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 Witchvox Chapter:   Chapter Page Views: 1,662,432  

WitchVox: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday October 19, 1998
(also see below for all the details of this story)


Unconstitutional Targeting Of Witches By Gov. Cellucci Must End

Gov. Paul Cellucci's (left) recent political ad targeting Attorney General Scott Harshbarger (right) and pointing to Harshbarger's 1992 vow to protect and defend the constitutional rights of the Witches in Salem as an example of "misplaced priorities" should give each and every Massachusetts resident a reason to pause and reflect very carefully on the message that Gov. Cellucci is promoting.

Ignorance, fear and ridicule are corrosives that will slowly eat away at the civil rights guaranteed to each and every American citizen. If one person or group of persons can be targeted as unworthy of protection or respect because of their religious beliefs or ethnic heritage, then no one is safe from the ravages of bigotry and discrimination.

Many Witches and other Pagans reside, work or go to school in Massachusetts. Until last week, they undoubtedly maintained the expectation that their civil and constitutional rights would be upheld and protected with the full weight and good will of the government of the Commonwealth and the Governor's Office.

Gov. Cellucci, through his ad and his actions, declares that the Witches were wrong. They are "outside the mainstream", according to Cellucci campaign spokesperson, Andy Antrbus. They are not protected from hate crimes. They have no constitutional rights in Massachusetts.

We have all seen or read about such troubling campaigns before. From the McCarthy hearings to the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940's, the results have been the same: One group was singled out and targeted by the government and their constitutional rights were suspended.

Perhaps there are many other Massachusetts residents and voters who also believe that their current governor represents their best interests and would act to protect them from harm, discrimination or threats of violence.

Are they wrong, too?

The Witches' Voice, on behalf of the 205 Massachusetts Witches and Pagans registered on our web site and the thousands of others elsewhere in the world, condemns Gov. Paul Cellucci's negative portrayal of Witches in his campaign ad. Such an action, sanctioned by the highest officer in the Commonwealth, demeans and possibly endangers a people of deep spiritual faith. The religious liberty of all Massachusetts residents is eroded by his discriminatory remarks and callous disregard for the civil rights of Witches and other Pagans.

Someone's priorities are indeed misplaced. Most Americans believe in the "mainstream" ideals of religious tolerance and in the fundamental freedoms outlined within the Constitution of the United States of America.

Gov. Paul Cellucci obviously does not.

(END)

The Witches' Voice, founded in February 1997, is a proactive educational network dedicated to correcting misinformation about Witches and Witchcraft. Witchcraft is a recognized religion in the United States and it is our mission to protect that right through education and awareness. There are currently 7, 865 Witches, Wiccans and Pagans registered with TWV. During the one week period ending 10/17/98, The Witches Voice pages were viewed 100, 514 times.





Rev. Wren Walker (Chairperson)

The above press release was sent to the following:

  • Gov. Paul Cellucci - GOffice@state.mass.us
  • A.G. Scott Harshbarger - Attorneygeneral@mass.us (campaign officer - scott98@tiac.com)
  • Sen. Ted Kennedy - senator@kennedy.senate.gov
  • Sen. John Kerry - john_kerry@kerry.senate.gov
  • The Boston Globe - letter@globe.com
  • he Boston Herald - comments@bostonherald.com
  • The Worchester Telegram - newstips@telgram.infi.net (Attn: Tim Conolly)
  • The Salem Evening News (editor David Marcus) dmarcus@ecnews.com
  • The Haverhill Gazette - hgazette@tiac.com
  • The WLPA - celtic@ici.net


OTHER LINKS:




How this is playing out...

Cellucci Has No Regrets Over Ad

October 24, 1998

(Martin Finucane, Associated Press, Washington Post, 10/22/98)

The Cellucci campaign denied a report that they had discontinued a controversial TV ad because of criticism from a wide variety of groups.

The ad used a caricature of a witch while ridiculing Harshbarger's efforts to protect modern-day witches in Salem who were allegedly evangelist group.

A number of activists had expressed concern that the ad made light of a state civil rights law.

But Cellucci said the ad had merely "ran its course."

"We got a lot of people who sort of liked it. We got a few people who said they didn't like it, " he said.

Cellucci said he had no regrets about running the ad and would do it again.

WREN CHIRPS IN: Hopefully a lot of people WILL have regrets about supporting Cellucci and WON'T do it again

Massachusetts Witches And Pagans Call For Rally At Political Debate

October 22, 1998

A CALL TO ACTION!!

WHO:--POWER, WLPA, & other pagan & minority religion rights groups.

WHAT:--A peaceful assemblage to make our presence and issues known to candidates for public office and the public at-large.

WHEN:--DATE: Monday afternoon & evening, Oct 26, 1998.

TIME:--Suggested starting from 4:30-5:30 PM.

WHERE:--Faneuil Hall, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, downtown Boston, MA. Congress Street near State Street.

WHY:--The trivialization of separation of church and state and protecting the rights of minority religions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

HOW:--Parking nearby and accessible by MBTA Subway.

WWW:--WLPA: http://www.celticcrow.com/
--POWER: http://members.aol.com/lorib1818/power.html

EMAIL:-Cheryl Sulyma, WLPA: celtic@ici.net
--Lori Bruno, POWER: lorib1818@aol.com

The Massachusetts State Governor, A. Paul Cellucci (R) has maligned Witches and Earth religions by trivializing the separation of Church and State and the defense of the Wicca Religion by candidate for governor, Scott Harshbarger (D) in his capacity as State Attorney General.

In a televised negative promotional paid for by the committee to elect A. Paul Cellucci (R) a depiction of a Santa Claus in a police line up with a voice over criticizes Harshbarger for not allowing certain religious displays on public properties at Christmas. This is followed by a stereotypical Witch (pointed hat with cackle) and criticism of Harshbarger's defense of Witches in Salem. The case in question involved the assault and threats on area Wiccans by radical-right televangelist agitators. Harshbarger worked with area police and local Wiccans to see to their protection and make it known to the agitators that they were near violation of state hate crime laws.

In a press release this week the Salem. Ma. Police chief has asked the Cellucci campaign to remove this advertisement from the airwaves as it undermines their efforts at treating this situation with the seriousness that it deserves. Such acts also tend to encourage further endangerment to minority religions throughout the country.

Area Witches intend to make it a point that separation of church and state and the continued protection of minority religions by over zealous agitators is an issue not to be ignored in Massachusetts, now or in the future, and to stand together for the future safety of generations to follow.

You are invited to participate in a PEACEFUL ASSEMBLAGE with the Protective Order of Witches and Earth Religions (POWER) and the Witches League for Public Awareness (WLPA) and numerous other pagan rights representative groups at the next public debate to take place between acting-governor and candidate A. Paul Cellucci (R) and Attorney General and candidate Scott Harshbarger (D) at:

Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Congress Street near State Street
Boston, Massachusetts. (downtown)
Starting at 4:30-5:30 PM

The local and national press will be in attendance.




Permission granted to repost this message to other pagan, earth-centered, or minority religion BBS systems, list servers, and other electronic or printed media

Update: News And Information On Cellucci Ad Campaign

October 21, 1998

NEW CONTACT INFORMATION FOR GOV. CELLUCCI

Apparently the email link found on Gov. Cellucci's official Massachusetts page is no longer working.

A friend of TWV (Thanks, Neil!) called the governor's office and obtained this new information:

New Contact Information for Gov. Paul Cellucci:

Governor Cellucci: governors.office@state.ma.us

Cellucci Campaign headquarters:

e-mail at: mail@cellucci98.org
You can call us at (617) 742-1998
You can fax us at (617) 367-2374
Address: 55 Union Street, Boston, MA 02108

OTHER NEWS:

The SALEM EVENING NEWS printed the TWV press release, the letter of protest from WADL and an editorial staff comment on the issue of Cellucci's ad campaign.

All can be accessed from: OPINIONS

NOTE FROM HARSHBARGER:

Today we received the following reply from A.G. Scott Harshbarger:

Thank you for forwarding this to my campaign. As you know, as governor, I would support the religious rights of all groups in this state.

I remind you to vote on November 3rd.

Thank you again.

WREN CHIRPS IN: Since we relocated to Florida, we cannot in this Massachusetts race and as an non-profit organization, we also cannot suggest to you who to vote for.

But please --DO vote your in your state elections this November.

For all those who believe that it cannot make a difference, this incident in the Mass. electoral campaign points out that your vote indeed may become very important.

Ma. Law Enforcement Officials, Adl Call For End To Cellucci Ads

October 21, 1998

MA. D.A., POLICE CHIEF AND BOSTON ADL SUPPORT END TO CELLUCCI ADS-Boston Globe

Essex County District Attorney Kevin Burke and Salem Police Chief Robert St. Pierre yesterday called on Acting Governor Paul Cellucci to pull off the air his television ad ridiculing his Democratic rival Scott Harshbarger for what they say was protecting the civil rights of a small Salem religious group that had faced physical threats.

The two law enforcement officers said the ad trivializes and demeans a serious case - in which they were involved - that Harshbarger as attorney general had pursued in 1992 to protect members of a Wiccan group, a pagan religious cult.

Both men, who were joined by civil rights advocates as well as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Warren Tolman, said the Cellucci ad sends a message to hate groups and others that harassment will be tolerated.

``I am disappointed in Paul Cellucci, '' Burke, a Democratic prosecutor who had asked for the attorney general to intervene in the case, said in a State House news conference yesterday. ``I hope he recognizes the danger that this ad portrays.''

Meanwhile, Leonard Zakim, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, said he told Cellucci yesterday that the acting governor should make a ``positive statement'' on religious pluralism and diversity.

This story ran on page B06 of the Boston Globe on 10/21/98.
© Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company. FULL TEXT: END CELLUCCI AD

N.E. ADL WEBSITE: NEADL

Contact Information:
E-mail: boston@adl.org
Phone: (617) 457-8800
Fax : (617) 988-6244




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