Remember my post the other day when I said Pagans should take advantage of public Nativity display clauses allowing for other religions to “add their symbols”?
“The city of Menominee is trying to legally protect itself by having a provision stating that “non-Christians be allowed to add their symbols”. I can only hope that this means an enterprising Pagan group or two are getting public displays ready to sit next to the nativity scene. What about a baby Mithras? A mini-temple to Saturn? How about a Yule Goat? Lets get creative here!”
Well it looks like some Pagans in Olean, New York (near Buffalo) have decided to test the waters and do exactly that.
“The Nativity scene outside a municipal building near Buffalo could soon be sharing space with a Wiccan pentacle. Olean Mayor David Carucci has given a local resident permission to set up a pentacle next to the Nativity scene outside the Olean Municipal Building.”
Carucci’s decision to allow a Pentacle display comes shortly after facing criticism from local Jewish groups for setting up a Christian symbol on municipal property. At the time he made the promise often made after a controversial religious display is placed on public property:
“Mayor Carucci, who is Christian, said any other religious group is also welcome to put a display outside the City Building. He said he decided to allow the Nativity, which depicts the birth of Jesus Christ, after a group of private individuals asked him for permission to put it up.”
So now Carucci’s convictions will be put to the test, and a holiday-themed Pentacle symbol will be placed next to the Nativity. One wonders how passerby will know it is Pagan, since Christmas stars are often portrayed as five-pointed. Will there be other elements? Maybe they should have gone with the giant Yule goat instead. But since this is a Wiccan display it leaves openings for Asatru and other Pagan faiths to stake out a piece of municipal land as well. Lets see a plethora of (Pagan) holiday religious displays!
UPDATE: The Wiccan who got permission to erect the holiday Pentacle display is backing down from doing so, due to fear of litigation.
“Despite getting the mayor’s permission to place a pentacle at Olean’s City Hall, April Garlow said she won’t erect the Wiccan symbol. Garlow made the request after being outraged that the mayor allowed a group to place a nativity scene, a Christian symbol, on the municipal building’s lawn … Garlow has said she will not place her Wiccan symbol at the building because of the possibility of lawsuits from outside organizations. Carucci said the offer remains for her and anyone else wishing to display their religious symbols.”
She does realize that any litigation would most likely be aimed at the City right? This is disappointing, I want my Pagan Winter Festival display! Come on Olean Pagans, step up!