There is Now a Christmas Tree at the UNC Library December 13, 2008

There is Now a Christmas Tree at the UNC Library

Last week, I mentioned that the librarians at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill decided not to put up Christmas trees in its libraries. It was the right decision. I’ll admit having trees would be less egregious than a full-blown Nativity Scene, but the sentiment was a good one — let’s be inclusive to all of our students this Winter.

That didn’t last long.

Yesterday, they had a Christmas tree on their property.

And his name was Jared Pike.

Jared’s a DJ at a NC radio station (107.5 KZL). He took a stand against the library. You can see his other pics here.

Well played, sir.

But now, I have to come to your place of work dressed as an atheist plaque.

Only then will we be even.

(Thanks to Kevin for the link!)

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  • Brooks

    Why do people have to feel like they have to have a freaking Christmas tree everywhere they go? Isn’t having a tree in their own house enough? I don’t know about them, but I get tired of having too much Christmas decorations all the time. Do they think God will strike them down unless there’s a tree in every building on the planet?

  • mikespeir

    Atheism really doesn’t have a symbol, something emblematic–iconic–of the whole, uh, movement, does it? We need something.

  • As I was standing around talking to some of my coworkers about the displays (and lack thereof) earlier in the week, one of them jokingly suggested that we put up some velvet rope in a circle around nothing for the Atheists. Had I been thinking at the time, I would have said something like “but we have already formed the circle.” and pointed to all of us. Sometimes it’s not the display, but how we got there that counts the most.

    (The comments here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.)

  • I don’t mind x-mas trees as all. In fact, I enjoy them. There’s nothing inherently religious about x-mas trees, unlike nativity scenes.

  • Mathew Wilder

    Some atheists have a Tree of Knowledge, as recently reported on this site. That seems cool to me – sort of like Satan as a Byronic hero – appropriating religious symbols or ideas for our own use. (Well, Milton wasn’t an atheist, but he started the Satan as Promethean hero thing.)

    What else can we appropriate?

  • vivian

    If my tree looked like this, I’d have to think twice about putting it up. LOL

  • You could stand around at the library wearing a t-shirt with this quotation:

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

    You can buy these at

    While I’m in full agreement to not having any holiday displays at the library, I still have to give kudos to this group. That is funny and clever. Well…funny at least.

  • My family is from the Soviet Union and we always have a New Year tree. There’s nothing religious about trees for Christmas, New Year or whatnot.

  • Stina

    mikespeir says:

    Atheism really doesn’t have a symbol, something emblematic–iconic–of the whole, uh, movement, does it? We need something.

    Actually, we do!

  • -sighs-

    I remember when you posted the story about the UNC library not putting up a tree. It was a good feeling.

    I go to school at Wake Forest University, about an hour and a half away. I listen to 107.5 once in a while, but ever since 2005 I’ve never really enjoyed the morning shows that often, and the DJ’s as a whole were quite…well… off-putting.

    I’m really sad to see this take place. Admittedly, it’s his right to do so, but this is a cheap, lowly stunt on the part of this radio station. People really irritate me more than they should.

  • I don’t know, I wouldn’t take this that seriously. It’s kind of funny, the tit-for-tat retribution. Plus, it’s pretty clever.

  • I agree 1000% with what Brooks said in the first comment to this post. That is really the issue here, isn’t it? Some people think they have a right to have a Christmas tree in every indoor environment in which they find themselves. It is simply absurd. Let them buy the biggest tree they can find for their own home and be done with it.

  • If it wasn’t out of hand before, it is now…

    Let me open by saying that I’m a student at the University of North Carolina School of Law, which is on the UNC-CH campus.

    First, 107.5 WKZL is not a local station. They’re based in Greensboro, an hour’s drive from Chapel Hill. Nobody would consider them a local station. It’s a bit like saying a Philadelphia station is local to New York City or a San Diego station is local to Los Angeles. You can receive the station there, but it’s not their market.

    What this means is that people who probably have nothing to do with the University community are coming in and taking advantage of the publicity that the school is receiving over this issue. As I said, it’s completely out of hand.

    Last year I graduated from a small Presbyterian-affiliated school in North Carolina. We didn’t have a Christmas tree. We had some of the trees on campus decorated, and the college president rappelled from the roof of the main academic and administrative building dressed as Santa at the annual campus Christmas party.

    The Town of Chapel Hill is widely known to be quite possibly the most liberal area in North Carolina. Years ago, the late Sen. Jesse Helms was fighting funding for the North Carolina Zoo. He said that we didn’t need a state zoo; instead, “[w]e ought to put a fence around this zoo of Chapel Hill and charge admission.”

    Comparing my experiences at the two schools, it seems to me that my small Christian college was far more accepting of atheism than this public university. Religion is expected to be important here. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, but religion is expected to be a big part of your life. It’s a very odd feeling, a bit like I’m back in my evangelical Christian-run high school.

  • First, 107.5 WKZL is not a local station.


  • Tim Bob

    Yesterday, they had a Christmas tree on their property.

    And his name was Jared Pike.

    ….. “and his name, was Robert Paulson..”
    his name was robert paulson, his name was robert paulson.. lol i love fight club!

  • I am atheist and don’t mind christmas trees. I am also a UNC student who was very angry to hear that there was not going to be a christmas tree this year. I am sick of everything having to be politically correct all the time with you people. Who really cares about seeing a tree that does not even represent Christianity. Atheism is not getting any where with your attitude.

    The only difference between most of you and Christianity is that you dont believe in a god and your hate of religious holiday symbols. You are all still altruistic, thats what you have in common. You stole their value system with your rejection of god. Well I say abandon altruism for rational individualism, but keep the christmas tree.

    You can celebrate the commercial and secular Christmas like most people actually do anyway.

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