Top Story: Though still small religious minorities throughout the world, contemporary Pagan groups have increasingly involved themselves in charitable campaigns, and created charities of their own. In Kansas City, Missouri Gaia Community, a Pagan Unitarian-Universalist congregation, raised a half-ton of food at the 2011 God Auction, which was donated to Harvesters Community Food Nework. It was estimated that the food raised was enough to provide for 795 meals.
“…one of the reasons we schedule this fund raiser in the summer is we know it’s a time when donations to Harvesters tend to be low, while demand for food is high with children out of school.” – David Reynolds, Gaia Community member
You can read more about Gaia Community’s efforts by downloading the press release for the event, or visiting their website. While Gaia Community raised food for an already existing charity, in Australia the Community Church of Inclusive Wicca Inc. (CCIWI) has started their own food pantry, which was just granted full tax deductibility status. The first Wiccan group, though not the first Pagan group, to achieve this. Founder Amethyst Treleven said that she was “very proud” to have her charity receive “the same recognition as other religious based charities which have traditionally been Christian organised.” CCIWI’s food pantry was founded so that Pagans in need could find aid without feeling pressured to “accept the faith of that charitable body,” and won’t have to “compromise their spiritual and religious beliefs.”
Those are just two examples of how Pagans are helping each other, and reaching out to help the communities we live in. Every year Pagans collect tons of food for charity though the annual Pagan Pride days, while several Pagan organizations engage in outreach, fundraising, and volunteer efforts. Back in 2003 Jim Towey, then-Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives, questioned the charitable instincts of Pagan groups. Since then Pagans in the United States, and around the world, have worked to show that though small in number, we have a true commitment to charity and helping others.
In Other News:
- Prominent Salem Witch and business owner Christian Day was censured by the Salem licensing board for allegedly making threats against other Salem business owners and practicing fortunetellers. Day said he respected the decision of the board, “even though I may not agree entirely with it.” Day’s fortunetelling license was suspended for six months, but the penalty was put on hold for one year as long as there are no similar incidents. For more on Christian Day, check out my interview with him about Salem’s fortunetelling regulations.
- PNC-Minnesota covers the experiences of Summerland Spirit Festival (SSF) attendees and organizers in Wisconsin, where a flash flood washed out a footbridge and temporarily stranded some campers.
- Hindu leader Rajan Zed has sent out Lughnasadh/Lammas greeting to Pagans, “wishing that it brought joy, happiness, blessings and cheer to all.” Rajan Zed gained international attention when his invocation before the United States Senate was disrupted by Christian extremists.
- Why should Christian morals dictate public policy in a multi-religious nation? Because they’re the biggest, that’s why. No, really. That’s the answer Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr gave to NPR: “I think only because of the sheer numbers in this democracy that we have.” Do you think their answer will change should they ever lose their majority status?
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!