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The potential for future clashes

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Potential for future conflict:

Future conflicts between Wiccans and Christians are expected to become more common in the near term because of the convergence of a number of factors:
bulletThe rapid increase in Wiccan membership, particularly among the youth of North America. One survey indicates that the number of Wiccans in the U.S. is doubling every 30 months. There are a variety of reasons for this: the relative absence of racism, sexism and homophobia among Wiccans; the increasing concern for the environment, the need to get back in touch with nature, the publicity given to Wiccans in the media.
bulletThe steady increase in membership within conservative Christian denominations. Although mainline Christian denominations are in decline and Christianity has dropped in popularity from 86% to 77% between 1990 and 2001, the membership of the Southern Baptist Convention, other Fundamentalist denominations, and other Evangelical denominations continues to increase.
bulletThe increased public visibility of Wiccans. Many are taking a more assertive stance. They are coming out of the "broom" closet and demanding the religious freedom which is guaranteed by the U.S. and Canadian Constitutions. This activity appears to have increased significantly since the late 1990s. It may have been encouraged by the attacks of U.S. political figures, including Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) and George W Bush (R) while he was governor of Texas. 1 These politicians opposed equal religious rights for Wiccan soldiers at Ft. Hood, TX. Joining them was a coalition of over one dozen Fundamentalist Christian groups who attempted to form an enlistment boycott of the U.S. Army. The Pagan community fought back, and the campaign to terminate religious freedoms appears to have fizzled. 2

Once out of the closet, it is unlikely that Neopagans can be forced back into hiding.

In reaction to threats against their membership, Wiccan and other Neopagans have founded many educational and anti-defamation groups. Some individual Wiccans have become involved in local inter-faith organizations.

Wiccans are caught in a Catch 22 situation:
bulletHistorically, they have tried to minimize security threats by keeping a very low profile. Most Wiccan and other Neopagan groups remain secretive about their religion. They do not often discuss their faith with Cowans (non-Wiccans). They often do not wear pentacles, pentagrams and other religious jewelry where they are visible.  
bulletThe fact that they are secretive about their faith causes some Cowans to suspect that Wicca is evil, and that Wiccans have something to hide.

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  1. Governor G.W. Bush (R-TX). "The military should rethink their position. That's not a religion."  Interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America, 1999-JUN-24 by Peggy Wehmeyer.
  2. R. L. Maginnis, "Brewing up trouble: Wicca and the U.S. Military," Family Research Council at: http://www.frc.org/papers/milred/ Printed copies of the essay can be requested from the Family Research Council at (800) 225-4008. This is a toll-free number accessible from the U.S. and Canada.

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Site navigation: Home page > World religions > Wicca > Christian/Wicca conflict > here

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Copyright © 2000 & 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-OCT-13
Latest update: 2002-SEP-3
Author: B.A. Robinson

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