Wiccan and Neopagan news from the media
"Things that are outside the mainstream bother people. They want to
suppress speech that doesnít agree with their idea of they way things should
be. If we donít protect the Wiccan free speech right, then the Baptist and
Catholic free speech rights are at risk." Joe Cook, ACLU representative
in Los Angeles 10
Wiccans and other Neopagans have traditionally kept a very low profile in
North America, in order to minimize becoming victims of physical and economic
attacks. Some religious groups still confuse modern-day Wiccans with the
imaginary images of Satan-worshiping Witches that were believed in by Christian
societies during the Burning Times during the late Middle Ages and Rennaisance. The result has been one lynching, one attempted
mass murder by stoning, and numerous firebombings, shootings, and assaults in
the U.S. in the last few decades of the 20th century. Unfortunately, hiding has its disadvantages -- some people assumed that
Neopagans are engaged in activities that require stealth.
In recent decades, Neopagans have become far more open about their religious
faith, and have been seeking rights equal to those of the followers of other
religions. Dictionaries are beginning to list definitions
of terms like "Wiccan" and "Wicca." Some are adding
alternative definitions to "Witch" and "Witchcraft" to
include Wiccans. Unfortunately, the most important U.S. dictionary of all -- Websters
-- refused to recognize Wicca as one meaning for the word
"Witchcraft" until recently. Now, the Mirriam-Webster OnLine web
site lists four unrelated meanings for Witchcraft: the use of sorcery or
magic; communication with the devil or with a familiar; an irresistible
influence or fascination; and Wicca.
Large bookstores are reserving significant book shelf areas for
Wiccan material. Neopagan groups fighting religiously-based defamation are
becoming more coordinated and vocal. Wiccan high school students are demanding
their right to wear their pentagrams and pentacles even as some schools bans some religious jewelry.
The year 1999 appears to have been a bit of a watershed in terms of
Wiccan visibility. During that year, there were numerous attacks on Wicca
and other Neopagan religions by leading political figures, including Rep.
Bob Barr (R-GA) and Governor George W Bush (R-TX) over the religious
rights of Wiccan soldiers at Ft. Hood, TX. 16The politicians were joined
by a coalition of over one dozen Fundamentalist Christian groups. The
Pagan community fought back, and the campaign to terminate religious
freedoms seems to have fizzled. Once out of the [broom] closet, it is
unlikely that Neopagans can be forced back into hiding.
Specific news items:
Many developing news items about Wicca are located in our individual essays,
Wiccan news of a general nature:
||Year 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002,
||Year 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,
||Year 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017.
Copyright © 1999 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally published: 1999-OCT-22
Latest update: 2012-JAN-06
Author: B.A. Robinson