.- A Pagan group in Britain has accused a Catholic social club of religious discrimination for refusing to host a Pagan groupâs Annual Witchesâ Ball on the grounds it was ânot compatible with the Catholic ethos.â
Sandra Davis, 61, a High Priestess of the Pagan group, initially had reserved Our Ladyâs Social Club in Stockport, Manchester for her groupâs 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 âappalledâ and said her congregation was âshockedâ that there can be such âreligious discrimination.â
"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?â 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 Britainâs 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.