Religious freedom challenges in two public school systems: Florida and Louisiana

TWH — The struggle for religious freedom, or freedom from religion, within the U.S. public school system is ongoing. As part of the government system, no preference of one religion over another is permitted on school property or within the buildings. However, in practice that is not always the case and, in areas where religious diversity is increasing, problems and challenges naturally arise. Today we look at two different cases that have appeared in recent months. Florida’s state legislature is considering a bill that would force all schools to display the words “In God We Trust” prominently, while in Louisiana, school officials in one parish include regular prayers as part of the daily curriculum.

Unleash the Hounds! (link roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans and Heathens out there, more than our team can write about in depth in any given week. Therefore, the Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. 

Today marks the birthday of Doreen Valiente, who is largely considered to be the mother of modern Witchcraft and Wicca. Valiente was born in London in 1922, and eventually found her way into Witchcraft. Much of the written work used today in Gardnerian practice was written by Valiente. Upon her death in 1999, Valiente left her legacy to the care of John Belham Payne.

Masterpiece Cakeshop case takes center stage in the battle over religious freedom

WASHINGTON D.C. – The now famous Masterpiece Cakeshop case is set to begin its hearing Tuesday in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The case (Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et, al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et. al) pits a cake baker against the state of Colorado.The story has been closely followed by the media for several years as it brings into question the limits and the scope of religious freedom in the public sphere. In 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig walked into the Lakewood-based Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their wedding.

U.S. Attorney General issues new religious freedom guidelines

Washington — The U.S. Attorney General issued a new set of religious guidelines for all “administrative agencies and executive departments.” Published Oct.6, the memorandum, which was reportedly requested by President Donald Trump, seeks to provide guidance and instruction concerning “religious liberty protections in federal law.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a separate statement the same day, which reads in part:
Our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people. It has protected both the freedom to worship and the freedom not to believe. Every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith.

Editorial: Religious Liberty or Religious Bigotry?

UNITED STATES — President Donald J. Trump’s latest executive order is titled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” While some readers may be scratching their heads wondering why the current administration feels the need to promote the U.S. Constitution’s guaranteed First Amendment rights, others may feel that the little age-old document needed a good dusting off, and a signal boost. However, the executive is order is not aimed at simply lifting up what is already clearly written into national law, but rather it is aimed, theoretically, at defining it, directing it, and, as some believe, suffocating it. During the election process, Trump and running mate Mike Pence advocated for the dismantling of the now infamous Johnson Amendment. As we reported in the past, the Johnson Amendment was implemented in 1954 to prevent nonprofit organizations from influencing politics.