Updates on Past Stories

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When Religion and Subculture Collide: Florida Today updates us on the case of a group of goth kids who were fighting a ban on “goth” clothing. It looks like the children argued their case effectively, because the Brevard County School Board has removed the term “gothic” from its dress-code policy, much to the approval of Florida Today’s editorial staff.

“The Brevard County School Board tweaked its dress code policy to remove the word “Gothic” this week. That was a judicious move. No other group of students is listed in the policy. Hip-hop and jock styles also break the dress code, but their groups aren’t singled out for censure by name. Branding Goths as somehow dangerous was unfair and unneeded … school administrators should be careful to apply dress code policies fairly for all groups, from the star athletes to Wiccan kids.”

Facial piercings and “extreme” facial makeup are still banned, but “goth” clothing itself is no longer banned. The compromise that may make life easier for Amaris Mulhauser, who claimed that her style of dress was an outgrowth of her Wiccan religious practice.

A Canadian Witch-Hunt: The Halifax Daily News follows up with some local Pagans in the wake of attacks and harassment towards local Witch Shauna Cook and her friends.

“Earlier this month, a Halifax hedge-witch and her two pagan friends were attacked leaving her home, leading her to decide she must leave the city for the safety of her children. The woman said she has been repeatedly targeted because of her religion. Imagine if the violence had been directed at Jews leaving a synagogue, or Muslims leaving a mosque. Would Haligonians tolerate such an attack? … Vanessa Smith of Little Mysteries on Barrington Street says the attack was doubly unfortunate – because of the pain caused to those attacked, and because it does not reflect the Halifax she knows. “Halifax is a very open city,” she says, and most Wiccans practice in peace.”

Another local Witch interviewed says that her children also face harassment for their religious views, but that she is happier being “out” about her beliefs, and that “Witches are the new gays – and we’re finally coming out.” As for Shauna Cook, you can get a fuller picture of the situation leading to her move by reading the two comments made on this blog by a local friend.

Raping With Impunity: Back in April I reported on a recently released Amnesty International report that revealed shocking levels of outsider rape being perpetrated on American Indian and Alaska Native women. This past Thursday, members of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee heard the testimony of Native women in hopes of creating legislation towards eliminating legal red tape that hinders many investigations of rape and similar crimes.

“Jami Rozell, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, testified that she was brutally raped but decided not to press charges after a series of lawyers and officials told her she would be “raped again” by the justice system. She told senators that several months after the crime, when she summoned the courage to press charges, she was told all of the evidence had been destroyed. “I have not been able to stand up for myself until now,” she said.”

You can read the testimonies of the participants, here. Sadly, rape isn’t the only problem facing Native women in our country, beatings and harassment from non-Natives is still an all-too-common occurrence as evidenced by the recent case in which a teenage girl was beaten and then harassed by white supremacists in Idaho. Hopefully the Senate can indeed “streamline” the maze of injustice facing Natives in our country.