Remember how I said a couple days ago that the entire process that led to South Carolina’s “I Believe” license plates being ruled unconstitutional was haunted by Pagans? It turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks so. South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, who is currently running to become the state’s next governor, released a video two days after the license plate ruling to decry the imagined assaults on “freedom of religion” in his state stemming from the Great Falls Darla Wynne case.
“In Great Falls, we had a Wiccan witch, a Wiccan high priestess, who brought a lawsuit…the ACLU brought a lawsuit for her because they were opening the meeting at Great Falls – the Town Council – with a prayer, which typically included Jesus, a prayer to Jesus. And they said that was unconstitutional,” McMaster says in the video. “So, we got involved in the case. And we told them that we would fight for them,” says McMaster. “As I have said, under the Constitution, you are allowed to pray the way you want to pray. If you want to pray to Jesus, which of course many people do, then that’s the way that you ought to be allowed to pray.”
McMaster then offers to defend anyone in the state who is “on the receiving end on an ACLU lawsuit”. That this invoking of uppity Wiccans to win votes is tied to the recent “I Believe” ruling is pretty apparent. McMaster was reportedly “utterly disappointed” at the ruling, and was well-known to be an ardent supporter of the license plates, attending pro-plate rallies that featured a greatest-hits reel from Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”. But for all his bleating on the subject, there is little, legally, he can do at the moment. His current role as Attorney General prevents him from appealing the case, so no doubt his message that he’ll “support” and “defend” anyone in a lawsuit most likely means that he’s looking for someone to get litigious regarding the plates, or public sectarian prayer, so he can get in their corner (and win votes).
What’s troubling is that we don’t know what this will do to Darla Wynne, or other Pagans living in South Carolina. If “Wiccan witches” are being lumped in with the ACLU (one of the great Satans of conservative Christianity), how long will it be before people start blaming us for the perceived slights against their “religious freedom”? Is McMaster invoking something he can’t ultimately control, something that may end up harming the lives of innocent Pagans, just to win an election? I’d hate to think that such a man may soon be governing the entire state, a state that includes many modern Pagans (and several other religious minorities) who are just as concerned about their own religious freedom and safety as any Christian.