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Religious Tolerance logo

Conservative Christian boycott of the U.S. Army

Additional information 

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Sponsored link.

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Root cause of the boycott: religious misinformation

Rep. Barr's comments, the boycott by many conservative Christian agencies, and the resultant attack on fundamental freedom of religion, assembly and speech at Ft. Hood appear to have had two main causes:

bulletan intolerance towards non-Christian faith groups, and
bulleta massive confusion over the various meanings of the term "Witchcraft."

The latter may have been caused by misinformation about Wicca published by some of the Christian religious hate sites on the Internet, and misinformation on many conservative Christian books about Wicca. They are not reliable sources of information.

The terms "Wicca" and "Witchcraft" have multiple conflicting meanings. Two are listed below:

bulletMany conservative Christian sources of Wiccan information ultimately base their beliefs about Wicca on religious propaganda from the 15th to 18th century, when the Christian church was burning people alive who were believed to be Witches or other heretics. They often believe that Wiccans/Witches:
  1. Worship Satan, and may sell their souls to the Devil.
  2. Engage in animal and perhaps human sacrifice.
  3. Devote their lives to black magic, committing evil acts that hurt others.
  4. Are viciously anti-Christian.
  5. Are actively involved in recruiting young people into the movement.
  6. Follow a form of Satanism.
bulletWiccans, sociologists, religious historians, and others believe differently:
  1. Wiccans worship a Goddess and a God. They do not recognize the existence of Satan; the Devil is a quasi-deity shared by Christianity and Islam. Wiccans do not sell their souls to any deity.
  2. They do not engage in animal or human sacrifice
  3. They often do acts of positive, healing magic; they are prohibited by the Wiccan Rede from doing evil acts that harm others.
  4. They are not opposed to Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or any other religion. However, they do object to attempts by anyone to limit their freedoms of religion, speech and assembly.
  5. They generally do not allow persons under 18 years of age to enter a coven. They do not even recruit adults.
  6. Wicca is not Satanism. Wiccan concepts of deity, humanity and the rest of the universe are totally different from the beliefs of Satanism.

Some conservative Christians are attempting to ban what they see as a profoundly evil religion from army bases. But that religion does not exist, and never has existed. Meanwhile, they are violating many principles that their religion considers to be of the highest importance: freedom of speech, religion and assembly. The are many analogies between Fort Hood, TX in the 20th century and Salem, MA some three centuries previously.

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Author's editorial comments:

When we first learned of the boycott of the U.S. Army, we thought it was a joke. We had difficulty visualizing how Americans who follow one religion would attempt to prevent other Americans from following their own religion. Sadly, it was not a prank.

It is our belief that the boycott of the army by conservative Christians represented a very serious attack on personal religious freedom in North America.

The boycott is no longer being perused. However, the original 1999 news release is still part of the Free Congress Foundation web site. 1 The boycott was a frightening display of religious power against a minority religion's fundamental human rights, including the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion itself. It shows little respect for the U.S. Constitution. If the coalition of conservative Christian groups had been successful in banning Wicca on army bases, they might have subsequently tried to ban Native American Spirituality as well. The two religions are very similar. 

The ARIS survey of American adults has shown:

bulletA rapid increase in the percentage of Wiccans.
bulletAn increase in the percentage of adults who are not affiliated with any religion, and
bulletA decrease in the percentage of Christians.

We may well be entering a time of increased inter-religious friction in North America. President Clinton's speech on religious tolerance indicates that fear, misunderstanding and hatred of a minority religion can lead eventually to genocide of the type observed in Bosnia Herzegovina during the mid 1990s. Hopefully, this will not happen in the U.S.

The religious hatred that was stirred up by the pastor of an Independent Baptist church near Ft. Hood was troubling. Similar bigoted speech in recent years has resulted in conservative Christian perpetrators organizing at least one lynching, one attempted mass murder by stoning, many fire bombings, assaults, etc. Anti-Wiccan rhetoric by Christian leaders may yet motivate some emotionally unstable individual to exterminate Wiccans, feeling that he is doing God's will. 


bulletThe increased number of Wiccans in the U.S.,
bulletTheir increased visibility and media coverage, and
bulletA more realistic portrayal of Wicca in conservative Christian books

have resulted in the reduction of anti-Wiccan rhetoric by conservative Christians in recent years.

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Sponsored link:

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Additional on-line articles & editorials:

bulletAtlanta Journal Constitution:
bulletCNN Report:
bulletPhiladelphia Daily News:
bulletWest Virginia Gazette:

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Some Wiccan web sites containing Witch hunt articles:

bulletCIRCLE Magazine:
bulletFort Hood Open Circle:
bulletLady Liberty League:
bulletThe Magickal Cauldron:
bulletMilitary Pagan Network:
bulletSacred Well Congregation (sponsor of Fort Hood Open Circle)
bulletTexas Pagan Awareness On-Line:
bulletWitches Anti-Discrimination League:
bulletWren's nest :
and  http://www.witchvox.com/xwrensnest.html
bulletWitches League for Public Awareness:
bulletThe Witches Voice:

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  1. Robert McFarland, "Satanic' Army Unworthy of Representing United States. 10 Groups Call for Nationwide Recruiting Boycott," Free Congress Foundation, 1999-JUN-9, at: http://www.freecongress.org/media/1999/990609.asp

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Copyright © 1999 to 2001 incl., and 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1999-JUN-9
Latest update: 2004-JUL-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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