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TWH –On June 17, 2015, violence ripped through a South Carolina community in one of the worst ways imaginable: the perpetrator joined his victims for a Bible study session at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and then shot nine people dead, wounding a tenth. The shooter, a white man, hoped to bring about a race war through his execution of his black victims. He was sentenced to death in federal court for those actions, but is now seeking a new trial. The case has received a significant amount of press coverage, and the nature of the crimes themselves — targeting victims during a religious service in the hopes of igniting further racially-motivated violence — appears to typify one of the most serious cultural problems in the United States today. It is in the context of these recent stories that we decided to speak with a number of Pagans to examine views on the death penalty. Like members of the overarching society, those interviewed had varied and nuanced positions on this complex topic.
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CARSON CITY, Nev. — Pagan inmates at the Lovelock Correctional Center may finally see their day in court. Three judges on the 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled in March that a case dating back to the 2009 destruction of an outdoor Pagan worship area will be able to move forward. A lower court had made a summary judgment against the plaintiffs, but the appeals court panel has now found that there is, in fact, enough open questions to allow for a more detailed look at the evidence. Brian DeBarr, Chioke Gadsden, and Nathan Peterson were all inmates at Lovelock.
Patrick McCollum has announced that he will be awarded the 2016 Ralph Bunche Medal For Peace by the International Human Rights Consortium. He will be receiving the medal at the UN’s Commission for the Status for Women held in March. McCollum explained that the Peace Medal was named after Ralph Johnson Bunche, who was “an American political scientist, academic, and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Israel.” It was designed and sculpted by Alex Shagin, the world-renowned metal sculptor and coin designer best known for designing Olympic medals and other similar items.
In his announcement, McCollum also said that he will be the last recipient of the award and that he is thankful to “the many friends and colleagues who have supported and encouraged [his] work for World Peace over the years.” He added, “I share the honor of this award with all of you.”