Voodoo Doughnuts: just fun or the commodification of a minority religion?

TWH — The Portland-based doughnut company Voodoo Doughnuts announced earlier this year that it was expanding its brand to Orlando, Florida and would be offering its unique take on doughnuts at the Universal Studios theme park. Its regular doughnut offerings have names such as Voodoo Doll, Memphis Mafia, Gay Bar, and Cock-N-Balls. They also serve the ubiquitous powdered sugar cake doughnut as well. The store opened last week with limited hours, and will hold its grand opening sometime this spring. Voodoo Doughnuts is the brainchild of Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon. According to their site, the two were friends and wanted to start a business that would “fit into an extraordinary Portland Oregon business climate.

Pagan Community Notes: Texas adoption bill, Piaga Paganism, Juneteenth, and more.

AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott signed into a law the Texas adoption bill that aims to protect “the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.” As we reported in May, the controversial bill has generated both national support and criticism. Proponents claim that the new law will help an ailing child care system by protecting faith-based service organizations, which make up a sizable bulk of the potential child welfare providers. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. James Frank (R), posted on Facebook: “HB 3859 bans no one.” The aim, as he has said, is to improve the system and find stable families for troubled children. Contrary to that, critics say that the law will allow for open discrimination based on religion, marital status, or sexual preference. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said, “With his signature [..], Gov. Abbott has joined the lieutenant governor  and other lawmakers in taking Texas down a dark and cruel road.”

Column: Oshun on the Altar of Pop Culture

With the her announcement of twins and her recent Grammy performance, Beyoncé has become the center of media attention once again. Not only is Queen Bey trending this week, but she has been trending throughout the entire month of February. With her Instagram announcement of her pregnancy Feb 1, Beyoncé broke the record for the picture earning most likes on the social media platform with 2.4 million likes in one hour. As is usual, the fans and the haters are all over the interwebs weighing in on the topic. With all the hype about what’s next for Beyoncé and the loud group of people vocalizing how much they do not care, I couldn’t help but focus on the strong spiritual significance of the imagery on display.

New York City’s WitchsFestUSA attracts protesters

NEW YORK — WitchsFestUSA, an annual Pagan festival held in the heart of New York City, was attended this year by Christian protesters. The noisy group, who stood all day on the corner of Astor Place, held up large signs calling for repentance and angrily yelling at the passing crowd. Despite the protesters’ presence, the Pagan festival kept to its program and ended on a high note. Now in its fifth year, WitchsFestUSA describes itself as an outdoor, Pagan street faire. Its mission is to “bring the community of witches or pagans together in general and enjoy who we are as such, while at the same time raising funds for The NYC Wiccan Family Temple acquire our own space of worship.”