Three Years Later, Witches Finally Thrive in Harsh Environment of Hoopeston, An all American Town

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In June 2003, Hysteria and protests filled a small town for fear that Witches were invading. Three years later, the Wiccans are still in Hoopeston but discrimination and hysteria are just around the corner.

On Jun 21st, 2003 The small town of Hoopeston faced a great and significant change. The Witches, who called themselves Wiccans were coming to town and opening a school. They responded like any noble and gracious American town by gathering up the strongest Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals in town and then whipped up their congregations into a frenzy of true religious intolerance and personal outrage. The Christians called for Prayer Circles, public protest, gatherings into the hundreds, and finally got the Mayor and City Council to denounce these evil doers from ever coming to Hoopeston, The Holy City. They chose to drive the Witches from town, and it very nearly succeeded.

Then common sense and true American citizens with a sense of respect for the Constitution and the meaning of personal freedom helped this beleaguered earth based faith community return to town. Mayor Flint privately led the way, and Hoopeston has had Witch School and all the strange and wonderful happenings ever since. It allowed the Wiccans to finally have some peace and quiet to develop into a larger educational service. Diverse Pagan people beginning their lives anew, but always aware of the great distrust of the more intolerant Christian Churches.

Today, Hoopeston has become the headquarters of a global outreach of Wiccans and Pagans. The main group, Witch School and it's parent, Telepathic Media have built a world wide website for free and low cost Pagan education. The WitchSchool.com website reaches over 160,000 members and grows at least 50 people a day. Combined with an extensive courses offering a first rate Wiccan Education, Witch School has been responsible for helping graduate and seat over 1,500 Legal Clergy including 15 High Priest and Priestesses with various traditions and temples in the United States and in many international locations. It is an amazing public site that continues to provide quality education everyday.

Yet as Witch School prepares to open it’s doors on July 1st for the public to visit., they are once again facing discrimination and collaboration between faith, media and politics. The local daily Newspaper, Just the Facts has an absolute 'No Wiccan Business may advertise' rule and won't accept advertising for a half dozen local businesses. A proposal in front of City council to build a Business Incubator has been stalled and even ridiculed by public officials, because a few members on the board of the Business incubator plan happen to be Wiccan. The local Christian Fundamentalist Ministry has threatened new protests through indirect channels, as they seek to bolster their sleepy congregations. The success of the Wiccans is becoming a challenge to those Christians who hold intolerant and even extreme views of what a Wiccan truly is, and demands that everyone else share their opinion. In Hoopeston, people are being allowed to make up their own minds, and this is becoming less and less acceptable to local extreme Christian Leadership.

The Majority of Hoopeston Christians are very tolerant and believe that the Wiccans have caused no harm, and have given the community their respect and charity that Christian ideals that many claim and few practice. These are the best moments of American Strength and Liberty in action. It is only a small and dedicated minority seeks to keep the Wiccans ‘in their place’. The open minded have the belief in Live and Let Live. The truly showcase what America is all about.

So as we approach the third anniversary of the one of the most intolerant moments of the 21st century, and the amazing story of acceptance that followed continues. Yet, change and challenges occur and the people of Hoopeston face once a defining moment of what America stands for. Is America a free nation or is it a free nation for Christians only? Hoopeston lives that struggle daily as Christians and Wiccans seek to live in peace.

With Witch School opening it's doors to the public Monday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 6:00 PM to visit at 112 w. Main Street. Hoopeston, Ill, it becomes even more important to see how real Americans struggle with change and religious diversity. If you are visiting the Central Illinois Area, come out and see Witch School and all the fine places of Downtown Hoopeston.

For more information contact Director Ed Hubbard at 217-283-4360, email Director @ WitchSchool.com, or check out WitchSchool.com for more information.

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Ed Hubbard
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