Showdown in Stoudtburg Village

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 12, 2009 — 17 Comments

A week ago I put the spotlight on a local Pagan festival being held today in a quaint tourist-trap “village” in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. The local paper got interested in the event because some of the businesses in the village objected to the Pagans renting out the space and planned to close their doors (avoiding the dirty Pagan money).

“A festival designed to celebrate the nature-centered spirituality of pagans and witches is getting a mixed reaction from shop owners at Stoudtburg Village in Adamstown, where the event will be held Sept. 12. While some of the village’s shops will be open during the festival, others will close because of the group that is sponsoring the event — Reading Pagans & Witches.”

Since then, a number of things have transpired. Some local churches are organizing prayer and fasting to spiritually shield the area from our demonic taint, and are planning to encircle the village and pray for an hour.

“We pray a hedge of protection around the area, asking for the blood of Jesus to cover their boundaries, gates and bridges, that they would stand strong against the schemes of the enemy. We declare the enemy will have no foothold in Adamstown, or the larger  Lancaster County area.”

Meanwhile, the Lady Liberty League has issued an action alert urging Pagans to attend and show support for the Reading Pagans & Witches.

“The intended purpose of the Celebrating Earth Spirituality Festival is to bring Pagans of many paths together for education, celebration, and community outreach. However, this Festival is now also becoming a public stand to uphold Pagan rights and religious freedom … take part in some or all of the Festival. Celebrate Paganism and Pagan religious freedom throughout the day. Be part of a peaceful Pagan presence. Be polite. Dress conservatively. Don’t argue with protesters …  spiritually connect with the Festival from wherever you are. Send blessings in advance as well as while it is going on. Send blessings of peace, understanding, protection, and success to the Festival, Festival organizers, and Festival participants.”

Oh, and this story got picked up by the Associated Press, so it has gone national.

“In town Friday, one shop had a wreath and a sign on the door that said “Proud to be an American.” A note on the door says the owner would be in Washington on Saturday “actively supporting my political beliefs. And of course NOT SUPPORTING the activity taking place in the village today.” In Hertzog’s Yard Sale Store, owner Terry Hertzog finished off a cup of ice cream and said he plans to close his store the next day. “We just don’t believe we can support witches and pagans,” Hertzog said.”

You hear that Pagans! No yard-sale store for you! However, not all store owners are planning to close, and one store that was listed as closing down because of the Pagans in an initial article (Stoudtburg Village Coffee Shop) now protests that it isn’t so.

“Don’t put me on this list…. I’m closing due to, I have a House Showing…. My house is for sale!”

All the fun should be underway now, and I hope we’ll be getting reports soon on how everything went. Will it be a big turn-out? Will the Christians keep their promise to be peaceful? We’ll just have to wait and see. One thing is for certain, what was originally going to be a small Pagan gathering at a quaint tourist-village has certainly exploded into something far bigger. I wonder if any of the shop owners realize the irony of the current situation. They close to keep the Pagans away, but only draw more to their village in the process.

UPDATE: I’ve posted a message from Jen Anderson-Wenger, president of Reading Pagans and Witches, concerning the event.

Jason Pitzl-Waters