Ten Facts Illustrate Atlanta's Growing Religious Diversity

July 26, 2001

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On July 26, 2001, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that "during the second half of the 20th century, metro Atlanta...became a richly diverse religious community." The article listed ten facts that exemplified the growing diversity. For example, "Hindus have several worship centers in Atlanta" and "Pagans and witches worship in their own ceremonies throughout the metro area."

Pagans Convey Concerns about Faith-Based Legislation to Congress

July 17, 2001

Source: Lady Liberty League

On July 17, 2001, the Lady Liberty League issued a press release reporting that "Pagans of many paths from around the USA concerned about HR 7 have joined the growing numbers of American citizens calling and emailing their concerns to US Congressional representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Some info is online at Wren's Nest at the Witches Voice website: 7 is of special concern to Pagans because one of the most widely cited...

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Mother Sues School After Daughter's Suicide

July 4, 2001

Source: The Detroit News

On July 4, 2001, The Detroit News reported that "the mother of a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide five months ago has filed a $10-million lawsuit against the Lincoln Park School District, claiming school administrators turned a blind eye to students who teased the girl about her religious beliefs...Much of the teasing revolved around [the girl's] belief in Wicca, a pagan religion...

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Dismissal of Charges of Promotion of Paganism Is Appealed

June 30, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On June 30, 2001, The New York Times reported that "the guardian of two children in the Bedford school district has asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn a ruling dismissing claims that the district promoted paganism, New Age thinking and the occult." The claims were made by "three Roman Catholic families in 1996 [who] asserted that a high school Earth Day ceremony with drum-playing and the offering of gifts crossed the line into worship of the planet."

Wiccans Face Many Challenges When They Go Public

June 18, 2001

Source: Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

On June 18, 2001, the TV show Religion and Ethics Newsweekly posted a transcript of one of their programs about "what it means when modern witches [Wiccans] 'come out of the closet.'" Many Wiccans face discrimination and the prevalence of false stereotypes about them. "Wiccans say that, in the end, it is their experience more...

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Council Denies Pagan Group the Right to Tell Fortunes

June 14, 2001

Source: The State Journal-Register

On June 14, 2001, The State Journal-Register reported that "a decades-old law that prohibits anyone from being paid to tell fortunes was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of Hillsboro [Illinois] City Council. The issue came up...when [the Coven of the] Mystic Moon [asked to] hold a fund-raising festival on city property at Lake Hillsboro. Among the games and activities to be offered would be readings of Tarot cards and fortune-telling...The practice of divination, or fortune-telling, is part of their religion, [a member of the...

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Wiccan Priestess at Harvard's Memorial Church

June 1, 2001

Source: Harvard Magazine

On June 1, 2001 the Harvard Magazine reported that "At 8:45 A.M. on February 20 a Wiccan priestess led the daily service of morning prayers in Memorial Church. 'Chapel has long afforded, since 1886 at least, a pulpit to non-Christians,' says the Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes, Pusey minister in the Memorial Church. Harris is 'the first Wiccan priestess of whom we are aware.'"

Florida Pagan Protests Christian School Board Prayer

May 30, 2001

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On May 30, 2001, the St. Petersburg Times reported that "community activist Charles Schrader, who was ejected from a School Board meeting last week for praying a pagan prayer over Chairwoman Patience Nave's invocation, asked...whether he can lead the prayer at the next regular board meeting June 12" in the spirit of religious diversity. Nave responded that "it was the board's meeting. So they should be the ones conducting the prayers."

In Spite of Christian Worries, Pagans Describe Themselves as Ordinary

May 27, 2001

Source: The Arizona Republic

On May 27, 2001, The Arizona Republic reported on "the Spring Gathering of the Tribes here, on a remote wooded farm where hundreds of Pagans from Virginia and the East Coast have set up camp...Gathering attendees portrayed themselves as normal Americans who hold spiritual beliefs in the power of nature and in male and female sources of divinity...Some area ministers said earlier this week that they might organize a protest against the weekend gathering, but little has materialized."

City Planners Block Building of Interfaith Chapel

May 25, 2001

Source: Los Angeles Times

On May 25, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that "plans for a $4.5-million interfaith chapel at Chapman University...suffered another setback this week when Orange planning commissioners rejected the project on aesthetic grounds...Chapman officials said they plan to appeal the decision to the City Council...The design for the 250-seat Wallace All Faiths Chapel uses universal religious themes of light, water and nature."

Florida Pagan Protests Christian School Board Prayer

May 23, 2001

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On May 23, 2001, St. Petersburg Times reported that School Board Chairwoman Patience Nave "asked a deputy at Tuesday's meeting to remove Charles Schrader, a Wiccan who has protested the board's decision to open meetings with Christian prayers. On several occasions, Schrader has said his prayer aloud as board members have said their prayers."

"A Wish for Spring, a Dance for Rebirth"

May 6, 2001

Source: Hartford Courant

On May 6, 2001, the Hartford Courant ran two front-page photos entitled "A Wish for Spring, a Dance for Rebirth." The photos were from the celebration of Beltane the day before, "a Pagan rite of spring that celebrates fertility and rebirth...About 25 people attended the event, which included a May pole dance...and a cleansing ritual in which participants leaped over a bonfire."

Wiccans Raise Money for Hospital, Raise Consciousness about Paganism

May 2, 2001

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On May 2, 2001, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on "the Psychic-Pagan Fair in Monaca [Pennsylvania]...where about a dozen vendors sold all manner of New Age spiritual supplies...Wiccans...came to the fair to raise money for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh...Rose St. John, coordinator of the event and a [W]iccan...says that many who practice [W]icca or are pagans...are shunned by people who fear them...That's why she and a fellow [W]iccan formed P.U.R.E -- Pagans United for Religious Education."

Pagans Celebrate Start of Summer

April 28, 2001

Source: The Hartford Courant

On April 28, 2001, The Hartford Courant reported that "May 1, known as Beltaine, is one of paganism's most important holidays. It marks the beginning of summer, which means the celebration of new life, and the holy marriage of god and goddess...Pagans revere nature and see their lives as being attuned to the cycle of the seasons." Pagans are not well understood by the general public, said one follower of the religion.