Column: Freedom

In the wake of the American Independence Day celebrations, Clio Ajana considers the many meanings of freedom.

Filtering and Free Exercise: ACLU vs. Salem Public Library

In 2002 Nancy Willard, Executive Director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, issued a report that warned of the troubling confluence between content-control software and conservative religious groups. Willard voiced concerns that the relationships between companies providing web-filtering software to public institutions may be “inappropriately preventing students from accessing certain materials based on religious or other inappropriate bias.” She went on to note that terms like “occult” or “cult” are “frequently applied to any non-traditional religions” and that it would be “unacceptable for schools to block access to non-traditional religious sites.” Five years earlier, the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association, issued a resolution affirming that “the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights.” However, today, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), passed in 2000 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003, mandates Internet filtering software on any library or K-12 school that receives federal funding.

Whistle-blowing Witch Fired and other Pagan News of Note

Top Story: msnbc.com reports on a Wiccan from Albany, New York, who claims she was harassed, treated differently, and ultimately fired from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) because of her faith. “Immediately after the complaint about casting spells, Smith’s personnel file started to bulge with disciplinary actions. A training coordinator wrote her up for having a negative attitude. A supervisor warned her for not properly checking a boarding pass. She was eight minutes late to work.