For the winter solstice: Lincoln Chafee’s holiday tree, and why I am no longer a practicing Catholic


Do we need a special acknowledgement of the solstice?  I suppose so. There was an irruption of the whole stupid “War on Christmas” thing here in Rhode Island this year: the governor, an innocent (and rather dense) Independent named Lincoln Chafee (who’s a very nice guy, and for whom I voted), called the state tree a “holiday tree.”



(Now, to be fair, this was thick-headed of him.  As my wise co-worker Eileen pointed out today: the city of Providence puts up a big menorah right alongside their Christmas tree, and they don’t call it a “holiday candle holder.”)



The Providence Catholic Diocese came down on Chafee like a ton of bricks.  How dare he demean Christians in such a way!  Wasn’t he aware that the Christmas tree was a symbol of the birth of Christ?



(Frankly, I wasn’t aware of that myself.)



The local Catholic parish priests who have been talking to Fox News, and the local idiot bishop, Thomas Tobin, have been mixing up the whole “Christmas” thing with custom, and belief, and observance, and lots of silliness.  And naturally Fox has been lapping it up.  Apparently having a tree called a “Christmas tree” is vital to the life and health of the Christian /Catholic community, and calling the state tree a “holiday tree” is a slap to all right-thinking and right-believing Christians.



(I did note that the head of one of the local ecumenical councils asked, futilely, that the whole dispute be forgotten.   Did we, he asked plaintively, think that Jesus would care about this?)



(Evidently the Catholics – or their squad leaders – think so.)



Mind you, I used to be a practicing Catholic, up until a couple of years ago.  I struggled mightily to fit their theology into my life.  Around 2006, a year or so after the reactionary new German pope took over the reins of the church, I just gave up.  To my surprise, several people I know did the same thing. 



We all reached the same conclusion at the same time: the Church was not for us, not anymore.



This serves as an excellent explanation for Why I Am No Longer A Practicing Catholic.



Bring on the solstice observances!  Hail the Unconquered Sun!



And to hell with both Thomas Tobin and Lincoln Chaffee!



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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