Update on Spiritual Counseling Case and other Quick Notes

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The Perils of Spiritual Counseling: It looks like U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne isn’t going to issue a ruling in the case of Patricia Moore-King v. County of Chesterfield, Virginia at this time. Instead, Payne says both Chesterfield County, and Patricia Moore-King failed to failed to press for a final resolution on a local level before heading to court.

“Payne did not issue an official ruling, but said it seemed that neither King nor county officials followed through on her attempt to get a license and that she needed to press for a formal resolution of the dispute before going to court. “I want her to go back and do it right,” Payne said.”

So it looks like we’ll have to await a formal resolution on a local level, and I’m not sure exactly what that will entail. I’m not anticipating any forward movement on that front. Chesterfield County isn’t exactly what one would call “friendly” to alternative modes of belief. Even if she does head back to federal court, she may not like the outcome. Judge Payne was openly skeptical of her religious rights claims, saying she was the “the author of her own misfortune”, and openly questioning her reluctance to submit to a background check.

“Fortune tellers have fleeced people in the past,” the judge said. “… For all we know she’s been involved in chicanery elsewhere in the United States and doesn’t want her background checked.”

In other words, if you aren’t guilty of something, why shouldn’t you talk? The judge also seemed to agree with defense attorneys that her web site points towards her being a fortune teller, and not a “spiritual counselor”. It’s very likely this may end in a stalemate, or simply grind to a halt. We’ll see if Moore-King presses for a local resolution and tries to move forward with litigation again.

Empowering Tribal Nations to End Rape: Back in 2007 I posted an Amnesty International report that revealed shocking levels of outsider rape being perpetrated on American Indian and Alaska Native women. Later that same year the Senate Indian Affairs Committee heard the testimony of Indian women to start the process of drafting legislation to address the problem. Yesterday, President Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act which will give tribal law enforcement more tools and powers to patrol and mete justice on their own lands.

“The new law requires the Department of Justice to collect and share data on crimes that happen on tribal land that U.S. attorneys decline to prosecute. The new law also increases the maximum sentence that can be handed down in tribal court, now up to three years, and it provides more training to law enforcement officials on how to collect evidence in cases of sexual assault.”

Amnesty International is very pleased, as are various Native media outlets and writers. I’m personally very glad to see some forward movement on this issue, one that will hopefully reverse some horrific trends in Indian Country.

The Cosmopolitan Wing of the Tea Party? The New York Press does a spotlight on the Tea Party in New York, compares them with other factions of the movement, and finds them more cosmopolitan, less outwardly radical, than some of their brethren. Since it’s a spotlight of the Tea Party in New York, they spare a moment to discuss one its stars, openly Pagan New York City councilman Dan Halloran.

“Liberty is on the march,” Dan Halloran yells as he clutches a microphone in front of a gathered crowd inside Webster Hall. “Not only is it on the march, but liberty is kicking ass and starting to take names all over the United States.” … About 100 people cheered for Halloran, a self-professed Germanic pagan and a newly elected councilmember from Queens…

It’s an interesting look at the movement, and how wide-ranging it can be depending on where it’s located. Though it remains to be seen if it will coalesce into an enduring political force, or if the more moderate members can learn to get along with personalities like Rand Paul and Michele Bachmann.

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