Madison
57° F
Clear
Clear
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
  • Marysville Pilchuck school shooting 4

    KOMO

    2 dead in school shooting near Seattle, sources say

    A school shooting has been reported at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, about 35 miles north of Seattle.

  • Craig Spencer

    America's Ebola patients

    An American doctor who was working with Ebola patients in Guinea was been diagnosed with the disease after returning to New York. Learn more about him and America's other Ebola victims.

  • Hot peppers

    Karimala/iStock

    Notable food recalls

    A North Carolina producer of peppers and hot sauces is voluntarily recalling 6,215 pounds of fresh serrano chili peppers because some tested positive for salmonella. Here are other notable food recalls that made headlines.

  • jack-o-lantern Halloween pumpkin

    Juliet James/SXC

    Halloween

    Games, recipes, trick-or-treating, scary movies and everything else you need to make your Halloween extra spooky.

  • Politician, politics, debate, election

    iStock / bns124

    Election Coverage

    Get up-to-date on political stories, Reality Check the latest political ads, learn about the candidates and find election results in our special section.

  • Ebola virus pink

    CDC

    Ebola special coverage

    Get the latest news on the Ebola outbreak and resources to help you learn more about the deadly virus.

Advertisement