May 16, 2007
Despite being the country's fastest growing religion, practitioners stay in the "broom closet."
Wiccans seem to feel discriminated against, despite the fact that in my local bookstore carries as many shelves of books on the subject as it has shelves for mainstream religions. But, The New York Times reports that Wiccans are afraid of even telling their families about their religious beliefs.
Among the most popular religions to have flowered since the 1960s, Wicca - a form of paganism - still faces a struggle for acceptance, experts on the religion and Wiccans themselves said. In April, Wiccans won an important victory when the Department of Veterans Affairs settled a lawsuit and agreed to add the Wiccan pentacle to a list of approved religious symbols that it will engrave on veterans' headstones.
But Wicca in the civilian world is largely a religion in hiding. Wiccans fear losing their friends and jobs if people find out about their faith.
Interestingly, it seems that one of the fears of those who opposed children reading the Harry Potter books were well founded. "Wiccans face less backlash now than in the past. The Internet provides information about Wicca, and the popularity of the Harry Potter novels has made magic seem a force for good, scholars and Wiccans say. "