Wiccan prayer lawsuit argued in federal court — Most of the witches I know are from Virginia. Go figure.

RICHMOND, Va. The federal appeals court in Richmond will hear arguments today on whether Chesterfield County should allow a Wiccan priestess to give the opening prayer at Board of Supervisors meetings.

The county refused to put Cynthia Simpson on the list of religious leaders invited to pray at board meetings. The board told her the invocations “are traditionally made to a divinity that is consistent with the Judeo-Christian tradition.”



  1. Ima Fish says:

    I’m reminded of that great joke in the Blues Brothers movie. Elwood asks the waitress what kind of music is normally played at the bar. She answers, “Oh we got both kinds. We got Country and Western.”

  2. Jim says:

    The fact that the government does not recognize you is really not a bad thing. Problems can begin when the government starts paying a whole lot of attention to you. Look at Martha Stewart. Uncle Sam doesn’t really care what you believe, he has more important things to think about than some personal matter you think is important. I wouldn’t take it personally. Join the Navy and you’ll get all the government you want in your life, if that is what you want. Fighting Uncle Sam isn’t a real good idea. Uncle Sam buys more ink than you do. People do dumb stuff, just look at TV. CBS is ignoring me! I hope. People want power, but not truth. This whole thing is about money and lawyers, not just religion and government, insert loser lawyer joke here___________________________________________
    If I knew where I would die, I wouldn’t go there. In God We Trust.

    See the Navy site http://www.chaplaincare.navy.mil/Wiccan.htm

    Google has a Uncle Sam search http://www.google.com/unclesam

  3. Ima Fish says:

    Yeah, Jim, and I suppose you think that Rosa Parks should have sat in the back of the bus too.

    We allegedly live in a country where the government is not to establish a religion. It certainly appears to me that the government in Chesterfield County has established Yahweh as our only god. We can either sit and watch that happen or do something about it. I see you’re quite happy where you’re sitting, so I won’t be surprised if you don’t get up.

  4. Alan Howard says:

    While I agree, here in the US, government and Religion have a wall between them; and should. However, common sense still has value. Wiccan is not exactly a religion that many are even aware exists. If they said “ok” to a Wiccan, would then next be a man saying ” I believe in the religion of killing a chicken via ritual sacrifice once a week” be allowed to give the Board’s Prayer?

    Do I believe everyone must believe what my own Religious beliefs are – 100% no, but the reality is there has to be logical, fair grounds for something like a Board Meeting.

    If someone were to say, “I believe in teh religion of nudity and wished to give the Board’s Prayer – 10 people showing up nude and giving their prayer – is that ok also?

    Common sense is something we are losing here in the US on a weekly basis.

  5. Alan Howard says:

    Followup: /smiles – if the woman in question is the woman in the photo – and from my very small understanding of Wiccan — I would be interested to ask her to coffee and have her explain her religion to me, as new knowledge, especially from a woman with great eyes, is always a good thing 🙂

  6. Thomas says:

    > Wiccan is not exactly a religion that many are even aware
    > exists. If they said “ok” to a Wiccan, would then next be a
    > man saying ” I believe in the religion of killing a chicken
    > via ritual sacrifice once a week” be allowed to give the
    > Board’s Prayer?

    The answer to that question, as it stands now, would be yes, anything deemed a religion by the courts would have to be allowed. There is, in fact, a set of standards by which the courts deem a practice a religion.

    The better solution is to remove the need to have the courts make such a determination by eliminating the concept of an opening prayer at board meetings in the first place. That would, by far, be the best solution. Said another way, religious rituals should be something that is personal; not something done as SOP at government meetings.

  7. Hank says:

    Even though I am an evangelical Christian I am TOTALLY for the separation of church and state. It’s one of the best things for the country AND for the church.

    This story hits on one of the main reasons why.

  8. Jim says:

    We have a big 10 Commandments plaque on our county courthouse here. Just about every do-nothing group in the country has tried to make the county take it down. If a Wicca, a Jew, a Catholic or anybody wants to speak at the courthouse I don’t see a problem with that. Opening public meetings with prayer isn’t a real great idea. I’ve seen it done before and I can see how it might upset some people. The problem in Virginia might just be having meetings that open with prayer. I sort of like to see a public meeting open with the Pledge of Allegiance. Then you have all the people with their knickers in a twist over ‘one nation under God’. What can you do? Here on earth, Gods work must truly be our own. You can do nothing and believe in nothing. It’s your life.

    When religion is in an academic public setting, it isn’t a problem.
    Boston University has a Wiccan student group http://people.bu.edu/nemeton/
    You mix religion and politics at the courthouse and the whole thing changes. Most people don’t have much of an understanding of politics. I don’t know much about Wicca. I’ll bet that if I showed up at a Wicca gathering to give a political speech of mine, it wouldn’t be well received. I wouldn’t do that, because I would be wasting their time and mine. They might get up and leave.

    What does Rosa Parks have to do with this? Is this writer trying to paint me as a racist or something? Truth stands, when everything else falls. You can’t build a barrel around a bung hole. You can try.

  9. Ed Campbell says:

    We already have a bung hole as Commander-in-Chief!

    The legitimate point is — that ALL religions are equally valid — or invalid. Any superstition is as useless as the next. The scientific “foundation” for Rumpelstitskin as the messiah is as close as any other. At least, Wiccans — like most Pantheists — are less likely to grovel before the rape of our natural resources.

  10. Jim says:

    Everybody should just stop buying anything. They killed a tree, so people could have a lousy pencil. Look at all the trees getting whacked for paper. Ed is right, the natural resources are getting raped. We should make plastic bags illegal and everybody should stop using cars and trucks. I’m all for unnatural resources. We could all have synthetic pizza and write in blood. Ink pollutes too much.

  11. Milo says:

    Wiccans are polytheists not pantheists.

  12. Jim says:

    This is getting confusing. Real things look simple, but they are not. I like my religion, like I like my bourbon, with water. I’m not big on the wisdom of burning crosses or anything with too much fire in the middle of it, other than candles or a little oil lamp. All fire isn’t equal. Some water is better than other water, depending on the source. Fire is more personal than water. Water is public. Don’t get burned alive.

  13. Thomas says:

    Jim, your response reminds me of the prophet from Life of Brian:

    And there shall in that time be rumors of things going astray, and there will be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things with the sort of raffia work base, that has an attachment they will not be there. At this time a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before …

    Or perhaps you are Dan Quayle in disguise:

    What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.

  14. shelley says:

    It’s sad to see that the courthouse obviously wishes to exclude wiccan open prayer. The best solution is perhaps leave prayers out alltogether, or have an opening speech that is set down instead, a speech which does not include, most particular prominent religious regalia or wording. This way, either none of them has anything nice to say at the beginning, or that whether you happen to be Wiccan, Judeo, Judeo-Christian, Christian, Hindu, Islamic or athesist , they all get a turn in saying something at an opening, so no one gets left out. It’s only fair to all the people, no more GBH ( Grevious Bodily Harm) of the earholes & no more arguments! Not to mention the diplomacy of politics & the courthouse.

  15. Tammy says:

    I am not a wiccan, but I think what the court said is wrong. What happened to the first amendment, what happened to freedom of religion. I have two friends that are wiccan and they are the sweetest people i have ever met. Me (a Christian) and Them (Wiccans) can get along just fine. We don’t put down each other and we respect each others point of view. So, what is wrong with others doing the same thing?

  16. Maggie Donohue says:

    I am for one outraged at this disgusting proclamation!
    Are we all not human? What of a higher power, whether you call it God or not? If others are allowed to pray than why can’t a Pagan?
    Really I thought we were passed burning witches and accepted other religions without a war ensuing for rights.
    This is against people’s rights.
    If people cannot respect our rights as Wiccans then why should we respect their rights as Christians?
    I am a fifteen year old Wiccan, against a high powered law system of what I presume to be mostly Christians, but how can we reverse our evolution as individuals, and be reduced to petty beings once more?
    All for the sake of Religion, what of it?

  17. Yesenia says:

    All religions are accepted under the first amendment of the constitution provided they do not cause harm to others, or in any way contradicts law.

    Wicca is a beautiful and positive religion, as is Christianity and Judaism. I see no reason as to why they would not allow an opening prayer just because it is not similar to the previous two in their eyes.

    Something I admire about Wicca is the fact that they honor and respect all positive religions, and there is nothing in the constitution that will interfere with an opening prayer that is not monotheistic.

    It’s funny how as advanced as we are, we still go back to childish fears and judgments.

  18. felicia says:

    Its time for people to realise that wicca is a religion and not a joke

  19. Kameron says:

    And if they said no to Christians, you bet everybody would be really mad at that. Wicca is a recognised religion!

  20. pissed off pagan says:

    why must christians be so hatefull to pagans.we (pagans) do not harrass christians.our religions are as valid as their evil faith.for a people that claim to be SO loving.christians are so freaking hatefull.we pagans have as much rights as christians.freedom of religion means :ANY religion.america was founded on religious freedom that is why there is supposed to be freedom of religion.christians need to leeve everybody alone and mind their own bussiness.HEY CHRISTIAN.STOP YOUR HATE.

  21. Geovanna says:

    It’s sad to see they don’t accept Wicca as a religion. They do not “sacrifice” anything. They cherish all life & have a deep love for it. The Wiccan religion/Peganism is older than Christianity but yet its not acknowledged by the government? That’s highly ridiculious.


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