A Wiccan lady, who wished to open a county session with a prayer to the " creator of the universe" found herself denied that right however, even though it would have been within keeping with the current day practices. She took it to court, a lower court agreed with her allegations of prejudice.
The county took it to the state supreme court which overturned the ruling, as said court found policy already in place for the local Clergy, to avoid making any references to any one God in their opening prayers. The supreme court re admonished the county seat in question, to continue that practice, as per county policy, and considered the matter closed.
The state supreme court made no comments
to her allegations that invitations issued by the county, to open the session's
with prayer, were tendered to the " main stream" faith leaders in the community,
but never to the less predominate faiths, her own faith of Wicca, being
one. The lady in question is ordained as Clergy of that faith.
If you have spent any time in a court room, you have seen the current day usage of "swearing in" at court to "swear, vow or affirm, to tell the truth", period. At one time this was done with ones hand on a Christian bible, with the words " do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God ?" or words to that effect. This is no longer practiced, but not for the reasons one might think. It has little to do with religious rights.
Its still an option, at the discretion of the judge presiding, but most judges have given over that whole concept for an easy to understand reason, the sheer diversity of plaintiffs appearing before the court. Having a non Christian defendant swear on a Christian bible would be worthless, as it would have no meaning.
There are also those who are of the Christian faith, who refused to swear this way, such acts being against their own doctrine's. And the simple fact is, that unless the court wanted to keep handy a stack of sacred texts that would fill a library for swearing in, this has become impractical to even attempt it no matter the personal preferences of the judge, so quietly, over time, the practice has stopped, with few exceptions.
This change of
our basic judicial system has had a profound effect on legislation over
all and on the judges who are, for the most part, our policy makers for
the public sector.
One case that comes to mind was a Pagan woman who was fired from her job with social services, for wearing a pentagram around her neck to work. She sued and won her case for discrimination, by pointing out that if she could not wear her symbol of religion in the work place, why were others allowed to wear theirs ? The courts in this case agreed, and told the government supported social services office, they owed her back wages and to change their policy on religious symbols, banning all such symbols from the work place.
This has been repeated over and over at all levels of society from schools to court houses, and the backlash its creating from the more predominate faiths, is tremendous. New protests are seen near daily in e-mails sent around the world and web sites full of condemnation of the suppression of the here to fore, mostly Judeo-Christian world view. Some see this as a degeneration of moral values, or at least that's how its often presented. When in fact its really just a reaction by the " predominant" faiths of how it feels to have ones rights suppressed.
Case after case comes before the courts, demanding that the rights of all are presented when religion is presented in the public venue. And for the most part, rather than seem to endorse other faiths, the policy makers are suppressing all views that relate to any one faith. And the backlash I fear is that we, of the non "main stream" faiths, will be held to " blame" for this, even through that's not, in reality, true.
The judgment makers who have handed down the policy changes demanded of them, due to suits for inequalities, could just as easily demanded that all faiths be resented and accepted to settle the dispute. Which was the intent for most parties seeking redress I have little doubt. But they have refused to do that over all, opting for equality by suppression of all outward references instead. This has caused. fairly or not, even more resentment towards those of us, not of the Judeo-Christian faiths. And for the moment, I see no time that will change soon.
But I am not surprised to see it happening.
It is said, that the abortive attempts of the birth of the child of the Aeon would be long and painful before the birth of the new age. The Age of Aquarius:( off site link) Which is a subject of much debate as to its meaning and start dates, which I wont try and drag it all out here as you can look it up, but the concepts of the Age, we are seeing in full force today.
The court cases, heated debates and changing world views being a case in point. We have seen in recent times, meaning my own lifetime, social changes that before, only took place with slowness, rush headlong with blinding speed, to where issues come up near daily and are in a constant state of change. We ,as a people, are being asked to re evaluate things, that have been " settled" in the minds of many, for years. That are now under challenge.
These changes count the rise of feminism, the change of accepted gender roles, the rise of sexual freedoms and rights of expression and so many more. Not all of these changes have been easy and there were many stages and attempts to bring them about to a level that all could live with. There are still refinements being made on those issues and will for some time to come.
Now the concepts of the one God view are going through their own birth pains and stages of change. I suspect it will get much harder before it gets better, but have faith that it will improve, as it must. There is no longer a choice for those who are attempting to hold back the tides of change, as the rest of us will not be silenced.
The world is not isolated little pockets of humanity anymore, with ideas and " accepted" practices set in stone by the dominating class. The world is a much smaller place, and the peoples in it are in constant communication with each other. The sharing of ideas is at a level never before seen on earth. All the world now demands its say and rightful place in the scheme of things, including the rights to ones view of the divine.
The country of American was founded on the concept of religious freedom and never has that concept come under more challenge than it is today. Given the idea that " separate but equal" doctrines are unacceptable, we are forced to demand that there is representation for all. This is just what we are seeing come to fore, with all the thrashing about in the birth pangs of a new concept, that all can come to accept and live with. Which, one hopes, will finally come to be a respect of all peoples, for each others views.
It's unfortunate that it must come with such difficulty. For myself, I feel that any man who is of the light paths is my brother, no matter what God name he calls on and so it goes.
Sad to say the needed forced changes are because many don't hold that view and will hang on to their " rights" while denying others for as long as they can possibility manage it. So we will see many more court cases and headlines, as our world evolves into, one hopes, a much brighter day for us all. May the Great Mother and Blessed Father keep watch as their children struggle with pains of bringing the child of Aeon into the world
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