Posted on July 11 2017
Something magickal happened this year in the Iowa House of Representatives, and it’s a ground breaking change that, for some, marks the beginning of the end of Wicca’s fight for recognition as a mainstream religion. On the 9th of April of this year, a Wiccan priest was invited to come give the opening prayer for the meeting of Iowa’s House of Representatives.
Deborah Maynard was selected to perform the honors, and she stands as the first Wiccan to ever be invited to open the session for a meeting of the House. The move wasn’t met without some concerns from other representatives, but Maynard respected her opportunity by keeping her opening free of political statements or attacks on members of other faiths.
Modern Wiccans have been part of our communities for nearly a hundred years, and their predecessors for countless generations before that. For those with a critical eye, Paganism has many elements in common with other more mainstream religions. This is due, in no small part, to the synchronization of Pagan beliefs into other faiths, most clearly Catholicism.
Throughout the years there have been increasing visibility for Wiccans and other practicioners of non-mainstream faiths. Public rituals performed in community parks, outspoken representation in local schools, and active participation in fighting for the rights of people from every walk of life have marked the rise of their visibility.
One of the places that their participation in community concerns can be seen surrounds events like Earth Day. Given the sacred nature of the planet to the Wiccan faith they take an active interest in preserving wild areas and the flora and fauna that live there. Often, they can be seen volunteering for organizations that tend to local trails, and have even been known to participate in programs like “Adopt A Highway”, dedicated to keeping the highways and bi-ways of the world clear from litter.
While this may represent the first time that a Wiccan has opened an official meeting of the government with prayer, it certainly isn’t the first time their efforts have been noticed by local authorities. They’re a welcome sight at disaster relief programs, and often are one of the first to jump in and aid their neighbors when nature unleashes her fury. Additionally, they often work closely with park programs to help remove invasive species like English Ivy that can take over and damage the woods.
So whether you’re a practicing Pagan or Wiccan, or have loved ones or neighbors in your life that are, rest assured that the world is slowly becoming a safer place for them. Even more telling is the presence of Pagans in government offices throughout the world, with Deirdre Wadding becoming the first Pagan to become part of the Irish government. Who knows, with the passage of enough time, we may even see a pagan president, wouldn’t that be a day for celebration?