Welcome to the working week! I hope you’re all having as good a Monday as possible. Let’s start off with an important update on a previously reported story, and then move on to some Pagan news of note.
Haitian Government Reassures Vodouisants in Wake of Constitutional Changes: Last week I reported on the newly-amended Haitian constitution, and an assertion from Euvonie Auguste, head of the National Confederation of Haitian Vodou (KNVA), that it removes legal protections for Vodou practitioners.
“Voodoo would be no longer protected by the Constitution amended. The Priestess Euvonie Auguste, Head of the National Confederation of voodoo in Haiti, deplores the abrogation of Article 297 of the Constitution which, accrding to her protected the sector voodoo against all forms of discrimination. Recall that Article 297 abrogated amongst other things the Decree-Law of 5 September 1935 on superstitious beliefs that restricted arbitrarily the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. Given this new constitutional situation, the priestess Euvonie Augustus, stated that now, the vodoo practitioners will have to use their own means to protect themselves from any attacks against them.“
At the time I cast some doubt on this assertion, noting that Haitian President Michel Martelly wants to build a tourism industry around Vodou, making a new crackdown on the faith unlikely. Now, Joël Turenne, Director of Legal Affairs of the Directorate General of Ministry of Religious Affairs, who apparently was stunned by these accusations, has released a statement denying that Vodou is in any way unprotected or endangered by the new constitution.
“…with stupefaction the apprehensions of Voodoo sector concerning the abrogation of Article 297 of the amended Constitution” brings to the attention of all concerned, that “the constitutional amendment is and can not be prejudicial in any way, nor to the functioning of voodoo, or the rights of its adherents”. Especially, he specifies that “the presidential decree of April 4, 2003 make of the Voodoo a religion recognized which should in no way be confused with a superstitious practice.”
The Director went on to claim that the infamous 1935 anti-Vodou law concerning superstitious practices is not applicable under the law as it has “never been promulgated.” This sentiment was echoed by American Haitian Vodou practioner Mambo Racine, who noted that the “definition of Vodou as a “superstitious practice” has gone out the window, that’s why the amendment regarding the prohibition of “superstitious practices” promoted during the long-ago regime of Haitian President Stenio Vincent is no longer needed.” It remains to be seen if this clarification from the government will mollify the National Confederation of Haitian Vodou. I’ll keep you posted of any further developments.
“Maxine was initiated into the Circle of Witchcraft in 1964. The High Priest of that Coven was Alex Sanders, known throughout the world as ‘King of the Witches’. Maxine and Alex were Handfasted in 1965, and legally married in 1968. The Sanders became household names during the sixties and seventies, dramatically bringing Witchcraft, its practices and reality into global consciousness.”
Sanders released a autobiography entitled “Fire Child: The Life & Magic of Maxine Sanders ‘Witch Queen'” back in 2007, and truly is an important figure in the history of modern Paganism. This interview is a must-listen, so share widely!
In Other News:
- The Robbers fire in Placer County, California, now mostly contained, may have damaged Native sacred sites when bulldozers moved earth to stop the fire’s spread. An archaeologist and tribal leaders are working on an action plan to deal with disturbed remains.
- Indians are not pleased with how a recent Oprah special reduced their culture and nation to a series of stereotypes. Rajyasree Sen called the show “myopic, unaware, ignorant and gauche.” Of special ire was Oprah’s shock that many Indians eat with their hands, as though Americans eat hot-dogs and french fries solely with cutlery.
- Crystal Blanton has a thoughtful exploration of the issue of obesity within our community, a conversation that has been raging ever since it was first brought up by Peter Dybing. You can find a collection of relevant links on this subject in my most recent Unleash the Hounds roundup.
- Scientific American notes that many brilliant scientists are “open minded about paranormal stuff.”
- Superheroes as Greek Gods.
- American Haitian Vodou initiate Sallie Ann Glassman did Joan Rivers a solid some years ago, and now the comedian is returning the favor.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!