The first Pagan FM radio station is set to launch tomorrow in the small town of Palenville, New York. The radio station is owned by the Maetreum of Cybele, a Pagan convent most known for winning its lengthy legal battle against the nearby town of Catskill, New York. The Maetreum was granted a license from the FCC to operate a low power FM radio station.Their broadcast signal area includes the town of Catskil along with a small area outside the town.The Maeterum has a provisional permit for now, but can apply for a standard licence once they are on the air full time. The radio station plans to host a combination of music and local talk radio programming. Rev. Mother Cathryn Platine said the radio station is another way for the convent to serve the local community, “We have found that our ongoing local community involvement has done wonders for our acceptance as a Pagan church, convent and charity as has our commitment to providing a place of safety for the community in emergencies, a positive example of green energy generation and gardens and old fashion homesteading style life.”
Rev Platine says Pagans often isolate themselves from their local community out of fear, but the Maetreum decided to go another route.
Yesterday, the New York Court of Appeals issued its final decision in the case of the Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, Inc. v. McCoy, (The Town of Catskill, N.Y.). In a unanimous decision, the court ruled in favor of the Maetreum, thereby ending a lengthy legal struggle over property tax exemption. In reaction, Rev. Cathryn Platine told The Wild Hunt, “I’m still in shock as this has consumed my life for eight years now.” In Tuesday’s short 3-page decision, the Court of Appeals referenced the previous 2012 judgment made by Judge Richard Platkin of the state’s Supreme Court. As noted, that earlier decision rejected the Maetreum’s petition, concluding “that the religious and charitable uses of the subject property were incidental to [the Maetreum]’s primary, non-exempt use of providing affordable cooperative housing.”
Despite the strong countercultural thread that runs through many Pagan religions, there has long been a concurrent drive to develop the infrastructure and tools of the overculture, and turn them to our own ends. Arguments over owning land, creating seminaries, forming churches and other not-for-profits have been hashed out for decades, and this will likely be the cause of lively discourse for many years to come. At the same time, those in the community who do forge ahead with these projects continue to speculate why one idea might flourish and another fail. For example, some posit that Pagans are too poor to support these works or perhaps too cheap. Others claim that Pagans want all the nice things but don’t wish to pay for them.
Maetreum of Cybele is back in the news again as its battle for property tax exemption moves to the New York State Court of Appeals. After the Appellate Division of New York’s Supreme Court ruled in favor the Maetreum, the Town of Catskill sent an appeal to the state’s highest court for a final decision. In a press release Monday, the Maetreum of Cybele said:
[We have] been forced to put all our planned projects for this year on hold because the Town of Catskill has appealed our appellate level unanimous three judge win in our court case for equal treatment under the New York property tax laws. The Wild Hunt has been covering this case since its beginnings in 2009. Here is a timeline of events as they happened:
In 2007 the Maetreum of Cybele, a nonprofit religious organization, petitioned the Town of Catskill for property tax exemption.
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. “Do you have any free advice on how to save West Virginia? I sure do. Go there. The whole state doesn’t look like the picture above.