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Weekly Update: 4/24/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: April 24th. 2000
Times Viewed: 6,108

Educating The Educators

Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,

In Indiana, two students testified in federal court Friday that Elwood school administrators violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion by asking them to take off or hide their pentagram necklaces while working in a cadet teaching program. A teacher in the U.K. is disciplined when it is discovered that he is a youth director for a high profile pagan organization. Many states are attempting to pass legislation that would allow the posting of the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom. TWV gets letters almost every week from pagan students who are experiencing varying degrees of discrimination because of their beliefs. Without a doubt, the latest battlegrounds in the struggle for pagan equality have become the classrooms, the school boards and the state houses.

Christina has learned a quite bit about the school systems available here in the United States as she and Derrick have a pagan school-aged child of their own. This week she offers suggestions and educational resource links for pagan parents-and pagan students-that not only detail some of the differences between public, private, charter and home-schooling educational venues, but also how the choice of a school can impact upon a child's right to religious expression. Interweaving the legalities of religious expression in the school environment with her own personal experiences within several school systems, she details how she learned ways to approach educators with her family's pagan religious beliefs and what to do if the school happened to have some sort of problem with those beliefs.

Practical advice and important resource links make Education and the Pagan Child a valuable addition to the Witchvox White Pages. Educate yourself and then educate the school! Christina offers suggestions on how to do both, such as:

"Know your child's (children's) teacher and support staff. If you are "out of the broom closet", then be sure to create the environment in which folks can feel comfortable asking questions. Although it is a violation of your civil rights for any member of the school staff to ask you your religion, if you are out of the "broom closet" and it is obvious, information will help quiet any fears that may arise. I have found this to begin some wonderful conversations and allow further understanding in an area that tends to be "homogeneous Christian."

Along with Christina's new education article, the Witches' Voice White Pages section features many printable legal citations, cases, sample letters and other resources to help you learn about your legal rights and what you can do in your own home town to address religious discrimination. Print some of them out and pass them around at meetings. An educated local pagan community working to educate the general population in its own area is one of the best investments of time that we all can do today to make pagan equality a reality for tomorrow.

If you have a resource you would like to see added to the White Pages section, please email us. and include a link/review of the resource. If it is something that you or your group have developed, you/your group will be given full credit for the work and will retain all of your copyright protections.

Some Educators Not Only Have A Clue, They Have A Wired Monk!

When Deamon Child of Witch/Pagan Resources emailed us last week to ask if we had seen this book, we were very interested-especially since he said that Witchvox was 'all over it.' Of course, we scurried our curious pagan selves over to the bookstore and grabbed a copy. What a treat! Thanks for the tip, Deamon Child, you made our day!

The Witches' Voice has been picked as one of the top ten sites for online religions in the new book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Religions Online."

"Welcome to the World of Online Religion" is the theme and focus of this book. From Christianity and Buddhism to Native American spirituality and Neopaganism-if it's a religion and it's online, then it's covered here.

The section devoted to neopagan web sites and beliefs is interesting and a very positive portrayal of the rise of pagan sites on the Web. Chapter 26, entitled, "She Is God: Neopaganism and Wicca" states:

"It's hard to imagine a group that has become more familiar with cyberspace, and projected a more vivid image of itself on the Web, than those known as Neopagans or Wiccans. Their strong accent on feminine resources, both divine and human, is matched by a zest for artwork and ritual creativity. The Web sites that follow provide the outline of Neopagan 'metaphysics,' but they do not exhaust its potential."

Along with the listing/reviewing of TWV and Witch/Pagan Resources, other pagan sites are included, such as Church of All Worlds, COG, Witches Web, Ring of Troth, ADF, Circle Santuary and many, many more. There is a section on basic beliefs, networking, pagan news outlets and search engines.

The author, Bruce B. Lawrence, is an Episcopal priest, Professor of Asian Religions and Chair of the Department of Religion at Duke University; American Academy of Religion's distinguished lecturer in History of Religions for 1998-1999 and author of ten books including, "Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age". The entire section on Neopaganism is treated with respect, clarity and open-minded optimism.

The Wired Monk, Lawrence's helpful cartoon spokesperson is always ready with hints, tips and interesting info. My own hint of the day is that this book would make a good educational tool not only for pagan activists, but for press reporters, school librarians and anyone else who may have an interest in religions on the Web. Hint, hint!

Complete Idiot's Guide to Religions Online (Complete Idiot's Guide)- by Bruce B. Lawrence
Paperback - 380 pages 1 edition (December 17, 1999)
Alpha Books (Macmillan USA) ISBN: 0-7897-2209-7

Pagan Community on Standbye Alert for "Jag"!

Now we here at TWV don't know if the folks who produce the television show, "JAG" have a copy of the Idiot's Guide or not. According to the show synopsis for Tuesday April 25th, "The Witches of Gulfport" :

"Mac and Harm investigate charges of sexual misconduct against Chief Petty Officer Merker who is the leader of the Wiccans, a local witches coven with many Navy members." (The blurb also reveals that the petty officer is indeed convicted).

Our first thought was that this sounded pretty bad-and it may turn out to be just that bad. We'll have to wait for the show to air and go from there. But then again, we have also heard unconfirmed reports that a Wiccan acted as a consultant for the show. And an astute reader remarked that if the Wiccan's conviction was indeed the end of the entire plot, why would the show reveal that? The point of any show promotion is to get folks to watch the show to see what happens. Giving away the ending up front would seem rather strange, the reader pointed out.

We don't know which way the plot will twist. But in any case, the pagan community certainly DOES know what to do about media misrepresentation after all of our many years of activism: like the heroine in the folk tale, "Rumpelstilskin", we are pretty adept at turning someone's plain straw stupidity into educational gold.

New 'Nest a Hit with Surfers: Last week we launched the latest incarnation of Wren's Nest News to much aclaim. The new version offers faster searching (relative to internet traffic), reformated detail on the news clips and a way for us to battle those pesky Micro$oft word "gremlins" as Wren is posting the news. Give Wren's Nest 4.0 a ride and tell us what you think. Gets a Major Cleaning!

27,000 links/contacts/events verified for accuracy.

Update 4/23/2000: We are thrilled that so many of you have decided to help build the powerful networking pages of TWV. Bless you for bringing this community together. Keeping our networking section accurate is another story all together. It has always been our mission to have the cleanest Pagan links and contacts pages on the Web. With a good portion of the Pagan web now close to 5 years old, it is our estimate that close to 26% of the links on most pagan pages are history. This problem is getting worse by the day, but not so at TWV. All 27,000 of our email addresses and web site links are verified every other month and have been for 4 years.

Last Week:
  • Witches' of the World Contact Names This past week we sent out our "WitchVox Global Email for Beltaine" to 21,054 folks that are listed on our State/Prov/Country pages. It has been almost 4 months since our last purge and the results are typical. All "undeliverables" will be removed from our Witches' of the World Pages this week. We expect a 15-20% undeliverable return. (update: 7:00pm est... 21,054 emails were sent and 1,836 were undeliverable! (80% of the returns were AOL and Hotmail addresses) and 191 folks requested to be removed.

  • Pagan Links at the Voice Last week we also "pinged" ALL of the urls in our Pagan links section and removed those that rendered "404 errors", aka "no such page"... Although it's been a couple of months since we have done this, only 74 sites were dead links.

This Week:
  • Circles, Gatherings, Workshops and Events THIS week we plan on sending out Global Emails to verify all of our listings of "ongoing events". We do this to clean out any discontinued "ongoing" events and we do this every other month. NOTE: All dated events expire the day after they take place.

  • Covens and Groups Clean up THIS week we also plan on sending out Global Emails to verify all of our listings in our Covens and Groups listings. We do this to clean out any groups that we/you can't contact due to dead email addresses. We also do this as a prompt for folks to "let us know" that their group is no longer together.

  • WHERE Did My listing go? If your listing is gone from our State/Prov/Country contacts, Events or Pagan Links pages, it is solely due to the fact that we sent you an email and got a "undeliverable address" response OR Your website could NOT be found. If your listing is gone... simply resubit it by Clicking HERE

  • To check out what is happening in your area click on any of the following links: Witches, Wiccans, Pagans or Circles, Events, Festivals or WitchVOX Pagan Links

The entire Witches of the World and Links sections are driven by a custom written Database System that has evolved over the past couple of years. Our WOTW pages are updated every 48 hours and are constantly being fine-tuned for accuracy... Check to see what's happening in YOUR state, province, or country today!
In closing, education and communication are the two most powerful tools available to any group or society that is dedicated to change and growth. When someone wants to censor books, when legislators want to pass unfair laws and when one religion seeks by any means possible to stifle all other religious beliefs, knowledge well vocalized can often turn the tide. Even against great and seemingly overwhelming odds,

" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change
the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- (Margaret Mead)

'Til next week.

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - April 24th.


Witchvox Central

Location: Clearwater¼, Florida

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