Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 16, 2013 — 59 Comments

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

  • Nathaniel Rich at the New York Review of Books looks at the story of the West Memphis Three through Damien Echols’ book “Life After Death,” the “Paradise Lost” documentary series, and the feature documentary “West of Memphis.” Quote: “Investigators asked Jerry Driver, a local juvenile officer and self-described “guru” of the occult, to compile a list of local kids involved in cult-related activities. At the top of Driver’s list was Damien Echols, an eighteen-year-old high school dropout who had been hospitalized for depression. [...] In his closing statement, district attorney John Fogleman pointed at Echols and said, “There’s not a soul in there.” That argument carried the day.” As always, the story remains a cautionary tale of how a moral panic over “cults” can send innocent children to jail. 
  • Santero Jorge Badillo has filed a complaint against several officials in Monmouth County, New Jersey for civil rights violations after police searched his home (fruitlessly) for a gun belonging to his brother, went through his sacred items, and filed a complaint with the SPCA who proceeded to flood the man with citations with little evidence of wrong-doing. Quote: “Badillo claims Amato issued the tickets without any evidence that any of the animals had been abused. ‘To sacrifice a sick or maltreated animal to the Orishas or to perform the sacrifice in a way that causes the animal to suffer is prohibited in Santeria as this would be an insult to the Orishas,’ Badillo says. Amato then contacted the Asbury Park Press, a local newspaper, and told it about the summons he had issued to Badillo. The Asbury Park Press published an article, in print and online, and included Badillo’s address, he says in the complaint. As a result, Badillo claims, his home and car have been vandalized and he and his family have been threatened.” Badillo claims the accusations ruined his family’s attempt to adopt children, violated their civil rights, and endangered his family. 
  • The latest edition of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions is out and features an article on Heathenry and two on Otherkin/Therianthropy. At his blog, Pagan scholar Chas Clifton examines the Otherkin articles, noting that both heavily rely on Lupa’s “A Field Guide to Otherkin.” Quote: “To Laycock, Otherkin are perhaps best described as an ” ‘audience cult,’ a movement that supports novel beliefs and practices but without a discernible organization. [...] Robertson spends more time explaining the concept of Therianthropes’ self-descriptions of “awakening” to their dual natures…”
Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews

Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

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  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    New Pope, eh:

    “He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil. When we don’t
    proclaim Jesus Christ, we proclaim the worldliness of the devil, the
    worldliness of the demon.” -Pope Frankie
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl

    When the head of one of the largest single religious denominations on the planet says this, what is an appropriate response?

    Bearing in mind that most responses should be through established
    interfaith organisations who may be more concerned about alienating
    Catholics than Pagans.

    I have a message for Frankie:
    “Fuck off and die.”

    Yeah, I’ve had enough of this Catholic ‘great commission’ bullshit.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    John Morehead speaks of his “work on behalf of Pagans and other minority religions”. Dafuq? He is a missionary committed to the eradication of Paganism, no matter how smoothly he delivers his message. He is proud to be a part of the missionary tradition that is responsible for cultural genocide against Africans, Native Americans, and the peoples of Oceania.

    Any “dialogue” between Pagans and Christians should look to examples like South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” Commission, and similar efforts. The difference being that the injustices committed by the Apartheid state are infinitesimal compared to the historical crimes committed by Christianity against Pagans and all other religions they have encountered (not to mention the savage way that Christians have historically dealt with one another).

    • Charles Cosimano

      And do you honestly think the Christians would sit still for that idea?

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Mostly? Yes.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        That raises an interesting question: why did the former henchmen of the Apartheid state sit still for such a thing? Because they no longer had the power to prevent it, that’s why. Christians, unfortunately, still have tremendous power and influence in modern western societies, although they can no longer imprison, torture and murder their enemies at will, they still have more than enough power to “control the conversation” so that no such thing will happen on any large scale. But as a model and/or thought experiment I think the idea is quite useful.

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.w.morehead John W. Morehead

      Unfortunately, you continue to perpetuate the worst kind of misrepresentations, stereotypes, and prejudice toward me and my religious convictions. If you read my guest essay at Sermons form the Mound you will note that I had your work in mind as an example of extreme Pagan fundamentalism which parallels Evangelical counter-cult apologetic work, and which has rightly draw criticism and concern from Pagans and those in minority religions portrayed as “cults.” I have articulated in a recent Pagan-Christian podcast, and in the interview at the Alternative Religion Educational Network, a middle-way approach wherein my commitments to sharing the message of Jesus can be balanced by the concerns of my Pagan dialogue partners about evangelism and conversion, and thus genuine dialogue is possible, and my efforts do not function as a misleading means to the end of conversion. I also recognize that many people will retain the religious commitments of their choice and not decide to embrace the pathway of Jesus, so I am committed to a pluralistic and multi-faith public square where Pagans and members of other minority religions can have a voice and the freedom to practice their religious pathways.

      Yes, Christianity does have an unfortunate history of colonialism, genocide, and the destruction of cultures. I stand against these things and note that not all of Christianity has done this, and that it is not in keeping with the teachings and ethics of Jesus. Therefore, Christianity as a whole cannot be indicted, or every Christian either, simply because of the abuses of some Christians in history. your use of this is an unfortunate ad hominem meant to further prejudice my religious pathway among Pagans as a means of blocking the positive relationships and dialogue now going on.

      With all due respect, your approach is part of the problem of Pagans and Christians in the past as well as the present, and my essay at Sermons from the Mound was aimed at those in your community who are more open minded, fair, and willing to move beyond the combativeness of the past to work together in a better way forward. You will likely continue your boundary maintenance and counter-Evangelical apologetic efforts, but my hope is that other Pagans will find this just as distasteful as I do and seek something more beneficial for us all. Thanks for the comment and the opportunity to post a counter-point.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        With respect to your individual stance, can you say that the ‘party line’ of any mainstream, ‘major’ Christian denomination has given up the Great Commission?

        After all, the new Pope has just stated (perhaps implicitly) that he would like to see the GC return as a major focus for the Catholic Church under his leadership.

        I am unaware if there is another Christian denomination larger than the (Roman) Catholic Church, but I feel fairly safe in saying that Anglicanism (the majority denomination in my own country) shares this view.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        The main thing that I noticed in your guest essay is the brazen way in which you are now attempting to insert yourself into disputes within Pagan community. It is my hope that you have seriously over-played your hand, but that remains to be seen.

        • http://www.facebook.com/john.w.morehead John W. Morehead

          I was asked by Christine Kraemer to expand on the issue of fundamentalism within the Pagan community and to make the connection as to its relevance or irrelevance as an ongoing discussion item. Thus, it was her call, and not a “brazen” method of intruding on Pagan matters. Once again you have assumed rather than given me the benefit of the doubt while carefully seeking clarification. This is not the way of a positive way forward.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            You have been harping on the “Pagan fundamentalism” theme for a while now John. You have taken it upon yourself, on your own initiative, to attempt to label anyone as a “fundamentalist” who questions the desirability of “dialogue” between Pagans and professional Christian missionaries. As I have in the past, I would strongly encourage Pagans to read what you and your missiological colleagues have written about your work with Pagans and other “new religious movements”. A good example is your 2000 article Tired of Treading Water, in which you state that it has been your “privilege to be a part of the evangelical ‘counter-cult’
            community for a number of years,” and you outline your vision for how to retool the “anti-cult” movement to make it more effective, by repackaging it in a way that will be more acceptable to those it targets for conversion. You make it absolutely clear in your conclusion of that article that your goal in “reaching out” to what you call “new religious movements” is nothing less than “that of completing the Great Commission
            to millions of adherents of New Religions.”

          • Northern_Light_27

            Mr. Morehead, I suspect you won’t like my comment, but I do hope you’ll read it. You are, in social-justice terms, setting yourself up as an ally. That, by itself, isn’t a bad thing. Feminism benefits from men who support women’s rights. LGBTQ communities benefit from straight people who tell other straight people that it’s not unnatural, evil, or unhealthy to be gay, or to be trans. POC communities benefit from white people who teach other white people about white privilege. So far, so good. But there’s this… thing… that crops up with allies, sometimes. Some people call it “cookie seeking”. What it boils down to is a seeming desire to be congratulated by the people over whom you have relative systemic privilege for the most basic of things; essentially, for not being an a-hole. Look at what you said in your essay: (1) “we have sought out the best representatives of Paganism and good source
            material, rather than relying upon problematic and alarmist material
            produced within Evangelicalism” (read: “we’re actually reading their stuff in their own words!”); (2) “view our Pagan contacts, not as monstrous “others,” but instead as fellow human beings”; and (3) “developed relationships with Pagans in the form of genuine friendships”. And you seem to behave as if this is wonderful and novel, this idea that Pagans are actual human beings whose writings have merit and who might be suitable friends. These things that, I have no doubt, you would regard as ABSOLUTE BASIC DECENT HUMAN BEHAVIOR in any other situation with anyone interacting with you, suddenly become congratulations-worthy when you’re extending them to us. (In other words, “I treated women like they were people! I treated Black people as not monstrous! Cookie please!”)

            You go on to say “I have also taken the additional step of countering misinformation and the misrepresentation of Paganism, both within Evangelicalism as well as outside of it in the secular media”, which floored me. The “additional step”? This makes it sound like you find this less important and less useful than the basic idea that Pagans are people and should be treated as such. *Then*, you write an essay exploring Pagan *internal* problems, with a lot of cluck-clucking at people who’ve written you less-than-glowing comments on one internet site. And you seem to have no idea whatsoever why people would do that, and chalk it up to ‘welp, that one guy is a fundamentalist Pagan totally obsessed with boundary maintenance’. Because it can’t possibly be something *you* did.

            Mr. Morehead, I’ve read a lot of social justice-related blogs and I’ve been a feminist for a long time, and I’ve seen a bazillion people like you. Men, for instance, for whom the important thing is that they reach down their hand in “open and respectful dialogue” with women, wherein they make a big deal of their willingness to treat women like people and be seen doing so, who then go on to become a Big Deal on feminist blogs, eventually intervening in intramovement issues. Who also make a Big Deal of the fact that this gets them criticism from other men, as you make a point of saying how this gets you labeled as a collaborator by other evangelicals. And yet… who, other than all the bloggy Dialogue-with-a-capital-D, don’t *do* that much to actually help the people for whom they want to be seen as allies. It’s telling to me that the one thing that’s actually *doing something* to help Pagans, the one place where your privilege actually helps us, is something you count as an “additional step”. The one thing any privileged ally can do that people who don’t have their privilege cannot do is to be an advocate with people whose hearts and minds are closed to us. (cont’d)

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Lights, your mini-essay here strikes a cord with me. I’ve been a white, then a male, and later a straight ally for more than five decades, and had the good fortune to have the cookies knocked out of my hand in 1968 during the Black Empowerment crisis in Unitarian Universalism. John, I hope you take Light’s words as being offered without malice and as an appropriate frame for Apuleius’s remarks and your response. I particularly hope you quit trying to drive a wedge between Apuleius and others on this blog; it smacks of whites who wanted to distinguish the good Negroes from the bad n*****s in the Sixties.

          • Northern_Light_27

            Thanks, Baruch! Didn’t mean for it to get so long, there were just so many specific things I saw in his essays that I wanted to touch on; I had such a strong sense of deja vu while I was reading his stuff (and “huh, guess he’s aiming to be the Tim Wise of Paganism?”). And yes, my words are definitely offered without malice. With a fair amount of frustration, but without malice.

          • Northern_Light_27

            (rest) IMO, if you actually want to be a good ally to people of minority religions, I suggest you talk less to us (and listen more) and talk a lot more to other Evangelicals. When you talk to us, ask what you can do to help, then do it. Don’t blog about issues internal to the Pagan movement, they’re not your concern. No, I don’t care that someone asked you to. If you actually understood the privilege you have and the stumbling block it creates in the religious dialogue you want to have, you’d have done the right thing and said “no, I don’t think that’s an appropriate thing for me to do”.

            Don’t throw the tone argument at Pagans who distrust you. Don’t minimize the issues of the present by consigning the bad acts of Christians to “history”, and don’t tell people who bring these things up that they’re using an “ad hominem attack” and that you’re not like that. People are being abused by Christians in the name of Christianity today. Cultures are being actively destroyed by missionary activity today. People are in genuine fear of their own bodily well-being because of Christian involvement in politics today. LGBTQ children are being exposed to religious rituals, “therapy”, and live-in institutions (both short term and long) against their consent today. Not “in history”, now. These are things you do not, have not, and never will have to fear. Yes, I can understand that you, personally, do not do these things and do not condone these things. Yes, it’s frustrating for you that, when talking to us, you bear their weight. But compared to the privilege that society has given you for being a Christian, it’s a small thing to deal with. That it upsets you is fine. That you’re upset with the Pagans who don’t trust you and not *the people in your own religion who have done things and continue to do things that engender this distrust* is not fine, and it doesn’t speak well of you.

            Finally, about this whole conversion thing– no, I really don’t care whether you have an “end goal” of converting us or not. I do care that you won’t allow yourself to put it aside temporarily, that you disparage interfaith work because it requires you to let go of something you consider essential to your religion. It occurs to me that you don’t appear all that interested in *why* it requires this– because you can’t actually meet another person as an equal if you’re also seeing them as an object. Everything I’ve seen of you says that you like the idea of being seen as Tolerant and you like the positive attention and intellectual discussion it gets you, but you don’t really understand your privilege, won’t stop making false equivalences, and you have no interest in actually giving it up to live in a truly pluralistic society where no one has that level of systemic advantage. I think that’s unfortunate, and hope that at some point another Evangelical will come along to set a better example.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        John, by now you should know be as a supporter of interfaith dialogue. (I have to be; I’m a Unitarian Universalist Pagan.) Yet I do not find Apuleius’s comments distasteful. Since you have openly written of dialogue with Pagans as a means to convert Pagans, you have no real rebuttal if Apuleius brings it up again, directly or indirectly.
        I take lessons from the Sixties, when I was in my twenties. A movement out to make changes needs both purists who keep the heart of the movement beating and folks willing to sit down with the other side and negotiate. Over time I played both roles. I see this in much the same light.

      • Malaz

        Ha! AP…did he really just call you an extreme Pagan fundamentalist? OMGDDSS…that’s hilarious.
        Mr. Morehead,
        I think I can safely speak for all Pagans when I say…
        We’ll be glad to have an open dialogue with Christians…if…you remove the following lines from your holy text:
        Deuteronomy 18:10
        2 Kings 9:22
        2 Chronicles 33:6
        Micah 5:12
        Nahum 3:4
        Galatians 5:20
        1 Samuel 15:23
        All of these not withstanding…the most indicative verse in the entire bible RE: how Christians “dialogue” with Pagans is:
        Exodus 22:18

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          I think I can safely speak for all Pagans
          No, you can’t.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            No one can.

          • Malaz

            It’s poetry gyz…just poetry…relax once, will you?

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            This is me relaxed. ;)

          • Cat C-B

            Word.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          I feel someone should mention that the accepted translation for Exodus 22:18 is more correctly ‘poisoner’, not ‘witch’ or ‘sorceress’.

          That the majority of Christianity refuses to acknowledge this says plenty, in my opinion.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Actually there is a great deal of ambiguity even in a “literal” translation of Exodus 22:18. It must be kept in mind that this comes from a time when there was no distinction made between Alchemy and Chemistry – they were one and the same science. When Jewish scholars made their Greek translation of the scriptures, the Septuagint, they chose the Greek word φαρμακοὺς as the correct translation for the Hebrew מכשפה. In both cases a word that looks to the modern eye to be limited to the realm of chemistry is actually a word referring to mysterious and unknown (and, therefore, “magical”) powers. The same type of ambiguity is seen in the Anglo-Saxon word “lybblac”.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I am aware of this. I am merely stating many linguists seem to accept ‘poisoner’ as the more accurate translation.

          • Malaz

            AP: Maybe so but every translation you can find here:

            http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=sorcery&qs_version=NIV

            is with “witch”…and that’s a lot of translations from Old King James, New International to the “Easy To Read” translation…

            Essentially, I’m with Canada in “ruling” the Bible hate speech
            and I don’t see how any constructive dialogue can happen while these verses remain in their holy text.

      • GearoidMacConfhiaclaigh

        Listen mate, either you can evangelize us, or you can respect us.

        I’m not sure you can do both.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          Both is not possible.

          • GearoidMacConfhiaclaigh

            I don’t think so either, but I think I’m pretty far on the “fundamentalist” (in the I believe in the ancient practices and culture, the fundamentals, not the negative connotation radical way), so I feel like I shouldn’t speak for everyone.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            That’s the thing. If we both feel that way, then it is true.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Embracing ancient practices and customs doesn’t make you a fundamentalist. If you insisted that yours is the only way to be austhentically Pagan, that would.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Once upon a time, ‘Pagan’ was a pejorative term for anyone not Abrahamic.

            I don’t see why the term ‘fundamentalism’ can’t be reclaimed by those who cleave to the fundamentals of a religion.

            Pagan fundamentalism would be/is a very different thing to Christian fundamentalism.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            “Pagan” still is pejorative for anything irreligious, dissolute or morally shocking. At least it had a significant, vocal majority determined to reclaim it. Go ahead, and lots of luck. ;-)

          • GearoidMacConfhiaclaigh

            Yeah that would seem fairly ridiculous to me. Granted, I’d certainly like to pull a lot of fluffy pagans into a room and give them a lecture, but that’s about the extent of it.

            I like to tell people the wonderful thing about being a polytheist is I don’t need to disprove your God/s to prove mine. Way less stress.

      • Franklin Evans

        Northern Light speaks for me, and in much greater detail than I chose to make the effort to put into my post below. Mr. Morehead, I will also stand apart from some of my siblings in faith (I don’t mean those posting here, mostly) and offer you a certain benefit of doubt: You face a major effort of becoming acquainted with modern Paganism and Heathenry — a reminder that they are two distinct groups — and there are no shortcuts. I hope that you are not discouraged, that you do make the effort, because however much you and I (Christians and Pagans) will always disagree on some things, we still need to be neighbors and fellow citizens. That, sir, should be our focus, not trying to explain, redress or atone for past actions and events.
        I’ve not seen it posted here, you may have seen it elsewhere, but there must be a strong and constant voice heard in all of your interfaith conversations: The very large numbers of ex-Christians, not all of them Pagans but a very large number of Pagans nonetheless, who bear emotional and sometimes physical scars at the hands of parents and church leaders. That is the recent and ongoing face of Pagan distrust and hostility. I strongly suggest you get to know their stories in detail, not to reiterate the “not truly Christian” refrain, but simply to understand their motivations. The ones that I know personally are not looking for retribution or revenge, they want to prevent it from happening again.

    • Cat C-B

      ” …He is a professional Christian missionary committed to the eradication of Paganism…”

      And how do we know this? Because you say so. Often. So it must be true.

      • GearoidMacConfhiaclaigh

        Or you know, his own writings.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Cat, when John first appeared on TWH there was a link back to his site, and thereupon is a paper by him in which he specifically calls for dialogue with Pagans in the interest of evangelizing us intelligently, ie, without the pulpit-reflex demonology we know is BS. I pointed this out to him in this thead and he did not respond — ie, in no way ran his old statement back. So we know this because John has said so; Apuleius simple repeats it.

  • tp

    It’s not the first time Amato has done things like this: he brags about it on his martial arts school webpage.

    • Faoladh

      Here is the link to the webpage in question: http://www.amatosgojuryu.com/chief-amato.htm

      • GearoidMacConfhiaclaigh

        He does Goju-ryu? That’s depressing.

        I spent years taking Isshin-ryu, which is based in part on Goju-ryu, and my experience had generally been the more traditional martial arts styles are much better about promoting open-mindedness and giving you a multicultural lesson.

        Bragging like that though, is very much against the philosophy I was taught (and goju-ryu shares from what I know).

        • Faoladh

          I’ve found that there are some martial arts lineages which have taken the physical forms and disconnected them from their mental and spiritual components. The reasons vary, including those who only want to use the forms for sporting contests like MMA bouts as well as those who want to appropriate the methods to benefit their own spiritual practices, but don’t want to go to the trouble to find out about the martial traditions that were historically associated with those practices (not to mention the marketing value of Asian martial arts at this time).

          • GearoidMacConfhiaclaigh

            Yeah, I’ve nearly been in fights for telling people MMA is not karate. All the lessons are taken out, the very idea of it is counter to the premise I was taught, and many traditional schools do. You need to discard all the non-physical teachings and lessons and turn into a glory hog.

            Odd for an Okinawan style though. They traditionally aren’t the big “sells” so to speak.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Thank you for keeping us abreast of events like the Monmouth County case. White Pagans can’t let this kind law enforcement make a silent deal to primarily go after Paganisms of color while we don’t notice.

    • Guest

      Baruch, thank you for expressing solidartity with the ATRs.

      But I have to criticise the phrase, “White Pagans can’t let this kind law enforcement make a silent deal to primarily go after Paganisms of color.” It makes a lot of assumptions about who is Pagan, who gets to call whom Pagan, & race and ethnicity within our various religious communities.

      • Stacey Lawless

        That was me. I didn’t mean to post anonymously.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        I admit I make promiscuous use of “Pagan” as an umbrella term. It somewhat circularly refers to those to whom I feel I owe solidarity. “Paganisms of color” is merely a specification within that range. The alternative is a laundry list, from whom I inevitably will forgetfully omit someone.

        • Stacey Lawless

          Let me just lean on the obvious point here, which is that the term assumes that the ATRs are religions “of color.” And while it’s true that many, many participants in these religions are people ‘of color,’ many are not.

          Besides . . . I understand you may not have been referring solely to the ATRs, and I further understand the “laundry list” phenomenon, but “Paganisms of color” has a rather “othering” ring to it that I feel I have to remark on. I’m sure you don’t intend it to sound like that, but I hope you see what I mean.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I do indeed see what you mean, and acknowledge the lack of total accuracy in the term. Let’s not lose track of the point, that white Pagans need be mindful of a temptation to turn a blind eye to racist anti-Pagan law enforcement in tacit return for temporary peace.

          • Stacey Lawless

            Agreed, and thank you again for making that point upthread.

  • Cea Noyes

    Thanks for the link to the Book of Kells.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beverly.parker.986 Beverly Parker

    Thanks for the link to the article on Vodou. I found it very enlightening.

  • Franklin Evans

    I actively (some of them might say aggressively) engage Christians on theology and how the Christian hegemony of the last several centuries has treated non-believers as both groups and individuals. The destructive (as opposed to demonstrating open-mindedness) end of many (the vast majority) of those engagements hits the brick wall of the great commission and two quotes from the New Testament: John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (King James); and John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (King James, often extended 44-47).

    My logical stance is that American pluralism as protected in the Bill of Rights. Theirs is too often a failure to see that while their closely-held beliefs motivate them, they are not given the right — no law we have defines an absolute right — to wield their beliefs as a cudgel.

    All that said — I offer a default admiration for people like Mr. Morehead stepping up
    and offering a sincerely expressed sharing of our common ground — no Christian gets a free ticket. At some point, the notion that only Jesus is the one true way and its explicit conclusion that all other ways are false — not personally caring that they might stop short of citing Satan — is the fatal obstacle to earning the trust of Pagans. I ask them quite seriously why some countries ban missionaries and arrest them (and torture or kill them). There can be no logical escape from the fact that this core Christian belief is a threat, a direct threat, demonstrated by centuries of aggression and the destructive consequences of missionary work in Africa and the Americas. They can call such instances persecution all they like. It will continue to fall on incredulous ears.

    The American secular morality gives them an out, all they have to do is honor it. They are required to acknowledge that the Bill of Rights protects everyone, or it protects no one. They don’t have to deny their belief. They just have to employ some impulse control.

  • http://twitter.com/thelettuceman Marc

    Am I alone in my inability to read the article on Heathenry without paying for it, despite being an active member of an institution with a JSTOR account?

    • http://www.forgingthesampo.com/ Kauko

      I had trouble accessing it yesterday (not as a member of an organization with access, I paid to read it), then I switched to a different browser (was on Chrome, and switched to Firefox) and I had access to it just fine.

    • Chas S. Clifton

      If you have access through your institution, talk to one of that institution’s librarians. There should be a way for you to get the article.

  • Chas S. Clifton

    Actually, the articles were from two different issues of Nova Religio, 2012 and 2013. No editor would schedule *two* articles Otherkin/Therianthropes in one issue!

    • Faoladh

      At least, not without billing it as a “Special Otherkin/Therianthrope Issue!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=645480792 Emily Jacques

    I’m not sure this is a direct follow-up to the Vic Toews prison religious rights story, but I believe it clarifies Vic Toew’s stance on religious rights in a troubling way. Not only is he removing funding from prison chaplains, he is taking a stance for protecting Christian “religious rights” in Manitoba schools over protecting kids from homophobic bullying. Today the Globe and Mail had a story about a town in Manitoba, Steinbach, where a lone queer kid is supporting an provincial anti-bullying bill that Vic Toews, the local church officials and the local MLA (provincial politician) are speaking out against. Here is a quote from the article that sums up the situation:

    “The backlash is most acute in Steinbach, a small city of about 13,500 people southeast of Winnipeg. It’s there that the local MP – cabinet minister Vic Toews – has joined the local MLA and religious leaders in speaking out against Bill 18. And it’s Evan’s home. The 16-year-old is trying to start a GSA at the public Steinbach Regional Secondary School, where he’s the only student who has come out as gay. He’s become the face of Bill 18 in the city where it’s most strongly opposed. And it’s not easy. During Evan’s interviews, with cameras rolling, other students shout slurs at him. He shrugs it off as best he can, saying he’s fighting for those who feel they can’t speak out. ‘They should not have to feel ashamed, and they should not have to feel like they have to hide themselves,’ said the 16-year-old, who was shy, at first, about his fight. ‘But then I thought about it, and I thought if a church is allowed to vocally oppose a bill, what’s so bad about me standing up for my rights?’”

    Vic Toew’s response? “Mr. Toews, a lawyer, said in a recent letter to constituents he believes Bill 18 represents an ‘unconstitutional infringement upon the freedom of religion.’ Through staff, he declined an interview.”

    Here is a link to the article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/gay-teen-holds-the-line-for-manitoba-bullying-bill/article9863497/

    I gotta say that now when Vic Toews talks about “religious freedoms” for prisoners, the taste in my mouth is even more sour.

  • http://entdinglichung.wordpress.com Entdinglichung