One day after being threatened with a lawsuit over the name change of the citys Christmas tree to a holiday tree, Boston city officials were quick to confirm the trees title as the former.
"This is a Christmas tree," insisted Boston Parks Commissioner Toni Pollak, according to the Boston Herald. "It's definitely a Christmas tree.
The controversy sparked in the Beantown after the name of the 14-foot Christmas tree donated by Novia Scotia was changed just before the citys official holiday tree lighting, thus prompting conservative Christian lawyers to press for the name to be changed back.
The matter was brought to the attention of city officials by Dr. Jerry Falwell and the Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal group that has vowed to take legal action against the spreading of misinformation to city and government officials.
Liberty Counsel President and General Counsel Mathew Staver, who is running a campaign called the "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign," took up the matter and appeared on various television programs to get his view across that Christmas should be respected.
We want to educate people that its OK to say Christmas, that its not a four-letter word," Staver told the Nova Scotia Herald.
Although the Boston parks commissioner said that the term holiday was being used because it was more inclusive, Staver noted that "calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree isn't being inclusive. It's disenfranchising people of faith.
It's like calling a menorah a candle stick," he said, according to TheBostonChannel.
The controversy represents the concern which cities around the country have faced over the possibility of being sued when publicly-funded displays at the years end come under scrutiny over first amendment and church-state implications.
For the past 34 years, Nova Scotia in Canada has donated a Christmas tree to Boston in thanks for its help following a 1917 tragedy known as the Halifax Explosion where two ships collided, setting off volatile materials that damaged much of the city. This years tree, donated by Donnie Hatt, had been growing in his front yard for the past 36 years.