A U.K. Baptist mayor has been found guilty of breaching equality rules because he refused to judge a pumpkin carving competition during Halloween.
Tom Wilson, who stepped down as mayor last May, declined an invitation to judge the 2009 Halloween event in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, citing it was against his religious beliefs. The now Councilor Wilson argued at the time that young people should not celebrate Halloween because it lauds evil, Mail Online reported.
“It glorifies Satan’s angels and celebrates the dark side -- Halloween is a pagan festival. I don’t think it’s appropriate to involve youngsters in this sort of thing. It’s not something that I wanted to be associated with,” Wilson argued, according to Mail Online.
“People organize Halloween parties for children without even thinking about what is behind it,” the former mayor added.
Pagan groups complained to the council that Wilson’s comments were “inaccurate and likely to cause distress,” which lead to the mayor being found guilty of three breaches of conduct by the Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council members.
Councilor Wilson was ordered to make a written apology in the press after the council’s standard sub-committee found he had nearly caused the council to breach “equality enactments,” he “failed to treat others with respect,” and “behaved in a manner which could be regarded as bringing an office of the council into disrepute,” Mail Online reported.
Wilson said on Tuesday that his comments were ill advised but that he has been “harshly treated” for them.
“This incident happened in October 2009 and I have not received a single complaint by letter, text or email from a single person since then,” Wilson said, according to Mail Online. “My choice of words may have been misguided, but I am only human and human beings make mistakes.”
“I am formulating my apology, but I am disappointed. I feel the punishment is harsh and I feel it has been a dreadful waste of time and money,” Wilson added.