Updates on Recent Stories

I have important updates on two recent stories:Do Not Vex, Pester, or Annoy the Catholic Youth: It looks like justice has prevailed in Australia. A law created especially for the Catholic mega-gathering World Youth Day that would make “annoying” or “inconveniencing” visiting Catholics an offense punishable by a hefty fine has been struck down by Australia’s Federal Court.”The Federal Court has ruled against the ‘annoying’ laws instigated for the Pope’s World Youth Day visit, saying they could have a “chilling effect” upon freedom of speech. The court ruled in favour of NoToPope activists Rachel Evans and Amber Pike, who brought the case against the NSW Government. The pair claimed the legislation would have prevented their members from handing out leaflets and other material.”This is a great victory for free speech and free expression! So Aussie Pagans, feel free to wear that Pentacle in public, don an inflammatory t-shirt, or distribute condoms as you see fit.Satanic Panic Alive and Well in North Carolina: A North Carolina couple who have been accused of kidnapping, rape, and engaging in Satanic cult activities were in court Monday, where a judge decided the case against them could go forward.

Do Not Vex, Pester, or Annoy the Catholic Youth

In Sydney, Australia, the annual World Youth Day, a massive Catholic event, starts on July 15th. It is a week-long affirmation of Catholic power that seeks to “mobilize” young people, and will bring millions of dollars in revenue to the area. Unsurprisingly, local government is doing everything in its power to avoid scandal, controversy, or conflict. And when I say “everything”, I mean everything.Do I annoy you, yeah?”Australians have been warned: Don’t get caught annoying the crowds when they gather here later this month to see the pope. New regulations give police and emergency services workers the power to order anyone to stop behavior that “causes annoyance or inconvenience to participants in a World Youth Day event,” according to a New South Wales state government gazette.

Brazilian State Confiscates Anti-Candomble Book

The state of Bahia in Brazil has confiscated all copies of the book “Yes, Yes! No, No! Reflections on Healing and Liberation” on the grounds that it makes false and prejudicial statements about the Afro-Brazilian religions of Candomble and Umbanda, and incites readers to destroy their objects of worship.”A judge in the state of Bahia, Brazil, has ordered the confiscation of a book written by Catholic priest Jonas Abib, in which he condemns witchcraft as immoral. The book, “Yes, Yes! No, No!

Even Intolerant Fools Deserve Free Speech

On Monday, the city of Salem will be hearing the case of Michael Marcavage, founder of Repent America, who was arrested on Halloween night on charges of disorderly conduct.”A “Witch City” trial is scheduled Monday for a street preacher who was arrested and accused of disorderly conduct for expressing his belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ on a public street in Salem, Mass., on Halloween night in 2007. “Michael [Marcavage] is guilty of nothing more than preaching the Gospel,” said Ben DuPre, an attorney with former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law, who is representing Marcavage.”Michael MarcavageLet there be no mistake, Marcavage is an intolerant caricature of true Christianity, an annoying hate-monger who hopes to “win” people to Jesus by threatening them with hellfire and damnation. Marcavage travels every year with a cadre of followers to harangue and cajole the thousands of Witches, Pagans, and merry-makers at Salem’s yearly Halloween festivities. An activity that has seen him come into conflict with local Christians, and made him a part of the circus-like atmosphere of the city. This along with other inconceivably stupid statements concerning God’s wrath, have made Marcavage something of a folk-hero among ultra-conservative born-again Christians.However, if the video posted by Repent America accurately portrays the (alleged) events of Halloween night, then Marcavage’s First-Amendment rights were indeed violated.Freedom of speech means that Repent America can publicly expound on our sinfulness all they want, so long as they don’t break other laws in transmitting that message.

Paganism and the Law

Due to family obligations I’ll be away from a computer for most of the day, but I thought I’d leave you with two stories involving the law and modern Pagans that I felt deserve a second look. The first is from Caspar City, Wyoming and involves a local Wiccan and metaphysical store owner’s attempt to get a anti-fortune-telling ordinance struck down.”Nella Forest, owner of the metaphysically inclined Pan’s Grove store, attended a recent council meeting to express concern about Rule 9.36.010, a consumer protection law in the municipal codebook that penalizes anyone who profits from propheting. It keeps her from charging for tarot card readings, a key aspect of Wiccan religion, she said. “These are willing parties coming to get tarot readings,” she said. The City Council will discuss whether the law should come off the books or not at a 4:30 p.m. work session, which will be held at Casper City Hall.”Laws concerning fortune telling have been big news lately.