MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker is calling the tree decorated with ornaments and adorned with a star at the top in the center of Wisconsin’s Capitol Rotunda a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree.

The roughly 30-foot tall tree had been called a Christmas tree since it was first displayed in 1916 until 1985 when the name was changed to the more generic holiday tree.

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has opposed calling it a Christmas tree, saying it would offend nonreligious people and amount to a government endorsement of Christianity.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says it’s a Christmas tree and he doesn’t know what more to say about it. The tree is on display from late November to early January.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (106)
  1. Who gives an F? says:

    Will it also br the Easter Bunny and not a Holiday Bunny?

  2. anti-proton says:

    Well if you crazy xtians get your mythological symbolism then I want my Zues lightning bolts and Thor’s hammer displayed as well.

    1. ez says:

      You know the courts have ruled that Christmas in not a christian holiday. And it really is not, it is a linked to the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, not the birth of the Christian Messiah. People are soo ignorant they don’t even know what they are complaining about.

      1. TL says:


        I guess that would depend on what you believe in and were raised to believe in. My religion would disagree with your adaptation of Christmas and what it is.

        But thats ok.

    2. Mel says:

      I’m sure you could find Zeus lightning bolts and Thor’s hammer for your Christmas tree ; ) everyone needs to just calm down. No one’s being secretly indoctrinated or forced into Christianity. Geez.

      1. mel says:

        I forgot the word “ornaments” after Thor’s hammer. Doesn’t make much sense without the word ornaments. My bad.

  3. Agreed! says:

    Yup, that would indeed be a CHRISTMAS TREE!!!

    Enjoy 🙂 … or leave

  4. Spell Check says:

    You would probably be more welcome on Mount Olympus if you could spell Zeus’s name right.

    1. says:

      HAHAHAHHAAHAHAHHAHAA!!!! LOL LMFAO. So true. and thank GOD I live in a state that elected a governor with balls. Not a pansy like Dayton. HAAA haaa (deep sigh of relief).

      1. lee says:

        You bet you dum ass…………………..

        1. you DUM.... A$$ says:

          Really, they let you put in “ass” but I am being denied? What? You got naked pics of the admin? I have to ask though, how stupid do you have to be to misspell dumBa$$?

      2. randy says:

        We’re gllad you live there too

        1. cheese baby!! says:

          Dayton, Franken, Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Yeah, MN elects some real winners.

  5. pretzeldude says:

    You messed up the public employee unions so I’m glad to see that you do have a tiny bit of sense. It is indeed a CHRISTmas tree NOT a holiday tree.

    1. TFerguson says:

      ’tis the season to worship evergreens and assign some deity to the solstice.

      1. Debby says:

        AND to dance nekkid in the woods!!

    2. markH says:

      You remind me that the credulous, gullible, and superstitious are always among us. Regardless, peace.

  6. Moe says:

    People didn’t used to get offended by things like this. What has happened? If you don’t like it, DON’T LOOK!

  7. TFerguson says:

    I’ll let you call it a Christmas tree if I can adorn it with some Mithra lights and we let a “Lord of Misrule” lead Wisconsin in 2012.

  8. Matt says:

    wow he finally got something right?

    1. TFerguson says:

      no, if he were historically correct, it would be an “Attis”mas tree

  9. DARREN says:

    Lets put CHRIST Back into CHRISTmas!

    1. TFerguson says:

      no, but the Attis back into evergreen tree solstice celebrations!

      1. Callina says:

        TFerguson… you are quite the evangelist, aren’t you? How many people have you converted to atheism?

        1. TFerguson says:

          Not an evangelist, I’m a satirist.

          1. The Infidel says:

            “I’m a satirist.” And a poor one at that.

            1. TFerguson says:

              right on, I haven’t earned money since Monica was in the Oval Office.

        2. Debby says:

          I am a non-believer (an atheist as you like to call us)…but I celebrate the holidays with a tree and decorations…and do it my way too. This holiday began as a Pagan holiday and the Romans decided there were too many pagans, so they made it a christian holiday…so lets just ALL celebrate it whichever way we want to!!

        3. markH says:

          @Callina- People aren’t “converted to atheism” as you state. All people are born with no belief system whatsoever; it is indoctrinated into them before they are able to reason and have their critical faculties in order. Atheism is simply a state of non-belief in a god, goddess, supernatural intervening deity. What we are seeing (now that secularism is gaining ground at a feverish rate) is that the religious are attempting to equate non-belief in the supernatural as being just another belief on offer-that couldn’t be further from reality. If there were indeed any evidence at all for the existence of a supernatural entity that intervenes in the affairs of people then we would hear and read such evidence from the proponents. We instead get a lot of nonsensical and defensive dribble as you have written. Peace.

          1. Callina says:

            Why is it, then, that people QUITE often are converted to Christianity after being atheists? As adults? Perhaps not with evidence that you could see or believe… but real enough to them to make a difference in their lives.

            I’m not debating with you the existence of God. I’m just saying that people with “no belief system whatsoever” sure do seem pretty intolerant of those who do. Even those of us who chose it as adults rather than being “indoctrinated” as children.

    2. ez says:

      Christ was never in Christmas.

      1. TFerguson says:

        ez has probably never picked up a bible. Dionysus, er, Jesus was born to a mortal female through god Zeus, er I mean, the three in-one god on December 25. Then he martyred himself on Easter in a self-fulfilling prophesy. His disciples then dressed up on Halloween to escape persecution. All in the great book, ez.

    3. donna larson says:

      I completely agree. Christs’ birth is what it is all about. There was no holiday born in the manger. It’s funny how free speech is emphasized when it comes to politics, but shunned when it comes to religion.

  10. GOPSUX says:

    It’s the reason for the season. That’s right, GREED!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Jack Noff says:

    The christmas tree originated with the pagan celebration of the winter solstice.

  12. Dean says:

    Great job, Governor Walker! We conservatives in Minnesota support you. And to all you (Christmas) tree hugging liberals, HA HA! Hopefully, God (and creation) will be put back in the failing public school system, too.

    1. Goat says:

      I wish we had a Governor with balls in this state too! I’m almost tempted to move to Wisconsin!!

      1. TFerguson says:

        because a governor who takes a solid stand on the naming of a tree is one by which I want my government ruled. I hereby declare the every evergreen in Minnesota to be christmas tree just so you will consider staying.

      2. billy says:

        Then move. Let me help you back and don’t let the door hit you in the behind when you are existing

      3. says:

        You are more then welcome, we’re making a move to take back our state from the Madison liberal crowd and we could use more votes. Maybe we can ship Madison to Minneapolis and move all conservative Minnesotans into the void. Sounds good to me.

    2. TFerguson says:

      Yes, christmas trees create jobs!!! Jobs performed by 8-year old solderers putting together an iPad for under the tree. Adorable, especially if its snowing out.

    3. Why Not says:

      What God and what version of creation? Native American would be good as they were the original dwellers in the area. The many different tribes have different versions and it would be interersting and informative to hear about them.

      1. says:

        UM, and what do you know about it? Of the untold many that I know I can think of none that would not describe themselves as christian with a view of creation adopted directly from the bible. A good number, prolly 60% or more, are Catholic. Not very interesting to hear them talk about creationism. God and the creator are considered one in the same in most homes that I know.

        1. Why Not says:

 – over 450 versions of Christian bible. Five main acknoledged religions Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Islam, Buddhism. Hundreds, perhaps thousand of subreligions. What God and what version of creation? I’ll go with science not myth and folklore. Also did you ever notice the most organized religion is male dominated and females play a subrole, usually as breeders. Organized religion seems to be about money and power – dominated by men. If athe majority of your friends are Catholic you may want to venture out into the real world and observe how others live. It could be eye-opening and would expand your horizons.

          1. DougT says:

            Ohh Successful White Male Dominated World – ya that was once upon a time….and look at where we are not in this rotting stinking world of diverse low brow “culture”….

            Perhaps you should open your eyes to the filth that is being put forth – lazy, self occupied, “you owe me” entitlement with our effort society


            1. carl says:

              The “You own me” culture is pretty alive and well in the brown culture too.

      2. DougT says:

        Excellent – for once my heritage and beliefs are being celebrated! The traditions of White Norther European Males!! = Success, hard work and rational thought. Finally!

        And I heard the Aboriginals lost and had to move to LA … oh wait no that was another ethnic group – Brewww! Skoal LA Vikings!!. :)))

        God Rest Ye Marry Gentlemen!


  13. just sayin says:

    I still stink down there.

  14. stung4ever says:

    “The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has opposed calling it a Christmas tree, saying it would offend nonreligious people and amount to a government endorsement of Christianity.”

    Do they also want Menorahs to be called “non denominational candle holders”?

    1. Debby says:

      I am not offended! Call it what you want!!..I will buy myself gift no matter WHAT it is called…laughing.

    2. markH says:

      Because it is called a Menorah and not a Jewish candle holder, your point makes no sense.

  15. Murph says:

    Under that tree will be a package with Walkers name on it from the FBI.The card will read: Enjoy this brand new orange jumpsuit Scotty baby! Many of your friends will get same,we don’t discriminate like you do!

    1. says:

      Keep dreaming Murph, while you’re at it why don’t you wish for a Hillary Clinton move to Milwaukee so she can run for Gov of WI.

  16. Bob says:

    Big deal. It’s a celebration of the Holidays’ spirit no matter what the holiday is. Call it what you want.

    1. TFerguson says:

      Hooray for the rational!

  17. betty says:

    I guess it is eaiser for Walker to deal with something like it is a Christmas Tree and not a HOliday tree instead of creating jobs he promised. Hey all you Republcian lovers, how are those jobs Walker created doing?

    1. Tommy G says:

      Hey Betty why don’t you go down to the capital and find out?

  18. Kevin says:

    I love this guy more each day!

    1. haha says:

      We always knew you loved men, Kevin.

    2. TFerguson says:

      same here…it takes a bold leader to name a tree. Walker for Imperial Leader of naming conifers!

  19. Nancy Aleshire says:

    To the schools, it is Christimas vacation, not winter break and Easter vacation, not spring break. That does not mean it wouldn’t cover Chanukah, Ramadan or Kwanzaa or Passover which occurs around Easter. In December we celebrate with trees, nativity scenes or menorahs, not snowmen.

    1. TFerguson says:

      speak for yourself, my family celebrates with our snowmean, snowwomen and snowchildren over winter break with s’mores roasted over lit hay the neighbor places under some plastic robe-wearing figurines.

  20. JP says:

    This is another example of a non-story the media loves to put out. Who cares what we call the tree now. Should we change everything like the Taliban did in Afghanistan when they destroyed 1,000 year old stone monuments to Buddha? The Christians want to call it a Christmas tree. Gov. Walker is a Christian. He gets to name the tree. He wants it to be called “Christmas”. End of story.

  21. Tommy G says:

    Keep your eye on WI and MN. Walker has common sense, and the guts to make hard decisions with the public sector unions that have been ripping off tax payers. He also stands up to the wako anti religious factions, what do they worship? MN has a gutless Govener, and a growing deficit, land of 10,000 liberals.

    1. TFerguson says:

      I worship you Tommy!…but I may have to worship Walker more now since he’s being decisive on this official conifer naming ritual.

  22. JP says:

    TFerguson is good at his craft. Once the economy gets going, he is sure to get back on his feet again. Every village needs an idiot. His village will surely hire him back.

    1. TFerguson says:

      JP – I was looking for a sidekick. Know any additional cliches?

  23. Shannon LaPointe Mead says:

    Slippery slope. There is a separation of church and state is there not?

    1. TFerguson says:

      Shannon, given that Jesusween didn’t draw the attention of the church-going populace, I don’t think we need to worry about having to worship a tree or its savior; unless you attend a catholic service, where they worship a Jesse-tree. I prefer just to worship the stump in that case.

  24. Murph says:

    Walker flunked Marcus Bachmann’s pray you straight class! If you guys love him that much…..hmmm?

    1. YES says:

      You can hate the packers, but it hard to hate the Governor of Wisconsin. Finally, a Governor who’s not a WUS!! Bleeding hearts… suck it!!

      1. Murph says:

        Too late,the Gov nuh already did!

  25. Cameron Mckelroy says:

    Actually, kids, that’s a “Yule Tree.” That’s what it is called today, and that’s what it was called for thousands of years before Jesus was even born.

    But we get it, there’s a “war on xmas”, blah blah blah, and despite the unconstitutional hegemony your particular faith enjoys over our government and culture, you’re still a victim, and we all feel terribly for you.

    1. TFerguson says:

      nobody told me about a ‘war on christmas’! quick start a donation drive: Jadgpanzers for Jesus.

  26. Jomotro says:

    The FFRF wants it called a “holiday” tree so that it doesn’t offend nonbelievers? What do they think “holiday” stands for? Holy Day.

    1. markH says:

      Yes, thereby recognizing other religions BESIDES just Christianity that honor this time of year. Christianity does not have a monopoly on the winter solstice; this time of year has been celebrated long before the man called Jesus walked the earth. I respect the fact that the holiday has special significance to Christians, but we cannot ignore the fact that the decorating of a tree is a pagan tradition that began long before Christianity was even a whisper on the tongue and will be so long after Christianity wanes as a belief system. Peace.

  27. Stumpy says:

    It is called Christmas Tree…NOT a Holiday Tree. If start calling it a Holiday Tree then they better start calling the Menorah a Holiday Candle. Same with that Kazakh Candle. You know there would be an up raising if we did that!!!

  28. only religious when I want to be says:

    First off TFerguson, nicely played.

    Most of you claim to be so Christian and God loving yet I’m sure you are the some ones complaining about government assisted programs. You watch your neighbors go hungry. You step over the homeless. You are racist, sexist, and full of hate. Who cares what it is called. Is there even a Menorah on display in Wisconsin? If so I’m sure it’s not 30 feet tall. If you are true in your faith, you should be celebrating your blessings and thanking your god. But no let’s spend some more time complaining about a stupid tree. Good for the Governor, way to hold strong to your beliefs but is that what you need to be worrying about? Probably not. I’m sure the Jewish would appreciate a controversy over what to call their symbolic holiday apparatus. At least they would be getting recognition in Wisconsin.

    1. says:

      Take a trip to St Louis Park, go house to house and ask the residents there how many have cabins here. Then ask how bad it is for Jews in WI. Golly Gee, I’m bettin’ they would rather be here then in downtown Minneapolis on your average Saturday night.

      1. says:

        I know I would and I wish I were Jewish.

      2. says:

        I guess what I’m saying or asking is are you implying that the Jewish folks in WI are not represented well? Or that as a group they are better represented in MN? Is that it? Because I have lived in MN and WI and both seemed pretty ok to me. Of course I am not Jewish, I’m just a wanna-be.

  29. JT says:

    I love how people will whine and complain about keeping religion and government separate and stage protests and such over a TREE but dont have ANY such issues when cashing those paychecks that get paid out with cash that is clearly stamped IN GOD WE TRUST…

  30. carl says:

    I think its nice to know that someone actually stands behind his comments and what he believes. That’s what got him elected.

    1. TFerguson says:

      thanks for tapping my memory carl, I liked that part of the Walker campaign when he promised to name conifers after religious holidays. not only was that bold and sincere, but it also gave me hope that this May he will decorate the Capitol for Beltane maypole dancing.

      1. carl says:

        So apparently my previous reply was shot down by the post Nazis.
        I start this out by saying I’m more of a Spiritualist and I believe in reincarnation so don’t try ripping on my Christian faith. It wont get you far. Your TF wit is astounding, I’m so impressed by your pre-college satire I could barely bring myself to respond.
        Your response to my last post made assumption I feel I need to dispel. First, I never mentioned that Walker promised to name a tree in his Campaign, not so witty there, it was merely an observation on my part that he seems to believe something and in this case didn’t allow politics or political correctness to sway those personal beliefs. He is a Christian therefore the tree “decorated with ornaments and adorned with a star at the top in the center of Wisconsin’s Capitol Rotunda” is a Christmas tree. It so happens that the vast majority of us in the state directly east of Min-EE-sOt-a also believe it to be a Christmas tree. If he were Jewish I think there would be a Menorah somewhere in the capital building. I would hope so anyway.
        Have fun with this, oh yes, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and to all those and everyone else. Peace be with you.

        1. frozenrunner says:

          Though shalt not say anything truthfull, intelligent andd negative on the CCO board or else. Extra demerit for posting the adding a delightful bit iff wit that is abouve the head of many on this board

  31. Bob says:

    Well he got something right and YES it is a CHRISTMAS TREE and all of you that this offends just leave and go back to where you are from. WE won’t miss you!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. He is correct. says:

    CHRISTMAS all the way

  33. Bill Clintons Cigar says:

    Merry Christmas to all casturated liberals….

  34. YOUR ALL STUPID says:

    Its a Christmas Tree, your holiday tree offends me. Its people and groups like that ruining this country and state. What a bunch of DBAGS. Go be a Mud Duck or FIB if you dont like the Christmas tree. I don’t go to church, am not any bible toter by anymeans, but its a christmas tree. I like the comment about non denomination candle holder, very funny.

    1. debbie says:

      Hey this mud duck and alot of others i know like the christmas tree too!!!!!! 🙂

    2. markH says:

      You can call it whatever you choose, but history tells us that the decorating of a tree (evergreen, because it suggests a rebirth following the dead of winter) at winter solstice was a common practice among pagans LONG before the cult (not an insult, that’s what it was at the time) began using it in religious honor of their holiday. By implementing the tradition of using a decorated tree that was already being practiced by non-believers in Christianity, the Christian religion was able to spread more readily. This is actually the facts-however hard they may be to swallow. So, by all means call it a Christmas tree if you wish, but understand that the tree was simply a borrowed element (as are many, many other practices and symbolisms) from pagan lore. Peace.

  35. Melissa says:

    I was in line at a Caribou Coffee one year around Christmas time and the trivia question on the board (you know, where if you answer it correctly you get a whopping 10 cents off your cup-o-jo), asked “what happened on the ninth day of Christmas in the familiar song “12 Days of Christmas”? The woman in front of me said, with much disdain, “don’t you think that question is offensive? I mean, we are not all Christians you know!” I wanted to say to her, “there is no mention of baby Jesus in that entire song. What offends you about 5 golden rings and 2 turtle doves?” But, I am a non-confrontational Scandinavian American. I just gave the cashier a knowing look that communicated, “I’m sorry you have to deal with such crabby, thin-skinned people.”, then I ordered my usual- medium, no whip, half caff, half decaf, skinny, 2 pump caramel mocha with less chocolate, and laid down a big tip.

    1. Jon Woll says:

      OMG this made me laugh so hard, as I too am the non-confrontational Scandinavian American.

  36. frozenrunner says:

    In honor of the CHRISTmas tree kerfuffle, perhaps all you posters would considerr being more Christ like and give of yourselves tending to the sick and needy and not having any posesions. Compassion sounds like it is a word lost on mny here.

  37. Willow says:

    So shall we start calling them holiday pumpkins and not Halloween pumpkins now? This PC stuff is just plain silly. The name of the holiday is Christmas, like it or not. Don’t celebrate it? Fine, but don’t rename everything because you can’t stand to hear what the name of it actually is.

    Oh and by the way, I’m not a religious person at all. I’m agnostic. And I’ve seen other non-religious types on message forums who think this PC nonsense has gone too far.

  38. Jay says:

    Personally, I find it VERY interesting that most Wisconsinites are religious people even if they dont go to church. Like everything else in this world we have choices, and each person has a right to their own. For centuries the tree has always been known as the traditional “Christmas” tree. I dont believe it has any religious significance other than that which people make of it. We see these trees in homes, churches and in the public square of many cities. We admire the beauty of the lights and decorations, just as we admire the many homes and businesses that decorate for the holiday. WHY does everything so simple have to be made into a big deal? No one says you have to like it or not, do the same, or go without because you dont care for something. IF you dont like it, dont look, or feel obligated to make everything you dont believe in, or like, everyone elses. I hate peas, does that mean everyone else who enjoys them, not be allowed to eat them?

  39. TL says:

    wow…a republican taking a stand on something that makes sense….unheard of these days, Im slightly impressed.

    there may be some hope for you GOP’ers yet.

    but probably not.

  40. JonWain says:

    This is fine…as long as the next Jewish president can say “lets not put up a national Christmas tree this year and lets do a national menorah instead”…and the next Muslim leader can say “I’d rather my money say ‘praise allah’ instead of ‘in god we trust’. If our leaders get to promote any religion they wish, just remember that our leaders may not always be christians!

  41. Ralph Spoilsport says:

    I don’t care if he calls the stinking tree a veeblefetzer. At least he did a number on the greedy selfish labor unions, and God bless him for that stroke of genius.

  42. Heater says:

    As a devout Atheist, I say, it’s Christmas tree, Christmas carols, and Christmas vacation for the kids. Oh yea, it’s an Easter bunny too. The Pledge of Allegiance has the word God in it and I don’t feel the least bit offended. I am actually offended with people who want to remove the word.

  43. james says:

    I’m an atheist myself, but we need a “Freedom from Freedom from Religion Foundation”. This type of absolutist dogma is nonsense and does nothing but promote bad feelings all around. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is always a well-worn cliche worth bearing in mind.

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    Great website. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you in your sweat!

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