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It's Not a Holiday Tree, 'It's a Christmas Tree'

  • Religion Today Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • Published Nov 08, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced Monday that the 30-foot-tall evergreen in Wisconsin's Capitol Rotunda is a Christmas tree, not a "holiday tree" as it's been referred to for the past 25 years, the Chicago Tribune reports. It was called a Christmas tree from its first display in 1916 until 1985, when politicians conceded to concerns about government endorsing religion and started calling it a holiday tree instead. The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which opposes the term "Christmas tree," called Walker's decision rude and insensitive to non-Christians, saying it would imply that "the governor chooses one religion over another;" Walker's spokesman, Cullen Werwie, confirmed that the designation and change from past practices was intentional. "It's a Christmas tree," Werwie said. "In all honesty, I don't know what more to say about it." In past years, displays from a variety of religions have been set up in the Capitol rotunda, including a menorah and a sign from the Freedom From Religion Foundation which calls religion "superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."