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Wiccan/Neopagan news in the media

Year 2011

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Wiccan news for 2011:

News about Wiccans and other Neopagans in the media appears to be drying up. We suspect that some of the reasons are:

bullet Many new conservative Christian web sites and books have accurately reflected Wicca instead of simply reprinting misinformation based on religious propaganda from the Burning Times

bulletThe public has generally become much more aware of Wicca, and have accepted it as a valid minority religion.

bullet Many Wiccans have enforced their rights through the court. Fewer public school districts continue to ban religious jewelry; fewer municipal councils reject non-Judeo-Christian representatives for the delivery of invocations. They realize that they would inevitably lose if they tried to continue enforcing their previous rules. Further, they would have to pay large lawyers fees and court costs.

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News items:

  • 2011-OCT-27: The American Council of Witches announced three separate facebook pages, each representing a separate tradition of persons and groups who refer to themselves as Witches:

    The Email announcing these changes is confusing because the first link is to Wikipedia and not to Facebook. Also, the third link appears to be broken.

  • 2011-NOV-27: Air force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO: The Academy has constructed a worship center for the "Earth-centered community" which includes Wiccans, Native Americans, Druids, Heathens and Neopagans. It resembles Stonehenge in England. Cadet 1st Class Nicole Johnson, 21, said: "It is very nice to have our own space." She became a Pagan after entering the academy. Chaplain Maj. Darren Duncan said: "We're here to accommodate all religions, period. He explained that the building of the Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle on the hilltop is no different from the past conversion of chapel rooms into worship spaces that serve small numbers of Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu cadets. In addition, there are 43 Atheist cadets whose beliefs are also respected.

    Referring to the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Col. Robert Bruno, chaplain at the Air Force Academy, wrote:

    "There is what I call a creative tension between those two components of that amendment that is not always easy to negotiate. ... The DOD is prohibited from sanctioning any religion as official or unofficial, acceptable or unacceptable, entitled or not entitled, to the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. The military command authority is required to lean forward to accommodate any request for religious accommodation unless the practice of that religion interferes with mission accomplishment, military readiness, unit cohesion, standards and discipline per Department of Defense Instruction 1300.17, Section 4 (Policy), dated 10 Feb 2009. Such an assessment to not accommodate cannot be made on a theoretical or hypothetical basis."
    He said that there are at least three similar Earth-centered spiritual centers on other U.S. military bases.

    The article in CNS News received 133 comments from readers. Essentially all of them were negative, and felt that religious freedom and equality should not be extended to Neopagans.

    A highly biased article in Culture News criticized the Academy for the $80,000 cost of the Falcon Circle since there were only a few Pagans to use it. However, it is a facility that would have essentially zero maintenance, utility, repair and staffing costs. Being a collection of rocks, it would have a very long life. In comparison, the very large and impressive Christian center is a complex facility with major maintenance, utility, staffing, and repair costs.

    They referred to the Pagan cadets as persons "claiming to be pagan." 1,2

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Reference used:

  1. Patrick Ryan, "Air Force Academy creates 'Worship Space' for Earth-centered community," CNS News, 2011-JUN-17, at: http://cnsnews.com/
  2. "Military borrows $80,000 for Pagan Worshp Center," Culture News, 2011-NOV-27, at: http://culturecampaign.blogspot.com/

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

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Copyright 2011 & 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Originally published: 2007-JAN-22
Latest update: 2012-JAN-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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