Chris wrote in alt.religion.wicca.moderated on Saturday 01 October 2011 01:19
Post by Chris
For those who are Americans, please have a look at this online White
Bar courts and lawmakers from creating a "second-class" religion
status for minority religions like Wicca & NeoPaganism
Currently in the Federal Court system of California, inmates who
practice Pagan religions like Wicca and Druidry are suing for
discrimination because they have been barred from practicing their
religion which they had been legally allowed to practice.
Do you have a reference to this, by any chance?
Post by Chris
The State of California, with help of the Conservative Christian
Dominionist group the Wallbuilders, is arguing that religions like
Wicca are not worthy of being protected by the First Amendment. If a
federal court rules that Wicca and other Pagan religions are not
worthy of equal status it means that every Pagan in the US could be
fired from their job, lose their churches and covens, and be otherwise
discriminated against. Please do not let a federal court take our
rights away, this country is for everyone of every religion.
I'm rather surprised that the State would take such a position. One has to
wonder what their grounds for opposing this are?
Now, as to the matter of petitions... Personally, I think petitions are a
total waste of time and energy, as they are likely to be ignored. Go ahead
and participate in / organize one if you want, just don't expect it to
produce any concrete results.
If you want concrete results, a lawsuit is going to have to be filed. Since
you intimate that a federal court case is already underway, the ACLU should,
at the very least, be contacted so they can participate as an amicus curiae.
Lawsuits are the only thing that the powers that be tend to pay attention to.
You need to get the ACLU involved -- they have argued hundreds of similar
cases all over the United States on behalf of a large number of plaintiffs
involving every religion you can think of.
Case in point:
The ACLU of New Jersey (2005) settled a lawsuit with the New Jersey
Department of Corrections on behalf of Patrick Pantusco, an inmate
who was denied religious books and other items while in prison.
Although it permitted persons of other religions to obtain materials
for their religious practices, it denied Mr. Pantusco's requests
because it did not recognize Wicca as a legitimate religion. In the
settlement, the state agreed to permit Mr. Pantusco access to all
requested items and pay damages.
The ACLU (2005) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court
supporting a group of Ohio prisoners who were denied religious
items and literature, as well as time to worship, in violation of
federal law. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the prisoners,
upholding the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
of 2000 (RLUIPA).
The ACLU and its affiliates (2000-2011) have been instrumental
supporters of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons
Act (RLUIPA), which gives religious organizations added protection
in erecting religious buildings and enhances the religious freedom
rights of prisoners and other institutionalized persons. The ACLU
worked with a broad coalition of organizations to secure the law's
passage in 2000. After the law was enacted, the ACLU (2005) defended
its constitutionality in a friend-of-the-court brief before the United
States Supreme Court and the ACLU of Virginia (2006) opposed a
challenge to the law before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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