I hope you’ll forgive me while I briefly chat about some media I’ve been appearing in lately. First, I was interviewed by Steve McManus for his Forbidden America podcast, you can listen to that, here. I then appeared on the Witchtalk Conjure podcast/videocast, hosted by Karagan and Indigo Astrea. Both of those interviews were inspired in part by the ongoing initiative to get me on The Daily Show (something I didn’t initiate, but am flattered by). You can find the latest push in that effort, here. For my part, I suggested that folks interested in making minority religious voices heard turn that energy towards mobilizing the current campaign into a media watchdog organization. That has happened, and All Faiths Created Equal was born.
“This page is dedicated to spreading awareness of minority faiths, non-faith, religions, and practices. This page also aims to hold the media accountable for poor portrayal of minority faiths, and general spread of misinformation of these faiths and individual members/practitioners.”
They are just getting started up, so if you’re on Facebook, why not join them and help in their endeavour to give outrage and frustration with how the media handles minority faiths a productive outlet.
Former Get Religion contributor and religion journalist Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans has posted the second part in her series on New Age and Pagan religions for the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal (part one is here). I am again quoted in the column.
Paganism is a still-vital spirituality, one whose influence is difficult to calibrate. Modern paganism, a relative newcomer on the American scene, is an umbrella term for several distinct religions, pagan journalist Jason Pitzl-Waters said in a telephone interview. “While surveys suggest roughly a million pagan practitioners in America,” he said, “if you count people who have unorthodox religious views, then there are many millions of people.” [...] When pagan thought was imported from Great Britain in the 1960s, in large part thanks to the work of British writer and Wiccan Gerald Gardner, it found a temporary home in the New Age arena, Pitzl-Waters said. “There was enough overlap between our spirituality that when modern paganism appeared on the scene, it found a safe haven,” he said. But paganism has features that distinguish it from New Age spiritualities, Pitzl-Waters said. One example: “Paganism is very much a here-and-now theology,” he said.
It’s a nice column, though I would have expanded on the differences between New Age spirituality and modern Pagan religions. I’d also like to quibble and state that Raymond Buckland deserves mention as a force that brought Wicca to America. I’ve opined before on how many Pagans found safe haven and resources at New Age shops and events during the years when we were far more isolated and dependent on friendly fellow travelers. I came of age as that alliance was crumbling, and modern Pagans were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with being lumped in with New Age practitioners, taking pains to point out our different theologies and histories.
But enough about me! Before I go I wanted to quickly share a few links that I wasn’t able to round up yesterday.
- It seems I missed out on the fact that Mrs. B from Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom has been receiving death threats for the great sin of winning a ranking contest on the Internet. It’s sad that some Christians are so threatened that they would spit on the savior they claim to follow with such reverence. In the meantime, vote for Mrs B and all the other Pagan mom blogs!
- CNN’s Belief Blog reports on a study by Cimminnee Holt that examines attitudes towards death and dying within modern Satanism. According to Holt “Satanists are, literally, creating their own afterlife in the memories of those they have affected.”
- The prosecution in the James Arthur Ray case has rested. The defense has called, yet again, for the case to be dismissed. If it isn’t (and it probably won’t be, just like all the other motions to dismiss so far) we’ll hear from the defense’s witnesses next week. More here.
- Rhett Aultman breaks down the McCollum ruling on standing, explaining why he thinks the decision was sound and what steps we should be taking from this point. I’ll have lots more on this in the future, but I just wanted to give a heads-up on this now, so folks can read up.
- Amy Hale wrestles with the use of the term “elder” within the modern Pagan community, noting that there been increasing “institutionalization of the term” and wonders if there are aspects of appropriation in its adoption.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!