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Inter- and Intra- Faith Work

Pagan leaders are calling for interfaith dialogue and support for First Amendment freedoms: Members of other faiths need not fear working, training, fighting, or even dying alongside Wiccans and other Pagans. We respect all Americans' right to worship as they choose. We do not proselytize or in any way seek converts. We welcome and support interfaith dialogue, exploring our similarities and differences. Pagans are proud to serve alongside members of all faiths, upholding a Constitution which supports *all* our rights.

Paganism is a collection of diverse contemporary religions which are rooted in or inspired by indigenous traditions worldwide. Pagan religions are characterized by belief in the interconnection of all life, personal autonomy, and immanent divinities. These faiths are often nature-centered and supportive of gender equity. Contemporary Pagan culture values diversity, respect, good works, living lightly on the earth, individual freedom, and personal responsibility. We cherish our children, our elders, and our communities, and believe that religious liberty is an inalienable human right which must not be abridged.

This project was coordinated by the Pagan Educational Network, Inc., and supported by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church; Blessed Bee, Inc.; Celtic Traditionalist Order of Druids; Church of All Worlds; CIRCLE Magazine; Circle Sanctuary; Covenant of the Goddess; Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, Inc.; Conversations with Pagans; Earth Religions Assistance Association; the EarthSpirit Community; Green Egg: A Journal of the Awakening Earth; The Henge of Keltria; International Pagan Pride Project; Irminsul Aettir; Journey To The One; Lady Liberty League; Military Pagan Network, Inc.; Order of the Whiteoak; Ozark Avalon; Pagans in Action Council for Truth; Pagan Community Council of Ohio; Religious Liberties Lawyers Network; Sacred Well Congregation; Temple of Isis; Wiccan-Pagan Educational Association; Witches' Anti-Discrimination League; Witches' League for Public Awareness; The Witches' Voice, Inc.; and WyrdWeavers Collective.

For more information about these organizations and other Pagan and UU resources, visit our Web Resources page.

 

Religious Freedom for Military Personnel

CUUPS Press Release - July 2, 1999
Affirmation of Military Personnel's Religious Freedom

Recently, statements by governmental leaders and representatives have been made regarding the religious freedoms of military personnel who are Wiccan and attend Wiccan worship services on their respective bases. We find these remarks not in alignment with the rights guaranteed American citizens under the US Constitution.

The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, officers and board of trustees affirms and promotes the free and responsible practice of religion and spirituality as a fundamental human right.

The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) was chartered by the Unitarian Universalist Association at the General Assembly in 1987 for purposes of enabling: networking among Pagan Identified UUs; providing outreach of Unitarian Universalism to the broader Pagan community continentally; providing educational materials on Paganism for Unitarian Universalist congregations and the general public; promoting Pagan - Jewish & Christian dialogue; encouraging the development of theo/alogical and liturgical materials based on earth and nature centered religious and spiritual perspectives; encouraging greater use of music, dance, visual arts, poetry, story, and creative ritual in Unitarian Universalist worship and celebration; providing support for Pagan-identified UU religious professionals and ministerial students; and fostering healing relationships with our mother the Earth and all her children.

We recognize Wiccan, Pagan, and all earth religions as authentic faith communities, and support the free exercise of religious rights by them in full social and legal equality.

In this context, we specifically affirm and support the members of the Armed Forces who identify with Pagan, Wiccan and other earth religious communities. We oppose any effort to infringe upon the rights of military personnel to practice religions consistent with military codes and regulations.

We call upon our country's governmental and religious leaders to uphold the religious freedoms dictated in the US Constitution, whether for an American walking down the street or one working in our Armed Forces.

Additional Information

PAGAN LEADERS CHAMPION RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN MILITARY
July 4, 1999

Leaders of the major US Pagan organizations have rallied to uphold the First Amendment freedoms of military personnel. Calling for interfaith dialogue and the affirmation of religious freedom as an inalienable human right, the leaders rejected attempts by Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) and other government officials to ban the practice of Wicca on military bases [see accompanying statement].
"Wicca is a constitutionally-protected religion, legally established in the US for more than a quarter-century," said Rev. Selena Fox, senior minister of Circle Sanctuary, an international Wiccan church. "If Rep. Barr and others succeed in outlawing this religion, what faith is safe?"

Wicca has been included in the military chaplains handbook for twenty years. The military has consistently supported Wiccans' right to worship, so long as they follow procedural guidelines for all religious groups.

"Our diverse military is a model for states such as Yugoslavia and Iraq, demonstrating how to create an effective fighting force which embraces the American principle of religious pluralism," said John Machate, coordinator of the Military Pagan Network. "Barr's actions, and subsequent calls by the radical religious right for Christians to boycott the Army, only serve to hurt the morale of our troops, who need to be focused on their missions."

"Rep. Barr has suggested that elected officials, not military personnel, determine which faiths are acceptable for practice on military bases," added Rev. Wren Walker, chairperson of the Witches' Voice, an educational network and the most popular Pagan Internet site. "Besides being clearly unconstitutional, this proposal is exactly the kind of heavy-handed, bureaucratic policy most Americans dislike. If the military isn't complaining, what is Rep. Barr really after?"

Wicca is a Pagan religion based on beliefs from tribal Europe. Adherents, numbering between 50,000 and 300,000 in the US, honor masculine and/or feminine deities, experience the Earth as sacred, and celebrate the cycles of the sun and moon. Wicca, also known as Witchcraft, has nothing to do with Satanism; Wiccans do not believe in Satan or any personification of evil. The central tenet of Wiccan faith is "If it harms none, do what you will."