Throwing Pagans From The Green Train?

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 1, 2008 — 5 Comments

Did restaurateur Bob Wolf, co-founder of the eco-awareness organization The Green Train, fire a volunteer for being a Pagan? That is the accusation being made over at The Nashville Scene’s blog.

“Nashville’s Green Train, an eco-educational non-profit run by Merle Haggard and restaurateur Bob Wolf, had a witch in its ranks until recently. Or, to be more precise, a pagan. Not the kind historically drawn and quartered or burned at the stake, but rather the contemporary tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, vegan variety. That was until Wolf charged this Wiccan ordained minister, Susan Hunter, with creating Green Train’s MySpace page. The personal networking catastrophe that followed– replete with online earthy salutations and pentagrams–saw Hunter canned in spectacular fashion back in mid-September. She’s crying discriminatory foul.”

Apparently Hunter, after creating the organization’s MySpace page, did what almost all MySpacers do, invite people she knew to “friend” the organization. Anyone familiar with the ways of MySpace can guess what happened next.

“Hunter sent out “friend invitations” to 40 of her friends who also happened to be earth-loving hippies and pagans of various stripes. When the messages started flowing in—“Blessed be” or “Faerie blessings,” usually accompanied by a pentagram and pictures of ivory-skinned ladies identifying themselves exotically as Asterope Morgaine and Feryia—Hunter says Wolf blew a gasket, ordering that all pentagrams be deleted. She says she deleted the Christian symbols too, out of spite before being summarily dismissed.”

So is telling a Pagan volunteer to delete only Pagan symbols, and then firing her when she deletes all the religious symbols, discriminatory behavior? Susan Hunter seems to think so.

“‘It’s my opinion that I was fired for religious reasons,’ she said. Wolf claims Hunter was just a volunteer. But perhaps the most stinging accusation hurled by Hunter was this: ‘The guy doesn’t even recycle.’”

Wolf insists this is much ado over nothing, and that Hunter “got her feelings hurt” and is now “witch-hunting” him in retaliation. Wolf says he has nothing against Pagans, and even attended a Pagan Pride Day festival and bought Hunter a book.

“This is a witch hunt by somebody who got her feelings hurt,” Wolf said, though the old cliché would seem to be reversed here. “I don’t have a problem with people’s opinions. I even went to a pagan day festival; we bought her a pagan bible.”

So, discrimination or misunderstanding? Something tells me that lawyers will soon be hired to figure it out.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • brock-tn

    Ms Hunter likely dosn’t have much recourse. Tennessee is an “employment-at-will” state, and an employer there can terminate an employee at any time and for any reason without penalty. Unless she can show that her religion was the primary reason for her termination, she’s going to be out of luck.And because her employer was a private entity, the employer is under no requirement to be equal in its treatment of religion on its website.

  • Mama Gaea

    I hope they do work things out. Kicking off the tour in Portland, this area is commonly considered the “pagan Mecca”. Boy would they have problems around here having a “green” train that discriminates against pagans? Not good.

  • barbar

    that’s the reason why i haven’t come out as a pagan to my employers. much like tennessee, texas is an at-will state. in the end, it’s sad it ended up like that. the situation could have been resolved differently.personally, they shouldn’t have started a myspace in the first place. it’s rather unprofessional and there’s a ton of other ways to network. that very well could have been the problem in the first place.

  • Candace

    I find it curious that he “even” went to a Pagan pride meeting. So what? Wouldn’t attending a Pagan pride meeting just be good PR for someone in the Green business since most Pagans are sympathetic to the movement? And if, as she says, he doesn’t recycle, then my hypocrite meter is kind of going off here. He attends one Pagan pride meeting and suddenly he should be beloved by all Pagans for his selfless dedication to Paganism and the green movement and her allegations are just that? No, I think not. Here is a classic example of the animal known by most as the politician, or politicus hypocritus, not to be confused with the politicus liarliarpantsonfiricus.

  • http://www.greentrain.com Go Green

    nhn