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Article Specs

Article ID: 10706

VoxAcct: 248527

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 2,981

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Equal Rights For Earth-Based Religions

Author: Rev. Donna E. Mulvey
Posted: June 25th. 2006
Times Viewed: 2,778

Equal Rights For Earth-Based Religions

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. “

There have been many amendments to the Constitution, but this is the one that is the focus of this page. If the US Constitution gives us the right to worship as we will, then why is society so against the earth-based religions practicing and worshiping in public? If the mainstream religions like Christianity and Jews can have days off from school, why shouldn’t Wiccan and Pagan children have off on our Sabbats? I don't think this is fair.

Does this mean that because we are not a “commonplace” religion like Christianity that we should not have the same rights as any religion? It was my understanding that we made the Constitution to enable everyone to have this right regardless of religion. We should be allowed the same rights as anyone else as dictated to us by the US Constitution, and why not? Aren't we a religion too? Don't we care about the same issues as other religions? Don't we raise our children to respect themselves, others, and life? Yes, we do.

Who is the government to dictate to us as a religion what we can or cannot put on our headstones? To deny a US Serviceman’s religious right to put a Pentacle on a headstone is just appalling.

My friend and fellow Wiccan Minister Rev. Ravenoak of Oklahoma says,

“I give this an up vote; this is religious discrimination if the guy was practicing Islam he would get his symbol because they are in the news and they wouldn't want the publicity of it but it's ok to discriminate against Wiccan and Pagans. I just find it funny that the U.S has freedom of religion but at the same time they (Congress) don't recognize the Wiccan religion, why? There are more Wiccan and Pagans in the U.S than there are Christians or Catholics, and I would like to say this is my opinion and does not reflect other Wiccan or pagans so don't judge others for what I say.”

My sister, who lives in CT and just came to Wicca, says,

“The whole purpose of our ancestors coming to America in the first place was to escape religious persecution. This is in direct violation of the U.S Constitution.”

I believe she is right. Unfortunately, the U.S is predominantly Christian, which would explain why everyone is opposed to us since most of these Christians have seats in the government. But what is the difference if it’s a cross or a pentacle on a loved one’s headstone? Formany Earth-Based Religions, there is no distinction. We believe that we are all One in the eyes of the Goddess and God or however we call Divine. We are a religion of tolerance which does not believe in bad-mouthing other religions and/or their causes. I believe, and so do many I have spoken to, that we should be granted the same rights and privileges as any other religion.

To say that Christianity, Catholicism, or Islam is the only one true or right way is just wrong. There is no wrong or right way to connect to the Source. Divinity reveals itself to the individual, not the mass.

So how long must we sit back and be denied these rights as put forth by the Constitution? Shouldn’t we proclaim in one voice that we deserve this right? I believe we should.

“Freedom of Religion” should be everyone’s right,not just for a few select religious groups.

My husband, who has served in Iraq, tells me that the military knows of Wicca/Paganism; it’s in the Chaplain’s Handbook. But then why aren’t we recognized as an established religion like Christianity? The Chaplain’s handbook of the statewide prisons, from what I understand, says the same thing. Again, why is the military and the government telling us we can’t put a pentacle on our loved ones' headstones?

It is in my opinion time we stood up and demanded our rights as an established religion. If not for us, then for our children, the future generations of Wicca, Druid, and other Earth-based Religions.

This is not the Burning Times, nor is it the Salem Witch Trials. This is 2006, not 1696. Times have changed; we have changed and evolved with them. So the military and the government should be changing also. Everything must, in its time, change. But it’s not going to happen overnight, nor is it going to happen unless we stand up and speak out against this injustice.

I find it appalling that with everything else going on around us, people have to argue about religion. Religion should have no place in state politics. It is up to us to decide what goes on our loved ones' headstones, not to the government and certainly not to the military.

To deny an individual this fundamental right is like saying, “We control your beliefs” and humans of any religion aren’t allowed to do that. We shouldn’t need permission from anyone to be able to adorn our loved ones' gravesites with a pentacle. It is a symbol of our faith, just like the cross is a symbol of Christianity. My question is, what’s the difference?

I know this essay seems long-winded, but I just had to speak out against this injustice. It’s wrong for the government and the military to tell this widow she cannot put a pentacle on her husband’s headstone. This is a country I thought was based on religious freedom. My own ancestors help build and establish New England; they came here for the same thing.

What kind of message does this send to our children? That you can do something so long as it agrees with society? That’s wrong. So it's okay to be Christian or Catholic because everyone accepts it as being “normal”, but it's not okay to be of an Earth-based Religion when our foremothers and fathers in ancient times used to worship a Goddess and a God before Christianity even came to be?

So much for “Freedom of Religion.”.




Footnotes:
www.foxnews.com/story/0, 2933, 90322, 00.html



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