Pagan Community Notes: Suspected embezzlement reported by Maine Pagans, Wiccan prisoner loses federal appeal, and more!

PORTLAND, Maine – Last week, two groups, the Maine Pagan Community and The Order of Maine Druidry, published a public post on social media informing the Pagan and affiliated communities of financial discrepancies uncovered in an audit of EarthTides Pagan Network (ETPN). An Open Letter to the Pagan and Greater Communities

As elders and leaders in the Pagan community, we are obligated to look to the welfare of our community, new seekers and long-term members, of all our varied traditions. We also have a responsibility to the State and our non-Pagan neighbors, friends, and fellow citizens. With this responsibility in mind, we are obligated to report a serious crime and breach of trust. A recent audit of EarthTides Pagan Network’s finances revealed the unauthorized withdrawal of thousands of dollars.

An update and Pagan reactions to the Masterpiece Cake case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments Tuesday for the case Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et, al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et. al. As noted on the SCOTUSblog, “Lines began forming outside the Supreme Court last week for one of the biggest oral arguments of the year, in the case of a Colorado man who says that requiring him to create custom cakes for same-sex weddings would violate his religious beliefs.” The case is being touted as the biggest and most talked-about of this court term.

Masterpiece Cakeshop case takes center stage in the battle over religious freedom

WASHINGTON D.C. – The now famous Masterpiece Cakeshop case is set to begin its hearing Tuesday in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The case (Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et, al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et. al) pits a cake baker against the state of Colorado.The story has been closely followed by the media for several years as it brings into question the limits and the scope of religious freedom in the public sphere. In 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig walked into the Lakewood-based Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their wedding.

Update on Supreme Court religious freedom cases

UNITED STATES — In an update to a story we reported in May, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) did finally rule in the Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer case. The decision states that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources grant policy was in violation of the First Amendment. The state had rejected the church’s application for an improvement grant on the basis of it being a religious institution. However, SCOTUS stated that the church’s services and its improvements were a “public benefit.” Therefore, the state’s denial violated the free exercise clause.