(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 22, 2007 — 3 Comments

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

A hospital chaplain in Maryland was fired for preventing the Gideons from handing out copies of the New Testament in every hospital room. Jews on First reports that Peninsula Regional Medical Center, a publicly funded non-religious hospital, eventually demanded the resignation of the Rev. Kay Myers when she continued to bring up the health and privacy concerns presented by handing out non-sterile Bibles to every room.

“As director of pastoral care for a community hospital in Maryland, the Rev. Kay Myers halted the placement of sectarian Christian books in patients’ rooms. Myers said her decision was one of the carefully measured steps she had taken during her seven-year tenure to move her department to a professional level of pastoral care. The hospital’s response was not so measured. The CEO immediately countermanded Myers. Within months she was forced to resign.”

Sounds like grounds for litigation to me, in the meantime residents of Maryland might want to avoid a hospital whose administration doesn’t respect your health, privacy, or religion.

Monika Ann Dilmaghanian, an adherent of Asatru, has been sentenced for 15 years to life for stabbing her partner. The argument that lead to the stabbing was reportedly over the proper cleansing of a ritual blade.

“Monika Ann Dilmaghanian, 34, had pleaded guilty as charged last month to first-degree felony murder for the April 6 death of 24-year-old Nathan D. Harris at a campground near Causey Reservoir. Defense attorney Bernie Allen – who believes Dilmaghanian is guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter – said she refused to go to trial and seek a lesser conviction because she did not want her children to have to testify against her … family members agreed that Dilmaghanian acted out of anger and under the influence of alcohol, rather than intentionally.”

A friend and co-religionist of Nathan Harris claims that hundreds showed to his funeral, and that he is sure Dilmaghanian meant to murder her husband and will speak against her at any parole hearing.

UU World profiles alternative scouting organizations, including the Pagan-friendly (and founded) Spiral Scouts.

“The Unitarian Universalist Association parted ways with the BSA over those two issues after the BSA withdrew approval in May 1999 for a religious emblem the UUA awarded to Scouts who had earned it through a program of study in their congregations. Since that time some UUs have wanted a more inclusive youth program. SpiralScouts and Navigators are two such groups. Neither group is officially affiliated with the UUA, although UUs may lead them and participate in them. Some groups meet in UU buildings or are sponsored by individual UU congregations. Other UUs continue to participate in Boy Scout programs … SpiralScouts is directed primarily at children and youth whose families identify as Wiccan or Pagan and with Earth-centered spirituality, but it is open to anyone, says Janet Callahan, SpiralScouts International program director.”

It should be interesting to see if Spiral Scouts will continue to make inroads into communities that for one reason or another are dissatisfied with the Boy Scouts.

In an interesting article for those who prefer to practice skyclad or are committed to naturism, Slate.com explores the question of if children are harmed by seeing their parents naked.

“If the kid is younger than 3 years old, it’s probably harmless. At least, this is what many adolescent psychiatrists believe; there have been few rigorous studies of the subject. Very young children won’t notice anything odd about a parent who prances around the house in the buff. Likewise, babies who breastfeed at 12 months are physically intimate with their mothers and don’t think twice about it. Chances are good that a 2- or 3-year-old won’t form any lasting memories of seeing his parents in their birthday suits.”

The article claims that the issue becomes more complex between 4 and 8 when a child starts to learn the societal norms of dress and privacy. Of course there are still few academic studies on the subject, and naturist groups claim that there isn’t any problem with growing up in a clothing-optional house. Many parents seem quite sanguine about the issue as well.

Comic company BOOM! Studios reassures its Pagan readers that their new comic “Salem: Queen of Thorns” won’t vilify Pagans and Witches.

“We agree that a comic book that asserts Pagans are evil and destructive might well be considered insensitive, offensive and even slanderous. However, SALEM: QUEEN OF THORNS is not that book. We appreciate your criticisms, but feel they are based on a mistaken understanding of the true content of our story. In SALEM, the religious authorities are an evil force that persecutes innocents in the witch trials. They aren’t celebrated in any way and are, in fact, major villains … More importantly, one of our chief characters, Hannah Foster, is a healer accused of witchcraft. She is in no way the “demonized” villain of the piece. Rather, she is one of the key heroes on a noble journey to combat evil and save the world.”

Proof that you shouldn’t judge a book by blurb alone.

The Toronto Sun enlists local Witch Tamarra James to help the local soccer team score a goal.

“This ought to do the trick, soccer fans. “Zeus, Lord of Olympus,” Tamarra James cries out. “Receive this offering of precious incense and turn your eyes to this place.” A cloud crosses the midday sun over BMO Field. A gull keens. A security guard shifts nervously. Ms. James, 56, is high priestess of the Wiccan Church of Canada. She is this country’s top witch. We are here, with her deputy witch, Nicole Cooper, 31, to put a spell on Toronto FC. A good spell. A spell to bring a harvest of goals. Or at least one. Starting today, with Columbus in town.”

Makes you want to watch the game to see if her prayers were effective.

Finally, Boing Boing links to a post by Aranamuerta on how to make your own Witch Kitchen Jars.

“Making witch kitchen jars and ingredients is easy and inexpensive. Any jar or bottle of any size will do. I collect jars from my own kitchen, from friend’s houses, from garage sales, and from one of the thrift shops in town that always carries a vast and bizarre selection for very cheap.”

Only 39 days till Samhain! That is all I have for now, have a good day.

Jason Pitzl-Waters