Wiccan Priestess Deborah Maynard successfully delivered an invocation before the Iowa State Legislature on Thursday, April 9. With reportedly two-thirds of the representatives present, Maynard stood before the government body and asked for the blessings of “God, Goddess, Universe, that which is greater than ourselves.” To benefit the day’s legislative work, her invocation called to each element, asking for support with things such as balance, compassion, reason, and strength. Then, she called to spirit and ended with “Blessed Be, A-Ho and Amen.” Her invocation was met with backlash from some visitors and lawmakers. Several conservative Christian organizations called for silent protests and prayers during her invocation.
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.
For those who haven’t been following the Fox News/Tucker Carlson Pagan holidays at the University of Missouri saga, the Religion News Service (conveniently headquartered at Mizzou) gives a quick run-down. Of course that isn’t the end of it as Fox News host Bill O’Reilly decided he needed to have a go at the issue last week, and despite the requisite mockery admitted that “I don’t see anything wrong with this as long as the university is upfront about it … it is a movement, there are Wiccans and Witches and they do what they do … this is America.” Tonight on BlogTalkRadio Circle Sanctuary’s Selena Fox will be hosting a Pagan town hall on what our community can learn from this experience. PNC-Minnesota has a piece up about the much-talked-about PantheaCon 2013 panel on privilege held in the COG/NWC/NROOGD suite, and moderated by T. Thorn Coyle.
Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! In Memoriam: Dennis Presser (1958-2013): Circle Sanctuary has announced that longtime Circle and Pagan Spirit Gathering community member Dennis Presser passed away last week from natural causes.
As Heather Greene reported yesterday here at The Wild Hunt, the Pagan community has been reacting to inflammatory and offensive statements made by Fox News and Fox & Friends Weekend personalities regarding the University of Missouri adding the eight Wiccan Sabbats to its “Guide to Religion.”
Since then, the response from Wiccans and other modern Pagans on social media sites like Facebook have been heavy and sustained. More than 25,000 individuals have signed a Causes petition demanding an apology, and over 4000 have signed a Change.org petition demanding the same. “Fox and Friends on February 17, 2013 decided to belittle women, make fun of a Federally recognized religion, present inaccurate information as “facts” concerning the religion of Wicca, and decide that religious freedom and respect is ONLY for the mainstream or “traditional” religions rather than for EVERY American Citizen regardless of their spirituality. […] They are also doing a lot of damage control by removing this video from the public record due to the backlash it is receiving but I, and many others in the Pagan community will not allow them to hide their bigotry and pretend it didn’t happen.” In addition, Pagan and Wiccan advocacy organizations have been stepping forward to make statements on the coverage, starting with the Lady Liberty League.
It just seems like yesterday that I was discussing the smear job on NPR reporter (and fellow Pagan) Margot Adler by the “liberal media bias” watchdogs at NewsBusters. “It seems that Graham’s biggest problem with Adler is that she isn’t a conservative Christian, that an atheist was hanging around when she recorded the report, and that she didn’t talk to some conservative Christians. Oh, and she didn’t find a (Christian or conservative) protester to talk to in a completely unrelated story.”It seems that the folks at Fox News loved that dish so much they asked for seconds!”A pagan priestess runs into the president of the atheists in a phone booth in New York. No, it’s not a joke — it’s the start of a controversial report from National Public Radio — and your tax dollars may have paid for it. New York City officials this fall launched an art project called “Public Prayer Booth” …