KANDAHAR, Afghanistan–Members of the Wiccan religion celebrated the arrival of spring outside the Christian fellowship centre at the NATO military base here. Canadian Maj. Malcolm Berry smiles as he recalls being approached a few weeks ago by a group of soldiers of the Wiccan faith – a neo-pagan religion strongly tied to nature.There was a time when the most common adjective used to describe Canadians by others was 'boring'. Somehow, I don't think 'boring' quite cuts it anymore.
"They wanted to welcome the spring in a ceremony where they are very thankful to Mother Earth and the new moon with pagan prayers," said Berry, the senior chaplain for Task Force Afghanistan. "We had no difficulty with that. We just didn't want them to do it `sky-clad' (naked) in this environment because it would be too dangerous."
The six Wiccans – a Canadian and five Americans – were invited to hold their service outside the Christian fellowship centre. They were given water, candles and food that they were welcomed to eat inside the centre after the ceremony. The Wiccans were treated with the same respect as any Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist.
"We are way ahead of the curve in terms of adaptability, understanding others, being sensitive to the needs of all Canadians," said Berry, a friendly, talkative Anglican minister from Oromocto, N.B.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
it's just not prisons...
My blog buddy, Darcey of Dust my Broom has a post up on the lengths to which the Canadian government goes to accommodate multi-faith dinning in Canadian prisons but it is just not prisons. A year ago, I posted a piece about another great Canadian institution and the drive to accommodate any alleged religious practices. Taken from a March 31, 2007 article in the Toronto Star: