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Year: 2002 ...

The WitchVox List of Resources for the Environment


Year: 2000 ...

Education and the Pagan Child

We Pray Too: A Report From The Bible Belt

You Call It Groundhog Day, We Call It Imbolc (print version)

FAQ's of Witchcraft in Spanish (Print Version)


Year: 1999 ...

Pagans and Non-Profits (creating them with care)

Care And Feeding Of Your Local Journalist


Year: 1998 ...

Pagan Divorce: Child Custody - An Overview

Pagan Divorce: Child Custody Support Links

You Call It Easter, We Call It Ostara (print version)

Pagan Divorce: Child Custody - Kendall vs. Kendall

Legal Aid Links

Pagan Divorce: Child Custody - State Decisions

Pagan Divorce: Child Custody - Making Your Case

Pagan Divorce: Child Custody In Court

Pagan Divorce: Child Custody Wren Story

Pagan Divorce: Child Custody - Federal Decisions

RFRA Passes in Florida

RFRA Passes in Connecticut

RFRA Passes in Rhode Island


Year: 1997 ...

Supreme Court Decissiins - Prayer in Schools

You Call It Hallowe'en... We Call It Samhain (print version)

FAQ's of Witchcraft (Print Version)

Wearing a Pentacle in School

Samhain and The Dress Code

You Call it Christmas, We Call it Yule (print version)

The Equal Access Act: YOUR rights as a student

Sample: Parental Permission Slip

Know Your Legal Rights

A letter to your local Elementary Schools

Samhain Press Kit

Canada - Charter of Rights & Freedoms

Canada - Freedom of Religion

School Official Reactions Due To An "Occult" Scare.

How to talk about the Radical Right

How to talk to the Media or, How to Get Your Local Rag to Take Your Religion Seriously

A letter to your local Police

The Ballard Case (1944)

Merchants Letter

Media Petition


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 1939

VoxAcct: 1

Section: white

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 6,503

Times Read: 11,557

Media Petition

Author: Wren
Posted: February 2nd. 1997
Times Viewed: 11,557

To: ____________________________
____________________________
____________________________

Article Title:______________________
Dated:________________________
Reporter:________________________

Preface:

The Founding Fathers, concerned with the failures in Europe to ensure freedom of religion and the rights of the individual to speak freely on matters of conscience, carefully forged these concepts into the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. Since then, several other Constitutional additions have sought to strengthen and preserve those rights for all citizens.

While the democratic experiment and the concept of personal liberty have probably been the most important contributions that the United States has brought to the global community, it is becoming clear that even here people are being persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, harassed, legislated against and even killed for their faith.

Religious bigotry has not been eradicated from this country and worse still, many do not realize that they themselves are guilty of it.

It seems that it is still acceptable to label those outside the mainstream as "cults". It is still acceptable to report misinformation leveled against these groups by opponents as fact. It is still acceptable to disregard the truth if that truth might upset the conventional beliefs of the majority. In fact, it is still acceptable for this same majority to discriminate against Witches.

The media, in newspapers, magazines, radio and television, have continued to irresponsibly portray individual Witches and Wiccans, as well as the religion of Witchcraft itself, in sensationalized stories. These stories not only stir up families, neighborhoods, business communities and school districts, but also perpetuate and promote additional bigotry and discrimination.

By using such labels as "alleged" and "so called" in describing the faith and followers of Witchcraft or Wicca, the media deprecate and seek to deprecate our way of life and our faith. The word Witch should always be capitalized as is the custom when describing the religious adherent of any other religion. No quotation marks should be used to encompass Witch and thereby insinuate that the word is invalid. In addition, to selectively call attention to the religious practice of a Witch in the spotlight of public scrutiny, while failing to name the more "mainstream" faith of another in the same situation, is not just simply prejudicial. It is a form of discrimination that causes immeasurable damage.

Eleven years after the federal court declared Witchcraft a legally recognized religion for First Amendment purposes and protection, the validity of our faith is still being denied and negated. We are discriminated against by a media who write these slanderous lies, and by a general public who reads them. and by a general public who read these lies and slanders. Despite the efforts of many Pagan and Wiccan groups and leaders to openly declare the truth about Witchcraft, we have been ignored and rebuffed by all but a few journalists and reporters.

Any "news" about Witches and Witchcraft published under these conditions can be called neither "fair and accurate reporting" nor "responsible journalism". Reporters who persist in portraying Witchcraft as anything other than a legitimate religion are not researching the facts; and their editors, it seems, are not demanding that they do so.

Statement of position:

Whereas: Witchcraft is a legally recognized religion in the United States, as declared in 1985, Dettmer v. Landon (617 E Supp. 529), the District Court of Virginia pursuant to rule 52a of the Federal Rules of Civil procedure; and in 1986, in the Federal Appeals Court, Fourth Circuit, Butzner, J.(592 F. 2d. 934) reaffirmed...

Whereas: Under this ruling and in accordance with those rights to religious freedom as declared in the Constitution ( Amend. I; XIV), no Witch can be denied his/her civil liberty and right to be a Witch, open and free, in any state in the land, within the parameters of the law...

Whereas: Witches are protected under federal and state statutes from harassment, discrimination and acts of bigotry or hatred due to the holding of their sincere religious beliefs without bias or prejudice on the part of the law and it's officers....


We, the undersigned, with the deepest concern for both the right to freedom of religion and of the press, do hereby petition the media organization listed :

________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

To cease and desist from it's inaccurate, biased and prejudicial portrayal of the followers of the religion of Witchcraft. We insist that any release of information concerning our beliefs, be the result of true research and not based on either the words spoken by the opponents of our faith, the personally held bias of the reporter, or the misconceptions that have resulted from centuries of lies and propaganda.


The Religion of Witchcraft is a nature based religion of the most benign type. We follow a tenet of "no harm" and we neither believe in, nor worship, a deity known as "Satan" or the "devil". While belief in this "Satan" is held in many mainstream religions such as Christianity and Islam, we, as Witches, do NOT share in this belief. Witches, in fact, have no all evil god/goddess figure in their belief structure at all.

Witches come from all walks of life. We reside, shop, go to school, are active in community projects and work alongside those of other faiths, without prejudice, and seek only the same for ourselves. To single us out in a sensationalistic way only serves to set us apart as somehow odd or strange when nothing is further from the truth. We are your neighbors, your elected officials, your medical practitioners, your lawyers, your co-workers and your fellow Americans.

Based on the information and concerns listed above, we insist that individual Witches and Wiccans and all who follow the religion of Witchcraft, be treated with the same respect shown to any who adhere to an equal, but different religious path. If you insist on calling a person in your report a "self proclaimed" High Priestess or "alleged" Witch, then you should also use the same terms when referring to a "self proclaimed" Rabbi or an "alleged" Christian. If you find that ridiculous, then you are beginning to understand the severity and the scope of the bias that you have shown toward us.

We can no longer tolerate a media presentation that only misrepresents our faith to a general public which has remained ignorant of our beliefs because of your continued refusal to report the truth.

We strongly urge you to consistently apply the same rules in reporting issues on Witchcraft as you would any other religion. To do otherwise is not only bad journalism, it is discriminatory and a violation of our civil rights.

We, the Witches and Wiccans of these United States, submit this petition to the television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and other media who wrongfully or intentionally harm the followers of our faith.

By means of both the neglect of the facts pertaining to our religious practices and the refusal to accept Witchcraft as a recognized religion in the United States (holding the same legal status as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Judaism), you continue to attach a selective religious stigma to our people. We demand that you cease and desist these practices immediately.


Signature:_________________________________________________________

Name:_____________________________ Address:____________________________

City:________________________________ State:________ Zip:______________

Phone Number:(_____) _______-_________



Signature:_________________________________________________________

Name:_____________________________ Address:____________________________

City:________________________________ State:________ Zip:______________

Phone Number:(_____) _______-_________



Signature:_________________________________________________________

Name:_____________________________ Address:____________________________

City:________________________________ State:________ Zip:______________

Phone Number:(_____) _______-_________



Signature:_________________________________________________________

Name:_____________________________ Address:____________________________

City:________________________________ State:________ Zip:______________

Phone Number:(_____) _______-_________



Signature:_________________________________________________________

Name:_____________________________ Address:____________________________

City:________________________________ State:________ Zip:______________

Phone Number:(_____) _______-_________



Signature:_________________________________________________________

Name:_____________________________ Address:____________________________

City:________________________________ State:________ Zip:______________

Phone Number:(_____) _______-_________






ABOUT...

Wren


Location: Tampa, Florida




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