As the Christmas season is fast approaching, many people are feeling the Christmas spirit, including those from The Satanic Temple (TST). But not everyone is on board with how TST is celebrating Christmas this year.
Visit the National Railroad Museum & witness the remarkable Sol Invictus tree display by TST Wisconsin. This inclusion in the annual holiday display is a testament to the recognition and appreciation of our congregations' community involvement! pic.twitter.com/xkPN63WEpA
— The Satanic Temple (@satanic_temple_) November 29, 2023
A Republican congressman from Wisconsin and a pastor from Iowa slammed The Satanic Temple for a Satanic-themed Christmas tree installation in a Wisconsin museum as well as a Satanic display at the Iowa State Capitol.
The National Railroad Museum in the city of Ashwaubenon in Wisconsin, featured 66 different Christmas trees as part of its annual Christmas tree festival that would last until the end of December. But one Christmas tree stood out for its unusual display.
I'm so vigilant as a parent my daughter is a member of tst satan for bid she has to be subject to these hateful christians
— jezebel-in-oklahoma (@queen_dcliff37) December 4, 2023
This Christmas tree from the Satanic Temple of Wisconsin is decorated with blood-red lighting and beads, pentagrams, a snake-like figure below the tree, and other ornaments, with one reading "Hail Santa," an apparent play on the phrase "Hail Satan."
There was also a Gender Diversity-themed Christmas tree in the festival, adorned with pink and blue-colored trans flags and a message saying “Protect Trans Kids.”
Representative Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican and father of two who also chairs the influential House China Committee, criticized the National Railroad Museum for allowing The Satanic Temple to display their Christmas tree in the museum.
“It’s impossible to overstate how offensive this is to Christians. It would be, in quite a literal sense, the same thing as waving a Hamas flag inside of a synagogue,” Gallagher told Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures, adding that allowing the non-theistic religious group to put up their own Christmas tree was “just absolutely crazy.”
Amidst Congressman Gallagher's contempt for religious freedom in WI, our congregation's community focus is celebrated through its prominent inclusion in the museum's annual holiday display. For more on TST Wisconsin's Sol Invictus tree, visit: https://t.co/4HCUp8hoiL pic.twitter.com/Kl3LreXcqG
— The Satanic Temple (@satanic_temple_) December 4, 2023
"Conservatives are often accused of launching a culture war or focusing or fixating on cultural issues. But here is a perfect example of how that's not what's happening. What's happening is we're just trying to defend basic traditions or defend our children in the midst of these basic traditions, from the encroachment of woke ideology or offensive upside down cultural propaganda," he also added.
The museum’s CEO, Jacqueline Frank, defended their decision to allow the Satanic Temple of Wisconsin to put up its Christmas display, adding that the temple followed the museum’s guidelines by not advocating for violence and reiterated that it fosters diversity.
I think it's a wonderful looking tree.
— Keith (@kas2424) November 29, 2023
“There was no hesitation. We’re not a religious organization. We focus on trains,” Frank said. “And honestly, the Christmas tree is used by so many different secular and religious organizations. All we’re doing is putting up decoration in that room.”
Rep. Gallagher was not convinced with the museum’s statement, calling their response “insufficient” and added that he wouldn’t bring his kids to the museum now to be surrounded by Satanic trees.
Meanwhile, the Iowa State Capitol is used to having displays and decorations every Christmas season. But this year, the Satanic Temple of Iowa decided to make things a little different by installing a figure called the Baphomet inside the state capitol.
Representatives of the Satanic Temple of Iowa declined requests for comments on the figure they put on display at the Iowa State Capitol, instead referring to their website.
According to their website, the Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religious group that “encourages benevolence and empathy, rejects tyrannical authority, advocates practical common sense, opposes injustice, and undertakes noble pursuits.” The organization is also famous for satirizing religion (especially Christianity) and for supporting abortion rights and the abolishment of corporal punishment in schools.
The group also notoriously uses the Baphomet, a figure with the head of a goat and the body of a man often used to symbolize the Devil. The Satanic Temple does not worship Satan but uses him as a mascot and a symbol of rebellion against religious oppression.
Just like with their Christmas tree in Wisconsin, not everyone was pleased with The Satanic Temple’s Baphomet display in the Iowa State Capitol.
“It’s abhorrent to see something like a display like this. It’s a travesty to see in our Capitol. I don’t know why it’s allowed to be here,” Pastor Joel Tenney of the Alpha Pneuma Ministries said. “I’m going to work to hold whoever put this up accountable, and whoever allowed this to be put up accountable as well. If there’s some sort of concession for this to be allowed, I’m gonna work to oppose that concession and rewrite any rulings or legislation we have considering something like this.”
The Iowa Department of Administrative Services also contended that The Satanic Temple followed the guidelines they set for applying for and getting approval for the display. The Atheists and Freethinkers also have a display next to the Satanic Temple’s display. The display will remain in the Capitol for 14 days.