PHILADELPHIA – Saturday the annual Philly Pagan Pride Day (PPPD) celebration in Clark Park featuring keynote speaker, Laura Tempest Zakroff, drew evangelical Christian protesters late in the day.
According to Amy Blackthorn, who presented a workshop, protesters showed up around 5:00 pm with signs and a bullhorn. Staff and attendees responded to the disruption by playing kazoos, a trombone, and singing songs like Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which effectively blocked the proclamations of the bullhorn wielding protester.
PPPD staffers also held up silver Mylar covered placards to shield attendees and presenters.
A number of videos of the scene have been posted to Facebook and to PPPD’s Facebook group page showing the protesters and the response of the PPPD staffers and attendees.
In several of the videos, some staffers crossed the street to display a banner that read, “Do Not Feed The Trolls” and stood in front of a protester who was using a bullhorn in his attempt to disrupt the Pagan Pride event. A woman smudged all around the protesters and even the man on the bullhorn.
I love this community! When confronted by hate this is how you respond. With mirrors to reflect the bile back. And with a dance party, because it is right to mock these venal and vituperative idiots.
Posted by Karen Bruhin on Saturday, August 31, 2019
[Video posted to Facebook]
Comments on the PPPD Facebook group indicate that organizers were aware of the protesters’ intent to attempt to disrupt the event. One poster noted that the protesters showed up later than anticipated. From the response of the PPPD staff, they were well prepared to deflect the disruptive actions.
According to Blackthorn, there was a noticeable absence of any police presence. There were also reports of one of the protesters pushing or shoving a PPPD staffer. Towards the end of the event, community safety members showed up on bicycles. The group of protesters left a little before 6:00 pm.
Presenters, vendors, and attendees praised the PPPD event. This marked the 7th year of the PPPD since the event was spearheaded by Robert L. Schreiwer and brought back to the area in 2013. Schreiwer recently stepped down as coordinator and president of PPPD, though he still serves on the board. Jay Gregory is the current coordinator and president of PPPD.
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MIAMI – WLRN, Mami’s local NPR affiliate, published an article on Sunday about how the Miami area Afro-Caribbean religion communities include ritual work into their hurricane preparations.
In the article, they interviewed several practitioners of a variety of traditions who had differing opinions on the use of spiritual work to either prevent or provide safety from the approaching storm.
One botánica employee, Luis Romero, of the famous Botánica Nena, said the most popular Orishás that were petitioned for assistance were Oyá as ruler of wind and storms, and Changó for his rulership of thunder and lightning.
Not everyone interviewed considered it appropriate to use their spiritual practice in that way. “Vodou is not something like that, hurricane is hurricane,” said Laider Andre, a priest in Haitian Vodou who has lived in Little Haiti for over two decades. Andre stated that he did not believe that spirits and saints could be used to mediate a hurricane and that it was better left up to God to manage.
Alex Escalante the owner of Botánica 21 División, planned to hold an hour-long prayer vigil at his shop, invoking Saint Barbara, Saint Isidore, and Saint Nicholas of the Sun for help and protection during the storm.
As of 5 pm September 3, Dorian has been downgraded to a category 2 hurricane and continues its a slow northern trajectory away from the Bahamas after battering Abaco and Grand Bahama islands for several days. Hurricane and storm surge warnings have been expanded along Florida’s east coast as well as up through Georgia, and the Carolinas.
The National Hurricane Center is warning people to remain vigilant on preparation and evacuation despite the downgrade to a Category 2. While the winds have lessened to 110 mph or below, the storm has actually increased in size which means it can impact a larger area with flooding from storm surge and winds.
The amount of storm surge and damage that Hurricane Dorian as a Category 5 storm has caused in the Bahamas has been reported as catastrophic, but reports of the damage have been somewhat limited due to the amount of power and communication disruptions of the storm.
The Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas has made a plea for supplies.
For those interested in helping with relief and recovery efforts, ABC-affiliate station, WPLG has a list of items needed and links for cash donations on their website. The National Association of The Bahamas (NAB), a 501(c) non-profit organization is also set up to accept cash donations.
Editorial Update: An official relief page has been created.
In other news:
- Rev. Dan Reehil, pastor of the St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville announced in an email to parents of students and facility members that the Harry Potter series of books, written by J.K. Rowling, had been removed from the school’s library. Reehil in his email said, “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.” The superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Rachel Hammel defended Reehil’s decision, citing that “each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school.”
- The trial of a woman who self-identifies as a “witch” and spiritual adviser began last week in Tarrant county court in Texas. Dephne Wright, 47, is on trial for 10 separate charges connected to the deaths of Long Nguyen, 72 and his wife, Huong Ly, 63 in 2012. According to prosecutors, Wright sold spells and spiritual advice to the couple, who allegedly owed her $280,000 for her services. Investigators and the prosecution believe Wright hired two men to murder the couple in order to gain access to their insurance policies for the amount of money they owed her. TWH will continue to follow this story.
- The Temple of Witchcraft presented plans to build a community center last week to Salem, N.H. Planning Board. The plan outlines the removal of a 5,700-square foot barn on their property and replacing it with a building that would reflect the New England style of the area and be similar to the look of the barn as it currently exists. Original plans were to simply convert the barn into a community center, but the cost of trying to retrofit and bring the building up to code was not feasible. The Temple of Witchcraft estimates it will be anywhere from five to seven years before actual construction begins.
- Government officials of the Fife council in Scotland have started a campaign to have returned the remains of a woman, Lilias Adie, who charged with “witchcraft” and died in prison in 1704 before she could be tried. She is believed to be one of the only people accused of witchcraft in Scotland to be actually buried. Her burial site in the Scottish village of Torryburn was marked by a large stone that it is rumored was placed over the site by local villagers to prevent her from rising from her grave. Around the early 1850’s her bones were removed and ended up in St Andrew’s University Museum, but disappeared around 1904. Members of the Fife Council hope to locate her bones and give her a proper funeral ceremony. “It’s important to recognise that Lilias Adie and the thousands of other men and women accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland were not the evil people history has portrayed them to be. They were the innocent victims of unenlightened times,” local government official Julie Ford said in a statement.
- A proposed highway connector that would link Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia is being protested by activists and Indigenous women due to the slated removal of between 260 and 280 Djap Wurrung trees. Many of the trees are over 800-years-old and play a key role in the culture of the Indigenous people. Some trees are considered “birthing trees” and have been used by Indigenous women as a place to give birth. Plans by police to forcibly remove activists have not yet been placed in motion. Last week, activists were joined by more than 100 members of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, which represents 40 unions and more than 400,000 members in Victoria. There have been no reports on whether the police had attempted to remove the activists. TWH will continue to follow this story.
Deck: Ethereal Visions, Illuminated Tarot Deck by Matt Hughes, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Card: Ten (10) of Cups
The week ahead offers opportunities to find satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. Be mindful that neglect, failure to complete projects, or aligning with people and causes that misrepresent held values will produce the opposite effect.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone