Just a few quick items to enrich your day. We start off with a Wall Street Journal editorial from Eric Rassbach at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on why he decided to defend Jose Merced’s right to sacrifice goats in his home.
“It is a small victory for religious freedom in this country, not just for Mr. Merced, but for everyone who believes the human conscience is a precious gift to be protected. Of course, Christians, Jews, Muslims, or others may want to convince Mr. Merced that his beliefs are in error, and the same religious liberty will protect their right to try to persuade him. That’s the point: Persuasion, not state coercion, is the way all of us should engage our fellow citizens as they seek to obey the “still small voice” of conscience. So ask not why I defend goat sacrifice. Ask me how you can too.”
You can read my full coverage of this case, here. As I’ve said before, this case could set a nationwide precedent allowing for legalized ritualized animal sacrifice in an large number of settings, including within some modern Pagan communities. Expect this issue to remain “hot” as litigation and local laws clash over what is allowed.
The Nigerian newspaper Next has an article about Americans training in Yoruba. Next also provides a gallery of images, and an interview with the keeper of Oshun’s sacred lantern. I would be interested to learn just how many American pilgrims are making the trek to Nigeria in order to be initiated into Yoruba, and to participate in the rites at the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove. Is there a new resurgence of African American interest (and American interest in general) in Yoruba? If young Haitian-Americans are turning to Vodou, perhaps there is an even wider trend of traditional African religions being adopted here in the US?
In a final note, for those wanting to further explore the conflicts and issues brought up in yesterday’s post, you can read reactions from the South African Pagan Council and the South African Pagan Rights Alliance concerning MP Adrian Williams’s stance on anti-witchcraft laws in the country.
“Mpumalanga ANC MP Adrian Williams has accused the South African Pagan Rights Alliance of being arrogant in pursuing the reclamation of the terms Witch and Witchcraft. SAPRA rejects the allegation of arrogance and notes that reclamation of loaded terminology has long been a recognized method of educating the broader public and fighting for the rights of unrecognized minorities. While Mr Williams self-identifies as Pagan, it should be noted that he has no mandate to speak on behalf of all the Witches or Witchcraft practitioners in South Africa, many of whom have already expressed a desire to reclaim the terminology.”
It certainly seems like Mr. Williams has few friends among South African Pagan organizations, is his view an isolated one? Or are there other Pagans who take the same stance on issues of identifying as a “Witch” in South Africa? As always, South African Pagans are welcome to comment here, though let’s keep things civil.
That’s all I have for right now, have a great day!