiths for all of the hypocritical conservatives like Donna. They claim to love the U.S. Constitution. However, in practice, they act as if the Bill of Rights begins with the 2nd Amendment, and think that we live in a Christianity-based theocracy.

    December 2, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Tommy G

    Tampa Tim
    All it took was democratic leadership, something a republican could not do.
    --

    He was the lunatic that changed it to a holiday tree. So now he has seen the err of his ways and corrected his folly. It means there is even hope for the clueless, lying corrupt leftist Democrats.

    December 2, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    There is no hope for lying right wing nut jobs. All they have left is Birthers and domestic terrorists.

    December 2, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Shrewd move. Cuts the right wing's "War On Christmas" off at the knees. I guess they'll re-focus on the White House "holiday" trees next. It's too juicy a target to pass up.

    December 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    The "war on Christians" mythology is as absurd as McDonald's (with way less stores than there are Christian churches) claiming that because there is not a McD's in a certain federal building that they are being driven out of business.

    I think all the progressives of faith should show up with their favorite religious symbol and demand it be put alongside the Christians ones. I saw this happen once and the One-Religion Theocracy folks disappeared fast! Because it destroys the myth of the Christian nation. Freedom of Religion, just as it was in 1776 with the founders of many faiths.

    December 2, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Silence DoGood

    Do not change this free country into a Christian Theocracy!
    To all you radical right self-appointed christian high priests out there:

    “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
    ~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814

    “I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”
    ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799

    December 2, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Tampa Tim

    On Feb. 28, 2014, the 160 year anniversary of the Republican Party, people will gather around to celebrate the end of the once proud party of Lincoln. Tea baggers have destroyed so much in a few short years.

    December 2, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    You can bet, someone will sue the state over that. This country has literally gone berserk.

    December 2, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "What does a Godless lefty know about Christian ideals?"

    That you alienate millions of liberal, progressive and independent Christians whenever you pretend that only conservatives have a right to claim they are good Christians and have a lock on what it means to be one. Please proceed.

    December 2, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. sonny chapman

    WWJD ? Jesus, you know, the guy whose B'Day we supposedly celebrate on Dec. 25. "You will be known as my followers by the love you show to each other". John 13,35.

    December 2, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. Chris

    Decorating Trees is a Pagaen ritual just like most other "Christmas Traditions"

    Jeremiah 10:3-4

    For the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.

    December 2, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    @Donna......

    I'm a "leftie" and a Christian. You roll all of the Democrats up into one hateful ball of lies. Please speak for yourself and
    quit judging, as a true Christian would not do.

    There are plenty of Republican atheists out there, go pick on them.

    December 2, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    “The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
    ~James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”

    December 2, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. current state of the union

    Tommy g, you might want to read this again, his first year in office he told planners to do what they did last year

    December 2, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. sonny chapman

    Before anyone calls anybody "Godless"(Christian), maybe we should look at what Jesus said. Read the Gospel of Matthew; it's only 40 pages; then decide if someone is leading a "Christ Like" life in word & deed. Caution: It's very had to do.

    December 2, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sniffit
    "What does a Godless lefty know about Christian ideals?"

    That you alienate millions of liberal, progressive and independent Christians whenever you pretend that only conservatives have a right to claim they are good Christians and have a lock on what it means to be one. Please proceed.
    ---------–

    Co-sign.

    December 2, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |