The Christmas season inspires children. The carols, the gift-giving, the lawn lights, and especially the tree decoration all contribute to a heightened sense of innocence and expectation. The birth of the Infant Child Jesus from the Blessed Virgin Mary calls to mind the joy that innocence brings.
This December, all these things were attacked at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Every year, the museum holds a “Festival of Trees” where people, groups and corporations are invited to display thematic trees. The participants understand that each tree should help people celebrate the spirit of Christmas and thus attract visitors.
The museum’s train-themed displays attract children and bring out the children in adults. This attraction is reflected by the vast number of children-appropriate items sold online by the museum. The “Festival of Trees” is meant to line the inside space of the museum with beautiful trees, adding to the allure of the museum’s Polar Express show, a spectacle so popular that the 12,000 tickets for 2023 were sold out within four hours of their availability.
Visitors are shocked this year because the museum is permitting two controversial trees that mock the very Christmas spirit that attracts children. The Green Bay Satanic Temple sponsors one. It features a snake under the tree—a symbol of Satan. It is “decorated” with Satanic symbols such as pentagrams, ornaments that say “HAIL SATAN,” and other demonic symbols. Another tree promotes homosexuality and transgenderism.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) launched a petition drive on its website (www.tfp.org) to ask the directors to pull the offensive trees from the display. The petition drive collected over 32,000 signatures.
The museum refused to consider the removal of the horrendous trees, saying it would respect free speech. They turned a deaf ear to those who spoke out, asking that Christmas be celebrated worthily. Parents and concerned people complained that the trees are inappropriate in a space that attracts children (and all devoted Christians). The sinister snake tree served to destroy any Christmas cheer. The spirit of Christmas cannot mix with anything devilish and sexual.
Satan is an evil and depraved being that represents everything contrary to virtue and innocence. He embraces all that is toxic to children, like the acceptance of sin, the deification of self, the rejection of self-sacrifice, a cult of ugliness and generosity to others.
On December 20, the American TFP organized a rosary rally of reparation and protest at the museum. Over 35 people braved the cold to register their rejection of Satan and his works. Some drove as far as two hours away. Chris, a father of six, said he was glad to do it. “We have to defend Christmas,” he said.
Cam, who lives in Florida, was glad to have participated in a rosary rally for the first time in his life. Several mothers brought their infant children, and the group sang Christmas carols to end the rally.
TFP volunteer Evan Olwell, the event organizer, said, “Having babies there wrapped warmly in swaddling blankets helped bring out the spirit of Christmas a lot.” Another organizer commented that some things just don’t belong together. “Putting the Infant Jesus together with a tree celebrating Satan is like putting salt in hot chocolate instead of sugar. It’s disgusting.”
Earlier in the day, a prayer rally and press conference were held outside the museum. Some politicians appeared and called on the publicly-funded museum to remove the display. They encouraged people to call the museum’s sponsors about their concerns.
Before Christmas, the local news reported that two big sponsors of the event, Wisconsin Energy Group and Festival Food, had pulled their sponsorship. Though no confirmation was available from Festival Food, its logo is no longer seen in the museum’s event sponsors list.
What was meant to be a major fundraising event for the museum and an innocent Christmas celebration turned into a bitter controversy and sinister display because its directors refused to defend Christ and the spirit of Christmas.