Pagan News and Views Since 1998

Huge News: California Prisons Don't Have to Subsidize Wicca

Here is the Court Case:

Here you can download court decision as PDF:

California Prisons Don't Have to Subsidize Wicca

(CN) - The 9th Circuit on Wednesday rejected a Wiccan chaplain's claims that the California prison system should add a celebrant of Wicca and other pagan or nature-based religions to its paid chaplaincy program.
Without reflecting on the merits of the Wiccan religion, the federal appeals court in San Francisco dashed Patrick McCollum's First Amendment, free-exercise and equal-protection claims against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Rather the court concluded that the volunteer chaplain lacked standing because he "attempts to transform his employment discrimination action into an effort to vindicate the inmates' First Amendment rights."
The paid-chaplaincy program has evolved in California's prison system since the 1930s, and today it employs clergy of the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Native American faiths.
According to 2002 estimates, there are approximately 598 inmates in the system who identify themselves as Wiccan, a term that the ruling says includes "faith groups consisting of Wiccans, Goddess worshipers, Neo-Pagans, Pagans, Norse Pagans (and any other ethnic designation), Earth Religionists, Old Religionists, Druids, Shamans, Asatrus, and those practicing in the Faery, Celtics, Khemetic, Gardnerian, Church of All Worlds, Reclaiming, Dianic, Alexandrian, Iseum of Isis, Reconstructionist, Odinist or Yoruban Traditions, and other similar nature-based faiths." (Parenthesis in original.)
In 2006, McCollum and a group of seven inmates sued the CDCR, arguing that its failure to include a Wiccan chaplain in its paid-chaplaincy program was discriminatory in that it denied them access to worship spaces, sacred items and free worship. Finding that the inmates' claims were both time-barred and unexhausted, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer granted summary judgment to the agency. Breyer also ruled that McCollum lacked standing to bring such a third-party action in asserting, essentially, that the agency's failure to hire him violated the prisoners' rights.
The three-judge appeals panel agreed with the lower court on all points and ruled unanimously to affirm.
"McCollum challenges the deliberative process, or in his view the alleged lack of process, through which prison officials have thus far measured inmates' needs and accommodated inmates' free exercise rights," Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote for the panel. "His claim, at bottom, asserts not his own rights, but those of third-party inmates."
Since inmates can file their own claims against the program's merits and the lack of a Wiccan minister, McCollum cannot do so for them. Thus, McCollum failed to show one of the essential requirements for third-party standing, the panel ruled.
"Like the district court, we note that prisoners have challenged the program in this very lawsuit and in at least one similar suit," McKeown wrote. "Although the inmates' claims here were dismissed primarily for failure to exhaust, presumably they would have the opportunity to bring similar claims in the future if they comply with procedural requirements. It is the inmates, not McCollum, who have standing to pursue the primary claim he articulated, namely, that the chaplaincy policy 'has the pernicious effect of depriving inmates of other religious accommodations . . . that are afforded to ... inmates [of the five faiths].'"
McCollum also failed to meet the criteria for taxpayer standing, the panel found, as he "does not challenge the expenditure of government funds to provide paid chaplaincies nor even the existence of denomination-specific paid chaplaincies-he challenges only the current allocation of chaplaincies among religious denominations and the procedure for determining such allocations."

Views: 368

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

There were gangs before drugs. I assure you, if you want everything legalized, so be it. Then when some crackheads move in next door and bludgeon/shoot/beat your family to death for the 35.67 that you got in your wallet, oh well, nothing anybody can do about it.
What? They do need clergy. Not everyone is capable of "being their own teachers." I forgot where I was going with this train of thought. Heathens always had their own priest/ess stuff going on. Read history. Learn history. Ok now I remember. Some trads insist there be teachers! The Brit trads, for example. Not every group is fluffy-bunny and white light forever kinda folks. (the white-lighters scare me, in their world everything lives forever as they cannot and will not even harm bacteria...blargh)
I know how they feel I have been in a Texas juvenile facility and have received no type of service so i am still unexperienced with anything wiccan related.
I cannot believe this is coming around again , suck it up! I have been clergy for more then 20 years , most of what I do is given freely , weather its the blessing of a child , or that of a house or family, or that of a farmers fields , I expect nothing as my God will so freely gives . I think this is the way its suppose to be. We are not the mundane religions cashing in on there God . So can we please move on, poor poor baby, he did not get his way. You want religion ? stay out of jail! you want freedoms that the common man has, then live a up right life. And if you were God minded in the first place you would not be in there anyways.
well i was a young stupid boy when i was younger and right now I am trying to fix my Problems. You speak out of anger I didnt have religion then but you know what I have found something that feels right to me, so open your eyes people can change I wasn't crying I was making a statement. you are right though I wouldn't be have been there if I had been God minded. I would be a brain washed fool believing that if I did not do right that i would burn forever.
if your in there, then you are burning , a manner of speaking . Love thy God, with all thy heart and with thy soul and you will never be lead astray .
post took a turn , and it's not about any of us ,you ,me , or your friend , its about a man that applied for a job and lost , so now he cries boowho , its not about parents who turn there kids over to the systems because there to busy and would rather others do there job for them and this is happening all the time, I see it first hand, as my family is part of law inforcement. A world gone mad.
Agreed Fantum. Too many whiny-assed people out there in the world that think the world owes them, nay..that they are ENTITLED to do whatever they want. :/
Thank you , some where this world took a wrong turn. and I dont think it will ever be the same.
my replies:L

1: i am not clueless and find your comment offensive. too much "lets all be free" crap has gotten this country into a hellhole that its not going to easily get out of. 2: it is what it is, if there was no demand for drugs nobody would want them. 3: some of the jails are actually better than the public sector ones. 4: you are absolutely right on this one.
Agreed again.
They just want this so they can feel like they are as important as those 'other' religions. They are probably MORE important but to have the validation in the eyes of the common people (the citizens of this country) might be even more apparent ...


© 2021   Created by The Daily Spell.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service