Pagan Community Notes: Dennis Presser, SJ Tucker, Fox News Responses, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 21, 2013 — 8 Comments

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!

In Memoriam: Dennis Presser (1958-2013): Circle Sanctuary has announced that longtime Circle and Pagan Spirit Gathering community member Dennis Presser passed away last week from natural causes. In a memorial posted to their site, Circle Sanctuary said of Presser that they “honor his Nature-loving spirit, his devotion to sacred Rhythm, and the friendships he made so easily and widely.  What is remembered lives.”

Dennis Presser in 2009.

Dennis Presser in 2009.

“Thank you, Dennis, for friendship over the years.  Thanks for your environmental education and preservation work, your community drumming and celebrations, and for your wisdom, humor, and support.  Condolences, love and support to Laurie, Hunter, and Allegra, and to all of us mourning his death.  May we take comfort in knowing that this world is a better and greener place because of Dennis.”Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary

Friends and acquaintances are encouraged to post their own memorial remembrance at the Circle Sanctuary site. You can read his official obituary, here. You can read an editorial from PNC-Minnesota, here. What is remembered, lives.

S.J. Tucker Readies New Album: Singer-songwriter (and Pagan) S.J. Tucker has announced that she’ll be digitally releasing an album of new material on March 5th, with physical copies to follow. The songs were developed for the soundtrack of “micro-budget” fantasy/action film “Ember Days,” also being released on March 5th.

S.J. Tucker

S.J. Tucker

“I got you all a Valentine’s Day present.  It’s still cooking, but it’s on its way to being fully formed and tasty.  I have been a good little songwriter/producer this month.  Early in February, I went to work in my Pixie House and finished up the first project of this year.  Last week, on St. Valentine’s Day, I put that project into the hands of my mastering engineer, Mr. Mark Yoshida.  He’s working on it now.  When I get it back from him, and when Mr. Wiley and I settle on the album design, it will all go to printing and replication.  When that’s done, I’ll have it in my hands…and soon after that, I hope, so will you!”

According to Tucker this material will be a departure from her normal style, mining “goth/industrial or dubstep-influenced” sounds. Once released, you’ll be able to buy the album on the music page of her website. In the meantime, you can catch S.J. Tucker performing this weekend with Tricky Pixie at FaerieCon West in Seattle.

More Pagan Responses to Fox News Wicca Comments: The Pagan community is still responding to insulting comments made about Wicca on the Fox News channel by Tucker Carlson and others. While Carlson has issued an apology on Twitter and on FishbowlDC, many are still urging an on-air apology from the network itself. In a statement released this past Wednesday, the Clergy of Come As You Are Coven, an Interfaith Pagan community in Northern California, requested “that this issue be addressed by Fox News Network via an immediate, prominent, on-air apology.”

Lady Yeshe Rabbit. Photo: Greg Harder.

Lady Yeshe Rabbit of CAYA Coven. Photo: Greg Harder.

“We request that this issue be addressed by Fox News Network via an immediate, prominent, on-air apology; significant on-air retraction of specific comments with factual corrections; visible dialogue with practicing Wiccans and Pagans conducted in a respectful manner; and appropriate commitment by the Network to providing the individuals responsible with a mandatory professional course of diversity training in religious and sex/gender sensitivity.”

In addition, prominent Salem, Massachusetts Witches Laurie Cabot, Lorelei, Christian Day and Leanne Marrama issued a press release this past Tuesday on the matter. Day, who owns the Salem shops “Hex” and “Omen” said that “America is a bubbling cauldron of different peoples and faiths and it is to our credit that our nation goes out of its way to respect those days that are sacred to us. Witches believe in respect for all faiths and Carlson’s divisive rhetoric is out of step with American values.” Whether these, and other efforts, results in an on-air apology from Fox remains to be seen.

In Other Pagan Community News:

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Of course the Fox apologies to date are inadequate, but they still tell us something:
    Without a doubt, people with genuine hostility to Pagans — not just mockery — are part of Fox’s viewing constituency. Upon seeing serious backblow to its off-handed bigotry, Fox (consciously or not) is sending a message to those folks: We’re not going down that path with you.

  • Charles Cosimano

    I long for the days of Mike Royko, who when someone demanded an apology simply hit harder.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      There is something to be said for those who stand by their principles, no matter how unpopular. That, at least, can be respected.

      • I don’t think it’s sticking to one’s principles. I think it’s being simply too ignorant to know that they’ve done anything wrong.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          What if it was the other way round, or if it was a less ignorant attack?

        • I’d just really love to see Fox as a whole go belly up. They have nothing of value to add to our society. I doubt whatever we have to say to those employed by that network will have any effect on them. They are made up of some of the most pompous and priveleged people the U.S. has to offer. Asking for an apology and a bit of self-reflection from them is like asking a pig to observe clean hygiene. It just ain’t gonna happen.

  • Kenneth

    I question the wisdom of pressing so hard for an apology. It plays into their game, which is the game of all bullies – to get a rise out of someone. Fox has no sense of action in good faith, or accountability or ethics.

    Any apology we press out of them is going to be insincere, to the core. It will always be some variation of “I’m sorry you were offended” or an apology offered with an eye roll on camera. It’s a lot like turning out to protest Westboro Baptist. It feeds their ego and elevates their profile. I can see raising the initial response to let the public know it’s not ok by us and not an accurate reflection of us.

    Beyond that, I think it spins our wheels and serves their agenda. The further we press it, the more they’re going to laugh, and probably continue the game with more digs at us. We have zero financial leverage over them. The hardcore Fox viewer has no sympathy for us. The public at large does, to a degree, but that’s good for one news cycle at best.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      So we ignore them and hope they get bored of it?

      The protest is less about getting an apology and more about showing the wider public that such acts are unacceptable and that there are those who will oppose it. (Well, that is how I see it, anyway.)