Pentacle Wreath and Religious Freedom

IMG 3177-smallPentacle Wreath on City Hall in Green Bay, Wisconsin: Religious Symbols in the Public Square: Many, if Any

"If there are to be holidays displays with religious symbols on public buildings and property, those displays need to accommodate America's religious pluralism. I sum this up as: Many, if Any, " said Rev. Selena Fox, Senior Minister of Circle Sanctuary, one of America's oldest and largest Wiccan churches, which is based near Barneveld, Wisconsin.

On Friday, December 14, 2007, Circle Sanctuary contributed a Pagan Yuletide wreath with Wiccan pentacle to the City Hall holidays display in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

"We contributed the pentacle wreath to the public display for several reasons" says Fox. "First of all, we wanted Yuletide represented since this also being celebrated at this time of year. We also contributed it as part of our participation in Interfaith Awareness Week. Furthermore, since the Mayor of Green Bay invited those of other faiths to contribute symbols, we contributed it so that the process of having this holidays display be interfaith could begin."

IMG 3250-smallThe pentacle wreath was torn down by an unknown vandal early in the morning on Monday, December 17th. Circle offered to provide a replacement wreath, and was asked to wait for the decision of the full City Council the following day. At the December 18 City Council meeting, the Council split 6-6 on a vote to leave the Nativity alone up until December 26, then send the matter to a committee to draft better guidelines for the future. Mayor Jim Schmitt then voted to approve that plan, and a slightly altered display stayed up until December 26th.

On Tuesday, December 26, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and 14 Green Bay residents (none connected with Circle Sanctuary) filed suit in Federal court.

Circle Press Releases:

December 17 Press Release: Wiccan Pentacle Wreath Vandalized, but Yuletide Celebrations Continue

December 14, 2007 Circle Sanctuary Press Release

Other Organizations' Press Releases:

December 20, 2007 - Americans United for Separation of Church and State Press Release: Continued Display Of Nativity Scene Is Unconstitutional, Americans United Tells Green Bay Officials

News Coverage:

Green Bay Press-Gazette:

12/13: Blessed Mess? Green Bay nativity scene polarizes public

12/15: Wiccan Star Shines over Green Bay City Hall Manager Scene
12/16: Festivus pole to join Green Bay nativity scene?
12/17: Green Bay mayor: No more holiday displays for time being
12/18: Green Bay mayor declares moratorium on holiday displays
12/19: Green Bay council says nativity can stay; the rest must wait
12/20: Editorial: Nativity decision violates Constitution
12/20: Lawsuit pending over Green Bay nativity scene
12/20: Public packed Green Bay City Council meeting on nativity scene
12/21: Green Bay mayor asked to take down the Nativity
12/24: Nativity controversy's effect on community still being weighed
12/25: Group filing lawsuit over Green Bay nativity scene
12/27: Downtown nativity gone, not forgotten
12/27: EDITORIAL: Leaders offered city as political football
12/29: Group to file for dismissal of lawsuit in nativity flap

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison):

12/21: Say it again, Symbols should stay in church

WBAY - ABC 2 (Green Bay):

12/16: Addition to City Hall Display

12/20: Do Green Bay City Leaders have Nativity Displays at Their Homes?
12/21: Mayor Responds to Request to Remove Nativity and Threat of Lawsuit

WFRV - CBS 5 (Green Bay):

12/16: Wiccan Symbol Added to City Hall Roof Display

12/18: Wiccan Wreath Vandalized at City Hall
12/19: Northeast Wisconsin Nativity Scenes to Stay Up

WLUK - FOX 11 (Green Bay):

12/16: More Religious Symbols to Join Nativity Scene at City Hall

12/19: Nativity Will Stay Up at Green Bay City Hall
12/19: Next Step in Green Bay Nativity Debate

National Public Radio:

12/19: Green Bay Votes to Keep City Hall Nativity

12/17: Wiccan Pentacle Wreath Vandalized Beside Nativity in Wisconsin

12/20: Pentacle Wreath No Longer Welcome in Green Bay but Nativity Stays
12/20: Watchdog Group Urges Removal of Nativity from Green Bay City Hall

The Carpetbagger Report:

12/22: Up on the rooftop is a constitutional violation

Pagan Wreath Added to Christmas Display
Saturday, December 15, 2007
United Press International