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Want to keep your 1st Amendment rights

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  • Indy Wiz
    From another list: Dave  ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ Want to keep your 1st Amendment rights? Read this!
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2010
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      From another list:
       ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~
      Want to keep your 1st Amendment rights? Read this!
      <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ 2010/01/keep- your-1st- amendment- rights/>
      http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ 2010/01/keep- your-1st- amendment- rights/
      <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ 2010/01/keep- your-1st- amendment- rights/>

      I am shocked almost speechless today at a brazen attack on the religious
      liberties of Pagans, Wiccans, and all other followers of minority
      religions. Some of you may have heard of Rev. Patrick McCollum, a man
      who became the first government-recogniz ed Wiccan chaplain in the United
      States in 1997. He has been doing outstanding work in raising visibility
      on legal issues involving discrimination against minority faiths in
      prison and elsewhere; he appeared before the US Commission on Civil
      Rights in Washington, DC, to speak at a briefing focused on
      prisoners' religious rights; he spoke at the Parliament of World
      Religions in Australia in December; and he's been invited to be part
      of the current administration' s discussion on how to limit
      discrimination and promote Interfaith education. To put it briefly, he
      is out there fighting for us.
      [Patrick McCollum, Wiccan chaplain and activist]
      Patrick McCollum, Wiccan chaplain and activist

      His latest battle has been an ongoing fight of several years against
      California's "five faiths policy," which restricts paid
      prison chaplains to being only of the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish,
      Muslim, and Native American faiths. He rightfully argued that this
      constitutes religious discrimination in hiring practices, not to mention
      the fact that incarcerated members of other faiths would be well-served
      by having more minority faith chaplains. The response, up to now, has
      been to argue on the technicality that McCollum has no legal standing,
      as he's not a prisoner, nor is he a taxpayer trying to curb
      government spending (he's suggesting government money instead could
      be spent more fairly). But now the conversation has taken a turn for the
      worse. Much worse. Patrick's latest statement reads:

      In one of their first arguments to the court, the defendants said that
      certain "traditional" faiths are first tier faiths and that
      those faiths were meant to have equal rights and protections under the
      United States Constitution, but that all of the other faiths, for
      example, Hindus, Pagans, Buddhists, Sikhs, Mormons, Jehovah's
      Witnesses, Jains, are second tier faiths deserving of lesser rights, and
      therefore are not meant to have the same equal rights and protections
      under the United States Constitution as the first tier faiths.

      Now, in an amicus brief filed in the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of
      Appeals in support of the CDCR and the other defendants, an organization
      called WallBuilders, Inc, which is represented by the National Legal
      Foundation, has argued that Christianity is the only religion that
      should be protected under the Constitution or at the very most other
      monotheistic religions might also be included. They also argue that the
      term religion only applies to Christianity or monotheistic faiths, and
      that anyone else, including the Pagans, are not really a religion for
      the purpose of Constitutional protections.

      Does that send shivers down your spine? Creep you out entirely? It
      should. Wicca has been a protected religion in the eyes of the Federal
      Court since 1986 <http://www.religiou stolerance. org/wic_rel. htm> , and
      now these cretins want to say "not really."

      The WallBuilder' s brief claims that the definition of
      "religion" when used by the founding fathers was synonymous with
      "Christianity" or "monotheism" because they spoke of
      "the Creator" as a singular noun, and therefore McCollum
      can't invoke the protection of the founding fathers. Inexplicably,
      they also argue at the same time that since the definition of religion
      has changed since then (yes, the definition has changed, but if anything
      I would argue that it's broader now than it was back then), whatever
      definition of "religion" you apply, Paganism and witchcraft
      don't fall under it. Incredible.

      If you're troubled or outraged by this assault on the beliefs of
      millions of non-monotheists living in America, here's what you can
      do, in Patrick's words again:

      We all need to write to Jerry Brown, the California Attorney General
      <http://ag.ca. gov/> , Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
      <http://gov.ca. gov/> , and Mathew L. Cate, the Secretary of the CDCR
      <http://www.cdcr. ca.gov/About_ CDCR/cate. html> and let them all know our
      outrage. And if you are a Pagan or Heathen, then we must also demand
      equal treatment, equal accommodations, equal access to our religious
      items for institutionalized persons, including prison inmates, and equal
      access to paid Pagan chaplains.

      For the full enchilada, complete with links to Patrick's full
      statement, and WallBuilder' s full amicus brief, please see the post
      on the Wild Hunt blog: Is the First Amendment for Monotheists Only?
      <http://wildhunt. org/blog/ 2010/01/is- the-first- amendment- for-monotheists\
      > . Jason has summed up all the key points eloquently and has
      links to his previous posts about McCollum's ongoing legal battle.
      Kids, it looks like now is the time to jump in. We've been letting
      Patrick fight for us, now is the time to make our voices heard on his
      behalf before this thing goes too far.

      Tags: chaplaincy <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ tag/chaplaincy/> ,
      discrimination <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ tag/discriminati on/> ,
      first amendment <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ tag/first- amendment/> ,
      minority religion <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ tag/minority- religion/>
      , Paganism <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ tag/paganism/> , patrick
      mccollum <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ tag/patrick- mccollum/> ,
      religious rights <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ tag/religious- rights/> ,
      wicca <http://www.llewelly n.com/blog/ tag/wicca/>
      No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.  
      Ralph Waldo  Emerson, American essayist, philosopher and poet (1803-1880)
      Gaia Works
      Pagan Educational Network  (317) 641-0014  (317) 641-0014
      Armed Forces Elemental
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