Just some quick news notes for you on this Saturday.
Revenge of the Traffic Enforcement Agent: NYPD parking agent Daniel Chu, who got into an altercation with New York City Councilman Dan Halloran this Summer over his on-the-job behavior, is filing a $2 million libel and slander lawsuit against the Heathen politician claiming “maliciously false statements.”
“In his slander and libel defamation notice, obtained from the comptroller’s office, Chu called Halloran’s charges “maliciously false statements.” Chu claims the alleged damage to his reputation cost him $2 million, without explaining why. Chu was ordered “disciplined and reassigned” after the incident, the NYPD said today. He had once been ordered into “sensitively training” for allegedly badgering drivers…”
I don’t think Chu will be getting far with this lawsuit. For one, a judge has already vindicated Halloran’s behavior in that conflict, and secondly, Chu even admitted to the charges against him in a disciplinary hearing. When asked for comment, Halloran called Chu a “nut job”, and that the “basis of the claim is ridiculous.” For more on Dan Halloran, check out the recent Pagan+Politics interview.
Parliament Council Announces New Trustees: The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions has announced the election of seven new Trustees for a three-year term. Among them are Anju Bhargava, founder of Hindu American Seva Charities, Hindu scholar Dr. Anant Rambachan, and Mr. Christopher Peters.
“Christopher Peters (Pohlik-lah/Karuk) was born and raised on his people’s territories in northwestern California. He is President and CEO of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development, a Native led Indigenous Peoples public Foundation which supports grassroots Indigenous communities in the Americas and beyond. For more than thirty-five years his work has focused on grassroots social justice organizing, protecting sacred sites, working for holistic community renewal, rebuilding traditional economies, and supporting cultural revitalization efforts. Chris is a well-known and leading advocate for the protection of Native American prayer places and ceremonial life with long experience and expertise on the legal aspects of these issues. He has fought on the frontlines of environmental justice struggles to protect aboriginal ecosystems from the devastating effects of clear-cut logging, dam development, mining, recreational development and the negative impacts that the nuclear industry and globalization has inflicted upon Indigenous Peoples and homelands. Chris has a B.S. degree from the University of California, Davis, and an M.A. degree from Stanford University.”
Of the Council’s 35 Trustees there are now three American Indians, four individuals in Hindu or Hindu-derived traditions, one (possibly two) Buddhists, and three modern Pagans (Andras Corban-Arthen, Phyllis Curott, and Angie Buchanan). This is definitely a step in the right direction towards greater diversity in the Parliament’s leadership, one hopes we’ll see more indigenous and non-monotheist voices (particularly from Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia) in the future.
PNC Bureau Highlights: Finally, I wanted to share some highlights from the Pagan Newswire Collective local news bureaus, starting with a report from PNC-Washington DC concerning a panel at the Newseum on Covering Religion in the Post-9/11 World.
“It was widely acknowledged that the state of religion reporting in the U.S. is lacking (the word, “crisis,” was used by one panel member.) There are less reporters now who specialize in religion coverage, there is difficulty in some cases in finding spokespeople for a given movement, and there is a lack of both religious literacy and religious freedomliteracy. These factors have combined to create a situation in which the quality of religion reporting in the U.S. is less than optimal.”
It seems very clear that this is the moment for Pagan news media to get organized and step into the gap created by the major shifts happening in mainstream journalism and religion reporting. I’d also like to point you to a recent editorial at PNC-Minnesota on Pagans and non-profit corporations.
“There is a growing trend in our Pagan community to incorporate as non profit corporations and seek federal 501c3 status. Some of the well founded reasons for this trend are to gain the implied legitimacy this status implies, to protect volunteer staff and members from some liability issues, accept tax deductible donations, and to establish spiritual, service, and community organizations that endure. What has not kept pace, in my opinion, is an awareness of the terms upon which our government grants this special corporate status, and the duties and obligations leading these organizations then requires.”
There are some good insights and suggestions to be found for those looking to take the step into becoming a non-profit. Lastly, keep an eye on PNC-Florida as they post updates on the currently in-progress Samhain Florida Pagan Gathering.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!