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.
- The case of Forsyth County, North Carolina v. Joyner, which ultimately ruled that opening invocations and prayers before government bodies cannot be overwhelmingly sectarian in nature, is now being used to challenge the sectarian prayers in North Carolina’s State Legislature. The ACLU is threatening litigation if North Carolina doesn’t change its policy. As I’ve pointed out here before, this case rests heavily on precedents involving Pagans who’ve challenged government invocation policies.
- DNAinfo reports that the Wiccan Family Temple in New York is holding a fundraiser entitled WitchsFest USA, with proceeds going towards a permanent temple space in Manhattan. The best part? They’ve got a band called Witches in Bikinis playing for them, a high-concept beach-party-horror-film rock n’ roll group. Here’s a promo video of them in action. How did I not hear about them before? In any case, the fundraiser is on July 8th, and you should definitely check it out.
- February isn’t just for Groundhog’s Day, in Brazil adherants of Candomblé celebrate Iemanja Day, which honors the Queen of the Ocean, perhaps better known as Yemaja to many Pagans.
- In the “living traditions update their imagery” files is the story of how Chinese families are now offering up replica paper iPads to their ancestors for an annual festival. Quote: “Apple’s iPad 2 shortage has spread to the afterlife as Chinese families in Malaysia rush to buy paper replicas of the popular new gadget to burn for their dead as part of a centuries-old rite. During the Qingming festival, also known as the tomb sweeping festival, Chinese communities in Asia honour their ancestors by burning fake money or replicas of luxury items such as flashy cars and designer bags.” Fun fact: spirit iPads have an “888 gigabyte capacity.”
- Religion Clause reports that the Sister Wives‘ challenge to Utah’s anti-bigamy statute will go forward. Back in July of 2011, I wrote an article on challenges to polygamy laws and how that might affect polyamorous Pagans. A recent high-profile challenge to Canadian polygamy law failed to overturn the ordinance, though it did seem to carve out exceptions and a road-map for future litigation. No doubt Pagans in multiple-partner relationships will be watching this challenge closely to see how its ramifications might affect their lives.
- Also from Religion Clause, O Centro Beneficente Uniao Do Vegetal, who won a landmark Supreme Court case regarding the importation and use of entheogens for religious purposes, is filing a land use lawsuit against Santa Fe County, New Mexico for denying them a permit to build a new temple to replace their old one (which they have outgrown). UDV was also recently involved in the major ministerial exception case decided early this year.
- President Michel Martelly has named Sean Penn as Haiti’s ambassador at large.
- Is being an atheist in the United States worse than being a Pagan? Julian Baggini at Slate.com explores why the U.S. won’t accept its atheists, though many of the experiences conveyed here sound awfully familiar. Quote: “I used to be a good running friend with somebody who doesn’t live far from here. I mentioned on one occasion that I was an atheist and I’ve never seen him again … I came here knowing this was the Bible Belt, but I didn’t realise it was a more like a totalitarian Christian society: you’re either one of them or you’re not and there’s no in between. So I’ve learnt this lesson, to keep it to myself as much as possible.”
- A short video documentary about Oberon Zell-Ravenheart.
- New research is out about how entheogenic mushrooms affect our brain.
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.