Friday, August 17, 2007

Somehow, I Don't Think This Ritual Succeeded

A Wisconsin woman arrested by police for disorderly conduct claims that her religious freedoms were violated because she is a Wiccan and was performing a ritual. She had built a bonfire in her back yard approximately ten feet from her home. Waukesha police captain Mike Babe further described the situation thus:

Neighbors called police shortly after midnight Tuesday and, after an officer arrived, he heard the woman yelling in the backyard and found her wearing headphones, a T-shirt and underwear.

Note the complete absence of robes, implements, or any other magical tools. As for the bonfire, in it the woman was burning rubber car mats and a cooler, which probably are an acceptable sacrifice to deity in some twisted alternate universe. She was supposedly "chanting," though from the description of the scene I suspect that it sounded more like incoherent yelling. Like maybe a bad attempt to sing along with whatever was playing in her headphones?

After all that, I suppose I don't even need to add that the woman's breath smelled of alcohol.

Woman faces charges after yelling chants

As I see it, this is an obvious attempt to game the system and bring religion into a situation in which it has no place. Normally Wiccans either wear robes or go skyclad - I have yet to come across a coven that operates in t-shirts and underwear. They don't burn coolers and car mats in their ceremonial fires - if nothing else, the toxins created by such a fire are pretty inimical to the pro-environment views held by most Wiccans.

In my opinion this is a person who got drunk, put on some music, and decided to yell and burn stuff in the back yard. Then, when she got in trouble for it, she decided to give respectable Wiccans a bad name by associating her behavior with their beliefs. On the other hand, perhaps I just have not been initiated into the sacred esoteric mysteries of burning rubber and plastic.

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