Friday, February 8, 2008

Intolerance & Ignorance

I was astounded when I read the following article by Patti Wigington. It's amazing that something like this occured today, especially in Toronto. It's something out of the 1950's American South, not modern day cosmopolitan Toronto. It should be noted, however, that this group is not run by the city of Toronto or the Tourism Department. SO...we can't blame Toronto, but these people sure make it look bad. I was going to just link the article-but I decided to post the whole thing here, as I'd really like you to read it.

Wiccan Beauty Queen Bumped as Pageant Judge
By Patti Wigington,
Miss Canada Plus 2007, Stephanie Conover, is an absolutely lovely woman. She's beautiful, she's smart, she's witty... oh, and she also happens to practice Reiki and read Tarot cards, which is why she says she was rejected as a judge for this year's Toronto Tourism pageant. Conover said she was approached recently and asked to be a judge in the Miss Toronto Tourism pageant on Feb. 2. Conover agreed to participate and says all was well until she was asked to submit a personal bio.In her bio, Conover mentioned her many activities: singing and dancing, charity work, songwriting and knitting, yoga, Reiki, and tarot card reading. A few days later, the Miss Canada Plus pageant got a letter from Miss Toronto Tourism pageant director Karen Murray, saying that Conover had been eliminated as a judge. In part, the letter reads, "We need a judge who has an upright reputation and we would be proud to introduce to the audience." It goes on to quote passages from Leviticus, and says, "Our board of directors has eliminated her as a judge as tarot card reading and reiki are the occult and is not acceptable by God, Jews, Muslims or Christians. Tarot card reading is witchcraft and is used by witches, spiritists and mediums to consult the dark world." Finally, there's a line saying that the pageant folks hope Conover will "turn from these belief systems and will repent from her practice of them."Conover, who is Wiccan, is fuming. She says that pageant judges didn't know about her religion at the time, and simply rejected her on the basis of her practice of Reiki and use of Tarot cards. Karen Murray says that Conover is a "vindictive person" who is "just trying to stir up trouble." She adds that because her group recieves no government funding, they have the right to eliminate any potential judges from their pageant.I should note -- and this is important -- that the Miss Toronto Tourism pageant is NOT run by the city of Toronto, and is a completely separate entity from the city's tourism department.Anyway, the level of intolerance here just amazes me. Let's hear from some of our Candian readers -- if Conover sues, does she have a legal leg to stand on? What sort of rights does she have?


Mama Kelly said...

Not only is this sad but it is scary. The level of ignorance and intolerance that this Tourism board exhibited is startling.

Mama Kelly

Katreader said...

I know! I would hope that the city and/or official tourist board would step in and stop whatever group it is that's running this pageant.