TORONTO — The Parliament of World Religions kicked off its 2018 conference in Toronto last week. The theme for this year is “The Promise of Inclusion & the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation, and Change.” In a statement on its website, the Parliament states that theme was partly inspired by this year’s host city and its focus on inclusiveness and how the programs it endorses reflect the values of the Parliament’s practices and ideology. Among the notable keynote presenters are Alisa Starkweather, founder of the Red Tent Temple Movement, and Priestess Path Apprenticeship, and Phylis Currott author, Wiccan Priestess, and founder of The Temple of Ara. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the conference. TWH will have a full story on the conference next week.
TWH –As was reported Monday, justices of the Supreme Court of the United States ruled this week in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. et al. v Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al., in which a baker asserted he had the right to refuse to bake a same-sex wedding cake due to his religious beliefs. In the majority seven-to-two opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that “the government has no role in expressing or even suggesting whether the religious ground for [baker Jack] Phillips’ conscience-based objection is legitimate or illegitimate,” and that “religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.” The law, justices found, must be applied more neutrally with respect to religion.
TWH – Now that the season has turned and we are nearing the end of the 2017, we look back, one last time, to review this historic year. What happened? What didn’t happen? What events shaped our thoughts and guided our actions? In our collective worlds, both big and small, what were the major discussions?
SOUTH AFRICA — In September 2017, shop manager and Pagan Shuvey Bower-Louw lodged a complaint with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration against The Foschini Group (TFG), a South African fashion and lifestyles retailer. Bower-Louw says her previous employer discriminated against her because she is a Pagan. Bower-Louw does not call herself a Witch. She describes herself as a Pagan seeking the Higher Self, who follows the cycles of the All Mother. “I have been privileged to have been born within a line of healers.”
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FT. MEADE, Md. – A civilian dental technician alleges that she has suffered religious discrimination, a hostile work environment and was subsequently fired after filing a formal complaint.