Thursday, December 01, 2005

And now, from the "Tis the Season to split hairs" department and Yahoo! News...

Sudiegirl sez: OK...I try to be open-minded about things, and I try very hard not to push my beliefs down other peoples' throats. That said, I guess I don't really understand the problem with calling Christmas trees "holiday" trees, you know? It's like the old poem goes..."Roses are red, violets are bluish...if it weren't for Christmas, we'd all be Jewish."

If I offend someone with my opinions, I do apologize. However, in this season, the real holiday spirit is in your heart anyway, and if someone else's beliefs don't follow your own, that's the way life is. But forcing opinions - no matter what direction - is not right. I'm personally OK with calling a Christmas tree a "holiday" tree. As I said before, the guy we're celebrating was born in a barn, so I think this is just small potatoes compared to what else is going on in this world. I'll be a smarty if I can...

Trimming 'Christmas' from trees stirs debate
By Emily Bazar, USA TODAY Thu Dec 1, 6:45 AM ET

In city halls and public parks across the country, stories-high evergreens are being erected and decked with glowing lights and sparkling ornaments. (At my house, if I had a Christmas tree, it would be decked with fighting cats and cat fur. Oh, and Godzilla action figures.)

They look - and smell - like Christmas trees. (Or, if it's smells like plastic. I don't do real trees - they dry out too fast and I don't vacuum needles. Hell, I don't VACUUM.) But not so fast.

In places as varied as Chicago, Reno and Prairie Village, Kan., they're "holiday" trees. In other spots, such as Atlanta, they have no name at all.
(If I had a tree, I'd call it "Fred". That's a good, sturdy, dependable name.)

This year, the tree-name game has sparked a backlash, with some Americans crying humbug and Christian groups threatening lawsuits over what they say is religious discrimination. (You know, I heard somewhere that early Christians actually incorporated the concept of a Christmas tree to draw Druids and other pagans into the faith. Is that true?)

Perhaps the most heated debate is brewing in Boston. The city's Parks and Recreation Department ignited a furor (as opposed to a "fir-or"...get it? HAHA - a little evergreen humor there - very little, I'm guessing...) when it advertised the lighting of a "Holiday Tree," scheduled for tonight. (Seems reasonable to me...)

People complained, and the Nova Scotia logger who donated the spruce told newspapers he'd rather feed the tree to a wood chipper than call it that. Said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino: "I consider this tree to be a Christmas tree." (And that's really what it's about, isn't it? It shouldn't matter what a government body says it's what it means to YOU that matters. Whether you consider it a Christmas tree, a Hannukah bush, or Fred, it's your perception that is the most important.)

Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, a legal group that focuses on religious issues, said the mayor's use of "Christmas tree" means there's no need to go to court over the issue. His group's Christmas campaign aims to stop what it views as religious censorship and "political correctness run amok." It is endorsed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. (Somehow, to me that doesn't reflect the same clout as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.)

"It's like calling a menorah a candlestick," Staver said. "It's wrong. It's offensive. And it disenfranchises a large segment of the community."
(I can see his point as well, but still...nobody can truly take away your opinions unless you let them. So if your opinion is that it's a Christmas tree, and Christmas is your holiday of choice or upbringing or whatever, then so be it! Jeez. The fact remains that to a homeless person, they're not gonna have a Christmas/holiday/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/"Fred" tree anyway, much less shelter, food or adequate clothing so let's REPRIORITIZE here!)

This week in Washington, D.C., the "Capitol Holiday Tree" was renamed the "Capitol Christmas Tree" at the request of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
It was called a Christmas tree until the mid-1990s, Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean said. "The Speaker thought it was important to reflect what Americans call their trees, which are Christmas trees," he said. (Well, if I want to call my tree "Fred", or if I don't even want to put up a Christmas tree because it's a pain in the butt, does that mean I'm a bed-wetting Communist subversive?)

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said using the term "Christmas tree" excludes people of other faiths and backgrounds. (I can see their point too...I guess...)

"I certainly don't need spiritual sustenance from the government," he said. "I get that in my church." (Now THAT I agree with. That's what belief in a higher power of some sort is for, after all!)

Respect for diversity is the most common reason given by those that use the term "holiday tree." In the town of Fishers, Ind., officials advertise the annual "tree lighting ceremony," without using the words "Christmas" or "holiday." (Now to ME, that seems like the most logical solution. That way, people can call it whatever they want to in their it Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Fred, or "energy sucking piece of firewood".)

"We want to be sensitive to all ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs," said Marc Steczyk, a town spokesman. "We're in the business of treating all people how they should be treated." (I guess in this day and age that's the best we're gonna get, huh?)

Sudiegirl's final opinion?
Now do you see why I wanna keep it simple? Jeez...