Updates on Recent Stories

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 11, 2008 — 6 Comments

The Theological Necessity of Goats: A Santeria priest who challenged the animal slaughter laws in Forth Worth, Texas has lost his lawsuit against the city.

“At the end of the one-day trial, U.S. District Judge John McBryde said Euless was protecting the public’s health by banning animal slaughtering in the city limits but that Merced could do the rituals elsewhere … Euless officials said they were pleased with the judge’s ruling, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Monday. “Public health is one of the most compelling interests that cities protect,” said Mick McKamie, the city’s attorney for the case.”

Of course, their appeal to public health is completely arbitrary since the city does allow citizens to slaughter chickens in their homes. An animal just as capable of transmitting pathogens as a goat. Jose Merced is currently considering an appeal to the ruling.

Even Intolerant Fools Deserve Free Speech: Repent America founder Michael Marcavage has been found guilty of disorderly conduct by a judge in Salem. Marcavage was arrested on Halloween night, while spouting hellfire at the crowds of Pagans and merry-makers that converge on the “Witch City” every year.

“A Pennsylvania preacher who was arrested on Halloween night after defying police orders to stop using a bullhorn was found guilty of disorderly conduct yesterday and fined $200 by a judge, who said Michael Marcavage used “poor judgment” that night … ‘Halloween in Salem is a unique day of the year,’ said Salem District Court Judge Michael Uhlarik. ‘It’s a very small community, and you have 60,000 to 80,000 people crammed into a very tight space. In this day and age, we have to be very careful of controlling crowds. It’s not a question of depriving anyone of their free speech rights,’ said the judge. ‘It’s an issue of public safety.'”

According to police, the decision to shut down bullhorn use by protest groups was made because of concerns for keeping the peace amongst an increasingly hostile and drunk crowd. Police also testified that the Repent America group were using the bullhorn in an aggressive and provocative manner (something that didn’t make it into their self-serving YouTube video). Repent America promises to appeal the ruling, and has hinted that they may file a civil lawsuit.

Can You Be a Christo-Pagan in Prison: The Washington state Senate has unanimously approved a bill designed to study in-prison programs so they can more effectively build “moral character”. The bill also contains a provision that seemingly protects prison chaplains from performing actions contrary to their faith, a response to a controversy created when the Washington Department of Corrections changed their policy to allow for multi-faith allegiance in prison.

“A Page One story in The News Tribune in January explored the conflict that a Catholic priest who works as a chaplain in the state prison system faced in complying with a new rule allowing inmates to select multiple religions. A bill aimed at addressing that issue has cleared the state Legislature and is headed to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. Senate Bill 6400, sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Carrell of Lakewood, contained provisions to protect chaplains after hearing that Tom Suss, a longtime chaplain at McNeil Island, took a leave of absence rather than be put in a position of having to provide religious items to an inmate who claimed both Catholicism and a pagan religion simultaneously. Doing so would have gone against the tenets of his faith, Suss said.”

This crowd-pleasing Republican-sponsored bill is, of course, a redundancy, since no chaplain was being forced to perform ecclesiastical duties against their wishes. In fact, Tom Suss, the chaplain this bill was designed to help, is well known for his anti-Pagan views, and his “leave of absence” tantrum stems mainly from Pagan inmates being allowed to buy Christian trinkets. The Bill is currently on the Governor’s desk awaiting a signature.

Jason Pitzl-Waters