TWH –A planned Dec. 14 vote by federal communication commissioners is expected to result in net neutrality being eliminated as the rule governing internet service providers. Instead, access to online services would be governed by a much weaker set of rules, based on expecting corporate executives to stick to their published policies rather than requiring an even playing field. This change would negatively impact any Heathen, Pagan, or polytheist attempting to use the internet to interact with their co-religionists, whether it’s for the sharing ideas or engaging in commerce. The concept of net neutrality is that the information superhighway should not be an unlimited toll road.
I found Paganism when I was about 14 years old, poking through the odd corners of the internet. At the time, I was living in Germany and isolated from any groups with whom I could communicate. My German was, and is, terrible. While there was a small bookstore on the local Army base, with an even smaller religion section, it had only a fraction of a shelf dedicated to alternative religions. So I never would have found out much about any form of Paganism without the digital world. I was eventually able to get my hands on a couple of books on the subject and a pocket-sized tarot deck, but the vast majority of my information came from the internet, both the good and the bad.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than our team can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. Noted naturalist and author Peter Matthiessen died on Saturday after battling leukemia. Mattheiseen, a Zen Buddhist, wrote over 30 novels, was an environmental activist, co-founded the Paris Review, and famously wrote “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,” which chronicled the story of Leonard Peltier. Quote: “Matthiessen is held in such high regard as a nonfiction writer by nonfiction writers that they sometimes say, ‘How is it possible that this guy can be such a virtuoso fiction writer, and give his equally substantial body of nonfiction work such short shrift?’
In 1999 Brandi Blackbear was suspended twice from an Oklahoma middle school for allegedly practicing Wicca. According to reports, the school accused her of casting a magic spell that caused a teacher to become sick. In October 2000 the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against Union Public Schools with complaints of religious discrimination and a violation of due process rights. The case became known as the “The Union Witch Trial”. In 2002 U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan ruled in favor of the school district stating that “Neither of Blackbear’s two suspensions in 1999 violated her constitutional rights…” Posted on freedomforum.org, the 2002 AP article adds:
Blackbear testified during a deposition that she is not, has never been, and has never wanted to be a Wiccan.
Here are some quick updates on stories previously reported on at The Wild Hunt. In July of last year, I reported on rumblings in the UK over the possibility that new governmental policies over filtering obscene adult content on the Internet would affect non-obscene sites, including occult-oriented pages. Now, these parental controls are indeed being shown to over-block sites that having nothing to do with porn, including a news site that deals with the world of torrenting and piracy. Quote: “What happened? The broader context is that the UK government’s launched a war on internet porn, with ISPs blocking porn sites unless users specifically opt-in to access them.