As various government bodies in the United States navigate what is and isn’t a violation of restrictions against the endorsement of a particular religion (aka the separation of church and state) when giving an opening invocation, two models have emerged. The first model says you can have sectarian prayer (ie specific invocations to named deities or powers) so long as everyone is invited to participate, and the second model says that only nonsectarian (ie generic invocations to “god”) prayers are acceptable. Conservative Christians activists generally favor the first model, while secular civil liberties organizations broadly prefer the second. Between these two poles a variety of variations have been tested, often in the courts. In many cases modern Pagans, specifically Wiccans, have been caught in the tumult of what is and isn’t permissible.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but apparently Osama bin Laden was killed. PNC-Minnesota has reactions from the local Pagan community. Zaratha “will not apologize for rejoicing in Osama bin Laden’s death, ” Lori Dake thanks the troops, Star Foster is conflicted, and Erynn Rowan Laurie wonders if that means the troops get to come home now. The town of Bel Air in Maryland has overturned its total ban on fortune telling.
As I mentioned recently, Cherry Hill Seminary held the first graduation ceremony under their new program at the Sacred Space Conference in Maryland. On hand for the ceremony was a team from PNC-Washington DC (aka Capital Witch). They have put together this very nice video report.
“One of the first events of Sacred Space 2011 was hosting the first event graduation ceremony of Cherry Hill Seminary. Six students graduated from the ceremony with three in attendence.
Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started! Counting Pagans in the UK: In one month, the 2011 British census will begin.
The last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy, what with all the Samhain/Halloween coverage, followed immediately by election night, so lets catch up with some Pagan news of note we may have missed. A Pagan Burial at Circle Sanctuary: The Wisconsin State Journal covers Circle Sanctuary’s green cemetery dedication, which coincided with the cremains burial of Circle Sanctuary Community member Bruce Parsons. Nora Cedarwind Young, a green burial educator based in Washington state, participated in the burial and open house Sunday. She said that in modern-day burials, the casket is placed in a grave lined with a concrete and steel-reinforced vault. “The body is never truly returned to earth,” said Young, who also identifies as a Wiccan or pagan. “In a green burial, we are not only reducing the unnecessary use of resources and chemicals, we are preserving open spaces and greenways.” Death is a sure thing that’s going to happen to all of us, Young said, adding that today consumers want sustainable choices. “If I eat organic food for 30 years, why would I want to put chemicals in it at the end?” she asked.