Beltane gets really creepy when you’re in prisonApril 9, 2010
Avonia the Wiccan Pimp brought this latest story in the fight for pagan equality to my attention. Strangely, the setting for this battle is the prison system. From The Wild Hunt, it’s about a Wiccan chaplain in California who “has been fighting for years to overturn the State of California’s “five faiths policy”, which limits the hiring of paid chaplains to Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American adherents.”
“When did Wicca get chaplains?” I say to Avonia. “You’ve never said anything about Wicca having chaplains.”
“It’s sort of new to me too,” says Avonia. “I guess we have chaplains when we want to administer the faith to our Wiccan brothers and sisters who are in prison.”
“Wiccans behind bars… sounds like one of those late night Skin-a-Max movies,” I say. “Do they consecrate the Circle with a shiv made out of a toothbrush?”
Avonia shrugs. Even though she’s been a pimp for years, she does not have first-hand knowledge of prison life. That’s how good she is at pimping. And admittedly my knowledge of prison is limited to the Shawshank Redemption, the first three movies of the Japanese sexploitation franchise Female Convict Scorpion, and a few episodes of Oz I happened to catch.
Back to the story in question, this quote from the Wiccan chaplain in question, Patrick McCollum, caught my eye…
“In one of their first arguments to the court, the defendants said that certain “traditional” faiths are first tier faiths and that those faiths were meant to have equal rights and protections under the United States Constitution, but that all of the other faiths were second tier faiths, and were not meant to have the same equal rights and protections under the United States Constitution as the first tier faiths.”
“I didn’t know religious rights in this country operated like satellite television,” I say. “Like there’s the basic package, but for forty bucks more you can get the Gold Tier Package which includes 70 more channels and free HBO. Except in this case, the Gold Tier gets you basic Constitutional rights.”
“I’m surprised Wicca made it to the second tier,” says Avonia. “Then again, there might only be two tiers.”
“Or three tiers and atheists are all alone on that third tier because no one likes us,” I say.
“One odd thing about that tier system, Mormons are included in this second tier instead of being lumped into the Protestant category,” says Avonia.
“Looks like some flavors of Jesus are considered better than others,” I say. “Though that’s probably of little comfort to Hinduism. They’re the third largest religion in the world and they get lumped into the same tier with a faith created by some 19th century guy with gold plates in a hat that no one else got to see. That’s gotta sting.”
“I wouldn’t mind having a job as a Wiccan chaplain,” says Avonia. “The benefits are probably pretty good. I could dial back the pimping.”
“No, you need to keep pimping to maintain your street cred,” I say. “Otherwise no one’s going to respect you in the slammer. Also, beat someone up your first day in. Put everyone on notice that you’re not to be fucked with.”
“I’m not going to prison, I’d just be the Wiccan chaplain at a prison,” says Avonia.
“It never hurts to be prepared,” I say. “Now let’s go learn how to slit a man’s throat with a coin.”
Avonia respectfully declines, but with some more prodding I can get her to be the baddest motherfucker on the cell block.