Wiccan education and
The graphic was lifted from Mjolnir's
Pagan and Wicca Page, with permission.
When this essay was initially written in 1997, Wiccans suffered from one of the highest levels of unwarranted discrimination
per person of any
religious group in North America. Much of this was caused by:
- Popular confusion between two essentially unrelated religions: Satanism
- 500 years of negative and false beliefs about Witches which originated during the Witch
burning times of the 15th to 18th Centuries.
- Present day religious hatred and misinformation against Wiccans
and other NeoPagans, spread primarily by conservative Christians. (There may be religious
hatred disseminated by other individuals or groups, but we have never been able to locate
Most North Americans believe that witchcraft trials were last held in Salem and
vicinity about 3 centuries ago. This is false. Wiccans in recent years have had their religion attacked
in some U.S. family courts; many Wiccans lost custody of their children because of
their religion. 1
Over the past two decades, oppression has been significantly reduced in North America. The public
has become more aware of the benign nature of Wicca. Many more Wiccans have come
out of the "broom closet" and gone public with their faith. Some covens are
holding public rituals. The total number of Wiccans has increased rapidly, apparently
making Wicca the fastest growing religion in North America, on a percentage
However, the opposite trend appears to be happening in other areas of the world. Christina Engela, writing for a public information group -- Alternative Religions Forum in South Africa -- has noted:
"... increased satanic panic hysteria in media reporting in our country,"
"... a lack-luster response to attempts by Pagans and other occultists and minority alternative groups to correct misrepresentation in the Media." and
"... material disseminated and propagated by conservative elements in the local government departments including law enforcement."
She has written a document titled: "Satanism: The Acid Test" which is available online. 4
The Sacred Earth Alliance:
An umbrella group, the Sacred Earth Alliance has been formed
with memberships including the major Earth Religion rights and information
leagues in North America: CLA, CRF, DL, ERLAN, ERAA, LLL, NRADG, PACT,
PEN, PILG, RLLN, TCP, TWV, UFP, WARD, WPN, etc.). 2
Larry Cornett has posted an extensive list of "Topic-specific links for
help and guidance concerning religious discrimination and associated legal
Wiccan public education groups, mainly in North America:
- The Witches' Voice is a "proactive educational network dedicated to
correcting misinformation about Witches and Witchcraft." They say that "Witchcraft
IS a legally recognized religion in the United States (since 1985) and it is our mission
to protect that right through education and awareness." They are "dedicated
to fostering deeper understanding and cooperation amongst both the members of the Pagan
community and society as a whole. They provide educational materials to the public.
They support Neopagans which are having their rights suppressed or restricted. See: http://www.witchvox.com/
- The TheBurningTimes.com web site "offers a provocative exploration into
the historical and modern day Burning Times through artwork, articles,
resources, and more..." They were located at
http://www.TheBurningTimes.com but seem to be offline at this time. We continue the listing here in case their web site is reactivated
- The International Pagan Pride Project, Inc., encourages local "Pagan
Pride Day" celebrations, to be held within two weeks of the
Autumn Equinox throughout North America. Local coordinators plan these
events, which typically include at least:
- A public ritual.
- A food drive or other charitable activity.
- Issuance of press releases.
- Lady Liberty League is a "National and Global referral and information
exchange network of Pagan religious freedom activists." It operates within the
Circle Network. The group works within Circle Sanctuary at PO Box 219, Mt.
WI 53572. Phone (608) 924-2216. See: http://www.circlesanctuary.org/ They have a twitter feed at: https://twitter.com
- Witches' League for Public Awareness (WLPA) promotes public understanding of
Wicca. It was founded in 1986 by Laurie Cabot, H.Ps. "The WLPA is a proactive
educational network dedicated to correcting misinformation about Witches and Witchcraft.
The work of the League springs from a shared vision of a world free from all religious
persecution. Our volunteers and legal advisors respond to misinformation about Witchcraft
from all over the world and we offer materials that explain the legal protection that the
Religion of Witchcraft is afforded under the laws of the United States." They
also maintain a Legal Defense Fund for victims of discrimination that need financial
assistance. See: http://www.CelticCrow.com
- Pagan Educational Network (PEN) "is a non-profit, proactive
organization dedicated to educating the public about Paganism as well as building
stronger, healthier communities through service." See: http://www.paganeducationalnetwork.org/
Wiccan anti-discrimination groups:
- Circle Angkar has a list of useful links to many
anti-discrimination groups. See:
http://www.angkur.org (Appears to be offline)
- Officers of Avalon is a new international organization for
Pagan emergency personnel: police, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs. It
will have two primary roles: to educate the public about Paganism and to
give support to Pagan emergency personnel. Its spokesperson is Kerr
Cuhulain, who came out of the (broom) closet about twenty five years ago
-- the first Wiccan police officer to do so. Officers of Avalon has a facebook page at:https://www.facebook.com/
- The Earth Religions Legal Assistance Network (ERAL) is at http://www.erlan.org/ Their web site has many lists, including:
- Religious Freedom Resources: Religious rights and Social Justice pointers
- Legal Information Resources: Pointers to legal resources, particularly regarding
religion and family law.
- Topic Specific Webpages for Finding Help: More resources for fighting religious
discrimination and associated legal problems.
- Religious Rights List: A list of Wiccan/Pagan/Earth Religion contacts around the country
who are willing to help fight religious discrimination.
- The Pagans in Action, Council for Truth P.A.C.T. (formerly Pagan Awareness League,
P.A.L.) is a division of the Church of the Dancing
Flame. It was established on New Year's Day 1997 to give Pagans a source of
information dealing with their rights in society. They expect to provide a comprehensive
database of laws protecting Neo-pagans in the practice of their faith without fear of
retribution or discrimination. See:
http://pagansinaction.com/ Appears to be inactive.
- Witches Against Religious Discrimination (W.A.R.D.) "is an organization with
the sole purpose of maintaining the religious rights of Pagans and Witches as members of a
religious minority." They apparently disbanded in 2004, and their headquarters' website appears to be
no longer active. However, Google lists the web sites of some affiliates:
- The Alternative Religions Educational Network (AREN) [originally
called Witches Anti-Discrimination League (WADL)] is an information organization
located in Philadelphia. It has monitored discrimination against Wiccans
throughout North America for three decades.
Their web page is at: http://aren.org
- Jennifer Ann Drobac, "Demonized Women: Accused Witches in
Recent Child Custody Cases", at: http://www.stanford.edu/class/law495/drobac.htm
- "A call to action," Sacred Earth Alliance at: http://www.erlan.org/
- Witches' Voice has an enormous amount of information:
links to Neopagan websites, lists of pagans and covens by location; teen pagans, etc.: See: http://www.witchvox.com
- Christina Engela, "Satanism, The Acid Test v01.03" at: http://alternatereligionsforum.wordpress.com
Copyright © 1997 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Latest update: 2014-NOV-12
Links last checked: 2013-JAN-14
Author: B.A. Robinson