Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Witch Hunt or Woman Scorned at the Eco-Minded Green Train?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 4:58 PM

click to enlarge wicked_witch.jpg
Local Wiccan after running into the Green Train Nashville’s Green Train, an eco-educational non-profit run by Merle Haggard and restaurateur Bob Wolf, had a witch in its ranks until recently. Or, to be more precise, a pagan. Not the kind historically drawn and quartered or burned at the stake, but rather the contemporary tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, vegan variety. That was until Wolf charged this Wiccan ordained minister, Susan Hunter, with creating Green Train’s MySpace page. The personal networking catastrophe that followed-- replete with online earthy salutations and pentagrams--saw Hunter canned in spectacular fashion back in mid-September. She’s crying discriminatory foul. He’s got his hands up, as if to say, “Hey, read our mission: We’re a-political, a-religious, a-everything except the environment.” Hunter created Green Train’s MySpace page to get the word out about a train laden with musical greats like Vince Gill, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard set to hit the rails in 2009. Their glowing celebrity will, Wolf hopes, attract crowds at whistle-stops across the country, who could then be proselytized on the greener side of life. Any MySpace neophyte knows that a personal page is pretty lonely without a bunch of friends to festoon it. To address this dearth, Hunter sent out “friend invitations” to 40 of her friends who also happened to be earth-loving hippies and pagans of various stripes. When the messages started flowing in—“Blessed be” or “Faerie blessings,” usually accompanied by a pentagram and pictures of ivory-skinned ladies identifying themselves exotically as Asterope Morgaine and Feryia—Hunter says Wolf blew a gasket, ordering that all pentagrams be deleted. She says she deleted the Christian symbols too, out of spite before being summarily dismissed. “This is a witch hunt by somebody who got her feelings hurt,” Wolf said, though the old cliché would seem to be reversed here. “I don’t have a problem with people’s opinions. I even went to a pagan day festival; we bought her a pagan bible.” Hunter is unconvinced. “It’s my opinion that I was fired for religious reasons,” she said. Wolf claims Hunter was just a volunteer. But perhaps the most stinging accusation hurled by Hunter was this: “The guy doesn’t even recycle.” Wolf didn’t deny it, but he did gamely say, “I never was green. One day it came to me why I wasn’t green and why I didn’t care about being green. I spoke to Merle about it, and we don’t know how to be green.” That, Wolf insists, is the goal—to help the red-blooded American understand. Will the average American see the pentagram as a symbol of faith and the four elements precious to Wicca? Doubtful.

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