Wiccan Pentacle Wreath Vandalized, but Yuletide Celebrations Continue

IMG 3177-smallWiccan Pentacle Wreath Vandalized,
but Yuletide Celebrations Continue

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. Last wee, 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.circlesanctuary.org

IMG 3250-smallShortly 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 their pentacle wreath, or a replacement which they are willing to provide, be returned to the display area. In addition, Fox and Paxton plan to contribute a Circle Sanctuary Yuletide 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 meets tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 18, to discuss the future of the display.

Green Bay Press Gazette - Monday, December 17
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071217/GPG0101/71217010/1207

For more information, contact:
Rev. Selena Fox
Circle Sanctuary
Phone: (608) 924-2216
Email: liberty@circlesanctuary.org
Postal Address: Box 9, Barneveld, WI 53507
Website: www.circlesanctuary.org

Circle Sanctuary Press Release
Monday, December 17, 2007