Federal appeals court ruling may force California prisons to hire witches
A lawsuit working its way through the federal court system would require state prisons to hire Wiccan chaplains. Two female convicts who practice Wicca sued the state for refusing to hire a paid full-time Wiccan chaplain and “by failing to apply neutral criteria in determining whether paid chaplaincy positions are necessary to meet the religious exercise needs of inmates adhering to religions outside the five faiths (Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Native American and Protestant),” according to an appellate court’s decision.
A federal court in Fresno, Calif., dismissed the lawsuit in 2011 after finding no violations in the women’s rights, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals brought it back to life this week by overturning the trial court’s decision. The San Francisco-based appellate court ordered the original judge to reconsider the case and determine whether state prisons unconstitutionally cater to majority religions, Judicial Watch reports.