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.
- A barbershop in Massachusetts has been closed down after city inspectors found a Palo Mayombe altar and six chickens (one dead) in the basement of the establishment. Health officials have shut down the business due to unsanitary conditions in the basement. The owner claims he never did sacrifice in the basement of his business and that the animals were only there temporarily while he moved. There is an ABC Nightline video of the basement in question, as well as an interview with barbershop owner William Camacho. Litigation seems very likely.
- Kathryn Price NicDhàna updates us on the ongoing actions in Arizona to stop the clear-cutting and burning of forest on the San Francisco Peaks to make way for a pipeline that will pump treated wastewater up the mountain so that a ski resort can make more money. As documented here, the San Francisco Peaks are held as sacred by several indigenous peoples and Tribal Nations in the area. For ongoing coverage check out Censored News and Indigenous Action Media. A nationwide Forest Service protest is currently being organized.
- Conservative columnist Roy Exum has apologized for his article mocking Pagans, a piece he wrote in reaction to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee adding four Pagan holidays to its calendar. Quote Exum: “I need to apologize. I have never slighted anyone for their religious views and in Wednesday’s column I did so badly. Because of my ignorance of the subject, I was under the impression Pagans and Wiccans were more of a cult and I am genuinely sorry that I offended some very kind and nice worshippers.” Exum also shares excerpts from the many letters he was sent. Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary wrote him a thank-you note for his apology, and urges others to do the same.
- New Apostolic Reformation leader/apostle C. Peter Wagner protests against assertions that his movement wants a Christian theocracy in the United States, clarifying that the “way to achieve dominion is not to become ‘America’s Taliban,’ but rather to have kingdom-minded people in every one of the Seven Mountains: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business so that they can use their influence to create an environment in which the blessings and prosperity of the Kingdom of God can permeate all areas of society.” In essence, a theocracy would be too limited a concept for what NAR wants. I’m sure you are all reassured, right?
- For those keeping track of Sacred Paths Center‘s fiscal travails, PNC-Minnesota has an update on the what’s going on. SPC has released the findings from their recent governance audit and posted a historical narrative of what, exactly, happened.
- Clothing designer Rachel Roy visited Haiti recently (alongside Martha Stewart and Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren) to investigate business opportunities with local artisans. While there she learned something about Haitain Vodou: “Jean Baptiste – Possibly my favorite artist who beads- also Voodoo priest. Voodoo actually being a positive force. Over the years it has gotten a bad rap (‘black magic’). Well, really, it is no different than other religions that offers hope-provides clients and provides dietaries and substance – for a nation … learn something new everything minute … I love to learn.”
- The DC/Baltimore area Sacred Space Conference has announced it’s featured presenters for 2012: Lyratah Barrett, cat yronwode, Ivo Dominguez Jr., and John Michael Greer. The event takes place March 8th – 11th in Laurel, Maryland. You can register now.
- James Kirk Wall, author of “Agnosticism: The Battle Against Shameless Ignorance,” ponders who non-religious voters should back in 2012. Some of his points could just as easily apply to adherents of minority religions as well.
- The Russian Republic of Karelia has ordered a ban on Halloween celebrations at its schools, stating that it is a Pagan holiday that contradicts the “secularist character of education” and promotes “Satanism and extremism.” Isolated bit of paranoia and overreach, or is connected to the slow-moving oppression of minority faiths in Russia? As the government, in seemingly increasing collusion with the Russian Orthodox Church, use laws against extremism and “cults” to intimidate and oppress competing faiths, the future of indigenous and neopagan faiths in Russia seems endangered.
- According to the Times of India, Wicca has reached its 15th anniversary in India, and checks in with their country’s most famous Wiccan, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti.
- The American Family Association is trying to distance itself from its own Director of Issue Analysis, Bryan Fischer. Fischer has a long track-record of spouting off increasing intolerant and hateful screeds. While the AFA is usually content to keep quiet about Fischer’s near-daily rants, this time they are splitting with him on the Establishment Clause: “under American law all religions enjoy freedom from government interference. However Joseph Story’s view continues to have proponents, including Bryan Fischer, one of American Family Radio’s talk show hosts. However, the American Family Association (“AFA”) officially sides with Jefferson on this question. AFA is confident that the truth of Christianity will prevail whenever it is allowed to freely compete in the marketplace of ideas.” Right Wing Watch challenges us to “name one other organization that regularly has to declare that the things said by its own spokesman should not be construed as reflecting the views of the organization itself.”
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.