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Paganism As A Protected Religion


Dettmer v. Landon 799 F.2d 929 (4th Cir. 1986) CLICK HERE

(Reflects federal constitutional law: binding in 4th Circuit only (which includes Virginia); persuasive precedent
elsewhere)

* Church based on Wicca/Witchcraft is religion for purposes of protection under First Amendment Free Exercise Clause.

* Courts must accept belief as "religious" so long as: it is sincere, it occupies a meaningful position in the individual's life, and it relates to that individual's ultimate concern (i.e. is spiritual).

* Protection of the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause in no way depends upon the truth or veracity of a belief, or the logic or consistency of a belief.

* The Church of Wicca, which is based upon Wicca (also known as Witchcraft) is religion for purposes of the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause, because its members sincerely adhere to a fairly complex set of doctrines relating to the spiritual aspect of their lives, and their ceremonies, leader structure, elaborate set of articulated doctrine, belief in the concept of another world, and broad concern for improving the quality of life of others, give it facial similarity to widely-recognized religions.


More Legal Precedents on Paganism


William B.. Wheeler VS Patricia Condon, P.S. Docket No. MD-45 (Jan 1989)   In which there was a legal dispute argued before an U.S. Postal Service Administrative Judge, regarding the delivery of mail.  In the decision the postal service found that Y Dynion Mwyn was a religious tradition, that The Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, Inc. (a Witchcraft Church) was a legal non-profit church and Religion.  http://www.usps.com/judicial/1989deci/md-45.htm

Roberts V. Ravenwood Church of Wicca, 292 S.E.2d 657,658 (Ga. 1982). Similar to Dettmer v. Landon.

Dettmer V. Landon,
799 F2d 929 (4th Cir. 1986), cert denied by Dettmer v. Murray, 483 U.S. 1007 (1987). Landmark case in which Wicca is recognized as a protected religion.

United States v. Phillips,
42 M.J. 346, 349 (C.A.A.F. 1995) (quoting Army Chaplain's Handbook). Extended pagan rights, in that it recognized the Army Chaplain's Handbook as legal evidence, specifically that a pagan's Book of Shadows held the same position as a sacred text as the Bible does for Christians.

Alvarado v. City of San Jose,
94 F.3d 1223 (9th Cir. 1996).

Reese v. Coughlin,
1996 WL 374166 at *3 n.3 (S.D.N.Y. 1996). Prisoners rights case.

Rouser v. White,
1996 WL 631130 at *1 n.1 (E.D. Cal 1996).

Rust v. Clark,
883 F. Supp. 1293, 1297 (D.Ne. 1995).

Church of Iron Oak, Inc. ATC v. City of Palm Bay, Fla.,
868 F.Supp. 1361, 1362 n.1 (M.D. Fla 1994).

Nichols v. Nix,
810 F. Supp. 1448, 1451 (S.D. Iowa 1993). Iowa case recognizing Wicca as a religion.

Brown v. Woodland Joint unified Sch. Dist.,
1992 WL 361696 (E.D, Cal. 1992). Textbook challenge, in which Christians challenged textbooks which discussed witchcraft (anti-establishment clause).

In re Bartha,
134 Cal. Reptr. 39 (Cal. Ct. App.1977). First case in which Wicca was a court issue; the court didn't go so far as to recognize it, but did allow astrology as a religious practice.


Legal/Religious Rights Websites of Pagan Interest


Directory of Earth Religions Rights Organizations:
http://www.erlan.org/ERRO.htm

Earth Religions Assistance League: http://www.conjure.com/ERAL/eral.html

Good general pagan site, also covers religious freedom issues:
http://witchvox.net/

Interfaith Working Group Online: http://www.iwgonline.org/

Lady Liberty League Page (includes other good links): http://www.circlesanctuary.org/liberty/

Law Pathfinder (articles by legal experts on a variety of topics):
http://www.lawoffice.com/pathfind/maps/

Ontario Consultants on Religious Freedom:  http://www.religioustolerance.org/witchcra.htm

Paper on demonization of women with *great* legal citations:
http://www.stanford.edu/class/law495/drobac.htm

Subculture Alternatives Freedom Foundation (good summary of US court cases):
http://www.hassop.demon.co.uk/saff/articles/uslaw.html

Sacred Earth Alliance: http://journey1.org/rights/index.html

US Army Chaplains Manual (excerpt): http://members.aol.com/janus59/milwic.htm

US Code (Federal Law): http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/

US Commission on Civil Rights: http://www.usccr.gov/index.html

Witches League for Public Awareness:
http://www.usccr.gov/index.html

Have you ever wondered how to read a legal citation? If so, then check out the following site:
http://infoeagle.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/lawlib/GUIDES-H/legalcite.html

Combined directory of Public Earth Religion Rights Contacts
http://www.erlan.org/directory.htm

Sacred Earth Alliance Homepage Call to Action
http://www.erlan.org/SEAHomepage.htm

Case Documentation And Submission Form (ERAL/ERLAN)
http://www.erlan.org/ERAL-IN.txt

GUIDELINES FOR PRESSING CHARGES (for Tenant Attacks On Landlord, but has much pertinent general information)
http://www.erlan.org/preschrg.txt

Quickly Obtaining Clergy Credentials in Ohio
http://www.erlan.org/CLERGYST.htm

Boilerplate Text for custody cases:
http://www.erlan.org/BOLRPLAT.TXT

Reasons and Resources Decreasing Number of Legal Cases Involving Discrimination Against Pagans
http://www.erlan.org/DecreasingLegalCases-pub.htm

Key to SEA Questionnaire
http://www.erlan.org/KEY-OH-P.htm

Gaia Rising
http://www.erlan.org/GaiaRising.htm

Draft IRS form 1023, Schedule A for NE Ohio Pagan Church
http://www.erlan.org/F1023S-ADr-LC.htm

ERLAN Bylaws
http://www.erlan.org/ERLAN-bylaws.htm

Draft ERAA Articles of Incorporation
http://www.erlan.org/ARTICLES-ERLAN.txt
 

Reasons and Resources Decreasing Number of Legal Cases Involving Discrimination Against Pagans
http://www.erlan.org/DecreasingLegalCases-pub.htm
 

Comments on Proposed VA Rules for Approving Symbols on Headstones
http://www.erlan.org/Comments on 1-19-07 Proposed VA Rule.htm


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John Ashcroft kokopelli Author:  Boudicca
Copyright © 1977, 1992, 2003 by Church of Dynion Mwyn.   All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Nov 2013 01:28:18 -0500

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