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A local woman who identifies herself as a witch claims she was discriminated against in a Lake Charles doctor's office because of her religious beliefs. A practicing witch for more than 15 years, Kristin Menard said she is proud of her religion even though it's often times misunderstood.
"Most people see witches as being evil and most of us are not. It's a nature based religion. Instead of praying we do basically the same thing - we light candles and we focus our energy to help other people," explained Menard.
You will rarely find Menard not wearing her pentagram.
"I wear it every day. It's a symbol of protection and each point represents something different. This one is spirit, air, fire, earth and water," said Menard.
For the past several months Menard has been under the care of Lake Charles chiropractor Dr. Shaine Rider, who according to Menard always had an opinion on her necklace.
"For the first month or so he would say many comments about my necklace and what it means and that it is satanic and all this. I tried to ignore him as much as I could," said Menard.
Last week on her monthly adjustment Menard said Dr. Rider once again approached her about her pentagram.
"He said you are going to have to take that necklace - put it away or take it off. I said why I didn't understand. And he said something about his son," recalled Menard.
Confused and upset she refused.
"I said I'm not taking this off and that's when he said basically he couldn't treat me. And I walked out," said Menard.
Of course there are two sides to every story - Dr. Rider has his own version of what happened and doesn't deny that he was uncomfortable with the pentagram.
"Those signs and those symbols are very satanic and very new age," said Dr. Rider.
A devout catholic Dr. Rider said he never asked her to take it off and never refused to treat her.
"She came in and I very briefly said, and very nicely said would you mind doing me a favor - would you mind putting your pentagram inside your shirt. Because it's very offensive to me and other patients... those that are Christians," said Dr. Rider.
Dr. Rider's beliefs are visible in his office. A crucifix hangs on the wall not far from a portrait of his son who lost his battle with cancer. But when it comes to wearing his scapula he doesn't wear it on the outside of his shirt.
"I don't try to wear this on the outside of my shirt which is a scapula... to force other people. It's my belief, it's what I wear inside my shirt that's all I was asking her to do is put it inside her shirt out of respect for my beliefs, and for the loss of my child and for our faith here. And she got irate and called me names and left," said Dr. Rider.
Despite the disagreement both stand by their religious convictions.
"To discriminate against anybody - race, religion anything... It is completely wrong. And it shouldn't happen especially when he's a doctor and he's supposed to treat somebody," said Menard.
"In my faith that is wrong. It's very offensive to me and I don't want that in my office. And if someone can't respect that enough to put in their shirt then there is going to be a problem," said Dr. Rider.
Meanwhile Menard has filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the Chiropractic Association.
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