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Witchvox Weekly Update for 9/27/1999

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: September 27th. 1999
Times Viewed: 5,564

"Love is the Law...
no matter what the Religion"
- unknown

The quote above is one that has been bantered about for many a moon, and is one that Wren and I just love. The image to your right came to us this week from LadyHawk (mak@best-service) and was a photo she took with her digital camera in the town of Front Royal, Virginia. LadyHawk's best guess is that this was put up by a local Christian church.

Respect for the beliefs of others is easy to state, but is an area that needs some real work in both our society in general and NeoPagan community itself. Millions have been murdered in the name of one religion over another and this still goes one today around the world. In America there are many Christians in powerful national and local government positions that DO want this to be a Christian Nation. It is quite clear that they don't believe in the first amendment... Although, this "view" is not shared by most Christians, the Christian majority are oddly silent and don't seem to question their own "leaders". We find this extremely disturbing. These are your neighbors, the people you like. Perhaps you could ask them why the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world "speak for them".

The good news is that the U.S. Constitution STILL DOES allow us the freedom to pick and celebrate the religion of OUR choice. Just this past week in Roswell, New Mexico, a local school board backed off on their disallowing students to wear a pentacle to school. Why? because of the numerous recent precedents that stated loud and clear that they cannot discriminate based on religious beliefs. This is a battle that they would have not only lost, but one that would have cost the townsfolk some serious cash in legal fees. The A.C.L.U. once again defended the first amendment FOR the Pagan community. Wren and I are proud card-carrying members of the A.C.L.U. and will continue to encourage this wonderful community to do the same.

Should WitchVox Go Black or Stay White? Last week we asked the question... "Should we convert pages at the Voice to a white background or should we stay black?" The responses were not only passionate but full of surprises.

The vote was a close one and it appears that this is a no win situation for us. Although we have made no final decision, it looks like we will simply mix it up and possibly change the essays and basics section to a white background. This is due to their popularity and that many of you DO print out these pages for your "books of shadows", school reports or simply to read on the way to work. How do *We* feel? Personally, Wren and I are split with her wanting black and me wanting white.

  • The Black Votes: (133 or 57%) To our surprise many of you feel that a black background is much more soothing to the eyes, especially after looking at white "corporate" sites at work all day... This group referred to Black as a critical to the look of WitchVox, they considered it an elegant and powerful statement. They were adamant about NOT changing the Voice to a "White site" ... They felt white was "too corporate", "Christian like", "too bright for the eyes".
  • The White Votes: (89 or 38%) This group was thrilled when they arrived to Witchvox with a White splash page. They found it much easier to read and a snap to print out. They found it a refreshing change from the majority of Pagan sites in that most of them are black. They also stated that white would less threatening to those who have negative preconceptions about the NeoPagan movement.
  • The "Mixed" Votes: (13 or 6%) This group lobbied for both colors and several suggested that we do white from Beltaine to Samhain and they turn to Black for the other side of the wheel.
Mercifully, most of you reassured us that it was the WitchVox content that you valued above any color pallet. We can assure to that this won't be changing very soon, it's the only way we know how to do this. Thanks to all of you that took the time to respond to this question.

Genetic Modification Not surprisingly, Niall Leighton's article on genetic modification generated a flurry of responses. Once again, we are impressed with the level of thoughtfulness, intelligence and education in this community. Read the responses we've gotten so far by clicking here.

Next Week: We kick off our Samhain coverage with lots of surprises and "treats".

The WitchVox surveys: What path do you Follow? What is the male/female percentage. How many of you are solitaire? Traditional? These are just a few of the questions ask in the WitchVox Community survey part #1. Our thanks go out to the 2.476 of you that filled out our new survey during its first 11 days. The first round results have been compiled and this week we present them to you... We will continue on with all of the surveys until the end of the year and do a final recalculation.

Your thoughts on "working with groups" were wonderful. Although it is impractical for us to put them all up, we have taken the first 300 and placed them, unedited, on 6 pages for your reading enjoyment. My favorite comment was related to someone that checked "other" in answer to the "what is your path" question... "Other: "Slacker Pagan" -- I'm a perpetual procrastinator... (Though I'm working on it...)" - ya gotta love an honest response like this.

  • 1st Results: Posted on 9/27/99 - Click HERE for the actual results of this survey.
  • Community thoughts on working with Groups... ONE - TWO - THREE - FOUR - FIVE - SIX

If you haven't participated .... Please do by clicking here. We will continue to collect data from this survey (and others) until the end of the year. The next new survey will be launched in October and will focus on what the Pagan Web means to you, how you use it and what design techniques you like or dislike.

Banned Books Week... Why You Should Care
(Sept. 25 to Oct. 3rd)

It can be difficult, here in the USA, to crank us up to the level of righteous indignation that the practice of banning books deserves. After all, we know we can legally publish almost anything here.

For many of us, freedom of speech is the root of democracy, and we take pride in a system of government that reliably protects that freedom. People may try to ban books, we think, but as soon as they get to the courts, they find out they can't. And mostly, that's true. We have our Bill of Rights.

So why are we featuring Banned Books Week (Sept. 25 to Oct. 3rd) on the home page of The Witches' Voice? Because there are still lots of good reasons to care. There are other countries in which the free flow of information and knowledge is restricted. Not only books, but magazines, the Internet, and television are all censored. Because a lot of censorship doesn't even make it to the courts. And because we have reason to be concerned in the USA, as well.

Even here, we argue over the meaning of our first amendment -- and too often those arguments carry us well past the point of censorship. School districts find themselves embattled over textbooks used in schools, while librarians have to fight to keep books on the shelves.

No small number of controversial books in libraries are about Wicca, Witchcraft and Goddess worship. We will never dispel the negative associations that surround our religions if we cannot even get books about those religions on the shelves of the local library.

So you might take a few moments this week to tune into this subject and do something towards protecting freedom of speech in your community. You can start by reading an excellent article by Rhiannon Arianrhod Flamefeather entitled "Are You There, Judy Bloom? It's Me, Arianrhod." (And a spinning gold pentagram to her for reminding us here at the Voice about Banned Books Week.)

Check your library and see if they carry, oh, say...The Spiral Dance, Drawing Down the Moon, Teen Witch or other Pagan books. Offer to donate, if they don't. And check out some of the links below for more info on Banned Books Week and what you can do.

Like many of you reading this, we will be affirming and strengthening freedom of speech magically as well—burning a candle to save a book. So if you are looking for a focus for your next circle, may we suggest your favorite banned book? What, you don't know if you have a favorite banned book? Check out the lists of banned or challenged books on the sites below. Unfortunately, it won't be hard to find one you've read and liked.

Hurrican Floyd Coverage: Nitewing has updated his coverage on Hurricane Floyd. This week he has offered an overview of the situation in South Carolina one week later... Tim also offers his thoughts on dealing with a shelter and the tremendous amount of water that hit South Carolina. Check out A Hurricane in North Carolina

Marion Zimmer Bradley Passes on this Weekend: The following was forwarded to us from several folks and is originally from Rhiannon Bennett (one of the founders of Heartland) and dated 5/23/99: "Marion Zimmer Bradley had a massive heart attack today and is unconscious in Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, Ca. For those who don't know, Marion is the author of MISTS OF AVALON and the DARKOVER series and many other science fiction and non-science fiction novels, some of which brought people to the pagan practices." (thank you Mike Nichols and others for sending this over to us).

Yesterday Wren saw the bad news on Marion's Web site...

Weekend Update: (From Marion Zimmer Bradley Fantasy Magazine News) Marion Zimmer Bradley passed away on Saturday, (September 25, 1999). Funeral arrangements are pending and will be posted here when final. Memorial donations may be sent to her church: Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704. If you wish to send messages to Marion's family and co-workers or read updated information, please use the form found at Marion Zimmer Bradley Fantasy Magazine

In closing, allow us to wish you all a magical week filled with many lessons learned and sustained good health. Stay tuned to WitchVox for community updates as they happen... Those of you in the SouthEast, get psyched for AutumnMeet' 99. We will detail our exciting plans for this fest on next week's update.

Bless be Well,

Fritz Jung & Wren Walker
The Witches' Voice
September 27th., 1999 c.e.


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