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The Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) does not allow pagan worship. The standards in the ADC Religious Services Policy and Procedures Manual support religions based on monotheistic beliefs.

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In practice, these standards give priority to the Abrahamic religions that worship the Hebrew God. Before the pandemic, Catholics could meet once a week and Christians and Muslims several times a week.

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The chapel where they met was decorated with Christian crosses, and all the priests were Christians. The only literature distributed in the prison is Christian, and each unit has a project called Principles and Application for Life (PAL), a Bible-based course that requires participants to go to church.

Let me explain. I am an eclectic pagan, I practice witchcraft, shamanism, Kabbalah, Hinduism and alchemy. My religion is based on nature and my patron saints include Gaia and the Green Man, although I follow others too.

Before I started my journey, I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. When I was 15, I was introduced to Wicca, and the more I learned, the more meaningful Wicca became. Since then, my beliefs and I have evolved.

But the ADC’s policies make it impossible for myself and other infidels to practice our faith. In order to participate in corporate worship, we have to get a free world volunteer to come in and officiate the service, but ADC only pays someone to perform Christian service.

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I was forbidden to keep items necessary for the ritual, such as shells, salt, feathers or pebbles. Pagans also cannot keep their own tarot cards or runestones. Arkansas rules state that if we have them, they must be kept by the chaplain when not in use.

Our worship is hindered. It feels as if we are only allowed to touch the Hebrew God in the hope that we will convert. These ADC policies remind me of how the United States tried to forcibly convert Native Americans to Christianity in the 1800s.

ADC Religious Services’ mission statement states that its goal is to “provide spiritual and moral guidance to every incarcerated person who needs help in their spiritual path,” but I don’t allow religious accommodations.

ADC took me off my spiritual path and prevented me from coming back. Paganism is not welcome in prisons. but why?

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I have the potential to light up all life around me, but ADC wants to keep me in this box. The stars only last long before they burn out and dim. How long am I going to keep burning if I don’t have the right to practice my religion? Can I still light up the life around me? Or will they make sure I’m hacked before they open the box?

Wicca speaks to me. I feel like this is my way. I will do my best to shine and do my best to brighten everyone’s life.

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Why Pagans Should Get Religious Accommodation in Prisons

Arkansas The Correctional Services Department (ADC) does not allow pagan worship. Criteria in ADC Religious Services Policies and Procedures Manual supports religions based on a single deity belief.

In practice, these standards take precedence over the Abrahamic religions that worship the Hebrew God. Before the pandemic, Catholics could meet once a week and Christians and Muslims several times a week.

The chapel where they met was decorated with Christian crosses, and all the priests were Christians. The only literature distributed in prisons is Christian, and each unit has a document called Principles and Applications for Life, (PAL), a Bible-based course that requires participants to attend church.

I don’t know that I have no problem with Abrahamic religions or Hebrew gods, but I am a pagan.

Let me explain. I am an eclectic pagan, I practice witchcraft, shamanism, Kabbalah, Hinduism and alchemy. My religion is based on nature and my patron saints include Gaia and the Green Man, although I follow others too.

Before I started my journey, I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. When I was 15, I was introduced to Wicca, and the more I learned, the more meaningful Wicca became. Since then, my beliefs and I have evolved.

But ADC’s policies have prevented myself and other infidels from practicing our faith. In order to participate in corporate worship, we have to get a free world volunteer to come in and officiate the service, but ADC only pays someone to perform Christian service.

I am prohibited from keeping items necessary for the ceremony, such as shells, salt, feathers or pebbles. Pagans also cannot keep their own tarot cards or runestones. Arkansas Rule Status If we have them, they must be kept by the priest when not in use.

Our worship is hindered. It feels as if we are only allowed to touch the Hebrew God in the hope that we will convert. These ADC policies remind me of how the US is trying to Forcibly converted Native Americans to Christianity in the 1800s.

ADC Religious Services’ mission statement states that its goal is to “provide spiritual and moral guidance to every incarcerated person who needs help in their spiritual path,” but I don’t allow religious accommodations.

ADC took me off my spiritual path and prevented me from coming back. Paganism is not welcome in prisons. but why?

I have the potential to light up all life around me, but ADC wants to keep me in this box. The stars only last long before they burn out and dim. How long am I going to keep burning if I don’t have the right to practice my religion? Can I still light up the life around me? Or will they make sure I’m hacked before they open the box?

Wicca speak to me. I feel like this is my way. I will do my best to shine and do my best to brighten the lives of all people.

This article first appeared on The Prison News Project and republished here under a Creative Commons license. <img id="republication-tracker-tool-source" src="https:///?republication-pixel=true&post=20101&ga="style="width:1px ;height:1px;"

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