Lifestyles Left and Right

Deck the Halls With — Broomsticks

Witch is your religious preference?

12.8.02

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Self-proclaimed Witch Cynthia Simpson is suing the Chesterfield County, Virginia board of supervisors with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, which carries on a ceaseless campaign to drive any sign of reverence for God from public view.

It seems that for as long as anyone can remember, the Chesterfield County board has, before opening its regular business meetings, heard a few words of inspiration from a minister, priest or rabbi. The clerics are volunteers. When Ms. Simpson, a Wiccan priestess, volunteered to join them, she was politely turned down. The ACLU swung into action, crying "religious discrimination." The ACLU is big in the threat department, and it said the board has two choices: Let Ms. Simpson give a Wiccan prayer before a meeting, or banish all the other clerics. (Judging from past performances, the ACLU may actually prefer the latter.)

Last year at this time the big issue was "separation of church and state" when someone professed to being "offended" that a town in Maryland was going to allow Santa Claus to ride on a town firetruck in the holiday parade. The town council got cold feet and banned Santa. In response, 29 Santas showed up for the parade on private vehicles. Figuratively speaking, Santa gave the ACLU a lump of coal.

In poll after poll, something on the order of 90 percent of Americans tell the pollsters they believe in God -- not gods, plural; not Gaia, the Earth Mother; not Zeus, Apollo or Athena, but one God. Despite their other differences, Christians, Jews and Muslims have that in common.

Why then the endless quest by the ACLU (and its leftish ally Americans United for Separation of Church and State) to find plaintiffs with which to threaten towns and counties with lawsuits? It stems from a persistent misunderstanding of the Constitution's First Amendment, which begins, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

When the founders wrote that amendment they had in mind such state religions as the Church of England, from whose strictures many of our early pioneers fled across the sea to the New World. The second clause of the amendment reflected the founders' insistence on the freedom of Americans to follow whichever religion they wished; however, they made it clear in what they said and wrote that they believed that all of our rights emanated from God. While they insisted on freedom of religion the ACLU insists on freedom from religion or, in Ms. Simpson's case, the recognition of a fad as a religion.

Like Rodney Dangerfield, Ms. Simpson thinks she hasn't been getting "no respect." At least she got no satisfaction from the Chesterfield county attorney who described Wicca as "neo-pagan." She countered, according to one report, that she wanted to offer the prayer at a meeting so she could "dispel images of wicked witches on broomsticks." Ms. Simpson says "reverence for the cycles of nature are key" to understanding Wicca. That's nice. One dictionary definition of religion is "An awareness or conviction of the existence of a supreme being." Cycles of nature don't count as a supreme being.

Nevertheless, going after the Chesterfield County board of supervisors is peanuts. If the ACLU and its friends were really serious they would be demanding that the federal government rename the Christmas holiday "Winter Solstice" or something similar that would please Druids and Wiccans. And, since radio and television stations operate under federal license, the litigants should demand that broadcasters no longer be allowed to play C-----mas carols, as these extol the virtues of someone associated with a particular religion (we dare not say which one, for this website is owned by a foundation which has been granted tax-exempt status by the federal government and we don't want to violate the separation of church and state). Also, since C-----mas bonuses are subject to income tax, the ACLU should insist they be renamed, say, Reverence for Nature bonuses.

Hmmm. Do you suppose on C-----mas Eve, Ms. Simpson will be riding alongside Santa's sleigh on a broomstick?

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