Wiccan High Priestess participates in the DNC prayer circle

PHILADELPHIA – A Wiccan High Priestess took part in an interfaith prayer circle today as part of the activities surrounding the Democratic National Convention this week. The DNC Prayer Circle is hosting this four day event, during which clergy and other faith leaders representing various communities lead attendees in a short prayer daily at 9:00 am. High Priestess Karen Bruhin with the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel and Tenders of the Earth Temple joined Eileen Bowman with Soka Gakkai International: Nichiren Buddhism, and Dr. Jessica Russo with Falun Dafa for today’s prayers. The DNC Prayer Circle organizers said that they host these events because their members believe “… the work that the delegates will do inside for the DNC, and the work that the demonstrators will do on the streets of Philadelphia, are both worthy of spiritual support.”

They also said that they want to help the city and the world to come together and heal spiritually.

Pagan Community Notes: Patrick McCollum, Ronald Hutton, Damh the Bard, and More!

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing 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 let’s get started! The Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliates (ACFSA) international conference in Reno Nevada is this week, and Pagan chaplain Patrick McCollum will be addressing them to give guidance about requests for special diets from Pagan inmates.

A Few Quick Notes

Just a few quick items I wanted to share with you today, starting with a post from my favorite Christian blog, Slacktivist, who tackles the sad case of Ali Sibat’s death sentence in Saudi Arabia, and the sensationalist “500 dead animals” Santeria story from Philadelphia in one fell swoop. “The Supreme Court of the U.S. did not rule that the free exercise of Santeria is “permitted.” It ruled, unambiguously (9-0), that the free exercise of Santeria is protected. This is not a minor distinction. People like Sally Kern — or like Chuck Colson and Robert George and everybody they got to endorse their “Manhattan Declaration” — like to think that their particular religion is protected by the First Amendment while other, less widely held religions are merely “permitted,” merely tolerated out of a benign condescension.

Bloody Death-Pit or Anti-Santeria Vendetta?

Things are just getting stranger in the case of a Philadelphia home that was raided by PSPCA officials after complaints about malnourished dogs were made. The home, which contains dead animal remains,  was initially said to be the base of “satanic worship and Santeria rituals”. This later was clarified to simply Santeria, and the home of Santero Ramon Cruz, who is apparently in Mexico recuperating from H1N1 flu. What doesn’t seem to be in dispute among reports is that an awful lot of bones and animal remains have been found. “The officers found what was believed to be a human skull, but it turned out to be fake.