Columna: Paganismo en México

[Por favor, den la bienvenida a nuestro nuevo columnista internacional: Jaime Gironés. Uniéndose a nosotros desde la Ciudad de México, la columna de Gironés aparecerá cada tres meses y explorará la práctica y la experiencia del paganismo, del heathenry y del politeísmo en México. Sus columnas serán publicadas primero en español y posteriormente en inglés. Si quieres saber más de Gironés, ve a la página de su biografía.]
English Translation
Nice to meet you. Mucho gusto.

Santa Muerte, journalism, and occult experts

This past Friday I linked to a story, and subsequent follow-ups, concerning a Santa Muerte statue placed in a cemetery in San Benito, Texas. The San Benito News went to Dr. Antonio N. Zavaleta, whom they called a “renowned expert on the occult,” for context and he said that the statue was “probably a spell to harm or kill someone.”  This prompted a response from Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut, author of “Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint,” who said that there was no evidence that this statue was placed there to harm or kill anyone. Ultimately, someone went and destroyed the statue before authorities could remove it, and I dinged the reporters for going with the “death spell” angle without seeking alternate perspectives. 

“I think there’s a lesson here, primarily for the journalists who went with the “death spell” angle without finding a second opinion.” Since then, San Benito News Managing Editor Michael Rodriguez has publicly and privately defended his paper’s coverage, sending The Wild Hunt (and I assume others) an explanation for why they only got one source, and why he trusted Dr. Zavaleta’s input. Quote: “If there are those who would discredit Dr. Zavaleta’s conclusions based on his religious practice, then by the same token I should dismiss their remarks as biased […] the original article was not an attempt to spark an argument about religious freedoms but merely to present the concerns of a community, the actions of a city administration in response to such concerns, and the opinion of a doctor/professor/published author with expertise in this field.”

(Pagan) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.As if sensing that the recent Pew Forum study of America’s religious landscape would show that modern Paganism continues to grow, while Christianity’s majority status is eroding, a growing number of anti-Pagan articles have appeared warning the faithful of our growth. One comes from Janice Crouse, a senior fellow with Concerned Women for America, who warns of the growth of Wicca and “Earth Worship” among the Christian youth.”Janice Crouse, a senior fellow with Concerned Women for America, says it’s disturbing that many young people in evangelical churches are experimenting with the Wiccan religion. Church leaders and Christian parents, she warns, must be ready to counter that growing interest among their youth. Crouse cites an article in Religion Journal which said youth pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention were worried about large numbers of evangelicals taking part in Wicca, a religion that involves nature worship, stresses moral autonomy, and includes remedies and spells … [Crouse] says the interest in Wicca can be traced to recent books featuring witchcraft and similar topics.”Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily prints the cover story from their recent Whistleblower magazine issue dedicated to the growth of Witchcraft in America.