Archives For Sarah Palin

Just a few quick news notes for you to start your Monday.

Asylum For Witch-Hunt Victims: A Nigerian woman in Britain is fighting deportation on the grounds that she will be hunted and killed as a witch in her country if sent back. Cynthia Owie came to the UK in 2008 with her infant daughter, shorty after the baby sadly contracted meningitis and died, now Owie says she is receiving death threats from fellow Nigerians accusing her of witchcraft in the child’s death and is seeking asylum.

Ms Owie, 33, said: “I have been threatened that I will be killed if I go back. I have been told I am a witch and murdered our daughter.” Ms Owie also claims she was treated “like an animal” at the Yarl’s Wood detention centre, in Bedford, where failed asylum seekers are held before removal. Her cause has been taken up by West Ham MP Lyn Brown as well as members of the Ascension Parish Church in Custom House, east London, which has been providing Ms Owie with accommodation and support for two years. Rev Chris Hanson, the vicar of the church, took the case to the Home Office last week and said the community was praying that she would be allowed to stay. “Cynthia’s case is one in a thousand,” he said. “She has gone about trying to stay in this country in a God-honouring way. I am hopeful that the Home Office will understand her exceptional circumstances. When the baby was discovered as being very ill, she was accused of witchcraft. People out in Nigeria believe she brought on this illness and we believe if she is returned to Nigeria she would be killed.

If Owie’s plea is granted it could set a new precedent for asylum seekers to the West. Would more individuals from places like Kenya, Nigeria, or Saudi Arabia try to seek asylum to escape jail, abuse, or death? More importantly, would a stream of asylum seekers affected by witch-hunts and panics force Western governments to become more proactive in using their diplomatic muscle to end the worst abuses? What do we do when the men and women accused of “sorcery” and “witchcraft” are no longer “over there” and are instead at our doorsteps begging to be spared?

Metaphysical Store Vandalized in Alaska: A Pagan-owned shop in Soldotna, Alaska was vandalized with a large wooden cross last week, the first time such an act has taken place in the small town.

“An Alaska store owner says a wooden cross wrapped to the store sign in Soldotna was an unwelcome act of vandalism that goes against her pagan and spiritual beliefs. The Peninsula Clarion reported 45-year-old Rondell Gonzalez arrived Thursday at her store, the Pye’ Wackets on the Kenai Spur Highway, and found a makeshift cross about 7 feet tall attached to her business sign with plastic food wrap. Gonzalez says she believes in spiritualism rather than organized religion. She also said her father fought and died in Vietnam for religious and personal freedoms.”

The Peninsula Clarion interviewed Gonzalez, who called the action “pathetic”, and expressed surprise that the cross wasn’t on fire. You can find out more about Pye’Wackets at their Witchvox listing. The question now is if this was an isolated prank, pulled by bored teenagers, or if it signals something more sinister.

Sarah Palin’s Christianity: Speaking of Alaska and witch-hunts, religion reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman points to an emerging debate between former governor Sarah Palin and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend about the nature of religion within the realm of politics. It seems that Palin, in her new book “America By Heart”, criticizes John F. Kennedy for his famous speech about his Catholicism. This has lead Townsend, a niece of JFK, to pen an editorial in the Washington Post criticizing Palin’s views.

“Palin writes that when she was growing up, she was taught that Kennedy’s speech had “succeeded in the best possible way: It reconciled public service and religion without compromising either.” Now, however, she says she has revisited the speech and changed her mind. She finds it “defensive . . . in tone and content” and is upset that Kennedy, rather than presenting a reconciliation of his private faith and his public role, had instead offered an “unequivocal divorce of the two.” Palin’s argument seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office. A careful reading of her book leads me to conclude that Palin wishes for precisely such a test. And she seems to think that she, and those who think like her, are qualified to judge who would pass and who would not.”

While I doubt Palin would blatantly call for a religion test to high office, her allies in C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation, who regularly engage in spiritual warfare against Pagans, and helped nurture her career, certainly would. The fact that two of the Republican front-runner for 2012 presidential elections, Palin and Mike Huckabee, have ties to Christian groups and figures (like David Barton, for instance) who would deny Pagans their basic constitutional protections is chilling. The more we insist on an unofficial religious tests in campaigns, the closer we get to real ones.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

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Much to Andrew Sullivan’s chagrin, former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is once again dominating the media. Touting her new book, duking it out with Levi, and chatting with Oprah. But while political junkies are taking bets as to whether she’ll run for President, the media blitz also draws us back into the folks who incubated her political career, and support her to this day. The spiritual-war loving neo-Charismatic, neo-Pentecostal movement known by some as the “Third Wave of the Holy Spirit”. Vehemently anti-Pagan and anti-Catholic, Palin publicly distanced herself from them during the campaign after an embarrassing video emerged showing her being blessed by a self-proclaimed African witch-hunter. Now, Talk to Action’s Bruce Wilson cites sources that Palin not only kept in contact with prominent Third Wavers (specifically Mary Glazier) throughout the campaign, but that they believed a terror attack would kill McCain and place her in the Oval Office.

“On September 22, with the 2008 presidential election little more than five weeks away, Glazier sent a prophetic “Warning of Imminent Attack” out through her prayer network [see 1, 2, 3]. Glazier later released a slightly sanitized version but her original “warning” concerned an “imminent” terrorist attack that could leave American in mourning with Sarah Palin “stepping into an office that she was mantled for.” Sarah Palin has been close to Mary Glazier throughout the entire course of Palin’s political career. On June 13, 2008 Mary Glazier told Christian leaders at a church conference held near Seattle that Palin had joined Glazier’s personal prayer group in 1989, around the time Palin went into politics…”

Who is Mary Glazier? She’s the Palin spiritual mentor who, as I’ve reported before, took credit for giving a Wiccan cancer and driving her out of the state of Alaska.

Mary Glazier is one of two religious leaders (along with Thomas Muthee) associated with Sarah Palin who claim to have successfully fought witches. Glazier has described a campaign of “prayer warfare” which she says her prayer group used to drive a woman, whom Glazier claimed was a witch, out of the state of Alaska. As Glazier told the Christian magazine SpiritLed Woman, for a 2003 article, “As we continued to pray against the spirit of witchcraft, her incense altar caught on fire, her car engine blew up, she went blind in her left eye, and she was diagnosed with cancer.”

So far from being a misguided youthful foray into a radical Christian sect, Palin’s friendship with these extremists is seemingly ongoing, and they believe she’s bound for greatness. So while some think Palin has simply become tabloid-fodder, a joke to be ignored, some will know that she’s haunted by these extremist supporters, and that “terror attack” is simply another word for “opportunity” in their eyes. Especially if you’re going to be stepping into an office you were “mantled” by God for. If in 2012 she does run against Obama, as some think she might, we better keep a close eye on Sarah’s friends.

(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 22, 2009 — 3 Comments

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

Let’s start off with the latest news in the ongoing James A. Ray sweat-lodge death saga. The AP has an interview with one of the survivors, and it isn’t good news for Ray or his lawyers.

“More than 50 followers of spiritual guru James Arthur Ray had just endured five strenuous days of fasting, sleep-deprivation and mind-altering breathing exercises when he led them into a sweat lodge ceremony … When participants exhibited weakness, Ray urged them to push past it and chided those who wanted to leave, she said. “I can’t get her to move. I can’t get her to wake up,” Bunn recalls hearing from two sides of the 415-square-foot sweat lodge. Ray’s response: “Leave her alone, she’ll be dealt with in the next round.” … Looking back, she said it’s easy to see how so many people were overcome. No one was well-hydrated, the sweat lodge was poorly ventilated, no safety tips were provided and appropriate medical care wasn’t available, she said.”

To put it simply, Ray is in big big trouble. Despite that, his spokesman is actually arguing that since some had “amazing experiences,” he shouldn’t be arrested for negligent homicide immediately. Meanwhile, as the faux-Native American spirituality of the ceremony has been confirmed (“he led the group in chants and prayers in a Native American tongue”), American Indians in Arizona are “appalled” by the demeaning commercialization of their rites. Somehow I don’t think Ray will ever be invited back on Oprah again, do you?

Speaking of Oprah, that titan of promoting the New Age flavor-of-the-month will be having a rather unexpected guest on her show in November. That’s right, not a dream! Not an imaginary story! Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah “blessed by Muthee” Palin will be on Oprah to promote her new book!

“Oprah Winfrey, on a campaign to climb back from last season’s ratings slump, will attempt to kiss and make up with conservative viewers on Nov. 16 when she has Sarah Palin on her syndicated talk show. You may have noticed that the appearance by the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate is happening smack dab in the middle of the November ratings derby. It’s also the day before Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue: An American Life” is scheduled to hit bookstores.”

I guess we’ll finally learn what the world’s most famous New Ager and an infamous politician with deep ties to extremist anti-Pagan forms of Christianity have in common. Maybe they’re both fans of Jenny McCarthy? But seriously folks, I guess this proves that money, fame, and power trump all ideological barriers in the end.

Moving away from Oprah, Palin, and Ray, let’s revisit another story that has been extensively covered on this blog. The legal battles, and subsequent victory, of Santero Jose Merced to practice animal sacrifice in his home. The Dallas Observer checks in with Merced after the legal dust has settled and he’s once more able to perform his rites.

“It’s been nearly three and a half years since he stopped the ritual slaughter of four-legged animals in his home to pursue litigation against the city over his right to do so. With a decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in his favor and against the city’s health and safety concerns, Merced, a flight attendant, will resume his full religious practices tonight.”

Merced speaks at length about the struggles with his fellow Santeros/Santeras over issues of secrecy and support, his long battle with neighbors, police, and politicians, and becoming “the face of Santería in North Texas”. It’s engrossing reading, and you should take the time to read the whole thing.

Two years after two Pagans, the Rev. Angie Buchanan, director of Gaia’s Womb, and the Rev. Andras Corban-Arthen, a director of the EarthSpirit Community, were elected to the executive council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, a third joins them. Priestess, author, and attorney, Phyllis Curott.

“…it is my honor and privilege to announce the newest member of the Board of Trustees for the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions; Pagan Priestess, Author, Attorney, and dear friend — Ms. Phyllis Curott. This makes the third Pagan to join the largest, oldest and one of the most well respected Interfaith organizations in the world; Myself in 2002, Andras Corban-Arthen, in 2006, and now Phyllis. The current Chair, a Lutheran minister, made the statement that he believed “Paganism to be the most misunderstood religion on the planet”.”

In addition, Buchanan and Corban-Arthen are planning to meet with leaders from the Greek Orthodox Church to create a new understanding after the Greek Orthodox walked out of the 1993 Chicago meeting due to the presense of Pagans. Considering the Greek Orthodox view of the Pagans in their own back yard, we’ll see if this brings any success. Buchanan, Corban-Arthen, and Curott are all planning on attending the December Paliament gathering in Melbourne, Australia along with several other Pagan representatives, including Margot Adler, Thorn Coyle, and Patrick McCollum.

In a final note, the East Bay Express spotlights a new documentary “Power Trip: Theatrically Berkeley” by Emio Tomeoni that explores what happens when various forms of spirituality and ideology mix with local politics.

“These and other scenes in Tomeoni’s new documentary Power Trip: Theatrically Berkeley reveal what happens when matters of the body and soul mix with politics. In the film, which will screen at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley) on Monday, October 26, tree-sitters and other dreamers anguish over pollution, civilization, and human alienation from plant and animal spirits. And their agendas drown each other out.”

Sounds like an excellent study, and I can’t wait to Netflix-it.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Amid the media frenzy over all things Sarah Palin, with a seemingly new scandal or story popping up every other day, it is little wonder that not a lot of background journalism has taken place. While assorted reporters and pundits were happy to play the video of Palin being blessed by African Pentecostal leader Thomas Muthee, few have been able to dig into his claims of driving out “witches” from the town of Kiambu in Kenya.

“According to the Christian Science Monitor, six months of fervent prayer and research identified the source of the witchcraft as a local woman called Mama Jane, who ran a “divination” centre called the Emmanuel Clinic … after Pastor Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon. After Mama Jane was questioned by police – and released – she decided it was time to leave town, the account says.”

Since then, many have wondered, what happened to Mama Jane? Was she really driven out? Was she killed by a mob, as so many other accused “witches” have been in Kenya? Luckily Zoe Alsop, who happened to be working as a journalist in Kenya, found Mama Jane alive and well and living in Kiambu.

“…some residents of Kiambu were somewhat skeptical of Muthee’s claims. Not least among them is the herbalist Jane W. Njenga, a pastor with the African Mission of Holy Ghost Church, who is best known as Mama Jane. She says she didn’t own a pet python and she’s never left her compound, located about a half-mile from Muthee’s immense new church. Last week Women’s eNews interviewed her there, next door to the Superkid Solid Foundation Faith in Every Footstep daycare center just off Kiambu’s main street. ‘If I am bad, why haven’t people attacked me?’ Njenga says. ‘Why haven’t they burnt this building down? That is what people here do to witches.’”

In fact, just about every claim made in Muthee’s witchcraft adventure has turned out to be false. The decrease in traffic deaths? New paving and speed bumps. Police killed a demon-snake? Mama Jane never owned one. Though one thing is true, Muthee did try to label her as a witch and have her killed or driven out.

“When Muthee came, he took a loudspeaker into the street and he told people to pray for seven days that I would die,” Njenga says. “If I was not known in the town, I could not have survived even to put my children through school.”

One wonders if Muthee’s tale of victory over witchcraft was invented to impress his Western backers. No doubt his church gets plenty of fat donations from fellow “spiritual warriors” impressed by his bravado and willingness to engage in campaigns of demonization and incitement that would be illegal here in America. As one community health worker tells Alsop, the best way to get rich quick in Kenya is to build a church, and Muthee is nothing if not rich. Instead of the mighty witchcraft fighter, come to America to lay his blessings on the faithful, he has been exposed as a Christian con-man making a quick buck.

Just when I thought this story couldn’t go even further down the Christian extremist rabbit-hole, up pops another revelation about a Sarah Palin coreligionist.

“On June 13, 2008 Mary Glazier told attendees at the “Opening the Gate of Heaven on Earth” conference, who represented many of the New Apostolic Reformation’s top leaders, that she had been present at the inception of Sarah Palin’s political career and that Palin was in her personal prayer group : ‘There was a twenty-four year old woman that God began to speak to about entering into politics. She became a part of our prayer group out in Wasilla. Years later, became the mayor of Wasilla. And last year was elected Governor of the state of Alaska. Yes! Hallelujah! At her inauguration she dedicated the state to Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!’”

Who is Mary Glazier? She is the founder of Windwalkers International, and is a key figure in the Third Wave/New Apostolic Reformation movement. Part of C. Peter Wagner’s inner circle. Wagner, as I have pointed out before, is the man who is waging a war on the “Queen of Heaven”, whom he equates with pre-Christian goddesses, Islam, and Mary within the Catholic Church.

“Peter Wagner appears to be afflicted with a rather bizarre form of paranoia. He sees the world controlled by a demonic force he calls “the Queen of Heaven.” He sees this demon in everything from ancient Moon goddess religions to Islam (e.g., the crescent moon), to environmentalism (Gaia), feminism, witchcraft, and even in mainstreem Christianity (e.g., Catholic respect of Mary as the Mother of Jesus). That’s the purpose of the book, to help you, too, see that all these disparate religions are really united, and that the Virgin Mary is the demon behind it all.”

Glazier’s claims directly tie Palin into the world of anti-Pagan spiritual warfare. While some conservatives have defended the anti-witchcraft blessing of Palin by Thomas Muthee saying it was acceptable because of his cultural context, Glazier, who has her own witchcraft story, has no such excuse.

“In 1995, Mary mobilized a prayer network for Alaska’s prisons and began experiencing spiritual warfare as never before. She had received word that a witch had applied for a job as chaplain of the state’s prison system… Mary recalls, “As we continued to pray against the spirit of witchcraft, her incense altar caught on fire, her car engine blew up, she went blind in her left eye, and she was diagnosed with cancer” … “Ultimately, the witch fled to another state for medical treatment. Soon after, revival visited every prison in Alaska. At the women’s correctional facility in Anchorage alone, 55 of 60 inmates found Christ. “Ask largely,” Mary says. “Intercessory prayer is making a major difference in North America.”

I’ll give you a moment for this to sink in. Glazier and her prayer warriors claim to have made God blind and give cancer to a Wiccan chaplain. Is this anything but the most malefic of magic? Any Pagan who proudly claimed to have given a Christian cancer, or put out one of the eyes of a Christian, would be rightly shunned and rebuked. Within this community of extremist Christians Glazier and her fellow prayer warriors are lauded as heroes, holy warriors striking a blow against Satan and the “Queen of Heaven”. While these warriors are quick to post disclaimers saying their efforts are “merely” spiritual, who knows what an unbalanced mind would do with this sort of rhetoric.

This adds to the questions I would love to ask Sarah Palin (not that she’s taking questions). Not just if she approves of the spiritual warfare techniques of the Third Wavers, but if she personally prayed for harm to come to one of our own (she was still deeply enmeshed in the movement back in 1995 after all). Sadly, while Obama and McCain were grilled on their religious stances, we’re supposed to take it on faith that she will respect the rights of non-Christian faiths should she be elected?

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

We start off with news of a custody case involving accusations of anti-Wiccan judicial bias. An Arkansas woman, who says she lost custody of her son due to the judge’s perceptions of Wicca, has lost her appeal to the state Court of Appeals.

“A Southeast Arkansas woman who argued she lost custody of her son because of a judge’s perception of her alleged practice of Wicca lost her appeal Wednesday before a divided state Court of Appeals Wednesday. In a 4-2 ruling, the appeals court affirmed a decision granting custody to the child’s father, though the judges disagreed on whether the lower court considered the mother’s religious beliefs. In her appeal of Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow’s decision, the mother noted Vittitow described Wicca in his opinion letter as ‘a religion, movement, cult or whatever it that may be.’ The judge also wrote that while the mother testified she was only joking when she told the boy’s father that she was involved with Wicca, the ‘court believes she is much more involved than she would lead us to believe.’”

The two dissenting judges claim that the majority simply ‘set aside’ concerns over religious bias and that the initial ruling ‘impermissibly considered’ her religious beliefs. You can read the opinions of the judges on the appeal court, here (Andrea Hicks v. Joshua A. Cook). There is no word if Ms. Hicks will attempt, or be able to, appeal to a higher court. Considering the fact that one of the dissenting judges accused the majority of “torturing” the law and “mishandling the judicial-review process” one would hope that this case is explored further.

Is a psychic fair secular entertainment or a religious gathering? That is the question surrounding a controversial event being held on New York state property.

“The state Office of General Services, however, said the second annual Psychic Fair and Halloween Festival is just good clean fun. Psychics, astrologers, mediums, people who talk to angels, dream interpreters and tarot card readers will be on hand Oct. 29 at the Empire State Plaza’s concourse, where thousands of state workers pass daily … “These vendors who are coming are strictly entertainment,” said OGS spokesman Brad Maione, noting the fair isn’t a cost to state taxpayers.”

Rev. Jason McGuire calls the event a breach of church-state separation that contains “Satanic” and “occult” elements, while Dennis Poust, Director of Communications at New York State Catholic Conference, is a tad more measured in tone.

“I’m not saying these psychics are Satanists, though. The Catholic church does warn against divination, which is foretelling the future.”

I personally think its funny how many conservative Christians only seem to care about the separation of Church and State when it doesn’t immediately favor them. As for psychic fairs, anyone who hasn’t gone to one might be surprised that money and commerce, not religion, is the primary order of the day. A decidedly secular and multi-faith activity in our capitalistic society.

Was Jesus a magician in addition to (allegedly) being the Messiah? A pot that may contain the earliest written reference to Christ marks him as a magus.

“A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world’s first known reference to Christ … The full engraving on the bowl reads, ‘DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS,’ which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, ‘by Christ the magician’ or, ‘the magician by Christ.’”

The bowl could provide further proof of the intertwining of Christianity and paganism in the ancient world. Scientists also speculate that the bowl may have been used for divination purposes, which would certainly add a new twist to arguments against psychic practitioners by conservative Christians. Thanks to Megan for pointing me towards this story.

Looks like the Pagans, atheists, Buddhists, UUs, and other groups need to step up, because San Leandro middle school has decided to allow religious organizations to distribute flyers to children in classrooms.

“Last spring, Pastor Derek Jung of the Fundamental Gospel Baptist Church of San Leandro challenged the district when it refused to distribute a flyer about vacation Bible school. “I was shocked we were the first church that had ever used their system,” Jung said on Tuesday. Armed with legal advice from the Florida-based Christian Law Association, Jung told the district that if it allowed schools to distribute information for community groups such as the YMCA, 4-H clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs or school fundraising foundations, it could not discriminate against religious organizations. District lawyers researched the issue – and agreed.”

Remember, religious inclusion means all or nothing. When this happened to a school in Virginia, they quickly switched from “all” to “none” once the Pagans and atheists started distributing flyers. So lets not miss an opportunity to see how committed this school really is to including a wide range of religious options to middle-schoolers. Thanks to Kate for tipping me off to this story.

In a final note, author and “Techgnostic” Erik Davis has one of the more thoughtful ruminations on the religion of Sarah Palin, what the connection to African witch-hunter Thomas Muthee means, and how Pagans should ultimately respond.

“Muthee’s Christianity trumps witchcraft not by disbelieving it–in other words, by dousing it with the holy water of secular rationalism and skepticism, like mainstream Euro-American Christians have done for a couple centuries. Instead, it tries to beat witchcraft at its own game, using what one can only think of as a rival spell–the spell of the Word. It’s all about power and manifestation, the shape-shifting of social perception. But notice this: the game only really works if witchcraft remains, as the professor said, a reality.”

As for what Pagans, occultists, and other magic-workers concerned about Palin should do? Davis suggests we all “get thy mojo working!”.

That is all I have for now, have a great day!

(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 25, 2008 — 1 Comment

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

Over at the On Faith site, the panel weighs in on abortion. Pagan panelist Starhawk gives her take on “abortion and The Goddess”.

“Women are moral agents, and in the Goddess and Pagan traditions, we are each our own spiritual authority. We have a right to wrestle with these issues ourselves, not have them predetermined for us by government authorities. We have a right to determine what goes on inside our bodies. To deny that right to women is to invite government intrusion into all kinds of private and personal choices. Overturning Roe vs. Wade would open the door to state control of our most intimate and tender decisions, and be a step closer to a totalitarian regime.”

She also quotes from the excellent book “The Pagan Book of Living and Dying”. In other Starhawk-related news, she has posted a six-minute video clip of Reclaiming’s annual Spiral Dance ritual to her web site.

For information on this year’s Spiral Dance ritual, click here.

Over at the Nation, Max Blumenthal writes about infiltrating Sarah Palin’s former church, and gets his hands on video footage of the now-infamous “blessing” done by anti-witchcraft crusader Thomas Muthee on Palin in 2005. Guess what? Muthee didn’t just pray for her to become governor, he also asked for her to be protected from “witchcraft”.

“Muthee’s mounting stardom took him to Wasilla Assembly of God in May, 2005, where he prayed over Palin and called upon Jesus to propel her into the governor’s mansion — and beyond. Muthee also implored Jesus to protect Palin from “the spirit of witchcraft.” The video archive of that startling sermon was scrubbed from Wasilla Assembly of God’s website, but now it has reappeared.”

So much for claims that Palin was ignorant or non-compliant in that church’s ongoing and active participation in Third-Wave “spiritual warfare” tactics. One wonders what “spirits of witchcraft” Palin needed protection from? Are there fortune tellers in Wasilla causing car accidents?

The brutal beating of a woman in Florida by a cult group has produced some of the worst journalistic accounts I have ever read. Fueled by incomplete information, this gang is painted as some sort of Santeria-Voodoo-Pagan-Satanic hybrid. With guns.

“Wood told investigators she was once a member of a Santeria voodoo group in Flagler County. She said Sunday’s abduction and beating were not the first she had suffered in recent days as a result of her leaving the group last year to become a Christian ,,, Wood also told investigators the men and a petite blonde woman named “Sky” took her to an open field near a home where a bonfire was burning. They were “preparing” for the autumnal equinox, she said.” “They needed me to help call the spirits,” Wood told investigators, indicating it was something she had done when she was a member of the group.”

It seems to me there is some vital information missing here. It’s also troubling that the only “expert” quoted in any of the linked articles is a cult “exit counselor”. So far the only part of her story that has been confirmed is that a local church was helping her. Here’s hoping that whoever did beat her goes to prison, and that some less sensationalist light is shed on this cult/group.

In a final note, the Covenant of the Goddess has sent out a press release in support of same-sex marriage in California and Massachusetts.

“Covenant of the Goddess has, since its inception in 1975, had clergy willing to celebrate the religious if not the legal joining of two members of the same gender. While we respect the right of the individual clergy within COG who may choose not to perform such a ceremony, we are in support of marriage between two committed adults of any gender, and a majority of our celebrants are willing to perform such ceremonies.”

The release, which hasn’t been posted to their web site yet, also goes into the history of same-sex marriage in pagan cultures, and the social and legal importance of allowing marriage rights to same-sex couples today.

That is all I have for now, have a great day!

Since I first posted about Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin’s troubling co-religionists, the mainstream press and several major blogs have homed in on the blessing Palin received from the African Bishop Thomas Muthee.

“Palin describes the visit of Pastor Thomas Muthee to the Wasilla Assembly of God in 2005. “As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying ‘Lord make a way, Lord make a way,’” Palin remarked. “And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are,” she continued. “And he’s praying not ‘oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,’ no, he just prayed for it. He said, ‘Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.’” “So, again, very very powerful, coming from this church,” she added.”

Muthee is feted by fellow Christians in America and in Africa for driving out the “spirit of witchcraft” that resided in the village of Kiambu, Kenya. Now it seems this wasn’t purely spiritual warfare on the part of Muthee, but involved stirring up mobs and driving a local fortune-teller out of town.

“According to the Christian Science Monitor, six months of fervent prayer and research identified the source of the witchcraft as a local woman called Mama Jane, who ran a “divination” centre called the Emmanuel Clinic … after Pastor Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon. After Mama Jane was questioned by police – and released – she decided it was time to leave town, the account says.”

As I pointed out previously, this isn’t some isolated third-world preacher, Muthee has toured America, received mainstream press coverage, and gave 10 consecutive sermons at Wasilla Assembly of God (Palin’s former church). He is a strong proponent of the spiritual warfare tactics endorsed by “Third Wave” Christian churches. Knowing that she was willingly blessed by an anti-witch fanatic, someone who has helped stir up the kind of mobs responsible for the horrific deaths of innocent men and women in Kenya, makes me reiterate my previous closing statement on this matter.

“What Pagans need to know, especially those who are considering voting Republican, is if Palin condemns or rejects the spiritual warfare teachings of the Third Wave movement. A movement that essentially espouses malicious Christian magic. Pagans have seen first hand that the religious opinions of Presidents have been used in the past by government agencies to deny us our legal rights. What would happen if our vice president thought we should be supernaturally eradicated?”

Does Palin still credit Muthee (via the power of “Jesus”) with “making a way” to power for her? Does she know and approve of Muthee’s spiritual war against “witches”? I think it would be important to know these things before election day.

Starhawk has jumped into the Sarah Palin fray over at her On Faith blog:

“Whenever I hear someone say, “God is on my side,” I think, “Yep! Just another argument for polytheism.” Because, hey, Sarah Palin’s God may want her to build the pipeline, but I’ve had personal communication from Thundering Herds of Reindeer Gods that say, “No way!” Ereshkigal the Goddess of the Mesopotamian underworld is raging mad at the number of innocent children’s souls she’s had to process since the U.S. started bombing Iraq–she doesn’t like that sort of thing. And the great, protective Earth Spirits who sleep in the bottom of oil reserves are roaring in my ear, “Disturb us at your peril!” You think I’m kidding, perhaps. Think again.”

Starhawk goes on to say the she has no problem with “weird and irrational religious beliefs”, but fears that Palin wont uphold the Constitution or respect America’s religious diversity. Meanwhile, in the comments, Athena lets us in on some ongoing Pagan spellwork.

“It may interest you that several Pagans from around the country are going to work with the spirits of Wolf, Bear, and Moose to cut through the lies and negativity about the campaign, and let the truth come forth. Since Gov. Palin allowed hunting of wolves and bears from helicopters, as well as hunts moose, we thought that it would be appropriate to call on these Power Animals for healing and truth-telling.”

Are these spells already working? Here are some recent Palin-related stories: Sarah Palin’s record on Alaska Native and Tribal issues (more), religion professor Anthea Butler says that Palin’s “[spiritual] warrior spirit is the reason why her candidacy excites the conservative base…”, Esther Kaplan gives you a Palin pastor primer, and Dan Kennedy wonders how “exotic” Palin’s personal theology truly is.

Truly the “Queen of Heaven” works in mysterious ways.

Here I was thinking to myself that the chances of a modern Pagan angle to the Republican VP pick of Alaska’s Sarah Palin would be truly minimal. Sure, you had her support of aerial wolf hunting (a cruel method that violates the ethic of “fair chase”), and her drill-happy attitudes towards ANWR, but nothing explicitly anti-Pagan had emerged. But a number of bloggers, most notably Bruce Wilson at Talk2Action, have been digging into Palin’s religious background and found some disturbingly anti-Pagan connections.

“Sarah Palin’s churches are actively involved in a resurgent movement that was declared heretical by the Assemblies of God in 1949. This is the same ‘Spiritual Warfare’ movement that was featured in the award winning movie, “Jesus Camp,” which showed young children being trained to do battle for the Lord. At least three of four of Palin’s churches are involved with major organizations and leaders of this movement, which is referred to as The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit or the New Apostolic Reformation. The movement is training a young “Joel’s Army” to take dominion over the United States and the world.”

These “Third Wave” Christians believe in supernatural powers, demon possession, curses, and ongoing spiritual warfare. Most of them are loosely grouped around C. Peter Wagner, founder of the World Prayer Center, and coiner of the term “Third Wave”. Wagner believes that one of the greatest opponents to Third Wave Christian dominance is The Goddess.

“Several of their top prophets and generals of intercession spent weeks in intensive prayer to “confront the Queen of Heaven.” This queen is considered by them to be one of the most powerful demons over the earth and is the Great Harlot of Mystery Babylon in Revelation … Wagner and his group also claim that the Queen of Heaven is Diana, the pagan god of the biblical book Ephesians and the god of Mary veneration in the Roman Catholic Church.”

Wagner is so serious about the “Queen of Heaven” (you know the one the ladies made cakes for) that he has written two books on the subject: “Confronting The Queen of Heaven” and “The Queen’s Domain”. Third Wave Christians participating in spiritual warfare against the Queen of Heaven believe their efforts (directly or indirectly) have caused earthquakes, hurricanes, large fires, and killed Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.

As for Palin herself, she spoke approvingly of being personally prayed over by Thomas Muthee just before winning governorship of Alaska. Muthee is a popular figure among Third Wavers for driving out the “spirit of witchcraft” that resided in Kiambu, Kenya.

“He and his wife committed to six months of prayer with various types of fasting before ever entering Kiambu. Their goal in prayer and fasting was to ask God to reveal the name of the demonic principality ruling over Kiambu and keeping the city under such oppression. God revealed through a vision that a spirit of witchcraft was the ruling principality there and that a number of other demonic spirits were functioning under the headship of witchcraft. An effective strategy for conquest would be to topple the spirit of witchcraft first and thus bring the coalition of evil spirits into disarray and drive them from the city.”

Muthee’s vision of spiritual warfare fits right in with the Third Wave’s, and he has spoken at churches across America, including 10 consecutive sermons at Wasilla Assembly of God (Palin’s main church until very recently). The idea of that sort of anti-witch hysteria being imported and cross-pollinating with extremist American Christianity is troubling.

While Palin has striven to present herself as a “post-denominational” Jesus follower, it should be noted that most Third Wave Christians also present themselves in this manner. Also, lest you think this article is some sort of liberal Pagan anti-Christian take-down, it should be noted that this Christian movement has been deemed heretical by several (conservative) Christian groups, including Fundamentalist Baptists.

What Pagans need to know, especially those who are considering voting Republican, is if Palin condemns or rejects the spiritual warfare teachings of the Third Wave movement. A movement that essentially espouses malicious Christian magic. Pagans have seen first hand that the religious opinions of Presidents have been used in the past by government agencies to deny us our legal rights. What would happen if our vice president thought we should be supernaturally eradicated?