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Texas sculpture at heart of religious battle


November 30, 1996
Web posted at: 10:30 a.m. EST

From Correspondent Rebecca Rodriguez

ARLINGTON, Texas (CNN) -- This modern-day Stonehenge nestled in a North Texas suburb is at the heart of a debate over the separation of church and state.

Here, there is a sculpture called Caelum Moor. It was built as part of an office park that never got off the ground. To most, it's a symbol of the Texas real estate bust of the '80s.

But to Lady Phoenix, the stones are much more than that. She is a self-proclaimed witch who claims there are a thousand others like her in North Texas.


Lady Phoenix, who believes the original Stonehenge was really a temple for pagan worship, says the local sculpture has become that as well.

"We've just gone for walks. We've had rituals out there. We've had gatherings and picnic-type things, basically the same thing that the Christian people out there have been doing," says the Wiccan High Priestess.

That never seemed to bother anyone, until a new developer moved in and offered the stones and some parkland to the city as a gift. Then came a letter from a group of Christian ministers warning that the city was about to create a "Witchcraft Park" and would be violating the Constitution in the process.

"If where our country's going is taking down all the religious symbols, then let's not use taxpayers' money to set up witches' symbols," said minister Gary Hutchinson.

The city of Arlington says it has been caught off guard by the controversy surrounding the stones. Caelum Moor has been around for about 10 years, and the police say they've never received a complaint about anything that goes on there.


But while certain pagans and Christians might be ready to do battle over the stones, the people who live nearby are just sorry to see another delay on the project.

"People would enjoy them a lot more if they were in a park. There's so much they could be used for instead of sitting there not being used," said Arlington resident Kevin Doty.

But the whole debate is giving the city cold feet.

Now officials are thinking about storing the $1.5 million work of art in a warehouse where nobody can see it.


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