West Greenwich, RI – A Christian business owner has informed the Rhode Island Governor that he may take back the Christmas tree he donated to the State House for the annual Christmas tree lighting celebration. Gov. Lincoln Chafee proclaimed it must be referred to as a “holiday” tree. For the past five years, John Leyden, the owner of Big John Leyden Christmas Trees, has donated a Christmas tree to the State House Rotunda for the annual event. But this year, Chafee says it cannot be called a “Christmas tree,” claiming this counters Rhode Island's founding as a haven for religious tolerance, where government and religion were kept separate.
The Governor’s decision shows clear discrimination against Christmas. More than 70% of Americans polled would rather be wished “Merry Christmas” than “Happy Holidays.”
Gov. Chafee, however, is ignoring a resolution recently passed by the State House Legislature that stated trees during this season would be called “Christmas trees.” State Representative Doreen Costa, a cosponsor of this resolution, has said she will hold her own Christmas tree lighting celebration for those who want to actually celebrate Christmas.
Citizens have the opportunity to help bring back Christmas to the state of Rhode Island! Call Gov. Chaffee’s office today at (401) 222-2080 and urge him to reverse his decision.
Liberty Counsel launched its ninth annual “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign” to educate and, if necessary, litigate to make sure religious viewpoints are not censored during Christmas. Liberty Counsel provides information about Christmas at www.LC.org and a “Naughty & Nice” list, which overviews retailers that acknowledge Christmas and those that do not.
Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Anyone knows the green, pointed, prickly trees we decorate in December are called ‘Christmas Trees.’ A Christmas tree celebrates only one holiday and it is called Christmas. Gov. Lincoln Chafee ought to wake up and exercise common sense. By trying not to offend people he has offended the vast majority of people, and he has made his action look absurd. He ought to immediately reverse his decision and do the right thing by calling the tree by its proper name.”