Rep. Gallagher Criticizes ‘Satanic Christmas Tree’ in Wisconsin Hometown

Rep. Gallagher Criticizes ‘Satanic Christmas Tree’ in Wisconsin Hometown
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), speaks during a news conference unveiling the results of the committee’s investigation into the biolab discovered in Reedley, Calif., in Washington on Nov. 15, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Frank Fang

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) expressed concerns over a satanic Christmas tree at a seasonal festival in his hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin, saying that it’s an example of the way that basic traditions have come under siege.

In an appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” on Nov. 26, Mr. Gallagher was asked about the National Railroad Museum’s decision to allow the Satanic Temple of Wisconsin to take part in its Festival of Trees event. The tree belonging to the organization is adorned with red lights, pentagrams, and various ornaments.

“I think it’s impossible to overstate how offensive it is to Christians,” Mr. Gallagher said. “It would be quite, in the literal sense, the same thing as waving the Hamas flag inside of a synagogue. I mean, it’s absolutely crazy that we would allow this to happen.”

The Wisconsin lawmaker said the museum holds “cool and fun” events for the kids, such as its Polar Express train ride. Now, however, he said he “just wouldn’t take my kids to it.”

“I don’t want them to be surrounded by satanic trees,” he said. “So the whole thing is absurd.”

The National Railroad Museum opened its Festival of Trees on Nov. 16, and the event ends on Dec. 31.

“The National Railroad Museum invites you to be enchanted by the 70-plus holiday trees on display throughout our Museum, all while immersing yourself in railroad history!” the museum wrote on its Facebook page on the opening day of the event.

‘An Inclusive Organization’

Mr. Gallagher said parents and concerned citizens “have contacted the Railroad Museum,” but its response “has been insufficient.”

“They said, well, this is an educational opportunity for kids, which is completely ridiculous, right?” the lawmaker said.

Jacqueline Frank, the museum’s CEO, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette in a Nov. 21 article that the Satanic Temple of Wisconsin was one of 66 organizations taking part in the event.

“We have six Christian-related groups that have trees up this year,” she said.

Ms. Frank said she vetted the Satanic Temple of Wisconsin’s website for potential promoting of violence or adult content, but didn’t find any reason to reject its application.

“There was no hesitation. We’re not a religious organization. We focus on trains,” she 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.”

Rejecting the organization would set a bad precedent for other groups, Ms. Frank said, before emphasizing the importance of the museum practicing inclusivity.

“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?” she 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.”

Mr. Gallagher emphasized that he was defending tradition by speaking out against the satanic Christmas tree.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“And so the whole thing is a shame. I thought that Northeast Wisconsin was at least immune to something that you might see in New York or California. But we need to be vigilant as parents.”

‘Christmas Is Supposed to Be About Light and Hope’ 

Matt Batzel, national executive director of the conservative grassroots organization American Majority, took to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Nov. 21 to express his outrage over the satanic Christmas tree.

“Outrageous! National Railroad Museum features a Satanic worship tree,” Mr. Batzel wrote.

Stephanie Soucek, chair of the Door County Republicans in Wisconsin and a columnist for Wisconsin Right Now, wrote last week that people need to say an “emphatic NO” to the satanic Christmas tree, since “Christmas is supposed to be about light and hope, not about Satan and darkness.”

“For too long conservatives and level-headed Americans have been afraid to confront or be ‘controversial’ by pushing back on absurd ideas in our society,” Ms. Soucek wrote.

“We are where we are today because we have allowed these things to creep in until Pandora’s box of woke ideas has been opened wide and has infected our culture through academia, entertainment, government, corporations, and even churches.

“The left isn’t tolerant—they demand allegiance and conformity to their woke ideology and agenda. They pretend to be ‘inclusive, diverse, and tolerant’ but they are the ones who shame and try to cancel anyone who disagrees with them on their ideology.”

Ms. Soucek asked people to contact the museum and “let them know you disapprove” of the tree.

The National Railroad Museum is a privately funded 501(c)(3) educational organization and is one of the largest railroad museums in the United States, according to its website.