‘Tis the season for overly dramatic and arboreal scuffles.
In response to last year’s flak regarding renaming the 17-foot evergreen in the State House a “Holiday Tree,” Rhode Island’s Governor Chafee ’75 P’14 P’17 has restored the Christmas tree title in a statement issued on Monday.
Rhode Island of all places is a peculiar site for a debate over public religious tokens, considering the Rhode Island Charter of 1663 was the first legal document in the world that completely decoupled church and state in favor of toleration, according to historian J. Stanley Lemons.
However, unsurprisingly, much of the hubbub last year surrounding the name “Holiday Tree” came from none other than Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly. In classic Factor fashion, he sent Jesse Watters up to Providence to ask Brown students for their take on the issue. Watters aired a segment portraying Brown students as the only population in the state that preferred the holiday tree over a Christmas tree, saying that all people he spoke to in Providence preferred the traditional name “except if you go to Brown University.” [Read more →]