ADL, AJC Join Brief On Wiccan Clergyman

December 1, 2009

Author: Eric Fingerhut

Source: JTA

The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee have signed on to an Americans United for Church and State amicus brief arguing that a Wiccan clergyman should be able to challenge a state prison policy that limits paid chaplaincy positions to people who are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or Native American.

The court said a legal challenge to the prison’s chaplain policy can only be brought by an inmate, not someone seeking to be hired. In addition, the court denied McCollum’s claim because he could not prove he would be hired even if the state policy was changed. The court also denied McCollum’s standing as a taxpayer. 

“Whether the State needs to hire a Wiccan chaplain and, if so, whether McCollum is the right person for the job, may be unclear,” the brief says. “What is clear, however, is that the district court erred in denying McCollum the chance to have his claims heard.”