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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Weekly Update: 12/29/2003

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: December 29th. 2003
Times Viewed: 6,043

TWV Networking News
New: 'Nest Local News, Poetry Fiesta and More!

Last week, again, saw some substantial enhances in the Witchvox Networking section, as well as a record number of New postings... Here is a quick list of changes/enhancements.

Wren's Nest Local: Effective today, Wren's nest news clips from the past two years are portaled into YOUR State/Region or Country page. -

Poetry Fiesta: Last week we launched the option for you to post your original poetry and you took to this in a big way. Nearly 300 poems were posted in the first 6 days. - The actual poems were viewed over 7,000 times during this period. To experience the new and enhanced Pagan Poetry section at Witchvox Click HERE

Global Notices: are back 'live' with better structure and some categories are again listed here on your front door. (see left sidebar)

XP: Runtime Error - FIXED: That nasty bug that only effected users running Win. XP when accessing the 'update' listing pages... Has been Exterminated!

Your Controls: Many of you don't realize that you CAN change your main email address, viewable screen name and other preferences - When logged in - choose 'Your Settings' on the left sidebar.

To network with thousands of Pagans in your area Click HERE

NeoPaganism and Public Schools
by Stephanie Urquhart

Perhaps you have noticed that there has been a steady stream of media stories concerning religious expression in public schools. Is Harry Potter promoting Witchcraft? Should there be prayer in school or a moment of silence? Does a moment of silence constitute prayer, and does that violate the separation of church and state? Should children be allowed to distribute materials in school that promote their church? Should we teach Creationism or evolution? It seems as if there is an endless parade of issues that disrupt the course of the normal school year, and often these issues cost tax payers money. The most disturbing by far are the number of prolific stories that deal with children being singled out for their religious affiliation. An alarming number of those stories appear to be about NeoPagan children, and how they are singled out in school due to their religious affiliation.

What is Religious Discrimination?

The United States Commission on Civil Rights has offered this very simplified description of religious discrimination:

Discrimination is treating one person differently than another because of a particular characteristic... Discrimination is illegal when it is based on...religion, which refers to a person's religious beliefs and practices, or lack thereof, or a person's membership in a religious group.(1)

This could include defamation of a person based on the rumor concerning their alleged beliefs or practices. A good example of this is the Brandi Blackbear case in Tulsa County Oklahoma. Other issues a NeoPagan student might face would be accusations or rumors of their sexual availability, the rumor of spell casting, worship of Satan, atheism, gang affiliation, suicidal tendencies, cult membership, animal sacrifice, and even infanticide. As a result, NeoPaganism is not widely accepted in many communities, and carries with it social stigmas for the adult adherent and their children.... [Full Article]

The Delicate Balance of Pagan Ethics
by Lyon

If you've been on any of the Pagan paths a while, you probably know about the Wiccan Rede. Briefly, it can be summed up as "Do what ye will, that ye harm none." At first that seems pretty simple. Since Neo-Paganism is a mere 60 to 70 years old, as a religious group we have yet to adopt a code of what are ethical behaviors and what are "taboo." Right now we have to figure out for ourselves what Harm None really means.

Many non-Wiccan paths have adopted some form of "Harm None" into their belief systems. Many have not. Whether or not you are Wiccan, having some form of a moral guideline is part of any religious path. Morals are often customs that have become so deep-rooted in a society as to become unquestionable.

Our very lack of a set of written rules causes confusion for many Neo-Pagans. Just what is 'harm' anyway?... [Full Article]

Gun-Totin' Pagans
by David Nelson

The Witches' Voice published in 2002 a series of "Pagan Protection Tips from Professionals." One such commentary was written by the Rev. Tim "Nightbird" Cranford, H.P., and titled "Better Safe Than Sorry."

In his commentary, Cranford described most Pagans as "mostly nonviolent" but warned his readers correctly that "when your life is on the line it is important to know what to do, even if you have to harm the attacker." He suggested the self-defense use of weapons, among other ways for us to protect ourselves.

Another such commentary was written by Steve McManus and titled "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance: The Six-P Rule." In it, he asked his readers to consider several hypothetical situations which would require their self-defense including... [Full Article]


The Syncretic Pagan

Modern Paganism often draws from other religions in a process called syncretism, which is the fusion of different forms of belief and practice. Some people see this as a good thing, others decry it for various reasons. Do you think modern Pagans should embrace syncretism, or should confine ourselves to only Pagan beliefs and practices -- and, if so, how would you decide what is and is not "Pagan"? Also, how syncretic are you? What other religions and philosophies inform your personal beliefs and practices?

The deadline for this topic is Feb 1st. 2004., but we will post the essays as we receive them. Please keep in mind that we will not post responses to previously posted essays.

Your voice counts! Please consider adding your thoughts to this collection of essays and join in the exchange of ideas throughout the worldwide Pagan community.

Any thoughtful essays of over 1,000 words will be published. Please read our editorial guidelines first, and send your essay to Diotima

NEW Rights and Perceptions Essays...

Rights and Perceptions
by Tree Higgins

Richwood, WV, August 16, 2003.

My friend Lillith and I arrive in Richwood, WV with lots of hope. I am here to look for a building and a home. The land is cheap and the possibilities to me seem endless. I want a Pagan-based business. I want a place for Pagans to come and meet. I was here last summer helping two friends move from Asheville, NC.... [Full Article]

Fighting for Our Rights
by Heather M.

Over the past few years, Wicca has gradually become a more accepted religion. In fact, it is the fastest growing religion in Canada, and many other places within North America and Britain. However, for a religion that is attracting so many new practitioners, Wicca is not one that is generally well perceived amongst individuals, or even public establishments... [Full Article]

Rights and Perceptions
by Kiki Deister

Where are we really? In my experience, we have a long way to go before true acceptance is achieved. I live in the heart of the Bible Belt and I see the intolerance and the ignorance every day. Even those who are trying to be "accepting" are usually vaguely insulting.

While I am not in the closet, I don't advertise either. It would probably be detrimental to my husband's career and my children's social lives if I were completely out... [Full Article]

View from a Soapbox
by Susan Wessells

As I consider my past twenty years as a Witch I discover that I have conflicting feelings on the progress that has been made in public awareness of Witchcraft and Paganism in all its varieties. (To relieve tedious and unwieldy repetition, I will use "Pagan" and "Paganism" throughout this essay to represent all possible variations of Neo-Paganism.)

The public has gradually become more aware of our existence and, while a fair number of them have a "live and let live" attitude, the Christian Right is becoming more vitriolic in its verbal attacks on us and has been upping the ante in public confrontations as well... [Full Article]

What's in a Name?
by Narcepone StarrDancer

Witch: mention that word in any group of people and you receive a myriad of reactions. Some positive some negative, but for the most part the same negative reaction we have received since the 14th century and before. Their eyes glaze over in shock and they ask the same stupid questions, behave the same way and almost always stop calling you to ask what you are doing or if you would like to be friends.... [Full Article]


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