Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about what to call the tree associated with an impending holiday. In the United States, separation between church and state is taken very seriously. To the point, in fact, where the tree-lighting ceremony where I live was for a “holiday tree.”
Some people were upset about it. They felt it was part of a war on Christmas and while I don’t believe in such an attack, I think they’re right about the nonsense of it all. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet and a conifer decorated with lights and ornaments is still a Christmas tree. But since a Christmas tree can be considered endorsement of religion, they adhere to the letter of the law, but not the spirit, by making it a Holiday tree. For all the other December holidays that use trees.
I don’t want to exclude anyone, but is it really so terrible to call it what it is? I know the tree and Santa Claus are both enmeshed with the religious aspects, but they are also icons onto themselves. I’m not Christian (although I’m descended from Christians who aren’t observant) but that doesn’t mean Christmas doesn’t have special significance for me.
What do you think about the whole debate? If you live outside the US, how does your country deal with religion and government? Do any non-Christians out there want to weigh in on whether the tree and Santa can stand alone? And for Christians, do you think it matters if those symbols are separate from the religious aspects of the holiday?
Yeah, a lot of questions. But I’m very curious to know.