For immediate release:
Wiccan Pentacle Wreath Vandalized, but Yuletide Celebrations Continue
The Wiccan pentacle wreath next to the nativity scene above City Hall
in Green Bay, Wisconsin was removed and damaged by a vandal shortly
before 1 am today, Monday, December 17.
"What a way to begin Solstice week!" said Rev. Selena Fox of Circle
Sanctuary upon learning the news about the vandalism. Representing
Circle Santuary, Rev. Fox and Assistant Minister Robert Paxton
contributed the Pagan Yuletide wreath with pentacle last week to the
public holidays display above the entrance to the City Hall building
in Green Bay , Wisconsin .
"Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, has been celebrated by peoples
of many cultures and religions since ancient times, and we are among
the thousands of Pagans today around the world who continue to
celebrate it," Fox continued. "Winter Solstice is a sacred time of
religious observances for us, not just the official start of Winter."
"Yuletide is about connecting with family, friends, and community in
the spirit of peace, love, and joy. These spiritual values will
continue to be part of our Winter Solstice celebrations this year
despite the disrespectful actions of the Grinch who tried to steal
Solstice," says Fox.
Circle Sanctuary is celebrating Winter Solstice with a series of
events this week, including a talk and open house tomorrow night at
church headquarters near Barneveld, a multicultural and interfaith
Winter Solstice Pageant at the First Unitarian Meeting House in
Madison on Friday night, and a Community Yule Festival on Saturday.
More information about Circle Sanctuary's Winter Solstice events are
on-line: http://www.circlesa nctuary.org
Shortly before 1 am today, Monday, December 17, Green Bay police
received a report about the vandalism. Circle Sanctuary's Yuletide
pentacle wreath was found, damaged, in the bushes near where the
nativity scene still stands. The nativity scene, purchased and
placed at the building last week by the City Council President, was
not removed or damaged by the vandal, who left his ladder at the
scene of his crime. Both ladder and pentacle wreath are presently in
police custody, and the police are continuing their investigation.
"Circle Sanctuary contributed the pentacle wreath to the display at
Green Bay City Hall for several reasons," according to Fox. "First
of all, we contributed the pentacle wreath to celebrate Yuletide. We
wanted a symbol of Winter Solstice represented in this public display
in addition to the nativity scene representing Christmas since both
religious holidays are celebrated at this time of year."
Fox adds: "The opportunity to contribute to the public display
occurred during Wisconsin 's Interfaith Awareness Week. Circle
Sanctuary viewed our contribution of the pentacle wreath as an
additional way of participating in this annual celebration of
Wisconsin 's religious diversity. Furthermore, since the Mayor
publicly announced that the display was open to symbols of other
faiths, we thought that it was important to take him up on this
invitation and begin the process of having this public display on a
government property be interfaith."
Fox continues: "If there are to be religious emblems in the public
square, this means this opportunity must be open to many religions,
not any particular one – in other words: "Many, if Any."
Fox has been involved in interfaith work and religious freedom
activism for more than forty years. Her own ancestry reflects some
of America 's religious diversity. In addition to having Native
American ancestry, she is descended from Anabaptists, Roman
Catholics, Quakers, and others who settled America in the 17th and
18th centuries to escape religious persecution in Europe .
" America has been religiously pluralistic since its earliest
beginnings. In addition to the religions of Native American peoples,
there has long been a wide variety of Christian denominations and
other faiths in this land. The founders of our nation wisely put
religious freedom and separation of church and state as cornerstones
of the United States of America . It is important that we uphold
philosophical and religious freedom for all in this country."
Although Fox and Paxton are disappointed that Circle Sanctuary's
pentacle wreath was removed and damaged, they have already been in
touch with the City Attorney and other staff in Mayor's office
today. They have requested that the pentacle wreath, or a
replacement which they are willing to provide, be returned to its
place next to the nativity scene. In addition, Fox and Paxton plan
to contribute a Circle SanctuaryYuletide pentacle wreath next year
and in future years if the Green Bay City Council decides to have
this public holidays display at City Hall in the future. The City
Council meetings tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 18, to discuss the
future of the display.
More information see: http://www.circlesa nctuary.org/ gbpentacle
Green Bay Press Gazette - Monday, December 17
http://www.greenbay pressgazette. com/apps/ pbcs.dll/ article?
AID=/20071217/ GPG0101/71217010 /1207
For more information, contact:
Rev. Selena Fox