June 2018           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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Wiccan Sues Over Prayer List Refusal

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A woman who practices a religion rooted in witchcraft is suing county officials for refusing to add her name to a list of clergy invited to open board meetings with prayer.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Cynthia Simpson, a Wiccan.

The lawsuit claims the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors board discriminated agains Simpson based on her religion by inviting Christian clergy to deliver invocations while refusing to allow her to do so.

"The county's treatment of Ms. Simpson amounts to the marking of Wicca with an official badge of dishonor," the lawsuit says. "It represents nothing less than overt, official governmental disapproval of a religious tradition."

"The county supervisors shouldn't be sponsoring prayers at all, but when they do, they certainly can't play favorites," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United.

Chesterfield County Administrator Lane Ramsey said the board can invite whomever it wishes to give the invocation.

"We feel confident the position the Board of Supervisors has taken is a defensible position," he said.

According to the lawsuit, the county board routinely opens meetings with an invocation by guest clergy. Simpson asked the board to add her name to the list of volunteers for that duty earlier this year.

County Attorney Steven L. Micas sent Simpson a letter denying her request. He wrote that the invocations "are traditionally made to a divinity that is consistent with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Based upon our review of Wicca, it is neo-pagan and involves polytheistic, pre-Christian deities."

The lawsuit said county supervisors ridiculed Simpson and her faith.

Wiccan is a religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Wiccans consider themselves witches, pagans, and neo-pagans.

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