Harvard Hosts Anti-Pagan Haters

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 26, 2011 — 73 Comments

Religious Right watchdog site Talk to Action recently noted that the Harvard Extension Service & Leadership Society is hosting the 2011 Social Transformation Conference on April 1st and 2nd. HESLS wants to reassure us that this conference is a positive, diverse, and hate-free event.

“This conference is focused not on drawing lines of division, but on providing an opportunity for students and the community at large to explore how we can transform or improve our society. We have been assured by our speakers that they have not supported any hatred directed towards any group, and that allegations to the contrary are untrue and/or misinterpreted.”

The only problem with this statement is that it isn’t even remotely true. You see, the backers and speakers at this conference are members of the New Apostolic Reformation (aka the “Third Wave”), a neo-pentecostal Christian group obsessed with waging a spiritual war against indigenous religions, Pagan religions, homosexuality, and even Catholicism! Three of the featured speakers have publicly inveighed against the dangers of Witchcraft and “New Age” religions, spurring Bruce Wilson at Talk to Action to note that “it’s been a few years now since witch hunting was in vogue in Massachusetts, but an upcoming conference to be held at Harvard this April 1-2 could help rekindle the practice.”

The staff of the Harvard Crimson have also weighed in, strongly criticizing HESLS’s defense of the event, noting that if some of the participant’s “expressions do not seem like hatred, we are hard pressed to understand what does.”

“By hosting a panel discussion whose participants will merely voice their opinions without being called upon to justify their past incendiary remarks, the event seems to accept incredibly offensive opinions without providing any internal challenge. In a sense, the intellectual integrity of the entire Harvard community is consequently on trial with this coming conference. Regardless of their subject matter, conferences must nevertheless be held to basic standards of intellectual honesty and accountability, and we simply cannot imagine what value the Social Transformation Conference will bring to our community.”

For those who haven’t been following my coverage of this extremist Christian movement, they have taken credit for the crisis in Japan, and blamed Shinto for God’s wrath, praised the Haitian earthquake for breaking the “strongman of the occult’s” back, provided Sarah Palin a religious mentor who claims to have given a Wiccan chaplain cancer through prayer, believes Japan’s emperor literally slept with a demonic succubus, thinks worship is a weapon, gives fiscal aid to African witch-hunters, burns indigenous/Native art, and are obsessed with destroying the “Queen of Heaven”. In short, they are consumed with a theologically-driven hatred of indigenous and Pagan faiths. Oh, and I think it goes without saying they are rabidly anti-gay.

Let me echo the Harvard Crimson and say that these individuals have the right to believe as they do, and the First Amendment right to air their opinions in the public square, but for them to go unchallenged here, using Harvard to legitimize and paint a veneer of respectability over their almost cartoonishly nefarious goals seriously endangers “the intellectual integrity of the entire Harvard community.” As for the New Apostolic Reformation, their conceptions of resistance to this conference are typical.

“Today, however, Harvard is known as one of the most liberal universities in America.  Recently, a student felt a leading of the Lord to host a Christian marketplace conference on social transformation.  Little did he realize the level of opposition that would come against him.  It wasn’t long before this conference was met with real opposition from a gay activist group that is seeking to prevent the event from taking place.  This group has been effective at causing the Dean to question the merits of such an event.  We believe the root of this concern is simply spiritual forces seeking to keep Christ off this campus and fear caused by the gay activists.

One wonders if all it takes to have Harvard host a hate group is a willing student and a heavily edited press packet. By hosting this group, a message is being sent to religious minorities, indigenous groups, and GLBTQ individuals that they aren’t safe at this campus. That claims from extremists that they in “no way seek to convey any negative message about any group,” are taken at face value despite obvious evidence to the contrary. This isn’t the usual debate about conservative speech being allowed at liberal college campuses, or even conservative Christian speech, this group’s theology and mission transcend the usual left-right debates. This is a group on a mission, one that should concern anyone who doesn’t fit into their very narrow Christian paradigm.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Lou

    HARVARD: We've had a couple complaints and have to ask- Are you a hate Group:
    LOONY: No.
    HARVARD: Well OK Then. As soon as the check clears, you can use the conference room.

  • Josh T.

    I say we get a group of initiated Wiccan, Pagan, Asatru, ect priests and priestesses and go have our own conference, but allow others outside of our religion to weigh in and truly sit down and for a second draw back the veil of mystery. For example, let them know that the word "Pagan" comes from the latin "Paganus" meaning country or rural folk. Hence those that lived away from the city and thus were in tune with the nature and cycles of the countryside. Just my thoughts…… Oh and not only would it be viewed as us coming forward in honesty but it would "1 up" those retards.

    • Gareth

      Alternatively we could call them "retards" and sink to their level. The "paganus" origin is one theory of the origin of pagan; the theory I prefer is that it comes from the Latin pagus.

      • Nick_Ritter

        According to my Harper-Collins Latin Dictionary:

        pagus, noun: village country, district; canton

        paganus, adj.: rural; noun: villager, yokel.

        Thus, pretty clearly, a "paganus" is someone from the "pagus". I'm not quite sure how your theory is in competition with Josh T.'s.

        • Pagan and Heathen: The Original "RedNeck."

          actually, considering the attitudes of many "red necks" such as farmers and the like, especially in the south, they are not far removed culturally from their Heathen and Pagan ancestors. There's spices and stuff from Christianity, but if you know where to look and how too see, you can see the old ways still in practice.

          • Nick_Ritter

            Being of Southern "red neck" stock myself, I know the sort of thing you mean. Unfortunately, the "spices and stuff from Christianity" have quite a caustic effect, and tend to drown out or wear down what is worthy in that kind of culture. In many a discussion with family friends and such, I have found myself on familiar ground until topics of religion come up (which they inevitably do). Then the abyss of Christianity opens before my feet, and I can go no further.

    • That has been done, is done, often. Groups like that mentioned above are not interested in dialog, their minds will not be changed by our outreach. They are deeply invested in convincing their followers that there is a real and immediate struggle of good against evil, that they are right and hence the good side, and thus anyone who disagrees with them is, knowingly or unknowingly, working for evil. Our Pagan gods are regarded as demons, and explaining them won't help. Pan is many things, but he isn't Jesus and therefore we are wrong, wicked, damned no matter our deeds, our words, our open hearts. These people will not open their eyes. They like their illusion.

    • I could dig that. I'd be willing to sit in as one of the Asatru speakers.

  • Oh god, feel sick to my stomach… I can't even believe these guys get away with this. If I find out my brother who's at Harvard attended this, I will not be a happy camper.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Kudos to the Harvard Crimson for its efforts to keep its campus intellectually honest and hate-free.

  • Alex Pendragon

    I think their conference would be a PERFECT opportunity to address the panel and ask when we can expect them to begin exposing those children within our community who are demons/witches, and how much their "experts" will charge a family to have these monsters exorcised. Our middle class is really struggling these days…..no…wait…this is HARVARD……..ah…UPPER class folk are struggling these days and really need to know if they can afford the services being offered without laying off any undocumented staff they might still employ. Highly educated people like these know how dangerous it is to have witches amongst them and how it can effect their academic standing in the community.

    • Heidi

      Highly educated people like these know how dangerous it is to have witches amongst them and how it can effect their academic standing in the community.

      Since when? I don't subscribe to that supposition any longer. I went back to college, lower middle class citizen that I am, and I now call the view you put forth a genre. Not to mention a literary one that should not be corrolated with political science.

      • Nick_Ritter

        I'm pretty sure that Alex was being sarcastic.

  • Peg Aloi

    I co-organized two academic conferences at Harvard a few years ago, both focused on witchcraft and paganism in media. Both events were sponsored by the Dept. of Folklore and Mythology. Ronald Hutton, Fiona Horne and R. J. Stewart were among our honored guest speakers.

    I also applaud the Crimson for standing strong on this issue.

    • Hi peg do you know if this was recorded I would love to listen to it

      • Peg Aloi

        Hi Larry, no not that I know of.

  • Groups like this really do make me fear for the future of the world. Every time I turn around there seem to be more of them, not less. Maybe it's the end of the world hysteria surrounding December 21, 2012 that gets these people so much press attention right now, but really? This makes me sick.

    They're certainly entitled to hold whatever beliefs that they choose to, but in a perfect world shouldn't there be action we can take against them for using faith as a weapon? Can we hand them over to the UN for crimes against humanity? To the Japanese government for terrorism? The police for infecting people with terminal illnesses? Whatever happened to the Christian belief in a loving, forgiving God?

    It honestly makes me want to show a broomstick, bristles first, where the sun doesn't shine…

  • Ursyl

    The sad thing is that it doesn't have to. I have known so many for whom their monotheism was support for being so loving.

    And then there are the ones for whom that is so very true. *sigh*

    • Heidi

      I appreciate the provocative and thoughtful article on Witchhunting at Harvard. The many informative links led me to the talk to action website, among others. As one who was an out pagan to her Christian/Republican voting family, and who is now agnostic due to the amount of high political drama both within my own family and throughout the country, it is important to me personally to keep up with the extreme views of both 'alternative religious movements' be they Christian or Pagan, and with so called 'mainstream' views, regardless of what religious ideology they espouse.

    • Besides you don't have to be a member of the Abrahamic grouping to be a Monotheist. Some Pagans only worship one Deity.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        But Pagans who worship only one Deity do not (generally) condemn their fellow Pagans who worship otherwise, or try to conver them to one-Deity-only worship. "Monotheism" is a loaded term that, in context, implies not only its surface meaning of one-god-ism but a set of attitudes toward those who believe otherwise — including other monotheists with different ancillary doctrines. The latter is what the European religious wars were about that gave rise to the First Amendment in reaction.

        In that context Apuleius's equation above is almost a tautology, true because of the meaings of the terms involved.

        • Modern Pagans tend to have little understanding of what the terms "polytheism" and "monotheism" actually mean. Often "monotheism" is used in a way that is so broad that it would include Homer, who quite clearly believed that there was one supreme God, Zeus. But if Homer is a monotheist then the term loses all meaning whatsoever.

          Also, monotheism is completely different from pantheism (which is perfectly compatible with polytheism but completely incompatible with monotheism). And monotheism is completely different from monism. And monotheism is completely different from henotheism.

          Show me a Pagan who worships one God or Goddess and who declares all other deities to be either non-existent, or unworthy of worship, or evil demons. Such a person is no Pagan at all. We gotta have some standards!

      • sarenth

        In my experience, Pagans who worship only one God/dess are not monotheists, but monolatrists, that is, they engage in "the worship of a single god but without claiming that it is the only god" (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn).

        The claims of exclusivity are notably absent, from what I have read and experienced, in Pagans who worship only a single God/dess.

        • So, by your use of language, there cannot be any monotheists who follow the UU path?

          – Dave

          • Isn't the "UU path" sufficiently vague to make answering that question both pointless and impossible? Also, one has to make allowance for cognitive dissonance. People are free to follow any path they like while simultaneously holding views that contradict that path. In fact, people do this all the time.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            There are lots of UU Christians. They even have an organization. I'm sure a lot of them would cop to being monotheists.

          • Yes, I imagine that among UU's who self-identify as Christians there would probably be a majority who also identify as monotheists. And among those monotheists there would be a subgroup who view their monotheism as exclusive in the sense that there is one and only one God and that all other putative Gods are either (a) not real, (b) real, but not to be worshipped as only the one God should be worshipped, or (c) evil demons who deceived humans into thinking they are Gods.

            My own opinion is that any sort of "nonexclusive monotheism" is intrinsically incoherent, but that it is a position that people adhere to nevertheless (and their is nothing especially remarkable about people holding religious beliefs that are incoherent).

          • sarenth

            I'm not one to dictate what UUs can do or not; I'm not a UU, and I've never even been to a service of theirs. I hope to remedy that someday soon. Beyond a lot of positive words of inclusiveness and a lot of good words about them from Pagans I've talked to on and offline, I don't know much about them. I've done a little bit of research on UUs and their Principles and Beliefs from the UUA page, but I simply don't know enough to make that kind of call, strict use of language or no.

            I'm not about to sit here and say that Pagans can't be monotheists either, but I have never heard of a modern-day Pagan monotheist.

            As for the definition of monotheist, it is "the doctrine or belief that there is but one God" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monotheism). This exclusivity, as I understand it, precludes any other Gods from existing besides this one. Any other God/dess has historically been viewed as a false God/dess and therefore being a part of superstition or delusion, or with other supposed Gods being some sort of "other", i.e. demon, evil spirits, etc. Perhaps in the UU path there is more than enough room for Gods to have some kind of other role than these. I simply do not know and am not expert enough to comment on it. Perhaps their path has room for all Pagan Gods while still believing in one being the All That Is.

          • sarenth wrote:
            I'm not about to sit here and say that Pagans can't be monotheists either, but I have never heard of a modern-day Pagan monotheist.

            The only ones that come to mind are the Zoroastrians.

          • Zoroastrianism is not monotheistic, although some modern-day Zoroastrians do use that terminology, but for purely rhetorical reasons. All Zoroastrians revere multiple divine beings, who all come from the traditional pantheon that existed prior to Zoroaster.

            The leading scholar of Zoroastrianism in the English speaking world was Mary Boyce (who died in 2006). Boyce always emphasized the simple fact that Zoroastrians have always recognized and worshipped multiple Deities. For example, according to Boyce, King Darius (who reigned from 522 to 486 BC) would "call upon 'the other gods who are' and upon 'all the gods'" although Darius "only invoked Ahuramazda by name." Artaxerxes II, who reigned from 404 to 358 BC, however, invoked the divine triad Ahuramazda, Anahita and Mithra — each by name, and from that time on all three Ahuras, along with Verethraghna, the Yazata ("one worthy of veneration") of Victory "became the chief objects of popular devotion also." And as Boyce's choice of words implies, these four Deities were not the only "objects of popular devotion." [p. 56 of Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices]

            According to Boyce's A History of Zoroastrianism: The Early Period, the fact that Zoroaster himself venerated multiple divine beings "has the unwavering support of the whole Zoroastrian tradition down to the 19th century." [p. 202]

            However, the idea that Zoroaster was a strict monotheist was concocted by western scholars in the 19th century, and Zoroastrians in India (at the time a British colony), seized upon this idea, which they saw as providing, according to Boyce, "a swift and radical solution to a problem that had been tormenting them, namely how to reconcile the elaborate doctrines and usages of their venerable faith with 19th century scientific thought, and to maintain its dignity against the assaults of Protestant Christian missionaries. They gave ardent support to the idea thus presented to them that Zoroaster had not been a dualist — a doctrinal position abhorrent to the proselytizing Christians — but had taught a very simple faith, free from all ritualism and subtleties of dogma. Hence to become his true disciples they had only to reform the existing religion on this basis, making it once more a creed to which any thinking man who was not an atheist could readily adhere." [from the Forward to "A History of Zoroastrianism: The Early Period"]

          • Out of curiosity, what do you do that allows you the time to do this much research, and so quickly?

          • I did that research quite a while ago. All I had to do was cut and paste it from an old blog entry: http://egregores.blogspot.com/2009/11/in-honor-of

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            There is no one mandatory theology in UUism. That's it's unique feature among churches. If you're UU-curious the UUA website can give you the UU church nearest you and you can check it out in person. We don't bite.

          • sarenth

            I've meant to visit a local UU church for awhile now. I think it's more than time for me to. ^_^ Thanks Baruch.

  • So many things about this piss me off. Why aren't certain religious organizations held to the same standard as terrorist organizations if they actively fund Human Rights Violations–and I'm not talking about the soft violations, REAL Human Rights Violations where money is given to hunt down gays or kill 'witch-children'.

    As a Hawaiian I'm severely pissed that they were in Hawaii for their 'conference'. If you're from Hawaii you'll notice the people in the audience aren't even local or Hawaiian, they're American transplants. You know, I wasn't happy at first that civil unions passed because it would bring more Americans–but now I'm happy because it'll bring an influx of LGBT Americans and (hopefully) cause an exodus of these hate-mongers.

    Pagans, I implore you to NOT look at this as 'just another hate group', look at this as a BIG reason to get off your behind and get active in your community. Time, money, & structure is what makes groups like these capable of the atrocities they get away with.

    Don't want to be their next victim? Make the Time. Spend your Money responsibly. Build the Infrastructure necessary, and make us ALL stronger.

    • I agree, too many Christian and Muslim organizations get a pass for their actions in funding murder, hate, and terror, simply because they are "People of the Book."

      • Crystal7431

        It's because they have money and political influence. You don't bite the hand that feeds you and you don't piss off the lobby that finances your political campaigning.

    • Kevin Norwood

      I agree with you 100% here Pagans need to unite & come togehter for these very reason, Sadly for one reason or another it has been my experence some some 15 winters plus that Pagan's still tend to hide at home & the internet. Untill Pagans decide to get off thier collecttive butts this will not stop.

  • J T Morgan

    These people can hardly be Christians as they are not following the teachings of their "Lord" Jesus. They can be refuted using his teachings known to them as the "Two Commandments" & "The Sermon on The Mount" [aka "The Beatitudes"] all of which are available for Publick Consumption &/or Debate in the 4 Gospels of their New Testament. In Britain it is a Criminal Offence to incite Religious or Racial Hatred. Surely, in the USA there is some sort of equivalent law? In "Common Law" which we share with you, it is an Offence to "behave in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace" ; this is a Charge which could be levied against both the Organisers of this Conference & the Speakers.

    • sarenth

      You need to look no further than the recent Supreme Court decision that protects the demonstrations of the Phelps family to see we don't prosecute for this kind of thing.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      As Sarenth says, JT, we put a lot more reliance on people's ability to hear extreme appeals and keep the peace. You may have heard of "hate crimes" here in the USA but generally those offenses must start with an action that would be a crime in and of itself — assault, eg — with a manifested component of hatred across certain divides in our society. The charge can be upped to a hate crime with that element. This is not thought policing; it goes to motivation, which already makes the difference between manslaughter and murder elsewhere in the law. We talk about "hate speech" as in this instance but that is not the same as "hate crime." (Yes, we are confusing.)

    • Crystal7431

      No, we don't have an equivalent J T. Whenever anyone mentions the good sense in this, people scream, "Snowball effect!" and so we let any nutter say what ever effluvia comes into his/her unsound mind. The result is political pundits like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck and "religious groups" that can spew any and all hate rhetoric they please with impunity.

  • Why is there a problem with Harvard "hosting" this group? A university campus should be an oasis of free expression. Let one hundred flowers bloom, as the ancient Chinese proverb says, and let one hundred schools of thought contend. If I dislike some school of thought, then I have every right to voice my disagreement. But everyone needs to be free to speak their mind.

    Also, the Crimson article is obviously encouraging people to disrupt this religious meeting. Imagine if the Crimson ran an article about a Pagan conference on campus that ended with the words:

    "we urge members of the campus community who are concerned by the spread of Paganism to attend the conference and exercise your right to let these devil worshippers know what you think of them."

    • sarenth

      There is a wealth of difference between hosting your average Pagan group and hosting these 3rd-Wave Neopentecostals, given their ties to anti-witchcraft and anti-gay violence. Their voices, more often than not, have called for bloodshed in these countries. I deeply disagree with their methods of conversion, their overall theology, and stance on most any issue. That said, if they cannot rely on having our right to speech protected, can anyone?

    • Hey Ap'

      I think the issue here is not the free expression of ideas but rather, "Where does Harvard stand?"
      Like a public company that donates money to an anti-gay group without the consent of it's shareholders,
      Harvard is sending the message that it supports the viewpoint of 3rd Wave. So the question then becomes
      do we (as literati, left-wingers, whatever…) continue to view Harvard as a bastion of excellence or
      do we consign it to the ranks of colleges like Trinity Baptist?

    • The issue is whether freedom of speech extends to encouraging violence against others. If they want to have a conference about what a nice guy Jesus is, and how one can look at that in thinking of how to be a nicer guy, then no harm done. If they want to say that gays are possessed by demons and are formenting a conspiracy to destroy marriage, America and all that is decent and right… well, maybe that is their opinion. But I can tell you that there are people who will take that message as validation, as encouragement to act, and that will put gays, and those believed to be gay, in physical danger. Have you ever been chased by guys with baseball bats saying "Get the fag! Get him!"?


      • Caliban: "The issue is whether freedom of speech extends to encouraging violence against others."

        Well, then Harvard should ban all Catholic groups from campus, as well as any group with ties to either the Democratic or Republican parties.

        The Catholic Church not only promotes homophobia (and it will take several centuries for the third wavers to catch up with them on that score), but the Church is directly culpable in the spread of AIDS.

        • Way to miss the point.

          There is a world of difference in the message of the Catholic Church (an institution for which I have no great fondness) and these sorts of neo-conservative, charismatic, pentecostal groups, and I think you know that.

          Second, I have been an AIDS activist and safer-sex educator since 1986, and I am quite aware of the Church's position on this issue, which has generally been unsatisfactory. But perhaps you missed the news last year that the Vatican has in fact gone on record as saying that while it still believes contraception to be sinful, it also believes that the use of condoms is to be preferred in some cases, for the sake of reducing the transmission of disease.

          True, it took them 30 years to reach that conclusion, but for the Vatican that is one hell of a position paper. Also proof that as monolithically slowly as it may respond, the Church really does hear and consider outside evidence.

          Now, do you want to reply to the substance of my post, which addresses your question as to why this group's message isn't deserving of protection as free speech

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Apuleius did not miss the point. He's way too smart for that. He refuses to engage the point, and covers his refusal by burying it in a red herring. There is no way you will get him to engage the point if he doesn't want to; being extraordinarily well read (even for this crowd) he has an indefinite supply of red herrings.

          • As far as "engaging the point" goes, the point is freedom of expression on college campuses. This is a subject I know something about, since back in my campus radical days I helped organize speaking engagements for a number of dangerous subversive types like Bernadette Devlin, Dennis Brutus, Hugo Blanco, and Tsietsi Mashinini.

    • (continued)

      We may have gotten to a point in this country where it is no longer acceptable to lynch blacks, but I am telling you if you do not know it that in today's climate gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered persons, as well as those even perceived as such, are still very much targets – and seen as valid targets because of groups like this, preaching that it is the work of the Lord to end the homosexual menace at any cost.

      THAT is the issue. Not open debate. Not free dialog. Not opinion. Hate. Hate that kills, and justifies killing. And no, that is not okay.

  • Stef

    I am very disappointed in Harvard for allowing this event to take place…but since it apparently will, my hope is that the Harvard community will ensure that the truth gets told about this organization and its cruel and hateful activities.

    BTW, I am Jewish – an "Abrahamic monotheist." I come from Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist roots. (Not a bad background for a magickian, eh? 😉 ) The NAR and similar organizations are not/not representative of Christianity. Their beliefs and practices are antithetical to the teachings and example of Christ, and I'm wondering whether any organized Christian body has ever called them heretical…

  • Singing Sparrow

    I wonder if this is going on at Harvard because someone has noticed that this type of Christianity is big in Tea Party circles. I am not saying that all Tea Party folk are part of this type of Christianity and I do believe that many in progressive circles might be surprised to discover how prominent this religious understanding is in certain conservative circles.

    • Actually, most Tea Party "members" aren't all that religious. Disregarding Sarah Palin, and her ties to this group. Sure, Christian groups are trying to Hijack the Tea Party like they did the Republicans back in the 70s and 80s, but so far they haven't gained complete control of it yet. My advice: Join the tea party and make this new thing more towards our liking, rather than let the Christians have it.

      • Pagan Puff Pieces

        Isn't that a bit like marrying a man to change him, or sticking with a religion to change it?

        • It's worked well for other groups before. Heck, it's what happened to the Republicans. Initially, it was the Democrats who were the bible thumping racists. Then, because of various reasons (including the strong influence Christianity had on the Democratic party) it went "Left" and arguably more "socialist" (since socialism is very strongly based on Christian Ideals) and the "Bible thumpers" decided they needed another party and hijacked the republicans back in the the 60's and 70's.

  • chuck_cosimano

    Amazing how much people love censorship, isn't it?

    Of course if the UN were damned fool stupid enough to try to take any action against a group in the US for exercising it's rights, you know how long the UN would last as far as US participation in it. This Congress would pull the plug so fast no one would know what hit it. And besides, if their Christian death magick works, the folks in the UN trying it would probably not be around very long anyway.

  • Generational curses = Christianity

  • Maponos

    I guess where I come down on this is that yes, they have a right to free speech, and by the way I was disappointed with the Supreme court dicision on the protesters, of this type at military funerals, but I believe that they(the third wave people) must be feeling pretty smug and clever because they were able to get Harvard to give them a paltform form for their propaganda, because that is what it is.

    That is the scary part to me, because people who not educated as to the realities of Paganism, Witchcraft Wicca etc..are going to eat this stuff up and perpetuate the lies and the vehemence that these people promote. That does nothing to move the discussion foward in our favor.

    While we know that what they are saying is not true about us, again it is the people that are just looking for more amunition to hate us is where the point of view these people promote can be dangerous.

    Just the fact that it is being hosted by Harvard gives it an air of legitimacy whether we like or not or whether it is there intention or not.

  • Not going to ever be able to cure ignorance without having our people addressing these issues we need to be on the same panels as these folks so we can show this ignorant propaganda of hatred is totally untrue. We need to use media pressure if nessasary to get on these panels we can only prove these lies by showing people just how " normal" we are.

    • "We need to use media pressure if nessasary to get on these panels we can only prove these lies by showing people just how " normal" we are. "

      Good luck with getting a group of Pagans (or indeed ANYONE) to agree what exactly "normal" is. If I'm not getting side eyed for being black, then I'm getting it because I dare to show at an event in Chanel. Neither are the "norm" for some folks but are for others.

      As for media pressure, Gods no. I'm all for educating people who WANT to be educated but I've found when you bring the media into things it just goes bass ackwards.

  • "Right here, a quarter mile away, in Miner park… I, have been sed… sucked… twice. I've been solicited for gay sex, when I was there, spending time with Jesus…"
    Did Lou Engle have more fun in that park than he wanted to admit to?

  • Alex Pendragon

    One goes out at night to a park to "spend time with Jesus"? Really? If it were common knowledge that Jesus was strolling around parks at night you can bet your bippy there'd be film crews out there three deep! It's the year (of our Lord, they call it of all things) 2011 and the average human IQ has plummeted, not gone up as we would have taken for granted 40 odd years ago when Popular Science Magazine was showing us depiction's of bases on the moon, every family with their own helicopter in the garage and world hunger and war a long forgotten memory. Instead, families murder their own children based on the word of for-profit preachers. Tell me again why this species is not classified as an "animal"? Oh, I know why…..we don't act like animals. An animal would be embarrassed to be caught behaving the way we do.

    • The helicopters are a sore point for a lot of us.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        damn straight

      • Forget helicopters. Where's my frakkin' hovercraft?!

  • Pat Swanberg

    My mouth is hanging open, not even believing what I am reading. These people call themselves, Christians?

  • Ave, (1 of 2)
    We, the neo/Pagans are the ones who are failing. If we can not convince them that (U.S.) First Ammendment rights apply equally to us AND them, it is -our- fault for not getting through to them. What is common is to back away slowly from the neurotic, instead of bring in back-up to even the (educated) odds in our favor. Backing away slowly breaks off the communication, which should not be the goal.

  • Cont… (2:2)
    If we use "umm", a swear word, yell, increase volume or speeking speed, fidget, break eye-contact, attack physically, insult… we loose. A hoodlum fighter and a pub bouncer know the same things. But their body language is different, their intent is different. The fighter and the police may both have weapons, but we are safer around the police. Why? A drunk and a therapist both reletively(sp?) speak the same way, but only one is effectively communicating. Why is it effective? How are they communicating? What are the differences in body language? Rhetoric, Speech & Debate!

    This is our duty, this is what we lack. How we defend ourselves is intellectually to prevent Salem 2. The better we are at words, the less our future generations suffer.
    *With all the tea parties going on, do -we- need a Cauldron Party? ;-p*
    -Mr. Rudolph

  • Andras Corban-Arthen

    I'm concerned that many of the responses I've seen regarding this event seem overly reactive and lacking perspective. Speaking as someone who spent seven years of my life there, there are a lot of negative and unflattering things that could be said about Harvard (IMO, its ballyhooed reputation as the pinnacle of American higher education is vastly overstated, and, if anything, the disillusionment I experienced there helped to "cure me" of any notions I might have had of becoming an academic), but one of them is not that it supports extremist right-wing Christian groups.

    From reading the various websites and articles, it appears that the conference in question is being sponsored by the Harvard Extension Service & Leadership Society, which is nothing more than a _student club_ within the Harvard Extension School. The Extension School itself has long had the reputation of being "the poor people's Harvard" — in other words, it's Harvard's version of the "evening school," where low(er)-cost courses are made available to pretty much anyone who wants to take them — typically middle-class working people who might not have the money and/or grades to be accepted as regular students, but who are then able, over the span of many years, to earn enough credits piecemeal to qualify for a prestigious Harvard degree. (FWIW, I taught a semester-long class on paganism through the Extension School over thirty years ago.)

    In other words, the connection between this conference and the university appears to be as far-removed and tenuous as one could possibly get while still justifiably invoking the name of "Harvard" in the advertisements. If I were to speculate, I would guess that the leadership of the New Apostolic Reformation (a very small & inconsequential movement on the Christian fringe) figured out a way to orchestrate this event — a relatively easy thing to do — as a means to generate publicity for themselves & maybe build up some creds with more powerful right-wing Christian groups by doing their version of "speaking truth to power." I can't imagine that the Harvard administration would condone this, but there's probably not much it can do without coming across as squelching freedom of speech and student initiative on campus.

    It's understandable that pagans (among many others) would be upset about this conference, and want to bring attention to it and perhaps demonstrate against it. We should be mindful, however, that in so doing, it's very easy to play precisely into the hands of the conference organizers, helping them to gain far more publicity than they might otherwise have gotten, and endowing them with some of the credibility they seek by accusing Harvard of supporting them.