(Pagan) News of Note

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

The Record takes a look at the spread of Santeria in the ranks of Major League Baseball, and interviews Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen about his public devotion to the Orisha.

“If you see my saints, you’ll be like ‘Golly, they’re ugly … They’ve got blood. They’ve got feathers. You go to the Catholic church, the (saints) have got real nice clothes. My religion, you see a lot of different things you never see.”

The article lists MLB players Los Angeles Angels pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, Florida Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera, and the White Sox’s pitcher Jose Contreras as active adherents to Santeria, while Cincinnati Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez and Chicago Cubs infielder Ronny Cedeno have reportedly “experimented” with the faith. Sort of puts a whole new spin on post-game prayer doesn’t it?

Over at Get Religion, Terry Mattingly looks at the latest round of news stories in the Veteran Pentacle Quest (involving the President’s snub and subsequent apology to Roberta Stewart) and wonders where the conservative Christian religious groups and activists were during this fight over religious liberties?

“Did conservative religious groups take a stand on one side or the other in this case, or where they divided? I think many journalists would assume that conservative believers oppose the Wiccan case. I do not think that can be assumed, because many conservatives now realize that equal access means equal access and freedom of association means freedom of association.”

But as commenters on the post (including me) pointed out, many conservative Christians have an irrational reaction to religious liberty and freedom cases involving Pagans. One conservative Republican Pagan was given the cold shoulder every time he approached a popular conservative pundit, while a Wiccan Army veteran was told outright by the American Center for Law and Justice they they “don’t support Satanists”. Kind of hard to build coalitions for a common goal with people who want nothing to do with you.

For those keeping track of China’s recent move to ban unauthorized reincarnations (in order to lessen the influence of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile), the leaders of Tibetan Buddhism have issued a joint statement repudiating China’s attempt to control the “living buddhas”.

“The heads of all the religious schools of Tibetan Buddhism; the monks, nuns, mantra holders and other lay followers of the respective schools and the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration collectively issue this statement repudiating the so-called order no. 5 of China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs that it is against the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights and the PRC’s constitution; that it is against history and the aspiration of the broad masses of people who believe in Tibetan Buddhism. Furthermore, it is a new weapon employed by the Chinese government to undermine Tibetan Buddhism, and to insult and oppress the Tibetan people.”

Calls continue to either boycott, or use the Olympics to place pressure on China to respect the religious freedoms of the Tibetan people. Meanwhile tensions rise over what will happen once the current Dalai Lama passes on. Since the true Panchen Lama (the second-highest ranking lama) is being held by China, many believe that Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa will rise to leadership during the Dalai Lama’s absence.

In a final note, the lottery win of Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett continues to gain attention. Boing Boing opines: “Dude, talk about blessed be.” The SoMA Review wonders if some lottery hopefuls might consider a conversion: “Christians who pray for lucky lottery tickets but never win might consider switching over to Wicca.” But perhaps a truly fitting statement comes from a friend of Bunky’s, who opens a post on her friend’s win with: “And people say that Magick doesn’t work.”

That is all I have for now, have a good (Labor) day!