DENVER, Colo. — A conclusion has come to a story that we first reported in 2014. Wiccan Priestess Janie Felix and Pagan Buford Coone with the full support of the ACLU challenged their home city of Bloomfield’s installation of a Ten Commandants monument on public property. The ACLU argued that city officials “accorded preferential treatment to the monument’s sponsors, disregarding many city ordinances and policy requirements that would regulate the monument’s installation.” The case was heard in early March 2014, and the U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of Felix and Coone in August of that year.
At the time, Felix told The Wild Hunt, “We are delighted . . . with the court’s decision. It feels that the law was upheld and that the court reflected the Founding Father’s [sic] plan for our country.” However, the city decided to appeal the district court’s decision. The case then moved to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado and was heard in Sept. 2015.
On Nov. 9, 2016, the court issued its decision, affirming the lower court’s ruling. While it did note that the “cluster of other [historically-based] monuments surrounding the Ten Commandments can dampen the effect of endorsement,” the court said, “the city would have to do more than merely add a few secular monuments in order to signal to objective observers a ‘principal or primary’ message of neutrality. Thus the impermissible taint of endorsement remains, and as we have said, nothing sufficiently purposeful, public, and persuasive was done to cure it.”
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NORWICH, Conn. — It was announced this week that Dianne Daniels would be succeeding longtime NAACP branch president Jacqueline Owens. Daniels is an eclectic Witch with strong leanings toward Wicca, flavored by the Egyptian pantheon, and including her Native American heritage. In a February article, Daniels told TWH that she gathers inspiration from Madam Marie Laveau, Cicely Tyson, and Maya Angelou. In that interview, Daniels also noted that, more recently, she has been “focusing more on my personal heritage – [her] own Black History.”
Originally from Detroit, Daniels moved to Norwich in 1997 and immediately joined the local NAACP branch. She’s been active in the local community, both as a volunteer and as a professional since arriving. Daniels was elected to the office of president Nov. 16. She is quoted as saying that this election was “one of the biggest honors of [her] life.” We will have more from Daniels and her work in the future.
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UNITED KINGDOM — The Druid Network (TDN) announced that it has been recognized as a “full member of the UK Inter Faith Network (IFN).” The Druid organization, as well as other Pagan organizations, have been involved with IFN for many years. In fall 2014, TDN was granted a two-year probational IFN membership. In 2015, TDN reported that, for the first time, it was able to send a representative IFN’s annual general assembly. At the time, TDN trustee and treasurer Neil Pitchford said, “I have the honour of being the first Druid to attend after I was chosen to be TDN’s first representative.”
Now, after two years of waiting, TDN has reported that it was granted its full IFN membership, which will provide “greater legal standing and also some influence in the religious community of the UK.” In a press release, Joanna van der Hoeven said, “This is a fitting conclusion to over ten years of work by many people to get TDN Druidry recognised as a bonefide [sic] religious practice and outlook. The consequences of full membership, amongst other things, means that the IFN views TDN Druidry as a valid religious practice and, by default because of its funding and remit, the government of the U.K. must now also acknowledge that fact as well.”
Van der Hoeven added, “This announcement marks the end of one journey, one that many asserted could and would never happen. It also marks the beginning of another as we start out in building relationships with other religious groups on an equal standing (possibly for the first time in modern times).”
In Other News:
- Druid Scott Holbrook will be back in court Nov 22. As we reported, Holbrook was arrested Nov. 2. He was charged with the “dissemination of obscenities,” after he allegedly sent nude photos to an uncover police officer. After a Nov. 3 hearing, Holbrook posted bond and was released from custody. We will update you on this story in the coming week.
- In another developing story, Circle Sanctuary ministers Jeanet & David Ewing and Tristan were joined by nearly 30 other members of Maryland’s Pagan and Earth-based spirituality communities in attending the 10 a.m. service at the local Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Silver Springs. The group was there to lend its support to a congregation that recently found itself the victim of a hate crime. We are following up on this story to learn just what happened at the church and why the Pagan community got involved.
- Huginn’s Heathen Hof has announced that it will be launching a new worldwide Heathen survey. In 2013, Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried hosted a similar landmark project on his blog NorseMyth.org. “Our hope is that because of that groundbreaking work we will be able to reach a significantly larger portion of the population than that initial attempt, simply because people will be more aware of it due to his previous efforts,” explained Xander Folmer of HHH. The survey is now available in both English and Spanish. Folmer added that they “hope to add Portuguese and a couple of others as soon as possible.”
- Gods & Radicals has launched is annual fundraiser. This year editors are hoping to raise enough money to pay their hard-working writers. The campaign reads, “Why Pay Writers? Because all work has value. Writing takes time. Writing is work. And in a system that prioritizes profit over creativity, the time and mental space to write is a luxury not everyone can afford.” Gods & Radicals is an online blog and print journal focusing on radical thought and contemplation.
- Lastly, The Wild Hunt is always looking for new and upcoming guest writers. We enjoy showcasing and sharing the many diverse voices opinions, and practices that exist within our collectives communities both within the United States and beyond. If you are interested in submitting a proposal or a fully written piece, please contact us at editor at wildhunt.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Wild Hunt Solstice Guide is Coming!