A Wisconsin museum is facing backlash after its annual Christmas tree festival included some controversial entries this year.
Of the 66 trees on display at the National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, the ones that seemed to draw the most attention belonged to the Satanic Temple of Wisconsin and the Bay Area Council on Gender Diversity.
The trees, which will be on display until Dec. 31, included decorations fitting for their causes, and not the typical ornaments depicting images related to Jesus, angels or the Christmas holiday.
The tree belonging to the Satanic Temple was adorned with red lighting and beads, pentagrams, and various ornaments, with one reading, “Hail Santa,” an apparent play off the phrase, “Hail Satan.” The Gender Diversity tree included pink and blue colored trans flags, and ornaments with sayings such as, “Protect Trans Kids.”
According to local NBC affiliate WGBA, museum CEO Jacqueline Frank admitted a number of local residents attending the festival had expressed concern over the presence of the trees, but also said some had praised their inclusivity. Others took to social media to air their grievances.
“Outrageous! National Railroad Museum features a Satanic worship tree,” Matt Batzel, executive director of conservative grassroots organization American Majority, wrote in a post on X, including photos of the Satanic display.
Some users questioned why the trees would be displayed at a “family friendly event,” while another wrote, “Why is WI looking like Commiefornia??? We used to be wholesome and safe…”
Fox News Digital also spoke with one local Christian pastor named Luke Farwell in De Pere, Wisconsin, who said he questioned the National Railroad Museum over the decision to include the trees at a Christmas event with children, when it again touted the “inclusivity” and “teaching opportunity” of the trees.
“It seemed a little bizarre to me that someone, based on that, would think it was appropriate to have a Satanic temple Christmas tree — or tree, I should say. I won’t dignify it by calling it a Christmas tree,” Farwell said, before expressing disappointment at the “pushback” Christians have received when it comes to the First Amendment, while groups like these are allowed to participate in such a way at a Christmas event.
He argued that Christians believed strongly in free speech, including for the Satanic Temple, but questioned the judgment of mixing Christian themes with Satanic ones.
“What I think Christians need to do more is exercise their ability to allow these venues to have the freedom — such as the National Railroad Museum — to host different ideologies and different groups that have different viewpoints, but recognize that Christians find these things to be offensive or definitely targeting them in terms of belittling their faith or how they celebrate the holidays,” Farwell said.