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.
We start today’s roundup with religious freedom stories:
The Florida Senate approved SB 436 “Religious Expression in Public Schools.” As with many religious freedom bills, SB 436 seeks to protect people from discrimination related to their practice of religion. However, according to Americans United, this senate bill and the corresponding Florida House Bill 303 “would erode the separation of church and state in Florida’s schools in violation of the First Amendment.” Americans United goes on to say that, “both versions of the bill would put Florida’s public schools in a bind, as they would be forced to choose between violating the new state law and violating the U.S. Constitution.”
There was a time when James Arthur Ray was a heavy hitter in the world of New Age, self-help, guru-dom. He appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s popular daytime talk show during the height of “The Secret” (aka the “Law of Attraction”) craze, appearing in the 2006 “Secret” film, and collaborating with other Secret authors. His 2008 book “Harmonic Wealth” climbed the New York Times bestseller list, and he had positioned himself as someone who would use New Age teachings to, well, get you rich. This is hardly new, the New Thought movement, which heavily influenced the New Age movement, also concerned itself with the acquisition of wealth alongside spiritual enrichment, but Ray was a particularly turbo-charged and modern variant of this old profession.
Rays kingdom of macho spiritual affluence came crashing down in 2011 when he was convicted of negligent homicide in the deaths of three participants in a makeshift sweat-lodge ceremony that took place in 2009.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. It’s always worth a mention when the New York Times takes an interest in modern Paganism. Their New York-focused City Room blog highlights the Wiccan Family Temple Academy of Pagan Studies in Manhattan, interviewing two of the program’s students. Quote: “People go to school to study the things that interest them most; some people go to law school, others to medical school,” [Shantel Collins] said.
Last fall, the University of Missouri added the eight Wiccan Sabbats to its “Guide to Religion” in an effort to encourage respect for religious diversity within its community. The Guide says:
The holidays and accommodations section of this guide is provided to faculty, staff, and student leaders as an educational resource for the myriad of religious holy days celebrated at Mizzou. Not only does this section offer crucial information about dates and practices, we also hope that the information about recommended academic and food accommodations will be valuable to those planning classroom activities and other academic and co-curricular events. In the past week, the mainstream news media have picked up the story and “ran with it.” It’s odd that it took them this long to identify the Guide’s update. It’s even odder that they are treating Mizzou’s diversity efforts as an anomaly.
Why, in the name of all that is good and holy, is anyone still paying attention to Kirk Cameron? In what way is this former teen television star turned laughable Christian caricature relevant enough to our culture to get a primetime interview slot on CNN? Does anyone really care about his views on homosexuality or same-sex marriage? The stark truth is that his once familiar face, tied to his evangelical Christian views, are the only thing keeping him on the fame radar (albeit in a d-list reality-television manner). However, since there are still folks out there who seem to take Mr. Cameron seriously for some reason, here’s a gold-plated proof that no one, not even the most fervent Christian “Growing Pains” star, should give his “crocoduck” theology mainstream attention.