Satanic Temple Christmas Tree at the National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon, WI

Controversy Over The Satanic Temple of Wisconsin Christmas Tree

The Satanic Temple of Wisconsin has been making waves this year, first by adopting a highway, then sponsoring the Dane County Humane Societies Lonely Hearts Club, and now by putting up a Christmas tree.

The small red tree in question can be found at the National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon as part of their annual Festival of Trees.

And while the tree, as well as The Satanic Temple, is devoted to spreading empathy and equality, it’s served to bring out the true colors from the usual groups who claim to do the same.

Satanic Panic: Christmas Edition

Fox News was already airing a Wisconsin-based “War on Christmas” grievance over a Wauwatosa city administrator asking departments to use “neutral and inclusive decorations” to “foster a more equitable and inclusive community” when the second blow landed.

On Fox, a furious U.S. Rep. of Wisconsin Mike Gallagher said it’s “impossible to overstate how offensive this is to Christians,” the Green Bay Gazette reports. In his rage against “woke ideology or offensive, upside-down cultural propaganda,” Gallagher said “more parents should express outrage,” stating that it’s about “trying to defend basic tradition.”

“Allowing a traditional understanding of Christmas to be usurped and desecrated by an organization/cult is divisive during a time of the year that we come together in unity as a community. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ,” Diocese of Green Bay Bishop David Ricken said in a statement. “Displaying a Christmas tree with bright red lights, inverted crosses, pentagrams and other satanic symbolism, with a snake wrapped around the tree where our savior belongs, is not something families and children should be exposed to at any time, but most especially during this Christmas season. The tree is offensive and harms the unity and joy that the Christmas season brings.”

Of course, the winter holiday season originally had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus until Catholicism appropriated ancient pagan traditions.

Explore the dark and weird origins of Christmas »

The Satanic Temple of Wisconsin

“The Satanic Temple of Wisconsin is proud to have our Sol Invictus tree displayed among the other holiday trees at the National Railroad Museum,” their website says. “Bringing a tree inside, a tradition that began as a pagan ritual, has evolved into a cherished holiday practice that unites us with our families and communities in a spirit of togetherness and pluralism. We hope the media attention and articles focusing on our tree will inspire the public to seek knowledge and act with benevolence, and compassion. Our tree stands as a symbol of these virtues, as well as a testament to the freedom of religion and expression.”

It’s worth noting that The Satanic Temple does not believe in or worship Satan. They don’t eat babies. And, for better or worse, they don’t even sacrifice Christians.

Their mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.”

“The Satanic Temple believes that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.”

Why Does Satan Need a Christmas Tree?

In a blog post by “Minister of Satan” Dudley Bradstreet titled “Why The Hell Does Satan Need a Tree Anyway?” Bradstreet defends their tree with these main points:

  • Christians are not the only group that has holidays around the end of December
  • The “Christmas Tree” is also not exclusively Christian
  • Christmas as celebrated in The United States of America is a secular holiday
  • Religion is about community
  • We live here too
  • Our display is not an attack on Christianity

“As is normally the case hardline Christians will be quick to tell anyone who will listen that we would want to do this specifically to offend them, be hateful, worship the ultimate evil, and corrupt the youth,” Bradstreet writes. “All these accusations are entirely false.”

The Satanic Temple Wisconsin Christmas Tree

Satanic Christmas Tree in Wisconsin

National Railroad Museum CEO Jacqueline Frank says they support The Satanic Temple’s entry into the Festival of Trees, stating that out of the 60+ entries, only 6 are overtly Christian while others are decorated with things like hardware, tea, and Legos.

“If we want to be an inclusive organization, we want to make sure that everybody feels comfortable. Who am I to suddenly say … this thing that is your belief system and outside the mainstream is bad?” Frank told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think there’s a lot to be said of being able to include everybody, to respect everyone and to provide dignity for everybody.”

While some may think the National Railroad Museum has “gone off the rails,” we’re proud here at Wisconsin Frights to see both of these organizations stand up for what’s right.

Learn more about The Satanic Temple of Wisconsin right here, and be sure to visit the National Railroad Museum for trains and basic human decency.

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