Sunday, February 24, 2013

Prison Witches in Calif. OK'd to Sue for Chaplain

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that female prisoners who practice Wicca (goddess-worshiping witchcraft) can sue the state to demand full-time witch "chaplains." Obviously, more spending for pagans would impact the funding available for Christian chaplains.

For background, read Paganism Acceptance Growing in America and also read Pagan Worship Center Added to Air Force Academy as well as Atheism, Paganism Latest Liberal Media Darling

-- From "Wiccan inmates can sue to gain chaplain" by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle 2/19/13

The appeals court told [U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill] in Fresno to determine whether the state prisons are unconstitutionally preferring majority religions over Wicca and other minority faiths without paid chaplains, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. [O'Neill] had dismissed the Chowchilla inmates' lawsuit, a ruling the appeals court overturned Tuesday.

Although the state is not required to "provide inmates with the chaplain of their choice," it must use neutral standards when deciding how to spend money on prisoners' religious needs, said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

California prisons have long employed chaplains for Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Jews. After American Indian inmates sued the state in 1985, the prison system began providing spiritual advisers for them.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Court Gives Wiccans a Chance at Getting Chaplains in Prison" posted at 2/24/13

The appeals court was clear not to make a ruling about the point of law, but wanted the U.S. District Court to give the question a fair hearing by reconsidering a lawsuit brought by two inmates, Shawna Hartmann (who has since been released) and Caren Hill. A big part of that hearing, the court said, should be a proper survey of how many Wiccans there actually are in the penal system.

Wiccan minister Patrick McCollum puts the number at 2,000. Hartmann claimed there are at least as many inmates practicing the Wiccan religion in the Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla as there are practicing Jewish, Muslim and Catholic inmates.

A 2002 survey found 598 professed Wiccans in the state correctional system and a 2007 survey turned up only 183. That same 2007 survey indicated the following inmate religious identification: 42,666 Protestant, 28,884 Muslim, 23,160 Catholic, 8,296 Native American, 3,296 Jewish and 2,678 “other.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.