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.
- More women in Papua New Guinea have been murdered for the crime of “witchcraft” despite the international outcry that resulted from the death of Kepari Leniata earlier this year. Quote: “Two elderly women in Papua New Guinea were tortured for three days receiving deep knife and axe wounds before being beheaded in front of police after being accused of sorcery.” In addition, another six women were reportedly tortured, though authorities are uncertain if they were killed. Journalist Barbara Dreaver noted that “a lot of it is just finding someone to blame. And women seem to be the ones that they’re blaming for deaths. And it’s just sheer thuggery. I mean you don’t torture someone for three days and say it’s culture. It’s an excuse for terrible, terrible things that are happening.” It remains to be seen how the government will address this ongoing human rights crisis. Amnesty International says New Zealand could play a role, and that Papua New Guinea should repeal its anti-sorcery law.
- In related news, Christian pastors and scholars are met last month to address the problem of witch-hunting and witch-killing in Africa. A conference, sponsored by Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and held in Kenya, sought to find ways to counter accusations from within a Christian context. In 2011 Christianity Today noted that Christian missionaries could be encouraging witch persecutions.
- A local paper looks at Wicca in Summit County, Colorado. Quote: “The Enlightened Circle group has grown from around nine members to close to 20. They meet about twice a month, whether it’s through The Biker and The Witch’s Wiccan workshops or seasonal get-togethers, like the spring ritual in March that involved a ceremony and egg hunt. During the Ostara coven ritual, a few of the witches donned capes and hats.”
- Someone in North Miami is using Vodou to intimidate a Haitian-American mayoral candidate, but candidate Anna Pierre isn’t scared. Quote: “The voodoo stuff, I don’t know who’s doing it, but I’m not afraid,” she said. “It’s just intimidation to … slow me down. But you know what? I’m not going to slow down until the finish line.” Before coming to America, Pierre was a pop star in Haiti.
- News outlets in the UK are reporting on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s new document regarding the religious rights of employees, with some noting that “Pagans and druids could be allowed time off to celebrate the solstices and equinoxes at Stonehenge and Avebury.” Others are aghast that vegans and environmentalists could receive the same consideration as Christians.
- Sometimes distributing anti-abortion fetus dolls to high school students backfires: “Many students pulled the dolls apart, tearing the heads off and using them as rubber balls or sticking them on pencil tops. Others threw dolls and doll parts at the “popcorn” ceilings so they became stuck. Dolls were used to plug toilets. Several students covered the dolls in hand sanitizer and lit them on fire. One or more male students removed the dolls’ heads, inverted the bodies to make them resemble penises, and hung them on the outside of their pants’ zippers.”
- Police in Manchester are now recording crimes against members of various alternative subcultures, most notably Goths, as hate crimes. This comes after the high-profile 2007 murder of Sophie Lancaster, who was beaten to death by a number of teenagers based on her (and her boyfriend’s) mode of dress. While some are quibbling about what makes a Goth, and how that’s different from someone involved in, say, Emo, I believe this is a positive step forward.
- High-profile progressive-ish Christian Jim Wallis “evolves” on the issue of same-sex marriage. Ah, my issues with Jim Wallis, let me count them. In other news, it don’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
- A lot of people want America to be a “Christian Nation.” Quote: “The new survey finds that 34 percent of adults would favor establishing Christianity as the official state religion in their own state, while 47 percent would oppose doing so. Thirty-two percent said that they would favor a constitutional amendment making Christianity the official religion of the United States, with 52 percent saying they were opposed.”
- How to curse like a pro: “The key to a psychologically devastating curse is helplessness. Helplessness cultivates a condition called diastolic flaccidity, which is an extreme drop in blood pressure. It’s been linked to the deaths of seemingly healthy people who believe they are cursed.” Please don’t try this at home, kids.
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.