Not worthy of ‘Say What?’
From what I have seen, the “Say What?” feature on the front page of each Times Argus features strange, interesting tidbits of stories that are intended to amuse or surprise readers with their oddities.
Saturday’s edition featured a story about a court case in California regarding access to a Wiccan “chaplain” for Wiccan prison inmates, which are provided for Jews, Catholics, Muslims and Native Americans, but not yet to Wiccans. The Court of Appeals overturned the decision of a judge who dismissed a lawsuit arguing for the same religious rights for Wiccans as the other five religions.
My question to The Times Argus is: Why was this story included in the “Say What?” section? Is it because it seems odd that Wiccans are asking for equal rights? Or that a judge actually dismissed the case? The answers to these questions are important because they answer whether the intent of the article classification perpetuates further ignorance and prejudice regarding the Wiccan religion.
Just in case this story was placed in that section because it seems odd or shocking that Wiccans would ask for equal religious rights, allow me an opportunity to educate, as I am aware of the misconceptions and fear that many people have of Wicca.
As a religious scholar, I want people to know that Wiccans are not “devil worshippers” or cultists. Wicca is a form of humanity’s oldest religion — the spiritual traditions of our Western ancestors before the advent of Christianity and Islam. Wicca is an earth-based spiritual tradition with ancient roots that is growing in popularity. Wiccans are organized and hold specific values and rituals that promote love and respect for nature, animals and humanity. There are currently hundreds of thousands of people who call themselves Wiccans in the United States alone, so it is not surprising that Wiccans are asking for the same respect and consideration as everyone else.
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