The Herald, By JIM HICKEY, Staff Writer July 21, 2002 Link

CROMWELL — While a small group’s efforts to ban materials dealing with witches and witch-craft from the school system continues to garner attention, members of the Wiccan religion have mounted a campaign to refute the group’s accusations that the religion is evil or satanic.

In the petition being circulated, the group claims that material dealing with witchcraft is “satanic, a danger to our children, is being studied excessively, and has no place in our schools.” It later goes on to explain that witchcraft is “a form of religion, called Wicca, which is currently being practiced by many people in our society, and is the fastest-growing religion today.”

While the petition is accurate in that Wicca is practiced by many people, and one of the fastest- growing religions today, an overwhelming number of Wiccans have expressed outrage that the group is associated with satanic beliefs.

A number of Wiccans have taken the newspaper accounts of the group’s efforts and posted them on their Web sites, resulting in a barrage of responses to the newspaper from Wiccans from all over the world. The respondents are quick to point out that Wicca is not, in any way, an evil religion, and that Wiccans do not worship Satan. Satan is a product of the Christian faith, many have written, and has nothing to do with the Wiccan religion.

“By circulating a petition associating Wicca with Satan is just showing how ignorant you are to what Wicca is about,” said one Wiccan from Berlin, who asked to only be identified as “a proud Wiccan.” “It is people like this that create negative energy and create mistrust. Wiccans do not, in any way, force their religion on anyone else. I just wish radical groups like this would do the same.”

One of the major differences between Wicca and other religions is that Wiccans believe in both sides of deity — male and female, explains the Web site www.wiccan-refuge.comOff-site Link. Since Wiccans consider their religion one of balance, they believe it is necessary to have both sides of divinity. Wiccans do not believe in absolute evil, and have no devil myth in their religion.

Wiccans worship the divine in the form of two equal, loving, and wise figures: the Goddess and God. They are viewed as equals, and most Wiccans do not favor one over the other. There is one tradition, Dianic Wiccans, that worships only the Goddess aspect, the site said.

Wiccans believe that the Goddess and God are in everything and are everywhere: in rocks, trees, animals, and people. They view all nature as sacred and holy, and, because of their beliefs, have a high respect for the Earth.

Wiccans spend much of their free time outside connecting with the Goddess and God. They feel that because nature is a manifestation of deity, it is to be treated with respect and love.

The Web site witchvox.comOff-site Link explains that Wiccans believe in positive and negative energy, in a manner which in many ways mirrors the Buddhist idea of karma. If people are good to other peo-ple, that will good be returned to them three-fold, Wiccans believe. They also believe in reincarnation.

The Web site goes on to explain that Wiccans do practice magic, which they refer to as magick, the ‘k’ on the end is to distinguish it from stage magic, which Wiccans believe is just mirrors and illusion.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday July 21, 2002.
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