About Wicca and other Neopagan traditions
Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Wicca
Overview of Dr. Laura:
Laura Catherine Schlessinger (1947 -; Dr. Laura) broadcasts a 3 hour long, radio program each weekday on a network of over 500 radio
stations in the U.S. and Canada. She holds a Ph.D. in physiology -- not
psychology as many have assumed. "Dr.
Laura" has an estimated audience of 20 million people.
She was raised in a secular home but became interested in Judaism as a young
adult. She and her son Deryk converted to Conservative Judaism in 1996, and
switched to Orthodox Judaism two years later. According to NNDB:
"In 2003, Schlessinger announced on the air that she was no longer an
Orthodox Jew, that she felt frustrated by the effort she had put into the
religion, and complained that she felt little or no connection with God."
In 2000, Schlessinger became the first non-Christian to receive the
Chairmanís Award from the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB).
She signed a contract with Paramount TV to develop a syndicated daytime talk show
which was tentatively called "My Kid's Mom." It was later
renamed to "Dr. Laura." By early
2000-FEB, it was already scheduled to be in 85% of U.S. television
markets; this rose to 91% by mid-March. 1 The program
premiered on 2000-SEP-11. It received
very poor ratings. Paramount had difficulty attracting national sponsors
to the show because of a campaign led by gay-rights groups. They "objected
to Schlessinger being given a TV forum because of her comments regarding
homosexuality, which she has termed 'deviant' and 'a biological error.'
On 2001-MAR-30, Dr. Schlessinger released a statement confirming that the
last episode of her TV show had been taped on the previous day. The
movement to have Dr. Laura taken off TV was spearheaded by
StopDrLaura.com. Their co-founder, Joel Lawson, said: "We generated
a lot of press about her worst statements, and advertisers didn't want to
read about themselves in the same sentence. The web site fueled protests,
the protests fueled media coverage, and the coverage fueled more interest
in the web site. We hit PR nirvana." 8
The show was last aired on 2001-SEP-07.
SEP-21. a panel of network executives was asked if
there were programs on television they didn't feel they could defend.
Garth Ancier, president of NBC's entertainment unit, said: "I'm
not embarrassed about anything on television, with the exception of 'Dr.
||Is religiously conservative, a recent convert to Orthodox Judaism.
||Favors content restrictions of the Internet.
||Is pro-life and opposes free access to abortion.
hate crimes legislation.
Dr. Laura and homosexuality:
According to Wikipedia:
"Prior to 1997, Schlessinger was very supportive to gay callers during
her radio show. In those years, she took issue with Christian religious
leaders who were opposed to gay relationships, and said that it was cruel to
deny love and happiness to gay couples. She renounced this view in 1997,
however, and said she had been misinformed in her earlier views. Soon, her
monologues approvingly mentioned ex-gay groups who claimed they could help
homosexuals become heterosexual, and she attacked the American Psychological
Association for condemning the position of ex-gay groups. Schlessinger cited
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, a Harvard-, MIT- and UT-educated psychiatrist, as
support for her revised views on homosexuality." 9
She holds very conservative views on the nature of homosexual
||She has described homosexuality as "deviant." She has also
described homosexuality as "a biological error." According to
Eonline, she has said that society "should
discriminate against certain behaviors" -- homosexual
behavior being one of them. 2 According to StopDrLaura.com,
suggested that gays are likely to be involved in pedophilia."
On 2000-MAR-10, Dr. Laura released a statement which said that
she never intended to "hurt anyone or contribute in any way to
an atmosphere of hate or intolerance," when she commented
about homosexuality on her radio program. She continued: "Regrettably,
some of the words I've used have hurt some people, and I am sorry for
that. Words that I have used in a clinical context have been perceived
as judgement [sic]. They were not meant to characterize homosexual
individuals or encourage others to disparage homosexuals." 4
Stephen Spurgeon, Communications Director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance
Against Defamation (GLAAD), listed matters of concern "It's really
three points: One is her vocabulary and the terminology that she uses; secondly,
she only cites conservative sources, like the 'Family Research Council;' and
third, she just has a lack of respect for any view unlike her own." 5
Dr. Laura and Wicca:
The Magickal Cauldron issued a Press release on 1999-MAY-1. They
monitored a series of episodes of her radio program in which she offered
negative comments about Neopaganism.
||1999-APR-8: A fourteen year-old caller had expressed an
interest in Wicca. Dr. Laura responded: "That's not a religion."
Later on the same program, she commented: "I'm often horrified
at how people call themselves religious and are really excruciatingly
ignorant; so I'm very big on studies. But there are a lot of
kids who think cults are religions. There are some people who think witchcraft is a
religion. I put them close to the same category."
||1999-APR-20: Dr. Laura said: "I don't call Paganism
a religion...if I did I'd be idol worshipping and I'd be
"zapped."..And I know that's going to be a whole spate of
more faxes [sent to me]...and I don't care."
||1999-APR-30: Dr. Laura said: "I don't think you're
going get a Witch into a Catholic church, I don't think she'd get past
the holy water."
It is difficult to assess exactly from where Dr. Laura obtained her
thoughts of Wicca and Neopaganism.
However, from the short comments on her radio program, it may well be
||She confuses modern-day Neopaganism (a.k.a. Paganism) with the Paganism mentioned in
the Bible. The latter worshiped what the Jews considered to be idols,
and allegedly engaged in child sacrifice. These practices are totally
unrelated to modern-day Neopaganism.
||She confuses Wicca with the imaginary Satan-worshiping religion
which was created by the Christian church in the late Middle Ages in order to
justify the burning times -- the era from about 1450 CE to 1792 CE
when secular courts and the church condemned witches, other heretics,
midwives, etc. to be burned at the stake. Holy water was alleged to
have magical powers that would detect Witches.
||She has a fear of retribution from God. She appears to believe that
if she demonstrated religious tolerance by recognizing Neopagan
traditions as actual religions, that she would somehow become a
Neopagan and would be attacked by God.
Related essay on this site:
Dr. Laura has a web page at http://www.drlaura.com
You can join about 50,000 other North Americans in trying to phone her
call-in radio program at: 1-800-DRLAURA, between 12 Noon and 3 PM Pacific
time (3 to 6 PM Eastern time) weekdays. Her fax is at (818) 461-5140. She
does not have Email. You can address a letter at: Dr. Laura Schlessinger,
c/o Premiere Radio Networks, 15260 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 500, Sherman Oaks, CA
Emily Farache, "GLAAD not happy with Dr. Laura," at: http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,5850,00.html
"Protests announced against Paramount over 'Dr. Laura',"
StopDrLaura.com press release, 2000-MAR-10. Available at: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/000310/dc_stopdrl_1.html
"Statement by Dr. Laura Schlessinger," is available
online on her web site at: http://www.drlaura.com/monologue/index.html?mode=view
Bill Berkowitz, "Dr. Laura's agenda: A missionary for the
Christian Right," CultureWatch, at: http://www.tompaine.com/features/2000/03/07/index.html
Press release, The Magickal Cauldron, 1999-MAY-1
Brian Lowry, "'Dr. Laura' halts TV production for one week,"
LA Times, at: http://www.calendarlive.com/tvent/20000921/
"Dr. Laura TV Show Cancelled by Paramount: 'Victory!' Says
StopDrLaura.com," GayWired.com at:
"Laura Schlessinger," Wikipedia, at:
"Laura Schlessinger," Soylent Communications,
Copyright © 2000 yo 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2000-APR-6-
Latest update: 2007-AUG-15
Author: B.A. Robinson