Friday, June 19, 2009

Is this discrimination?

Jason over at the Wild Hunt has a post about a group of British Wiccans who tried to book a Catholic social club.

They didn't know it was a Catholic social club when they tried to book it, and they were completely honest that the booking was for a group of witches (the event was called the Witches' Ball). The man who initially took the booking said that the social club was a business and only tenuously attached to the Catholic Church. He was then overruled by the diocesan authorities.

The comments on the article in the Stockport Express explain what went on:
When I called to book the venue which had been recommended and which I had used many times I new it as The Flint Street Social Club, I never knew it was run or attached to the Catholic church and when the Gentleman, who was very nice by the way, answered with Our Lady's I then told him who I was, what we wanted and who were were, totally up front and said that I did not want to compromise them in any way. he assured me that this was a totally separate Buisness venture and that anyone could book the room and then 'do what we want in it' . I would not have continued with the booking had he said any different. I required a room large enough to take in excess of 150 people plus a stage where the nights entertainment Abba Fusion an Abba Tribute Duo could perform in complete safety with all there stage equipment.

The Witch's Ball is a family event with dancing, games etc just like any other party. The difference being that some of us Walk the well worn path of The Old Ways, ordinary people, with ordinary lives.

It is such a shame that all religions cannot accept each others ways as we respect every other religion.

The man who had to also tell me that we couldnt have the room was very apologetic and said embarrased at having to tell me they wouldnt let us have the venue.
I guess they have a right to veto certain events (like arms' dealers conferences, BNP meetings and the like) but it's not as if the Wiccans were planning anything other than a family party at the venue.

I hope that dialogue rather than litigation will be the result of this, but I think, as another commenter points out, it's quite likely that other events at Catholic-owned properties could include Wiccans, Muslims, lesbians, gays and so on. So the line should be drawn at what is illegal (i.e. hate speech) not what the Catholic Church considers immoral. That is the rule that applies to discrimination against LGBT people wanting to book Christian facilities, so the same should apply here.

Is this discrimination? Yes, I think it is.

1 comment:

Yvonne Rathbone said...

The comment by Reverend Joyce is very telling. We (Pagans, Witches) do not share the same ethos. What ethos does he think we don't share that would make it okay to treat someone so shabbily? I suppose this is an improvement. People used to kill each other over differences of opinion regarding the transcendent versus immanent nature of divinity. Now we are merely renegging on verbal agreements.