Madison
73° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds
Advertisement

Walker Says It's A Christmas, Not Holiday, Tree

Published On: Nov 07 2011 03:23:54 AM CST
Updated On: Nov 08 2011 08:43:50 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Gov. Scott Walker is calling the tree decorated with ornaments and adorned with a star at the top in the center of Wisconsin's Capitol Rotunda a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree.

The roughly 30-foot tall tree had been called a Christmas tree since it was first displayed in 1916 until 1985 when the name was changed to the more generic holiday tree.

"It was always a Christmas tree in my house, as it has been in other houses around the country, around the state," Walker said. "It's been a Christmas tree."

Visitors at the Capitol had differing views on what the tree should be called.

"It is a Christmas tree," said Lois Janezic. "I firmly believe that we should put Christ back in Christmas."

"If they want to have a Christmas tree at home, that's fine," said Karla Anderegg. "They want to have it at their workplace, I guess that's fine. But this government represents all people."

For years, the decorations for the tree at the Capitol have included symbols of non-Christian faith, including a sign celebrating the winter solstice.

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has opposed calling it a Christmas tree, saying it would offend nonreligious people and amount to a government endorsement of Christianity.

"If it's a symbol our holiday season, what's wrong with calling it a holiday tree?" said Annie Laurie Gaylor, with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who said Walker's move is political grandstanding with aims to divide the state.

"Government shouldn't be involved in religion," Gaylor said. "It should be inclusive. It shouldn't make statements that would make outsiders of Jews and non-Christians in December."

"We light a menorah candle with our friends in the Jewish faith tradition," said Walker. "So this is not about establishing a state religion or anything like that. It's just, simply put, it's a Christmas tree."

In 2007, the state Assembly successfully passed a measure to change the name to a Christmas tree, but it failed to make it out of the Senate.

The tree is on display from late November to early January.

Advertisement
  • iOS 8

    From Apple

    Best new Apple iOS 8 features

    Apple's iOS 8 is here, and it's packed with slick new features. Take a look at some of the best changes to the latest version of the popular mobile operating system.

  • Testing for Ebola

    REUTERS/Misha Hussain

    Common myths about Ebola

    At least eight Ebola aid workers and journalists were reportedly murdered in a remote village in Guinea in a brutal example of growing distrust locals have of foreigners coming to help stem the mushrooming health crisis. Take a look at common myths about the deadly virus.

  • Police lights file 2

    Ridiculous 911 calls

    Have you ever considered calling 911 because of a massive spider in your house? How about because a McDonald's employee got your order wrong? Take a look at some of the strangest reasons people have recently called 911.

  • C3K-EVENTS

    Events calendar

    Looking for something to do? Visit Channel 3000's events section featuring dining, food, music and family-friendly events throughout Madison and the surrounding area.

  • Get your weather app

    Channel3000.com and WISC-TV3 deliver local forecasts, live radar, school closings and alerts for Madison and South Central Wisconsin to iOS or Android devices.

  • Learn more about WISC-TV

    Meet the News 3 staff, learn about our newscasts, search our job postings and find out how to contact us.

Advertisement