DALLAS TWP. – A self-proclaimed witch’s talk this week about Wicca at College Misericordia’s Diversity Camp was so popular with high school students that it was expanded by a half-hour.
Others, however, say Tom Jarmiolowski’s discussion about his religion on Monday should not have taken place at the camp.
Dallas Baptist Church pastor Ernest Jackson said Wicca should be classified with other “occultlike religious groups” and should not have been included in the camp’s efforts to spread diversity.
“We over-emphasize diversity sometimes to the exclusion of what the mainstream population believes and understands,” he said. “Wicca is contrary to (what) all Christians stand for and we would not support anything like that.”
Maria Orzel, executive director of communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton, said she didn’t understand why religion was included among the camp’s topics. She released this statement:
“There probably exist a number of misconceptions about Wicca which are listed among the participants in the parliament of world religions. We continue to learn more about its particular practices, rituals and beliefs. But in the context of a diversity multicultural event, I question why a religious group was included in the program.”
Orzel declined to comment further.
Jackson and Orzel seem to be in the minority because Jarmiolowski’s discussion is popular. This year, the session was extended from 30 minutes to an hour after last year’s question-and-answer segment ran longer than the allotted time.
Diversity camper Sister Barbara Craig, a nun with the College Misericordia- affiliated Sisters of Mercy, said she was glad to have an opportunity to learn more about Wicca.
This Catholic college started by the Sisters of Mercy also has a Diversity Institute which includes this
A PLEDGE OF ACCEPTANCE
I pledge allegiance to you, my neighbor, to do my part, with the ideals of justice and compassion for all humanity as my guide, to accept you for who you are as you accept me for who I am, and to help shape a community that reflects these ideals.
Yes, that great moral virtue acceptance – right up there with tolerance.