Pagan Community Notes: Pagan Federation support UK school, Heathen groups respond to church burnings and more

Coat of Arms Birmingham, UK

BIRMINGHAM, England – The Pagan Federation of the UK has issued a statement in response to complaints that educators were using dolls to teach LGBT sex practices. As The Guardian, Parkfield Community School educators are being accused by Muslim activists of using dolls to promote and demonstrate LGBT “sexual mechanics”  to children of four and five years of age.  At the beginning of April, Members of the British Parliament voted 538 – 21 in favor of sex education.

The activists were motivated to protest by the use of two books used with the youngest children—one that describes a variety of family arrangements that included same-sex parents, and another with the title, “Mommy, Mama and Me.” The assistant headteacher, Andrew Moffat, is gay and has come under attack, despite the fact that he does not teach any of lessons.

The Pagan Federation issued a statement of support on their Facebook page last week, which read, in part:

“The PF LGBTQIA Manager has today sent cards of support to both Anderton park and Parkside schools staff.

We here at the PF do not support the ending of the “no outsiders” education campaign. We believe that education is the key to equality and understanding. The no outsiders campaign is in no way explicit about sex or gender. It is a series of age appropriate books and materials featuring disabled, poc, gay, trans and other minority characters.”

They later edited the post to include the addresses of Parkfield and another primary school, Anderton, after followers filled up their inbox with requests for the addresses so they too could send send letters of support.

Despite any evidence that Parkfield is teaching anything other than what has been mandated by the Members of Parliament, the protesters want the “No Outsiders” program permanently ended. Department of Education guidelines state that lessons at the primary level should include, “different family relationships” and “the right to equality under the law for people who are LGBT.”

As part of a longer statement, a spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We want children to know that there are many types of relationships – that’s why we are making relationships education compulsory in all primary schools from 2020. This will ensure pupils are taught the building blocks needed for positive and safe relationships of all kinds – starting with family and friends – and how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect.”

For now, the “No Outsider” program has been stopped. TWH will continue to follow this story and report on any new developments.

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Great Seal of the State of Louisiana

OPELOUSAS, La. – Heathens Against Hate (HAH) and The Troth released statement shortly after learning that the alleged arsonist of three predominantly black, Louisiana churches had connections to Ásatrú. As early reports began filter in, several media outlets listed Holden Matthews, the accused arsonist, as a Pagan subsequent reports said he identified as Heathen and with the beliefs of Ásatrú. These reports prompted public statements from Heathens Against Hate (HAH) and The Troth.

Excerpts from the statements from both organizations condemn Matthews’ actions:

“Heathens Against Hate joins The Troth and other organizations in condemning these arsons. There is no excuse for the arsonist’s actions. The actions of extremist, exclusionary Heathens of any denomination risk creating ill will toward all of us, which is, perhaps, part of the plan of people like this arsonist. We must not allow them to be successful.”

“The Troth strongly condemns Holden Matthews, the alleged arsonist of three historically African American churches: St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. An attack on any house of worship is an attack on the freedom of worship for all people. The actions of Mr. Matthews are antithetical of the values and beliefs of the majority of modern Pagans.”

In an article by Heavy.com another online post to a Facebook group, called Followers of the Old Way, Matthews allegedly references Rokkatru, and asked, “Anyone else here follow rokkatru?” Rokkatru is a belief system that is dedicated to honoring the Norse Gods of the underworld. Beyond the reference cited in the article, TWH could find no other references to Rokkatru and was unable to substantiate Matthews being a member of any other groups as his Facebook page has either been removed or made private.

TWH will continue to follow this story and report as more information becomes available.

In other news:

  • A Northwood woman, Janet Delfuoco, who in some media reports self-identified as a Witch, was on trial for charges of making threatening comments online about two Manchester attorneys and a judge. Comments she made on her personal Facebook page that were publicly viewable were seen by credit union officials who she has been in a legal dispute with over a loan, and were also mentioned in several posts. Screenshots of the posts were eventually forwarded to the Attorney General’s office and resulted in the charges being brought against Delfuoco.  Last Wednesday, after two and half days of trial, Delfuoco was found not guilty by a jury.
  • The Ring of Brodgar, A Neolithic stone circle in Orkney, Scotland, was reported vandalized last week. Graffiti was found carved into one of the stones, believed to have been vandalized sometime between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning the previous week. The ring was originally composed of 60 stones, and currently has 36 remaining stones. It is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney Unesco world heritage site, and the third largest stone circle to be found within the British Isles. Police and site officials are calling on the public to vigilant and report anything they might have seen that was suspicious to the authorities.
  • The Satanic Temple has filed an appeal to Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a Missouri law requiring a three-day waiting period before an abortion. The law also requires: that women must be offered an ultrasound or the opportunity to listen to the fetal heartbeat; and that they must be provided a booklet that reads “the life of each human being begins at conception.” The Satanic Temple alleges that the law violates a woman’s First Amendment right of freedom of religion. Several previous cases brought by The Satanic Temple have been dismissed by federal and the Missouri State Supreme Court. Twenty seven other states have similar laws that impose waiting periods, but Missouri’s is one of the longest.
  • In an update to another Missouri bill that TWH reported on last month, HB 728 has been passed by the Missouri House of Representatives. It now moves to the Missouri Senate, where Republicans hold the majority.
  • This fall, the Tate in London will host a large exhibit, over 300 pieces of artwork produced by William Blake. Blake is famously known for his poetry, but he was also a very skilled and prolific visual artist. The collection is comprised of watercolors, paintings, and prints. Blake attempted to share his artwork with the world in 1809, but was it not well received. TWH will be following this exhibition.
  • The prevalence and growing interest in Witchcraft can be seen reflected in some college campuses. Ohio State University is about to have its first Pagan club. The university’s student publication, The Lantern announced last week that a new student organization called Witches and Witchcraft met for the first time. The group is focused on providing space providing a space for “people to talk and learn about the many different aspects of witches and witchcraft.” In a related story, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) student news publication, MTSU Sidelines, published an in-depth article on the rising popularity of Witchcraft.

 

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: The Vision Tarot by Tim Thompson, published by CARTA MUNDI

Card: Seven (7) of Coins

The week ahead could bring an unexpected shift in finances. Whether a monetary gain or loss, the change will be unforeseeable and likely swift.

 

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone