Some members of this coalition began working together as early
as 1993, when a letter co-signed by several national Pagan organizations
was sent to then-Attorney-General Janet Reno, alerting her to anti-Witchcraft
rhetoric among radical anti-abortion groups. At that time there was no
intention to establish a coalition; groups merely found they had a common
interest in taking joint action on an issue which affected them.
This initial group of approximately seven organizations did not stay in
contact (there was no widespread use of the Internet then, and national
Pagan organizations had very little contact with each other generally).
However, a year later some members of this group invited more organizations
to join in a collaborative effort to urge the Associated Press to include
terminology and references to Pagan religions in its Stylebook.
This project led to other collaborative efforts and the founding of the
Pagan Leaders e-mail list. The original intent of that list did not survive.
When Rep. Bob Barr suddenly attacked the practice of Witchcraft and other
Pagan faiths in the US military in 1999, organizational representatives
again joined to take collaborative action in response. The circle widened
and participants agreed that staying in contact was valuable enough to
establish the OurFreedom e-mail list.
After many years of working together over e-mail but never meeting face-to-face,
many OF list members joined in the first national Pagan
Summit in March 2001. At that time the circle of participating organizations
widened again and attendees expressed a strong interest in making the
coalition a slightly more formal association.
In September 2001 the coalition adopted the name "Our Freedom: A
Pagan Civil Rights Coalition" and codified its membership and conduct
guidelines. It remains a loosely structured working coalition of autonomous
equals. It is extremely effective at keeping national organizations and
activists informed about religious freedom issues and at allocating resources
See Past Projects for a list of our activities.