‘Holiday tree’: Sincere, but wrong-headed

An evergreen strung with lights, adorned with hanging bulbs, and strewn with tinsel knows no other name but Christmas tree. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee strains credulity in calling it a “holiday tree,’’ in order to avoid offending Jews, Muslims, atheists, and other constituents who aren’t celebrating Christmas.

But while Chafee’s renaming of the Christmas tree defies logic, the sentiments behind his stance are sincere and well-intentioned. He hardly deserves the contempt of the radio commentators and certain Christian groups who claim to be deeply offended. It’s difficult to indulge their sense of injury, amid the glorious pageants of Christmas lights on almost every block, carols ringing through malls, lights in church steeples, and specials on TV. Americans can’t be accused of downplaying Christmas. Revelers need not look far for signs of the season.

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