Celebrating the Livingston Parish Win

Back in the beginning of October I reported that Wiccan Cliff Eakin had been successful in his efforts to have a local anti-fortune telling ordinance overturned in Livingston Parish, LA. Now MagickTV has produced a four-part series that features interviews with Eakin and his lawyer, and includes footage of the party held for the official signing of the settlement papers (and featuring Raymond Buckland as an official witness).Here are links to all four episodes: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. Kudos to the MagickTV crew for doing this important primary-source journalism and creating a document of this win for the broader Pagan community.

Wiccan Wins Fortune-Telling Case

A federal judge has tossed out a Livingston Parish Council ordinance barring all forms of fortune-telling. The ordinance was challenged by local resident Cliff Eakin, a Wiccan who believed the ban violated his religious freedoms.
“A Livingston Parish Council ordinance outlawing fortunetelling and soothsaying is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. A Wiccan minister, Cliff Eakin, sued the parish over the ordinance, asserting inspiration from the divine transmitted by a Wiccan minister should be treated legally the same way as a message from God transmitted to a congregation by a Christian minister. “I would highly recommend that the council not appeal it,” Blayne Honeycutt, the council’s attorney, said of Tuesday’s ruling.” The Livingston Parish Council, despite warnings from their lawyer telling them they would lose, decided to fight removing the ordinance on religious principle.

Updates on Past Stories

Psychic Wars in Livingston: It looks like a legal battle over a religiously-motivated Livingston Parish ordinance banning fortune telling will be headed to court. Despite being warned by their lawyer that they would most likely lose a lawsuit, the Parish Council decided to not address the issue at their most recent meeting, much to the dismay of some Parish residents.”Taxpayers might question the council’s insistence on spending public money to fight a lawsuit on an issue that has no purpose other than to pacify a particular religious group. The council’s attorney, Blayne Honeycutt, has advised that it probably would lose the Wiccan suit if it persists in defending the ordinance. When no member of the council would offer a motion to repeal the soothsaying ordinance, Honeycutt advised the council it needs to hire special counsel to handle such a case. Parish government, which has a history of being strapped for funds, could be putting that money to proper uses on roads, drainage, water and sewage rather than waging war for or against particular religious groups.

Tulsa and Sectarian Prayer

The Tulsa City Council has decided to change their “unwritten” policy concerning opening prayers to now allow references to specific deities. “Tulsa’s City Council voted Thursday to change an unwritten policy so that people can name a deity when praying before the council’s regular weekly meetings … The council’s previous prayer policy, which prohibited the use of the name of Jesus, Allah or other religious figures, had prompted complaints. Councilor Rick Westcott, who sponsored the change along with Councilors Bill Christiansen, John Eagleton and Cason Carter, said it was warranted because of Tulsa’s rich history of a variety of faiths. “I think it’s important for this council to open this meeting with prayers that allow people to express the fullness of their faiths,” Westcott said.”The new policy passed 7-2 despite critics invoking conservative Christianity’s ongoing fear that their “religious freedom” chickens will eventually come home to roost.”Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry Executive Director James Mishler also spoke against the change, questioning who would decide what is a “recognized congregation.”

(Pagan) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.Police in San Diego are investigating the possible homicide of great-grandmother and Wiccan priestess Mimi Rohwer.”San Diego County sheriff’s deputies found 75-year-old Mimi Rohwer dead in her mobile home early Wednesday morning … She “appeared to have some injuries” that could have been caused by either violence or an accidental fall, according to Homicide Lt. Dennis Brugos. Brugos mentioned no specific leads, but neighbors and friends told of recent feuds she had with a neighbor and a migrant worker who lived with her.”Friend and fellow adherent to Wicca, Bill Eade, told the press that while he was sad, he knew her spirit would return in another body. A case of grave-site disturbance during Halloween in New Hampshire, once theorized to be the work of some sort of occult practitioner, has instead turned out to be a trio of prankster teens.”Police have arrested three teenagers in connection with the disturbance of a nearly two-century-old gravesite at the remote Bible Hill Cemetery around Halloween … At the time, Police Chief Brian Brown said he did not believe teenagers were involved.