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Wiccan and Neopagan news from the media

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Quotation:

"Things that are outside the mainstream bother people. They want to suppress speech that doesn’t agree with their idea of they way things should be. If we don’t protect the Wiccan free speech right, then the Baptist and Catholic free speech rights are at risk." Joe Cook, ACLU representative in Los Angeles 10

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Background:

Wiccans and other Neopagans have traditionally kept a very low profile in North America, in order to minimize becoming victims of physical and economic attacks. Some religious groups still confuse modern-day Wiccans with the imaginary images of Satan-worshiping Witches that were believed in by Christian societies during the Burning Times during the late Middle Ages and Rennaisance. The result has been one lynching, one attempted mass murder by stoning, and numerous firebombings, shootings, and assaults in the U.S. in the last few decades of the 20th century. Unfortunately, hiding has its disadvantages -- some people assumed that Neopagans are engaged in activities that require stealth.

In recent decades, Neopagans have become far more open about their religious faith, and have been seeking rights equal to those of the followers of other religions. Dictionaries are beginning to list definitions of terms like "Wiccan" and "Wicca."  Some are adding alternative definitions to "Witch" and "Witchcraft" to include Wiccans. Unfortunately, the most important U.S. dictionary of all -- Websters -- refused to recognize Wicca as one meaning for the word "Witchcraft" until recently. Now, the Mirriam-Webster OnLine web site lists four unrelated meanings for Witchcraft: the use of sorcery or magic; communication with the devil or with a familiar; an irresistible influence or fascination; and Wicca.

Large bookstores are reserving significant book shelf areas for Wiccan material. Neopagan groups fighting religiously-based defamation are becoming more coordinated and vocal. Wiccan high school students are demanding their right to wear their pentagrams and pentacles even as some schools bans some religious jewelry.

The year 1999 appears to have been a bit of a watershed in terms of Wiccan visibility. During that year, there were numerous attacks on Wicca and other Neopagan religions by leading political figures, including Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) and Governor George W Bush (R-TX) over the religious rights of Wiccan soldiers at Ft. Hood, TX. 16The politicians were joined by a coalition of over one dozen Fundamentalist Christian groups. The Pagan community fought back, and the campaign to terminate religious freedoms seems to have fizzled. Once out of the [broom] closet, it is unlikely that Neopagans can be forced back into hiding.

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Specific news items:

Many developing news items about Wicca are located in our individual essays, including:

bullet The 1st and 2nd "Burning Times" awards.

bullet The Christian boycott of the army based on intolerance of Wiccan soldiers.

bullet Wearing of religious symbols, particularly pentagrams, in public schools.

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Wiccan news of a general nature:

bullet Year 1999200020012002,

bullet Year 2003200420052006,

bullet Year 2007 2008,  2011,  2012

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Site navigation: Home page > World Religions > Wicca > here

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Copyright © 1999 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Originally published: 1999-OCT-22
Latest update: 2012-JAN-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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