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Witchvox Weekly Update for 5/17/1999

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: May 17th. 1999
Times Viewed: 4,625

Bob Barr Commenting on WitchCraft?
God/dess help us all...

After suffering through Bob Barr's comments over the past year we never thought that we would "feature" him here, but sure enough, it's Bob Barr on the Witches Voice. We received 30 pieces of email from furious Pagans just today.

U.S. Representative Bob Barr (GA-7) has demanded an end to the taxpayer-supported practice of witchcraft on military bases. Barr's request came in response to reports that chaplains at Fort Hood, and other bases, are sanctioning, if not supporting, the practice of witchcraft as a "religion" by soldiers on military bases.

"This move sets a dangerous precedent that could easily result in the practice of all sorts of bizarre practices being supported by the military under the rubric of 'religion.'  What's next?  Will armored divisions be forced to travel with sacrificial animals for Satanic rituals?  Will Rastifarians demand the  inclusion of ritualistic marijuana cigarettes in their rations?" - (States news)

If Mr. Barr seriously wants an answer to his own question, he simply has to read his email. The Witches' Voice was cc'd in on LOTS of replies from Witches and other pagans sent to both his House web site and to his email address (see link below).

Related Post, Links and Rants
Some Highlights...

School Accuses Girls Of Witchery

On May 14th, reporter Cara DeGette wrote in School Accuses Girls Of Witchery about eight Colorado Springs sixth-grade students who spent most of one day being interrogated by school officials on their personal religious beliefs after reading a book on Witchcraft and (perhaps) experimenting with a few spells.

tudying Bigotry:

 Panorama Middle School Vice-Principal's Lecture On The "Evils Of Witchcraft"...
A Lesson In Historical Ignorance


IMG border=0 height=400 align=right SRC="http://www.witchvox.com/images/voxright.gif"> The Witches' Voice today issued a statement condemning the remarks made by administrators at the Panorama Middle School in Colorado Springs in regards to their investigation of eight students for reading a book on Witchcraft and rumored to be "casting spells."

"Vice-Principal Joan Abrahamsen's questioning of the girls for more than two hours on their 'beliefs and participation in witchcraft' not only demonstrates the school district's ignorance of modern pagan religions, it further continues to perpetuate the stereotype of Witches and Witchcraft as deviants in society," stated TWV Chairperson, Rev. Wren Walker.

Belief in the innate immorality or 'evil' of Witches and other pagans, buttressed by selected scriptural references, has throughout the centuries formed the basis for discrimination, intolerance, acts of violence, illegal prosecution and death by burning, hanging or torture.

The practice of modern Witchcraft/Paganism no more leads to self or socially destructive behavior than the practice of any other religion. To be singled out in this fashion is a violation of our civil rights and certainly sets a bad example of the democratic process for students.

While we are sure that the intention of the administrative staff of Panorama and the Harrison School District is to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for all children from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, they should be aware that pagan children are also undoubtedly attending public schools in their district. Children who come from pagan homes, or who have adopted Witchcraft, Wicca or other pagan paths as a religious choice, would find such 'inquisitions' into their beliefs emotionally painful and psychologically damaging.

On April 15, 1999 the Harrison District School Board in its strategic plan revision process approved as part of its mission statement certain policies. According to the Harrison School District Two Board of Education web site (http://www.harrison.k12.co.us/communications/board_briefs/apr-99.html), objective #2 of these 'Governing Values and Objectives' states:

"We will model respect and sensitivity for diverse individuals and groups through equitable programs, policies and practices for students, staff, parents and our community"

Witches and other pagans are guaranteed their religious freedom under the same First and Fourteenth Amendments as any other religion in the United States. In addition, The Equal Access Act requires accommodation of religious belief-including those who follow Wicca or Witchcraft as a religion. The Wiccan religion has been recognized in United States courts and by the United States Army Chaplain's Handbook.

The Witches' Voice strongly recommends that the Harrison District School Board censure Vice-Principal Joan Abrahamsen for her inappropriate handling of the situation, lack of proper parental notification and for this flagrant violation of its own stated governing goals and objectives.

Sincerely,

Wren Walker
The Witches' Voice
May 16th., 1999 c.e.
Related Articles and Letters of concern and LINKS
Some Highlights...

Also new this week...

Hero of the Week - Jason Blodgett-McDeavitt

    Dear Governor Johanns,

    My name is Jason Blodgett-McDeavitt. I am the president and high priest of the Order of the Red Grail, Church of Transformational Wicca, a non-profit church registered with the Nebraska Secretary of State. I am the president and high priest of the Order of the Red Grail, Church of Transformational Wicca, a non-profit church registered with the Nebraska Secretary of State.

    In recent publicized comments surrounding your proclamation of May 22, 1999 as "March for Jesus Day," you stated that you "wouldn't hesitate" to sign similar proclamations for "the Jewish faith, Hinduism, whatever." Like myself, you apparently believe all people should be encouraged to publicly demonstrate their faith, whatever that faith might be.

    The Summer Solstice, the day of longest light, will soon be upon us. This is a day held holy by a number of Earth Religions, not the least of which are the Druids, who annually gather at Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain in southern England. In the spirit of ecclesiastical equality, we ask that you proclaim the day before this year's Summer Solstice, Sunday June 20th, as "Earth Religion Awareness Day" to help dispel many of the misconceptions and negative stereotypes surrounding this ancient religious practice.

    Wicca or Witchcraft-as is true of all earth religions-has nothing to do with the worship of Satan or the Devil. Tracing our roots back much further than the Judeo-Christian tradition, we celebrate the very same cycles of nature and rhythms of life as our own pagan European ancestors celebrated for millennia. In our rites, we honor the fertility of the earth and its people, the seasons of planting and harvest and the web of life that is so beautifully depicted in the floor mosaics of our own State Capitol Rotunda and main hallway.

    On Sunday, June 20, we will be commemorating this year's solstice holiday in part by hosting an Earth Religion Awareness Day at the State Capitol. Your proclamation of this event will make a bold political statement for religious tolerance. There are many followers of earth religions in the state of Nebraska, not to mention those Native Americans who practice their tribe's traditional beliefs. A state proclamation by you, on the heels of the "March for Jesus" proclamation, will assure these Nebraskans that they are not considered "second-rate citizens" by their government.(For the entire proclamation Click Here)

WitchVox Goal = Zero Dead Links
Do the tremendous amount of dead links on the Web make you crazy? It's clear to even the average surfer that "trying" to launch from Links sites listings and search engines is a lesson is patience (to say the least). By most folk's estimates, close to 30% of the links on the Web are DEAD. Here at WitchVox we have battled broken links in our Pagan Sites of the Web section since day one. It's been hard work, but we are always looking for newer and more efficient ways to keep this section clean. Our long term goal has always been to verify URLs directly and automatically FROM our various databases. Thanks to a recent software update, we may be getting real close to ZERO dead links. Over the next couple of week we will verify all Web links from TWV on a weekly basis AND check all new entries AS they arrive. So if your listing is gone it will be do to TWO failed attempts to load your site based on the URL that you submitted. We also plan on creating better ways for you to quickly update YOUR URL.

Visit the WitchVox Pagan Links Pages for 2,200 Categorized and annotated listings

Two Weeks Until Heartland! Wren and I are thrilled to be invited back to the famous Heartland Gathering located just west of Kansas City, Mo. (May 27th - 31st). Our experience last year was very magical and one we will never forget. Check out our review of Heartland 98. We love you J.D. and Terry!

    Guest Speakers: Silver RavenWolf, Maya Heath, Mike Nichols, Lady Circe, Lord Orion Foxwood, Fritz Jung & Wren Walker, Rhiannon Bennett & Joyce Rasmussen

    Guest Musicians: Velvet Hammer, Uncle Dirty Toes, Elvendrums & Darragh Nagle

    Guest Artist: The 1999 Heartland Logo was done by Todd Altizer

Timely Note: For Information about this years Heartland Festival check out The Heartland '99 PreReg Info Package. Also keep an eye on the WitchVox home page (this page) for any and all late breaking updates.

Pagan ROCK... Compilation CD Announced!
Morrigan Records, a new pagan-owned and -operated record label based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is proud to announce its first release, Fire and Stone: Pagan Rock Vol. 1. This compilation CD provides an overview of the rich work being produced by pagan musicians in contemporary musical forms. Surf to our Music Page for additional details



Some of Last Week's Highlights...
Blessed Mothers Day to...

The Great Mother & all of the Mothers of Gaia!
We offer you our thanks and our love.

Today in America is Mother's Day and a wonderful opportunity for phone calls and in person reunions. Just hours ago, Wren's beautiful daughter Skye flew in from New Hampshire as a gift to her mother. It's a house full of love for sure. Although, I am not a mother myself (even though the cats ARE convinced that I am their mother), like so many of you, I expressed my love to my mother on the phone. Happy Mother's Day!

This Week has been one of much activity here at the Voice. We have cleaned the slate on this page in order to make room for all the new articles, essays, news, announcements and updates. We continue to get hammered with a large volume of email and Wren spent (a record!) 10 hours yesterday JUST trying to catch up... Yours truly is again behind due to the sheer volume of updates and changes here at WitchVox. We should be caught up by mid week.

So Much Newness at the Voice this Week!
Some Highlights...

In a couple of weeks we will fly out to Kansas for the famous Heartland Spiritual Gathering. We are psyched to connect with old friends and to have the opportunity to meet Silver RavenWolf, Mike Nichols and many others... As we did in March, we will again leave Dixie in change.

Spirit is God and Goddess, Lord and Lady, you and me.

Always in your service.



Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
May 9th., 1999 c.e.


Witches Speak Out! - Your Voice does Indeed Matter!

The WitchVox Essay Series: 13 new essays from Witches, Wiccans and Pagans from around the world. The essay listings below are very powerful and thought provoking. We would love to hear from you! Check out our Editorial Submission Guidelines page for a "how to" and topic list. - Luna graphic by the beautiful Craig Hickman.



Young Pagan Essays...

  • My Life as An Alien (May '99 )
    Are you the "different' one in your family or circle of friends? The one who is always taking things "too seriously"? Who wants something that even you cannot adequately describe? Who knows that there is something MORE-and that you must find out what that is? The one who they try to pull back into the "real world"...when that world, their world, is the one that feels unreal to you? How do cope with being the one who is "different"? Article # ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE

  • It's My Coven And I'll Chant If I Want To.. (May '99 )
    Here's the scene: You are in -or have formed-THE ideal coven. What is it like? Who leads-or do you take turns? What would you do in your circles? Who would be there? Who can join? What would you call it? Do you think that you will actually have/be in a coven like this someday? Article # Click HERE

  • Killer Tornadoes: A Report from one of the Lucky Ones! by Lady Aleph (May '99 )



Modern Paganism... The World is Noticing!

Over the past several decades, "we" weren't considered much to worry about. This is changing and changing fast. Modern Paganism IS one of the rapidest growing religious paths/personal belief systems in the World today. The 700 Club has featured their concerns of late (3 times in 4 weeks) and are most disturbed that (in a recent poll) the most popular desire of teenage girls is to become a Witch or Wiccan. Witchcraft has become a very strong draw for both Movie and TV audiences. Festivals and gatherings at the local level have exploded and will continue to grow rapidly. Our presence on the internet is simply astounding with an estimated 3,000 Web sites that focus on Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism.

The religious right is NOT happy with the continuous rise in "popularity" of the Modern Pagan movement. They are concerned and they are nervous. Although this is THEIR problem, they are making it our problem. As predicted in many Pagan circles over the last several years, with our growth will come increased protests and concerns with those that believe that this should be a Christian nation.

In the past 10 days there have been lots of concerned fundamentalist Christians. We offer a quick summary of this week's stories, and a "For the Record" WitchVox statement.

FOR the RECORD:

The Witches' Voice and Christianity

The Witches' Voice has never been an "anti-Christian" site, nor will it ever be. It is our belief that Christianity is a wonderful path. It is also our belief that 95% of those that practice Christianity ARE good and caring people that DO respect our right to practice the religion of our choice. This is the Law in most civilized lands. However, we will not sit back and allow our fundamental civil and religious rights to be violated or voted away. We will continue to fight for our right to practice our beliefs as stated in the First Amendment (and in similar laws of other countries).

We do know that many Christians surf the Witches' Voice, they seem to enjoy the broad religious coverage at Wren's Nest, their sons and daughters send them here and some simply stumble on us. This has gone on since 1996. The following post came in today and is typical of so many that we receive on a regular basis... Good people connecting...

    Blessings to you and yours!

    I would like to thank you for a wonderful site. I have become acquainted with many Pagans in the last few months and, while it is not my path (I'm Roman Catholic), your site has given me information that has helped me learn about these folks and how to not insult them. Actually, I owe Betwixt & Between of Dallas and Open Circle of Fort Worth more than I can say. These two Pagan groups are helping me with a community service project when practically no one else would come. (There is a 90-year-old lady in our neighborhood who desperately needs her house painted...these groups are coming to help. All they get in return, aside from my thanks, are very sore muscles and as much sun tea as I can make.) Thank you for helping me learn about you (as a group). A year ago, I would have been very wary of just about anyone wearing a pentacle or holding a deck of tarot cards. This is not the case now. You are like me. You have bills to pay, families, friends and neighbors to worry about, and countless other little minutia that are common to everyday life.

    There is a song that I like very much sung by Collin Raye. The chorus goes, "I laugh, I love, I hope, I try, I hurt, I fear, I need, I cry...I know you do the same things, too. So we're really not that different, me and you."

    If only more people could figure that out.


    Thanks again. M.L (Dallas, Texas)

What is Happening Now?

Christianity YES... Other Religions MAYBE... Wicca NO!

    On Wednesday, May 5th, Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns ignored both the federal and Nebraska State Constitutions and issued a proclamation declaring May 22, 1999 as "March For Jesus Day." "March for Jesus Day' was established as a time for us to join together as people of many faiths so that we may pay homage to our divine authority," reads part of the proclamation.

    Even more disturbing are the statements allegedly made by Gov. Johanns to reporters concerning future proclamations.

    In an article printed on May 6, 1999 in the Lincoln Journal Star, Johanns is reported to have made the statement that while he would consider similar proclamations "for the Jewish faith, Hinduism, whatever," that he would not issue a proclamation for Wicca. His only criteria for determining future requests for similar proclamations he said was, "... so long as it doesn't require me to sign something I personally don't agree with," thus elevating his own personal opinion of what constitutes a valid religion in his state above the law. A statement such as this on the religion of Wicca issued by the chief government official of the state of Nebraska, is not only constitutionally unsound, it is an blatant act of governmental discrimination against those citizens of his state who are Wiccan. See our press release and coverage by Clicking HERE

Arkansas Pagan Shop Owner Plans To Continue Business

    On Saturday , Terry Riley and about 30 other pagans held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of Dagda's Cauldron Occult Shop despite the presence of about 50 protesters across the street who want him and his business out of town.

    Riley rented the building from Kirby Smith and was given a one-year lease. Smith canceled the lease on Wednesday and gave Riley a 90-day eviction notice. Smith said that, although he has no problem with either Riley or his business, he has received death threats and has heard of plans to possibly vandalize the building.

    According to an update posted at The Magickal Cauldron web site, Riley and the Southern Delta Church of Wicca are now looking into purchasing the building.

    In any case, he plans to keep doing business as usual. You can call Dagda's Cauldron at: 1 870 932 2040 to offer your support.

    Continous coverage of this situation can be found at Wren's Nest and at The Magickal Cauldron web site.

Beltaine in Kentucky Festival comes off despite Christian Protests

    CHRISTIANS PREACH AS PAGANS ENJOY MAY DAY FESTIVAL-By Frank E. Lockwood, Lexington Herald-Leader

    DENNISTON -- Praise the Lord in the Bible Belt and nobody thinks twice.

    Praise the goddess and folks get riled.

    That's what happened yesterday as about 75 pagan May Day revelers danced, beat drums, chanted and meditated on a hilltop Menifee County farm. They were greeted by a dozen Christians offering free soft drinks, fried chicken and a message: Repent.

    Members of Louisville's Evangel Life Christian Center opened a "welcome center'' and hoisted a banner near the festival grounds urging the festival-goers to worship ``the Lord your God'' and offering to introduce them to Jesus Christ.

    At the welcome center, friendly Christians said the pagans are hell-bound.

    AND from the Festival itself: This just in from Shadowcatcher and Family:

    "Just returned from Beltane in Kentucky! A wonderful first event in an absolutely beautiful setting. Participants from age 6 months to 70 or so years. At least five states were represented and my future son in law was so impressed by his first steps down the Wiccan path that he is searching for the next event we can attend.

    Our group included me, age 52, daughter Abby, 23, her fiance, 27, and my two youngest sons 11 and 14. I hope the local folks relax a little after the uneventful weekend. The setting is just too good to lose because of intolerance and preconceived misconceptions."





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