Bishop Tobin of Rhode Island Inserts the Politics of Division over a Christmas Tree Lighting

The Rainbow Sash Movement applauds Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island for recognizing that in our diversified society the Christmas message is better served with the language of inclusion as opposed to that of exclusion.

We take issue with the Bishop of the Providence Diocese, Thomas Tobin and believe he is confusing the Christmas message with crass commercialism. The story of Christmas has more to do with the Holy Family’s relationship with poverty and illegal immigration than the lighting of a Christmas tree in a public square.

Governor Chafee followed in the tradition of previous Governors by referring to a government event as Holiday Tree lighting. Bishop Tobin responded this is anti-Christmas and about political correctness. “Our debate about the Christmas tree is not a trivial thing even though some have suggested that it is,” Bishop Tobin said.

In Western Europe and Americas the Christmas tree has become a symbol of unbridled commercialism. The true story of Christmas has more to do with the Holy Family’s journey to Christmas day, and the birth of the Christ Child.

This is a sad day for the Catholics of Rhode Island when their Bishop highlights commercialism over the very real needs of the poor, outcast and marginalized at this sacred time of the year. For Bishop Tobin to infer that the secular symbols of Christmas has anything to do with the real message of Christmas is scandalous, and a further example of how Bishop Tobin and his fellow Bishops want to electrify Christmas with the message of  the politics of division, rather than the very real message of Christ’s birth and the implications of that message for the poor, the marginalized and the illegal immigrant in our society.

Jack Anderson
Rainbow Sash Movement

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