What makes it very funny to me is that just yesterday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was lambasted for calling a Christmas tree a "Christmas tree." Linking to my post about that, The Anchoress wisecracks:
See, this is where Governor Walker made his mistake: If you want to call ‘em Christmas Trees, you have to tax them, first. Then you’re allowed.Now, I said I was going to be fair, so here goes, and this isn't intended to be funny at all. This is intended to focus on the constitutional principles about religion and government. In Wisconsin, we've got a tree in the state capitol, the government's own display. Calling that particular tree a "Christmas tree" adds something to what already is the appearance that the state is endorsing or favoring a holiday that originated with one set of religious groups, the Christians.
In the case of the Department of Agriculture's new Christmas Tree Promotion Board, the government is involving itself with a particular crop and using the name of the crop that is used by those who are in the business of growing that crop. That is, the Department of Agriculture is going about its usual business — which you are welcome to view as too intrusive — and not giving special hands-off treatment to this crop that happens to have an end-use in activities that have some connection to a particular religion.
UPDATE: The Department of Agriculture is delaying the new fee, and a White House spokesman is saying:
"I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama Administration is not taxing Christmas trees. What’s being talked about here is an industry group deciding to impose fees on itself to fund a promotional campaign, similar to how the dairy producers have created the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign."