Bill Donohue

The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin is hosting a Festival of Trees representing 66 organizations. Only six of the trees are sponsored by Christian groups; the others are sponsored by various businesses. Two of the trees have ignited a backlash: one by a Satanic group, and the other by an LGBT group.

The Satanic Temple of Wisconsin is featuring a tree with an ornament that says, “Hail Satan” (meant as a riposte to “Hail Santa”). There is also a depiction of Satan, as well as upside-down crosses. It says it does not believe in a “theistic” Satan, but much of what it says and does prove that it is Satan-friendly, to say the least.

The parent group of the Green Bay affiliate, The Satanic Temple (TST), is proud to be known as a champion of abortion-on-demand: it justifies abortion at any time of pregnancy and for any reason, seeing it as a source of liberation. It also raises money to further the cause.

When the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, returning the issue to the states, TST said “the abortion ban is inspired by a religious dogma that asserts that life begins at conception, which contravenes TST’s belief that non-viable fetal tissue is part of the pregnant person and is free to be voluntarily removed.”

What it calls “non-viable fetal tissue” is actually nascent human life. As such, the baby is independent of the life of the mother (TST chooses the term “pregnant person” to imply men can get pregnant, which shows its animus against science).

The conviction that life begins at conception may be shared by people of faith, but it is also grounded in biology. That is why it is laughable to read on the website of TST that “Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world, [and] one should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.”

It is not religious Americans opposed to abortion who are out of step with science: it is rabid anti-science abortion advocates like TST.

TST also says we should all demonstrate “compassion and empathy.” They must have given themselves an exemption: They feature a fundraising gimmick on their website named, “Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic,” in reference to the Supreme Court justice who wrote the majority opinion overturning Roe. They also sell condoms with an image of all nine Supreme Court justices on it.

The Trans Christmas tree is less offensive, but it does have ornaments with the inscription “Drag Queen” and “Be Weird.” Atop the tree is an angel holding a rainbow flag. The Green Bay group that is sponsoring the tree says it stands for “non-binary, cross-dressing, transgender persons.” Its affinity with the National Railroad Museum was made clear when one of its most active members, Justin Tenpenny, was hired by the Museum to be its Marketing and Communications officer.

Perhaps the most disingenuous person involved in this anti-Christmas scam is Jacqueline Frank, the CEO of the National Railroad Museum.

When asked why she allowed the Satanists, she invoked the tired refrain of inclusion. According to a local Green Bay news source, she said she “would not reject an organization simply because it goes against certain values or ways of life, traditional or not.” Really? So if the Klan wanted to be included in an event honoring Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frank would welcome them?

“I think there’s a lot to be said of being able to include everybody, to respect everyone and to promote dignity for everybody,” Frank said. How the dignity of Christians is being respected by allowing Satanists to defile Christmas needs to be explained.

It does not help Frank’s decision for her to say, “We’re not discriminating against anyone.” The issue is not discrimination—it is hostility to religion. And that is unconstitutional.

In the 1971 Lemon v. Kurtzman ruling, Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote that the Constitution “affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any (my italics).”

There is no other way to interpret the TST anti-Christmas display at the Museum than to say that it is demonstrating hostility to Christianity.

Contact Frank:

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