A goat head tree topper was stolen Saturday from a Satanic Christmas display set up as part of San Jose’s annual Christmas in the Park event.
The San Jose, Calif., chapter of The Satanic Temple decorated one of 600 Christmas trees for the first time for the city’s Christmas in the Park display in an attempt to help break the Guinness world record for highest number of lit trees in one place, according to SF Gate. Members of the chapter discovered Sunday that someone had stolen the ornate goat head topping from their Christmas tree the night before, a day after the event opened, and have since filed a police report according to VC Star.
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The head of the San Jose Satanic Temple chapter, who goes by the name Jedediah Schadenfreude, told SF Gate that the theft was not unexpected, given the community’s general perception of Satanism.
“We know who we are, we know how we’re perceived,” Schadenfreude said. “All we can do is just be good members of the community and hope to change that stigma that we have.”
The chapter may have their work cut out for them in regard to changing negative perceptions about Satanism, especially with a leader whose chosen name is Schadenfreude. Schadenfreude is a German word that means “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.”
Schadenfreude chose not to report the theft as a hate crime, as he believed that it was equally likely that someone stole the topper because they thought it was cool. As for whether Satanic groups have the right to participate in Christmas events, Jason Minsky, executive director of Christmas in the Park, said that no groups are barred from applying to decorate a tree, is it a freedom of speech issue, and are only prohibited from using offensive language.
“We saw what they decorated, and we had some conversations about it. We felt that was their freedom of speech right, and there wasn’t anything that we were going to do,” Minsky told Mercury News.
The Satanic group has raised the $115 necessary for a new topper and ordered it.
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