Re: Keep Christ in Christmas, but the Government Out
I don’t believe it’s fair to blame WPRO (630AM) talk show host John DePetro for “manufacturing” the controversy about the Rhode Island Christmas tree/holiday tree.
The blame rests squarely with Governor Lincoln Chafee, who is claiming the authority to rename a religious symbol because he is the head of the state. (Bill O’Reilly is wrong when he says Christmas trees are a secular symbol).
To Governor Chafee and some of his extreme-liberal fellow travelers, it’s just plain obvious that “separation of church and state” means that government has inherent authority to rename religious symbols. To other Rhode Islanders, many Rhode Islanders, the possession of such a power by government officials isn’t a slam dunk.
When Governor Chafee tries explaining why government should involve itself with renaming religious symbols, he generally isn’t very convincing and, as a result, often prefers to take the discussion towards declaring that there shouldn’t be so much opposition to his decision because publicly voiced dissent, he believes, could create chaos. Or maybe dissent, on this issue, in the Governor’s mind, is chaos.
These, in the end, are the two sources of the continuing Rhode Island Christmas tree controversy: a Governor who asserts that his office as head of state comes with the power to rename religious symbols and said Governor’s intolerance for dissent from that position. That much public questioning occurs about the wisdom of both these propositions is not just acceptable but healthy.