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6/6/99 UPDATE: Barr Says He'll "Try Again And Again."|
A GENUINE WITCH HUNT- By Joe Holley, US News
Georgia congressman Bob Barr targets the Army's approval of pagan religious groups
When fire-breathing Rep. Bob Barr called for President Clinton's impeachment before anyone had even heard of Monica Lewinsky, critics called it a witch hunt. But this time Barr's targets really are witches.
The Republican congressman from Georgia is incensed at the Pentagon for allowing pagan rituals to be practiced on U.S. military bases. And he's determined to put the kibosh on it.
A Defense Department official says that it would be unconstitutional for the dod to "evaluate or judge the merits of specific faiths." The only ground rules: that all religious services adhere to health and safety standards and maintain "good order and discipline."
But Barr begs to differ.
He recently tried to amend a defense authorization bill to prohibit the practice of Wicca or any other form of witchcraft at Defense Department facilities. The measure was nixed on procedural grounds.
But Barr says he'll try again and again. That's the sort of spell that only a congressman can cast.--FULL STORY: WITCH HUNT
6/4/99 UPDATE: Barr Tries Stealth Amendment To Outlaw Wicca On Military Bases
Bob Barr Tries To Add Anti-wiccan Amendment Onto To Defense Spending Bill
Barbells, no witches proposed for Defense-By Philippe Shepnick, The Hill
The $290 billion defense bill allowed lawmakers to fund Stealth bombers and tanks, but for Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), it also meant a chance to keep witches and peyote out of the barracks and bunkers.
Barr's two amendments to the defense appropriations bill would outlaw the practice of Wicca -- a form of witchcraft that worships nature -- and the use of the hallucinogenic drug, peyote, on military bases.
Barr's amendments have been at least temporarily shelved, and the FY 2000 Department of Defense (DOD) bill is in limbo after being pulled Thursday.
But the riders are an example of what some criticize as unnecessary legislative intervention in the nitty-gritty details of a broader bill. Often that intervention takes the form of "pork" which some say involves excessive spending, but others say is being responsive to constituent needs.
In contrast, Barr's provisions banning the practice of Wicca and the use of peyote are not designed to help any particular constituent.
He warned that allowing the practice of Wicca religion, a form of witchcraft that dates back to pre-Christian Europe, "sets us down a slippery slope," and added, "The notion that military officers are allowed to practice witchcraft is unbecoming."
Barr saw no constitutional obstacles. He noted that the courts have recognized there are different rules of behavior in military life than in civilian life. Political activity is not allowed on bases, he said.
Barr was unimpressed by the fact that some bases, such as Fort Hood in Texas, have allowed the practice of Wicca for three years without any problems. "I perceive it as a problem," he said. "I have not talked with [the DOD] about it - they may just think it's great. Therein lies part of the problem. We're placing people in command of these installations who either agree with this or feel powerless to stop it."
That's also what prompted Barr to introduce the peyote amendment. He said the DOD is crafting language that would allow the drug to be used for religious purposes. The drug is used in some American Indian religions.
(NOTE: The above article is not on-line at The Hill. The following was received from The Hill editor: "I am responding to your inquiry about the article on Wiccan. We did have
one. It was inside the paper and was not on our Web site. In the very near future, our Web site will be more complete. In the meantime, following is the story."-- This information was forwarded to us by the MAGICKAL CAULDRON staff and Lady Galadriel, (RealLadyG@aol.com) national membership officer of Covenant of the Goddess.)
SELENA FOX of LADY LIBERTY LEAGUE reports the following:
"I just got off the telephone from a staffer from Rep. Tammy Baldwin's office.
The anti-Witch amendment is dead. It was shelved due to not being germane to the bill to which it was attached. She told me it is not presently part of the Bill even in a tentative way.
I still think that it would be good for Wiccans and others Pagans communicate with their elected representatives regarding religious freedom issues pertaining to Wiccans in the US Military in case Barr tries something else." (NOTE: LLL is trying to locate the text of these amendments. Visit the LLL site for continuing updates.)
WREN CHIRPS IN: Good point, Selena! Please consider sending your Senators and Representatives a letter asking them to continue to support religious freedom for all. Contrary to Bob Barr's statement, this isn't about "political activity" on military bases--this is about the freedom to worship as you please, whenever and most importantly WHEREVER you please.It is your right.Help protect it.
THE US SENATE WEB SITE: SENATE
THE US HOUSE WEB SITE: HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
CONTACTING THE CONGRESS
WASHINGTON POST: CONGRESSIONAL GUIDE
HOMETOWN AMERICA: GOVERNMENT CONTACT DIECTORY
LOCATE AND WRITE YOUR REP: REP LOCATOR
List of Congressional officials and websites by state: ELECTRONIC ACTIVIST
Witches Confront Barr At Town Meeting
WITCHES BREW UP PROTEST FOR BARR MEETING-By Steve Visser, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Rep. Bob Barr preached to the choir at a town meeting Saturday, but he still contended with a chorus of witches in between the "amens" that favored banning Wiccan religion on military bases.
The Georgia Republican fielded questions from Witches, Christians and other constituents in a packed room at a Cobb County library in Marietta. Barr criticized the commander of Fort Hood this month for allowing a Wiccan rite on the Texas Army base.
Barr told the crowd of 120 that Wicca threatened to erode military discipline--a fear not uttered publicly by military commanders--and the First Amendment needed to take a back seat to that concern.
Barr would leave it to elected leaders to decide which religions could be practiced in the military, he said, adding that it wasn't unreasonable to ban Wicca services on a military base while permitting worship by Christians, Jews and Muslims. FULL STORY: BARR
RELATED NEWS ITEM: The Magickal Cauldron Report
Elected Officials Will Determine Which Faiths Can Be Practiced on Military Bases-The Magickal Cauldron
Saturday, May 29th, at the Marietta Main Branch Library, approximately 40-50 Wiccans and Pagans attended Rep. Bob Barr's Town Hall meeting. We were hard to see, for the majority of us dressed in our "Sunday best" and blended in quite nicely; well, except for our WPEA, First Amendment, and "Wicca is an Olde Time Religion" buttons!
Rep. Barr opened the meeting by handing the floor over to a Pastor, (not sure of the name), and a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance were begun.
Noticeably, (at least to me), when we got to the line, "..one nation, under god", there were quite a few "...one nation, under gods"! You can well imagine that the already tensioned atmosphere got a wee bit tighter.
Finally, and I do mean FINALLY!, Barr began to take questions. He immediately called upon Lady AmberMaeve Szymanski, (my High Priestess!!), CoG National Public Information Officer, High Priestess of the Grove of the Winged Scarab, and a rather innocent looking constituent--that is, until she began to make her statement.-FULL STORY AND PIX: BARR TOWN MEETING REPORT
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