A church-going former mayor in Warwickshire who declined to take part in a Halloween event has been found in breach of equality rules for upsetting pagans.
Tom Wilson, who is a member at Manor Court Baptist Church in Nuneaton, said he believed Halloween was a “pagan festival” and that he did not want to be associated with it.
But his comments, in 2009, were attacked by pagans who complained to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.
Now the former mayor has been officially reprimanded for the comments and been instructed to make a written apology in the press.
The ex-mayor, who is still a councillor at the Council, said: “I feel the punishment is harsh and I feel it has been a dreadful waste of time and money.
“This happened nearly two years and five months ago and I hate to think how much money it has cost the council taxpayers’.”
He commented that he had “not received a single complaint by letter, text or email from a single person since then”.
The issue arose in 2009 when mayor Wilson declined an invitation to judge a pumpkin carving competition in the town centre.
He said at the time: “Halloween is a pagan festival. It glorifies Satan’s angels and celebrates the dark side. I do not think it is appropriate to involve young people in this sort of thing and it is not something I want to be associated with.”
Pagans complained to the Council, saying his remarks were “inaccurate and likely to cause distress.”
Cllr Wilson has now said his “choice of words may have been misguided”.
The Council’s standard sub-committee found Cllr Wilson “failed to treat others with respect”, “behaved in a manner which could have caused the council to breach ‘equality enactments'”, and “behaved in a manner which could be regarded as bringing an office of the council into disrepute”.
Cllr Wilson is currently suspended from council duties for other breaches of council rules during his time as mayor.