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Why do we have a White House Christmas tree?


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#31    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:38 AM

View Post747400, on 24 November 2012 - 08:04 AM, said:

Because the Christmas tree is nothing to do with Christianity (Norwegain Spruces weren't native to the Middle East), and is, if its origins could be tarced back to anything beyond the 19th c., if anything a pagan symbol.
i suppose people be clamouring for the whole thing to be called "Winter Break", to avoid Offending anybody next. Or perhaps Festivus.

View Post747400, on 24 November 2012 - 08:08 AM, said:

Most people aren't actually offended by the notion of "Christmas", probably because not many people give any thought to the religious associations. of all the things that the Citizens might be tempted to take up arms against, the fact that there's an annual tradition of sticking a tree up with the word "Christ" atatched to it would be unlikely to be very high on many people's lists.


I am talking about 20th Century United States of America. Where the Christmas tree for many has every connection to religion and nativity scenes and carols about christ.
Many of our National Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies contain those very things.

It was religious enough in symbolism to offend Jews, and for the ACLU and other groups to keep a tight watch.

It isn't about trees. Trees have been used by man since he first ate a leaf or used it for shade. And decorated one probably not much later.

It isn't about christ not being born in December. Do you believe he was even born?

It isn't about there having been earlier pagan winter celebrations before christ was born.

It is about the culture in the United States of America at the time surrounding the first National Christmas Tree and carried on, it is about the name "Christmas", the legacy of christian Presidents, the church choirs and nativity scenes.

If a nation or President can't connect church&state through this tradition by now, then why as I posted earlier has it  been more closely monitored and protested and watered-down and secularized. So someone besides me has noticed. I'm not stating anything new here. Or even radical.

I asked for opinions and have been told it is a worthless topic. It is not worthless to everyone. As we strive to be a country of "Everyone" not "Them".. as Our First Lady so proudly states.

I understand people fed up with "not offending others" at every turn. But we each have our own opinions as what "offenses" are worthy or not.
Maybe that should be up to the offended rather than the offenders.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#32    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:43 AM

View Post747400, on 24 November 2012 - 09:14 AM, said:

*gasps* The People's House?! The phrase "The People's" was always used by Commie dictatorships, wasn't it. The People's Commissars, the People's Court, the People's Revolutionary Front. This is proof that while he may not be an Atheist, or a Muslim, he's without doubt a Commie.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention.


:unsure2:

I am discussing a topic about a tradition being offensive to some in our Nation. Mrs. Obama wants a "People's House" where everyone feels welcome. We are on the same team. I see change happening, and it is a good thing.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#33    pallidin

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:48 AM

View PostQuiteContrary, on 24 November 2012 - 09:43 AM, said:

I am discussing a topic about a tradition being offensive to some in our Nation.

So, the minority became the majority? When did that happen?


#34    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:56 AM

View Postpallidin, on 24 November 2012 - 09:48 AM, said:

So, the minority became the majority? When did that happen?


Quite often in our country's history. Many/most changes in this country have been built on/from the oppression and opinions of minority groups. Including the birth of our country itself.

Edited by QuiteContrary, 24 November 2012 - 09:58 AM.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#35    pallidin

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:59 AM

Why don't we just adopt Sharia law, and rid the US of anything "Christmas"... (sarcasm)


#36    Admiral Rhubarb

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:18 AM

The thread really does sound like one of those caricatures of Political Correctness that the satirical press enjoy coming up with. So what we have is that the word "Christmas" and the presence of a star at the top of a tree is an act of Oppression? And that eventually this is going to cause a popular Uprising? But the Republican party has a very strong base of support on the basis of "Christian values", or so they like to claim. Considering that support for the Republican party was pretty strong in the recent Election, I don't see much suggestion of an anti-Christian uprising for a while yet, least of all one provoked by the presence of a Christmas tree and the use of the word "Christian" in association with it.

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


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#37    JGirl

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:21 AM

View PostQuiteContrary, on 24 November 2012 - 04:57 AM, said:

I know all US Presidents have been Christians, but will the tree tradition last?
For me, it is a prominent symbol of Church&State. It makes a statement.
What do you all think?
i think it's pretty.
that's about as far as i go with whether it should be there or not.

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#38    Odds

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:26 AM

I'm from Australia, so i may be a bit off topic, but in the decade or so it seems Christmas has been tried to be phased out here. Most school can't say 'Merry Christmas', but 'happy holidays', they can't have Christmas trees in the classroom so they don't offend other religions, can't make Christmas decorations anymore or. It sickens me.

Some of my best childhood memories were doing these things. Let kids have their fun, religious or not. They barely associate it with religion, just a fun time of the year.

Some people just need to grow up.

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#39    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:43 AM

View PostOdds, on 24 November 2012 - 10:26 AM, said:

I'm from Australia, so i may be a bit off topic, but in the decade or so it seems Christmas has been tried to be phased out here. Most school can't say 'Merry Christmas', but 'happy holidays', they can't have Christmas trees in the classroom so they don't offend other religions, can't make Christmas decorations anymore or. It sickens me.

Some of my best childhood memories were doing these things. Let kids have their fun, religious or not. They barely associate it with religion, just a fun time of the year.

Some people just need to grow up.

bolding mine
Yes, this is happening here too. That is why I wonder about the fate of our National Christmas Tree lighting.

Edited by QuiteContrary, 24 November 2012 - 10:45 AM.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#40    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:45 AM

View PostJGirl, on 24 November 2012 - 10:21 AM, said:

i think it's pretty.
that's about as far as i go with whether it should be there or not.

I think some Christmas trees are definitely attractive. The taller the better.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#41    eight bits

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 11:55 AM

Quote

I'm glad its meaning is pagan for you.

Well, that's not quite its meaning for me. I think its core meaning is unreligious. Baby, it's cold outside. Dark, too. Many sighted animals like shiny things, mammals like warmth, humans use fire for warmth and light. If any of that has a religious dimension, then it is because religions, whether traditional or revealed, benefit from "mission creep," and take things that people would do anyway, to spin them as related to their own agenda.

For example, In the United States, we just finished Thanksgiving. That's a harvest festival, nothing religious in origin. People find "We're not going to starve this year" a reason to party. But no. We gather to "give thanks." Thanks to whom? Not the turkey, that's for damned sure.

How is a menorah a counterexample to this view? It's a shiny candle holder, for God's sake.

Quote

I am not trying to take away its symbol of paganism from anyone, but am questioning about its very real symbol of religion/Christianity/church/christ for many in the United States.

But there you have it: a symbol is a real thing interpreted as meaning something else in addition, which means it's interpreted by somebody (in your statement, the "many in the United States"). Different people really are free to interpret things however they want here. I sure hope that doesn't change.

BTW, I like choral music. I've even sung some. Most of the venerable repertoire is religious, one way or another. OK. But if agnostic I can sing Handel's Messiah, and the guy next to me is Jewish, and some lady over in the altos is Wiccan... well, that is America, isn't it?

Odds

Quote

Some of my best childhood memories were doing these things. Let kids have their fun, religious or not. They barely associate it with religion, just a fun time of the year.

When I was a kid, I went to school with pupils of mixed backgrounds: Catholic kids, some Orthodox, a variety of Protestants, and Jewish kids. Not just religion, but different ethnicities too (all white, though). So, this time of year "show and tell" was how the different families celebrated the season, whatever they interpreted the season to be. (And, of course, what gifts we got.)

Who knows? Maybe we even learned something from that. It's a risk I'd be willing to take, letting that kind of thing continue in a secular society.

Edited by eight bits, 24 November 2012 - 11:58 AM.

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#42    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:39 PM

View Posteight bits, on 24 November 2012 - 11:55 AM, said:

Well, that's not quite its meaning for me. I think its core meaning is unreligious. Baby, it's cold outside. Dark, too. Many sighted animals like shiny things, mammals like warmth, humans use fire for warmth and light. If any of that has a religious dimension, then it is because religions, whether traditional or revealed, benefit from "mission creep," and take things that people would do anyway, to spin them as related to their own agenda.

For example, In the United States, we just finished Thanksgiving. That's a harvest festival, nothing religious in origin. People find "We're not going to starve this year" a reason to party. But no. We gather to "give thanks." Thanks to whom? Not the turkey, that's for damned sure.

How is a menorah a counterexample to this view? It's a shiny candle holder, for God's sake.



But there you have it: a symbol is a real thing interpreted as meaning something else in addition, which means it's interpreted by somebody (in your statement, the "many in the United States"). Different people really are free to interpret things however they want here. I sure hope that doesn't change.

BTW, I like choral music. I've even sung some. Most of the venerable repertoire is religious, one way or another. OK. But if agnostic I can sing Handel's Messiah, and the guy next to me is Jewish, and some lady over in the altos is Wiccan... well, that is America, isn't it?

Odds



When I was a kid, I went to school with pupils of mixed backgrounds: Catholic kids, some Orthodox, a variety of Protestants, and Jewish kids. Not just religion, but different ethnicities too (all white, though). So, this time of year "show and tell" was how the different families celebrated the season, whatever they interpreted the season to be. (And, of course, what gifts we got.)

Who knows? Maybe we even learned something from that. It's a risk I'd be willing to take, letting that kind of thing continue in a secular society.

I see a menorah lit by a rabbi and our President, to ensure religious equality as part of a National Christmas Tree lighting, as not just a shiny candle holder.
I see individuals alternately sharing their religious traditions as a freedom. However, imo, a President isn't to be expressing his own personal religious freedom through a "National" Christmas Tree.
I can't believe Christmas trees have no religious connotation for our Christian Presidents.

Edited by QuiteContrary, 24 November 2012 - 12:41 PM.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#43    Emma_Acid

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 01:19 PM

View PostWearer of Hats, on 24 November 2012 - 06:09 AM, said:

it's because Obama is an evil atheistic Kenyan Muslim Socialist, it's all shadowplay and distraction for the masses.

Its all smoke and mirrors. And stockings and mince pies.

"Science is the least subjective form of deduction" ~ A. Mulder

#44    Emma_Acid

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 01:25 PM

View PostQuiteContrary, on 24 November 2012 - 09:38 AM, said:

It is about the culture in the United States of America at the time surrounding the first National Christmas Tree and carried on, it is about the name "Christmas", the legacy of christian Presidents, the church choirs and nativity scenes.

If a nation or President can't connect church&state through this tradition by now, then why as I posted earlier has it  been more closely monitored and protested and watered-down and secularized. So someone besides me has noticed. I'm not stating anything new here. Or even radical.

Of all the fights you could pick.....

"Science is the least subjective form of deduction" ~ A. Mulder

#45    QuiteContrary

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 02:07 PM

View PostEmma_Acid, on 24 November 2012 - 01:25 PM, said:


Of all the fights you could pick.....

It wasn't about "picking a fight". I never expected the total negativity when questioning our National Christmas Tree tradition. I honestly thought most would agree the tree symbolizes a specific religious holiday tradition in our country.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.




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