The Satanic Temple and Bay Area Council on Gender Diversity are among the organizations participating in the Festival of Trees event at the National Railroad Museum in Wisconsin.
There are 66 trees on display at the museum in Ashwaubenon for the annual event.
According to a report from Fox News, “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.’”
National Railroad Museum CEO Jacqueline Frank defended the inclusion of the controversial trees.
“We have six Christian-related groups that have trees up this year, but it’s mostly businesses and nonprofit organizations,” Frank told the Green Bay Press Gazette. “We have everything from a tree with hardware on it, a tea tree, we have a Lego tree. It’s a lot of different organizations promoting their business.”
Frank said that the museum will not reject any organization’s trees, even if “it goes against certain values or ways of life, traditional or not.”
“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.”
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The CEO claimed that rejecting the Satanic Temple would set a bad precedent for the inclusion of other religions.
“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 said. “I think there’s a lot to be said of being able to include everybody, to respect everyone and to provide dignity for everybody.”
Each organization pays $75 to $150 to decorate a tree, however they see fit. It is one of the museum’s main fundraising events each year.
When asked by the Press Gazette if the museum will welcome the Satanic Temple again next year, Frank said they absolutely will.
“We’re not discriminating against anyone. And as long as they’re not promoting violence or anything along those lines, we absolutely support having them, as well as any religion or secular organization that wants to decorate a tree,” Frank said.
The trees will remain on display until December 31.