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Wicca's New Rights under the Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 06:18 PM
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A new law was just rushed through the Georgia State Legislature is called the Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Here's the relevant section of the law:



50-15A-2.
43 (a) Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the
44 burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of
45 this Code section.
46 (b) Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it
47 demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is:
48 (1) In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
49 (2) The least restrictive means of achieving that compelling governmental interest.
50 (c) A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this chapter may
51 assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate
52 relief against government.


This is not unlike similar laws passed across the country recently not only attempting to circumvent marriage equality and establishing the preeminence of religious rights over equal rights.

Interestingly, in Georgia, one of the first groups to take advantage of the wide-ranging applications of this law to set up a separate and unequal religious class of citizens ... were Wiccan members of "The Aquarian Tabernacle"

Here' s a link to their manifesto.

... and here's a few of their requirements for changes to current State law based on their new status as a religious superclass:



1: Multi-Partner Wiccan relationships in Georgia (known communally as Polyamorous relationships) will now have legal right to marry. Marriage is a religious institution. A uniting of souls before the almighty. It is also a way to legitimize heirs. Many Wiccans live in multi-partner households, and until now have been unable to realize their religious right to marry the partners they are in love with. Many of these partnerships have children from multiple partners all living under the same roof. SB 129 has now opened the way for those children to all be under family insurance/health plans, as outlined in lines [22-23]. And if lines [34-35] hold true to their intent, then the least restrictive means of enforcing this change, is a simple revision to existing policy.


Wow ... who would have thought that a law designed to legitimize discrimination would actually expand the definition of marriage even further???



2: Wiccans have been, and will always be, a nature based community. Our followers feel an intrinsic connection to the Earth, and the plants and animals that dwell upon it. Historically our followers have been ‘Wortcrafters’ (Using plants in our practice and healing), ‘Wise Women’, ‘Sage Men’, and ‘Witch Doctors’. We have always been ones to learn about the sacred mysteries of plants and animals. Their healing properties, and the use of their parts as ‘fetishes,’ totems, and components is well documented through literature and academic works too numerous to list here. With the passing of GRFRA, the ATC will be informing all Wiccans within the state of GA that there are no longer restrictions on which plants they may grow, own, harvest, ingest, distribute, or refine into compounds that the practitioner finds need to use within their religious practice, so long as no other laws besides substance abuse are broken.


Legalize today! No additional laws needed.



3: Wiccans believe in magick and intent. It is the belief of our people that we do not allow someone to have our hair, saliva, urine, skin, nail clippings, teeth, bones, or any other part, excretion, fluid, growth, or any other possible matter that may come from our bodies. The reason is highly spiritual, and personally held by each person within our faith. To allow someone to have these items, is to allow them to have our essence, or access to our essence. This means that all Wiccans are to be free to choose to be exempt, at the individual’s discretion regarding the sanctity of their essence, with no repercussions from Government bodies [77-83] upon an employer adhering to these inalienable religious rights, from urinalysis, blood tests, hair follicle tests, breathalyzers, tattooing, rfid chipping, or anything else that adds to or removes parts of our essence.


Can you say "unintended consequences"?

So, what do you think ATS? Are the Wiccans within their (new) religious rights?
edit on 18Sun, 15 Mar 2015 18:19:17 -050015p062015366 by Gryphon66 because: Corrected title.




posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 06:44 PM
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I support the right of people to establish poly-amorous relationships. I think that this law giving some legal legitimacy to these types of unions is a positive step forward and about time. This to me is an obvious legal progression that comes from legalizing gay marriage.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:04 PM
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a reply to: Metallicus

Marriage equality as a first step to plural marriage and family corporations (a la the works of Bob Heinlein)?

I hadn't thought of it that way, and, I guess I've been doom-and-glooming it about this law.

I still feel like it's setting up a religious class of citizens that are not subject to the same laws as everyone else, but I'm very willing to listen and learn from other reasonable positions like your statement. Thank you for your comment!



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:10 PM
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Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:20 PM
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originally posted by: nonspecific
Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.


Why does the "age" of a given religion matter? Some adherents of Wicca claim a lineage for their beliefs that extends back to Neolithic times, if not before.

The relationships mentioned are polyamorous, although admittedly, the term polygamy is the legal term (which is flawed to some extent as it refers literally to "multiple wives." Plural marriage seems to be a somewhat better fit.

But, why should these relationships be separated from religion again? You didn't go into any detail in your comment.

One person's "so-called religion" is another person's "cherished and heartfelt beliefs." But even so, no one is claiming a need to have religion make "lifestyle choices" for them, they're merely asking for relief from undue government burdens upon them, under this new Georgia law.

Do you understand the situation differently?



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:25 PM
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originally posted by: Gryphon66

originally posted by: nonspecific
Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.


Why does the "age" of a given religion matter? Some adherents of Wicca claim a lineage for their beliefs that extends back to Neolithic times, if not before.

The relationships mentioned are polyamorous, although admittedly, the term polygamy is the legal term (which is flawed to some extent as it refers literally to "multiple wives." Plural marriage seems to be a somewhat better fit.

But, why should these relationships be separated from religion again? You didn't go into any detail in your comment.

One person's "so-called religion" is another person's "cherished and heartfelt beliefs." But even so, no one is claiming a need to have religion make "lifestyle choices" for them, they're merely asking for relief from undue government burdens upon them, under this new Georgia law.

Do you understand the situation differently?



Yes I understand the difference.

I simply meant to say that to have a mutual multi person social agreement should not need a religious precident. The choice should be available to those who agree regardless of the need for a religious reason.

My mentioning that Wicca is not an old religion is immaterial.

I hope this makes my point clear.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:26 PM
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originally posted by: nonspecific
Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.


I was under the impression that Wicca was @10,000 years old. Cuervo might know better since that is his area of faith.

As for the rest?

Individual rights should be paramount, at least in my humble opinion.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:29 PM
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originally posted by: beezzer

originally posted by: nonspecific
Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.


I was under the impression that Wicca was @10,000 years old. Cuervo might know better since that is his area of faith.

As for the rest?

Individual rights should be paramount, at least in my humble opinion.



Yes I agree that anyone should have the right to chose there lifestlye choice.

As to wicca and it's age I will let others discuss that I know how old it is and I can assure you 10,000 years is not even close.

It is a modern thing.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:30 PM
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a reply to: nonspecific

Much more clear, thanks. I pointed out your point about the age of Wicca mostly because you followed that up with a comment about "so-called" religion.

I'm glad to know you weren't merely attempting to invalidate someone else's religious beliefs!

Thanks again for your clarification.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:34 PM
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originally posted by: Gryphon66
a reply to: nonspecific

Much more clear, thanks. I pointed out your point about the age of Wicca mostly because you followed that up with a comment about "so-called" religion.

I'm glad to know you weren't merely attempting to invalidate someone else's religious beliefs!

Thanks again for your clarification.


Not at all, I was not trying to put Wicca down, many of my friends are Wiccan.

I just meant that regardless of what some may say it was invented in the 1950's and based on a multitude of different myth's, ledgends and other bits and bobs.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:37 PM
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a reply to: Gryphon66

So mote it be, dude. High five on the higher plane. Not to mention that now Georgia Wiccans can dance nude around a fire all they want, in public or not. And don't forget Halloween, when people dressed as witches can be charged with a hate crime if they start mocking them (and no tax on brooms, bells, or candles).



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:38 PM
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originally posted by: nonspecific

originally posted by: beezzer

originally posted by: nonspecific
Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.


I was under the impression that Wicca was @10,000 years old. Cuervo might know better since that is his area of faith.

As for the rest?

Individual rights should be paramount, at least in my humble opinion.



Yes I agree that anyone should have the right to chose there lifestlye choice.

As to wicca and it's age I will let others discuss that I know how old it is and I can assure you 10,000 years is not even close.

It is a modern thing.

You are thinking of the new age Wicca which got it's start in the 1600's. The actual Wicca faith started well before 2000BC and in the time of the Romans they were just labeled as Pagan's. It actually predates Christianity and Judaism.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:39 PM
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originally posted by: buster2010

originally posted by: nonspecific

originally posted by: beezzer

originally posted by: nonspecific
Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.


I was under the impression that Wicca was @10,000 years old. Cuervo might know better since that is his area of faith.

As for the rest?

Individual rights should be paramount, at least in my humble opinion.



Yes I agree that anyone should have the right to chose there lifestlye choice.

As to wicca and it's age I will let others discuss that I know how old it is and I can assure you 10,000 years is not even close.

It is a modern thing.

You are thinking of the new age Wicca which got it's start in the 1600's. The actual Wicca faith started well before 2000BC and in the time of the Romans they were just labeled as Pagan's. It actually predates Christianity and Judaism.


I would love some links to historical info on that if you have it please?



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:53 PM
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a reply to: buster2010

I only ask as I was under the impression that the wiccan tradition started in the 1950's.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:54 PM
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originally posted by: nonspecific
Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.


Christianity is a relatively new religion.

Wicca might be a more modern name ---- but I'd say many of the beliefs predate Christianity.

Just sayin'
edit on 15-3-2015 by Annee because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:57 PM
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originally posted by: Annee

originally posted by: nonspecific
Wicca is a relativley new "religion"

Polygamous relationships should be seperated from so called religious views and left to those involved in my opinion.

Having to use a so called religion to make a lifestlye choice seems desperate.


Christianity is a relatively new religion.

Wicca is a more modern name ---- but I'd say many of the beliefs predate Christianity.

Just sayin'


Yes but it's not wicca is it.

Wicca is a modern system created in the UK in the 1950's, It is a combination of many old folk tales and some very good poetry.

I am not saying anything against it but it is not an old religion, more of a modern new age cult.

Just sayin' does not make it something it is not.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 07:58 PM
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Age of a given religion is irrelevant.

For example, we could reasonably argue in the same manner that Southern Baptists follow a religion that started in 1845.

Southern Baptist Convention - Wikipedia

Age of a given religion is irrelevant to this new Georgia law that establishes the supremacy of religious beliefs over the laws of the land.

EDIT: Christianity is a cult. Every organized religion has characteristics of a cult. That's fairly meaningless.
edit on 19Sun, 15 Mar 2015 19:59:44 -050015p072015366 by Gryphon66 because: Noted



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 08:00 PM
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originally posted by: Gryphon66
Age of a given religion is irrelevant.

For example, we could reasonably argue in the same manner that Southern Baptists follow a religion that started in 1845.

Southern Baptist Convention - Wikipedia

Age of a given religion is irrelevant to this new Georgia law that establishes the supremacy of religious beliefs over the laws of the land.


Sorry I did intend to derail. you are correct I asume as I do not live in Georgia.

Back on topic.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 08:03 PM
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a reply to: nonspecific

No worries. I'm more interested in meaningful discussion of facts and evidence-based opinions than I am in strictly following "my topic."

I think you're probably pointing at something that is a good question that this law doesn't seem to address: what is a religion?

EDIT: Actually, the law does address the issue: (from the source first mentioned above)



71 (3) 'Exercise of religion' means any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by,
72 or central to, a system of religious belief, including but not limited to the practice or
73 observance of religion under Paragraphs III and IV of Section I, Article I of the
74 Constitution of this state or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the
75 Constitution of the United States, or the use, building, or conversion of real property for
76 the purpose of religious exercise.


Also, we need to reference the most recent Georgia Constitution.

Ah. I see the catch here ... do you?



Paragraph III. Freedom of conscience. Each person has the natural and inalienable right to worship God, each according to the dictates of that person’s own conscience; and no human authority should, in any case, control or interfere with such right of conscience.

Paragraph IV. Religious opinions; freedom of religion. No inhabitant of this state shall be molested in person or property or be prohibited from holding any public office or trust on account of religious opinions; but the right of freedom of religion shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.


I guess we'll have to decide, legally, what the word "God" means or includes ... as well as the specific meaning of "practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State."

The plot thickens.
edit on 20Sun, 15 Mar 2015 20:09:58 -050015p082015366 by Gryphon66 because: Noted



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 08:07 PM
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originally posted by: Gryphon66
a reply to: nonspecific

No worries. I'm more interested in meaningful discussion of facts and evidence-based opinions than I am in strictly following "my topic."

I think you're probably pointing at something that is a good question that this law doesn't seem to address: what is a religion?


A good question but I would ask that when does using a religion for personal gain become immoral?

I have a friend here in the UK who follows multiple faiths so he gets more days of for religious holidays every year.

Theres nothing they can do about it because they cannot risk upsetting anyone.

He on the other hand sits there drinking beer as a happy athiest.



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