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Q-C

Why do we have a White House Christmas tree?

104 posts in this topic

Why is this even under discussion? :no:

Because you're in UM, with wild ideas speculated; sometimes for the better, othertimes not.

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And why do we have a "White" House.

Perhaps it should be re-coloured in a rainbow motiff. (being sarcastic)

Look, changing American traditions to "appease" and "non-offend" is just getting rediculous.

The White House has another name.

Yes, you have your line, and it has not been crossed, you are not offended. And apparently no one else who has posted is either. But what about where others draw the line, to feel included? Should you decide for them?

From day one, the President and First Lady have made opening the doors of the White House a priority. "It’s the “People’s House,” as Mrs. Obama often calls it, “It’s a place that is steeped in history, but it’s also a place where everyone should feel welcome. And that's why my husband and I have made it our mission to open up the house to as many people as we can."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/09/05/office-hours-inside-white-house-curator-william-allman

Edited by QuiteContrary

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And why do we have a "White" House.

Perhaps it should be re-coloured in a rainbow motiff. (being sarcastic)

Look, changing American traditions to "appease" and "non-offend" is just getting rediculous.

Darn right, surely that's offensive to non-Whites. :(

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But it is called a "Christmas" tree. It is not a pagan symbol at the White House. Are there angels on the WH tree? A nativity maybe? Christian symbols?

Much as the holiday evolved (or devolved depending on what purists you ask) to being the Christian one, it is pretty much moved on from that to become the gift sharing, mistletoe, and snowman holiday. Maybe one day it will change even more, and possibly be owned by Taco Bell.

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The White House has another name.

Yes, you have your line, and it has not been crossed, you are not offended. And apparently no one else who has posted is either. But what about where others draw the line, to feel included? Should you decide for them?

From day one, the President and First Lady have made opening the doors of the White House a priority. "It’s the “People’s House,” as Mrs. Obama often calls it, “It’s a place that is steeped in history, but it’s also a place where everyone should feel welcome. And that's why my husband and I have made it our mission to open up the house to as many people as we can."

http://www.whitehous...-william-allman

*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:

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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.

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.

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*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.

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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?

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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

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

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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.

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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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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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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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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

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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.

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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.....

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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.

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Will ya'll stop prodding her? She's not listening......which makes her a great political extremest. She got a point and by God we're going to hear it regardless of what else is said, or it's relevance to the topic at hand.

Let me know when you're ready to listen (I just know this is going to lead to denials and an argument)

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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.

That's fine, but it is both. Another person may see a different "something meaningful beyond the literal" than you do or than I do. Well, you've noticed that by now:

I honestly thought most would agree the tree symbolizes a specific religious holiday tradition in our country.

The shiny candleholder part, though, should be the same for everybody. It, too, is a carrier of meaning.

I can't believe Christmas trees have no religious connotation for our Christian Presidents.

Probably they do. But I can't believe that an American adult wouldn't have many other connotations as well, not just religious ones. Don't get me started on mine :) .

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Will ya'll stop prodding her? She's not listening......which makes her a great political extremest. She got a point and by God we're going to hear it regardless of what else is said, or it's relevance to the topic at hand.

Let me know when you're ready to listen (I just know this is going to lead to denials and an argument)

The decorated and lit tree is not a religious symbol. It has been adopted by some religious groups. But the tradition and history of it are not strictly "christian" by a long shot.

It is a harmless pretty tradition.

On one hand It fosters sharing of faiths and that is a good thing. On the other hand, "religious" objects have many different meanings to many different people of all faiths and even those of no faith in a god.

Christ wasn't even born in December, so it can't be linked to him.

The term Christmas and its religious connotations in our country have long been forgotten by many people. It's a secular or at least mostly a nonreligious holiday.

Edited by QuiteContrary

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That's fine, but it is both. Another person may see a different "something meaningful beyond the literal" than you do or than I do. Well, you've noticed that by now:

The shiny candleholder part, though, should be the same for everybody. It, too, is a carrier of meaning.

Probably they do. But I can't believe that an American adult wouldn't have many other connotations as well, not just religious ones. Don't get me started on mine :) .

I still struggle with the historical choice of a decorated and lit pine tree in December and the church choirs and such. But I see that is apparently just me.

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Do you know what the National Retail Council would do if the Government suddenly decided it would no loner recognize Christmas?

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