Over the past few months we have been reporting on several stories involving religious freedom challenges. Here are updates on those stories:
Beebe, Arkanasas makes national news
On June 17, we reported that Arkansas resident Bertram Dahl had been denied the necessary permits to open a Pagan temple on his property. In addition, he was harassed by a neighboring Pentecostal church and, eventually, arrested on charges of disorderly conduct. This past week, the national news picked up Dahl’s story. On July 28, The New York Times published the article, “Pagan High Priest Finds Few Believers Inside City Hall.”
On June 26, the Huntsville, Alabama City Council scheduled a regular monthly meeting to address typical city issues. The meeting, as always, was slated to begin with an invocation offered by a community member. On the schedule for June 26 was Blake Kirk, a local Wiccan priest and interfaith advocate. Two days prior to the meeting, the council secretary published the agenda online. That is when the trouble began.
Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media, or from a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice you’d like to see highlighted? Drop me a line with a link to the story, post, or audio. “Strings and wires and cords bind me and embrace me and restrain me, but they are not mine alone. There are other filaments, unseen but always felt, invisible but ever-present. Some tie you to me, thoughts and dreams, laughter and hatred, what is shared and what is feared. I meet you and we are tethered, sometimes anchored, sometimes set aloft like connected balloons slipping from the hands of children into the endlessness of sky. Some tie me to you, affection or dislike, duty or admiration, care or casualty, love or loss. Some are like chains which weigh upon the soul, but many others like long stitches which keep us together. Not just in present, either. There are the threads of fate woven into my form and existence at birth and from even before, the tugging strong rope of destiny unfolding, and all the myriad unfollowed threads of stories and sorrows, possibilities and failures still loose. I’ve heard existence spoken of as a web, but I have never quite felt this true. Webs are spun to constrict and trap, to bind and kill. A broken strand does not destroy it. Its patterns can be predicted, its geometry assured. No. Rather, then, a tapestry, woven from time and the self, of threads countless and coloured, and each strand is you, and you, and you, and some of them are me.” Rhyd Wildermuth, on strings, and the tapestry of existence.