Just As I Thought

Love thy neighbor

That’s one of the tenets of a good, god-loving Christian, right?
How about this:

If you ask politely, Darla Kaye Wynne will acknowledge that she is indeed a Wiccan, which is to say, a Witch — but a Witch in the same uppercase way that Muslims are Islamic and Baptists are Christians. Her religious beliefs are rooted in pagan rites that antedate Christianity by a thousand years. Sad to say, some good Christians in Chester County have treated her in a most un-Christian way.

… The story begins in 1997, when Wynne moved from the cold climes of Alaska to the warmer fields of South Carolina. She was single, aged 33. She found employment as a home-care aide and driver for Alzheimer’s patients. With her parrot, her Yorkshire terrier and two pet raccoons, she settled in Great Falls (pop. 2,194), some 40 miles north of Columbia. Largely out of curiosity, she began attending monthly meetings of the town council. Usually fewer than a dozen citizens showed up.

The meetings always opened with prayer. Everyone would stand and bow his head. Typically, one of the councilmen would ask “our heavenly Father” to guide them to beneficial decisions. “In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.”

Wynne tried to show respect, but she grew increasingly uncomfortable. She asked Mayor Henry Clayton Starnes for a nonsectarian invocation. He refused. She suggested a rotation of local ministers. No way.

Once she stayed outside the council’s meeting room until the prayer ended. She was told she had waived her scheduled opportunity to speak. A councilman asked for a public hearing on her protests and her proposed alternatives. A hundred townspeople turned out to support the status quo. Several Christian ministers filed statements defending the council’s policy. Cries were heard of “Hallelujah!” The mayor told Wynne: “This is the way we’ve always done things, and we’re not going to change.”

Finally she brought suit in U.S. District Court, not for money damages, but for an injunction against patently sectarian invocations. Backed by the American Jewish Congress and the American Civil Liberties Union, she won. The town appealed to the 4th Circuit. She won again. Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz spoke for a three-judge panel in ruling that the council’s invocations clearly advanced one faith in preference to others.

… While Great Falls chews on its defeat, the plaintiff Wynne seeks surcease. Her home has been vandalized nine times. Hoodlums have killed her cat and hanged its gutted body. Someone put sand in the gas tank of her truck. Townspeople have ostracized her. Even so, she comes across over the telephone as the most cheerful Witch I ever met. My acquaintance is limited, to be sure, but in this one I stand on the lady’s side.

I’m sure their terrorist tactics of intimidation are something Jesus would approve of. Typical fundamentalist bullshit, people who can’t understand the simplest real fundamental core of Christianity and the message of Jesus Christ: love for the world, love for your fellow man.

2 comments

  • That poor brave woman. They killed her pet cat! I’d be devastated. And what sick, cruel people they are. Makes me wish there was an afterlife, because surely they’d be burning in hell.

  • Fundamentalist bullshit is right, Gene. I for one can’t stand it. They can go ahead and proclaim that God is one of love and we should love our neighbors, even our enemies. And then proceed to act like this? Can we say hypocrisy?

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