Wiccan Blessings in Iowa House of Representatives

“We call this morning to god, goddess, universe, that which is greater than ourselves, to be with us here today.”  – The prayer’s opening

The Washington Post reported on April 10, 2015 that a ‘Wiccan Witch’ provided the opening blessing at the Iowa House of Representatives.  Deborah Maynard, a Unitarian Universalist and Cabot Wiccan took slightly more than a minute to deliver the prayer.

While many, myself included, will see this as a great advance in the government of a nation which celebrates freedom of religion, it did not come without some disappointment.  Rep. Rob Taylor (R) turned his back in clear demonstration of intolerance.  As many as half of the other lawmakers arrived late in an apparent effort to show their ill favor.

“Jesus would be in the chamber, from my perspective.” – Rep. Rob Taylor (R)

I can only assume that representative Taylor’s vie w of Jesus Christ is that he was a lacking in respect for other religions.  In contrast, Maynard later told reporters that her tradition insists on respect for all religions.

“In the Unitarian Universalist tradition, we are open to all faiths and so I wanted to show that respect to humanists, to Buddhists, to Muslims, to Christians, to Jews — to all faiths.” – Liz Maynard as reported by Radio Iowa.

“Rep. Liz Bennett (D) said she invited Maynard in an effort to show that Iowans are diverse and inclusive.” – From the Washington Post

It seems clear that not all law makers in Iowa value diversity or common respect for the views of others.  While this is to be expected, learning that a full fifty percent arrived late to avoid the blessing was disappointing indeed.  Previous blessings were offered by Rabbis, Imams, and other leaders of other minority religions without the clear signs of intolerance.  But for one reason or another, the bigotry of olde continues with respect to certain religions.

“I believe that the occult is dark.” said Pastor Michael Demastus of the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ, who was standing in the balcony praying for Maynard’s salvation.

Indeed the occult is dark.  The words occult and dark are synonymous in a way.  The word occult indicates something that is hidden.  The word dark is sometimes used with similiar meaning.  Think of descriptions like hidden by darkness.  However, there was nothing hidden nor dark about this prayer.  It was given in full view of the public, video recordings made, and interviews with the press given.  Nothing dark, nothing hidden, and nothing occult about it.  So why would Pastor Demastus, presumably an intelligent man, make such a glaringly incorrect statement?

I believe it is because despite the efforts to redefine the word witch in common use, there remains a facade of secrecy.  A facade that perhaps some choose to perpetuate.  So I commend not only Deborah Maynard and Representative Liz Benett, but all who choose to step out of that darkness and share the light of grace with their fellow human beings.

Blessed be and Live Free,

A.J. Drew

Posted on May 2nd, 2015 by A.J. Drew Post ID: 1415

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *