.- A Pagan group in Britain has accused a Catholic social club of religious discrimination for refusing to host a Pagan group’s Annual Witches’ Ball on the grounds it was ‘not compatible with the Catholic ethos.’
Sandra Davis, 61, a High Priestess of the Pagan group, initially had reserved Our Lady’s Social Club in Stockport, Manchester for her group’s Annual Witches Ball. When she called to make payment arrangements, she was told the event could not be held there and must find another venue.
She told the Daily Telegraph she was “appalled” and said her congregation was “shocked” that there can be such “religious discrimination.”
"We're normal people who follow an earth-based religion and want to enjoy ourselves.
"We thought we were bridging the gap with other religions but misconceptions still exist, like we sacrifice animals.
"Does the church check everyone's beliefs before allowing them in the club?” she asked.
Fr. John Joyce from the Diocese of Shrewsbury explained to the Daily Telegraph why the event could not proceed at the Catholic club.
"Parish centers under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organizations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic Church," he said.
"In this instance, we aren't satisfied such requirements are met."
The Christian Institute worries that Britain’s Equality Act of 2006 could provide a basis for possible legal action. The act forbids refusals to provide goods and services on the basis of religious belief. However, its relevance depends upon whether the Catholic social club is defined as a religious organization or as a commercial one.