WICCAN / PAGAN
All religions in North America exist in a state of conflict with
secular groups, other religions, the government, law enforcement, etc. Most have well organized
and well financed national anti-defamation groups that promote the interests of
their faith and attempt to neutralize their opposition.
Wicca is currently an exception. It is almost completely lacking
in any central authority. Neopaganism in North America consists of hundreds of thousands of
individual Pagans; tens of thousands of covens, groves, etc.; a few umbrella
groups; and many small anti-defamation groups staffed by volunteers. But there
is no single, strong, national or international anti-defamation organization. Trying to get Wiccans and other Pagans
to take a coordinated action on any topic has been described as like trying to
The closest to such a group is currently the Sacred Earth
Alliance.1 This is an informal, volunteer-run umbrella organization with
memberships including the major Earth Religion rights and information leagues in
North America: CLA, CRF, DL, ERLAN, ERAA, LLL, NRADG, PACT, PEN, PILG, RLLN,
TCP, TWV, UFP, WARD, WPN, etc.). It provides a coordination service among
its agency members.
Back in 1985, Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) introduced a Senate
It would have prevented "funds appropriated under the Act [from being]
used to grant, maintain, or allow tax exemptions to any cult, organization, or
other group that has any interest in, the promoting of satanism or witchcraft."
It is unknown to which of the 17
or so different activities called "witchcraft" that the amendment
would apply. The amendment died in committee. It obviously would not have
survived a constitutional challenge in the courts. However, it galvanized Wiccan
concern for their religious rights at the time, and motivated some to organize
During his year 2000 election campaign, now-President George
W. Bush advocated that certain religious freedoms of American Wiccans' be terminated.
Now that Governor Bush has become President Bush, Pagans may become
galvanized to organize a well financed, national anti-defamation group
staffed with full time, paid employees.
What to do until the national anti-defamation group arrives:
There are many Neopagan individuals and small volunteer-based groups who provide
individual educational and anti-defamation functions. A list of educational
and anti-defamation groups is available on this site.
Some of the programs that they provide are listed below:
Political awareness campaign:
The Pagan Unity
Campaign has started the "I am" project. Pagans are
asked to send commercial post cards to their local, state and federal political
leaders during the week of the Summer Solstice.
For 2001, this would be JUN-18 to 23. They should
be handwritten, start with something like: "I am a Pagan student,"
or "I am a Pagan employee" and end with: "I am free. We are
united." Their press release is at: http://www.paganunitycampaign.org/iam/iamrelease.html
A description of the project is at: http://www.paganunitycampaign.org/iam/ They
have an online fundraising store that sells t-shirts, and sweat shirts.
As of 2001-JUN-30, "Storm Bear Williams, Chief
Political Strategist of PUC estimates that the card-count came in at
152,918 total, with 40,455 going to the White House. This is based on an
average of 93 cards per US House District." 2
"Kecia" is conducting a Pagan census over the Internet. She
asks that you Email her, listing your name, state or country, and the number of
Pagans in your household, to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can use her form at: http://www.geocities.com/pagan_census/census_form.html
As of 2001-JAN-14, she has listed 2,485 Pagans in the U.S. This number is quite
low, probably because only a small minority of Pagans are probably aware of her
Letter writing aids:
Educational Network (PEN) has produced a "boilerplate" form.
This is "a template for a personalized letter." It consists
of a number of sections of text -- each of which deals with a specific
topic. As of 2001-FEB-14, these consist of:
Definition of Paganism
Definition of Wicca/Witchcraft
Effects of discrimination
Legal recognition of Pagan religions
Banning of pentacles in schools
Additional sections will be added in the future. Individuals
can cut and paste sections and edit their resulting letter. See:
Witchvox has a press kit at: http://www.witchvox.com/xwhite.html
It has templates for letters to schools and for general use. They also have an
essay on effective letter writing at: http://www.witchvox.com/twv/howtohelp.html
Pagan Legal Rights:
Pagan news wire service:
Telepathic Media Inc. provides a wire service with Pagan news and
information. You can send headlines and commentaries to Telepathicmedia@aol.com.
You can see the wire service at:
Dealing with the media:
Witchvox has a press kit at: http://www.witchvox.com/xwhite.html
It has information on how to talk to the media, proactive "care and
feeding" of your local journalist, and comparisons between Christian
and Neopagan holy days.
Evidence for court cases:
Welsh Witchcraft have a list of
links to documents that establish the legal status
of Wicca as a religion. See: "Evidence used in Earth Religion
cases" at: http://www.tylwythteg.com/legal.html
Pagan educational/anti-defamation mailing lists:
The main mailing lists within the Pagan community are:
Organizing non-profit groups:
Daphne Stephanotis has written a detailed essay regarding the creation of
Pagan non-profit organizations. See: http://www.witchvox.com/white/wnonprofit.html
A Pagan quilt:
The Covenant of the Sacred Moon proposes to create a quilt to
demonstrate to the President and aides that Wiccans and Pagans consist of
a numerous and united minority. The quilt will be outlined in the "colors
of America, red, white and blue." "Solitary
practitioners, Wiccan Pagan organizations, covens or other defenders of
religious freedom" are invited to send in patches. The rules:
- Start with a 6" square piece of material.
- Decorate it with your coven emblem, organization emblem, colors,
name and tradition, or something relating to you. For solitary
practitioners and organizations, include your state.
- Leave a 1/2" border for sewing.
- If paint is used, select a washable fabric paint.
- Coven members' squares will be grouped with their coven emblem; use
the same color square.
- Insert the quilt piece in a clear plastic bag for protection.
- Enclose the group name or magical name.
- Send to: The Goddess Shoppe, c/o Covenant of the Sacred Moon, 214
Depot Street, Clark Summit, PA 18411.
- Questions can be sent to Covenant_of_the_Sacredmoon@yahoo.com
- Deadline is 2001-JUN-30.
- Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope if you wish to be notified
of dates and time for the peaceful religious rally to be held in
We believe that there are certain badly needed educational and
anti-defamation functions which are not currently being addressed by existing
groups. We may be wrong; some of these functions may already have been
Neopagan mailing list: This
would regularly disseminate Pagan news to the media and to general-purpose religious news
lists, like Newsroom, Interfaith News Network, World Faith News, and Religious
and encyclopedia upgrade: This would involve an effort to persuade publishers of
dictionaries and encyclopedias to update their definitions of such terms as: Neopagan,
Pagan, Paganism, Witch, Witchcraft, etc. Many publishers have done this
already. But the most poplar American dictionary, Webster, retains
very negative definitions that are decades out of date.
Calendars: Interface with
calendar manufacturers and urge them to include Wiccan/Pagan sabbats.
and usage guides: These are books which help reporters and other
writers to adopt current writing styles. They should all cover:
- Appropriate capitalization of such terms as: Witch and Witchcraft.
- Differentiating between various Neopagan religions and Satanism.
Differentiating among various definitions of terms as Witchcraft,
Paganism, cult, etc.
Avoidance of phrases like "so-called Witch" or "self-identified
Some style and usage guides are "The Associated Press Stylebook
and Libel Manual," World Almanac's "Guide to Good Word
Usage," Glenco's "The Gregg Reference Manual,"
HarperCollins "The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style
crisis and information center: This would be a service
for Pagans in the U.S. or all in North America. Secular crisis -
info centers already exist. They are telephone lines that are
typically open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and staffed by trained,
empathic volunteers. Some are called crisis centers, distress lines,
suicide prevention bureaus, hotlines, CONTACT®, Telecare, Tel-Aide,
community information centers, etc. There are also special purpose
hotlines, such as centers for runaway teens, parents in crisis,
Christian prayer lines, etc. But, to our knowledge, there is no Pagan
equivalent. Such a line could be able to direct a caller to contacts
in their state who are active in anti-defamation work. They would be
able to give emotional support to a solitary practitioner who lacks
Pagan friends to call on for help. Such a line would form a default
support network that could respond instantly to help a Pagan in
"A call to action," Sacred Earth Alliance at: http://members.aol.com/lcorncalen/SEAHomepage.htm
Email from Pagan Unity Campaign Political Action Committee (PUC
Copyright © 2000 & 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-FEB-15
Latest update: 2001-AUG-14
Author: B.A. Robinson