Friday, August 1, 2008

Babies, art, business and politics

With festival season is in full swing, it hardly seems necessary to point out the many Pagan gatherings taking place all over the world this summer, organized by such groups as Circle Sanctuary, The Pagan Federation and The Pagan Pride Day Campaign. Obviously the old stereotypes about Pagans being unable to get organized doesn’t apply when there’s a party to be had. But that’s not all that’s going on in the community these days.
Rowan Tree Pagan Ministries in Oregon is planning to offer a faith based pre-school and kindergarten for children at the newly formed Rowan Academy. Actually, as with most Pagan programs, it’s open to everyone, not just Pagan children. Another program offered by Rowan Tree is the Senescha School of Magic, and aftershool program and The Magic Wheel a program that offers age appropriate activities to children of adults attending Rowan Tree activities. How cool is that? Read the article in full here. I hope other Pagan communities will take an exemple from Rowan Tree Ministries and start getting organized into more productive avenues.
And now for something new and different.
Georgian Christians are up in arms about a really neat stone monument in Elberton, GA known as The Georgia Guidestones and occasionally referred to as the American Stonehenge. On the surface of the stone slabs that make up the monument is inscribed 10 commandments that aren’t Christian commandments. And, although they are referring to them as such, I’m not sure they are. After all, the Guidestones don’t say they are commandments but “Guidestones to an age of reason”.
Far from “reason,” however, Dice sees pagan, New Age and even satanic themes in the message’s exhortation of one-world unity, condemnation of humanity as a plague on the planet and call to seek “harmony with the infinite.”

While I don’t know why Mr. Dice thinks Pagan, New Age and Satanic themes are inherently at odds with reason, I am also confused as to why one-world unity, pointing out that humanity is a plague (but it doesn’t really say that, it says Be not a cancer on the Earth – leave room for nature ) and encouraging “harmony with the infinite” is a negative thing. But whatever.

While America has a reputation for having the most anal retentive religious wackos in the world (Whether Christian, Pagan or otherwise), we are not the only folks who face the occasional “WTF?” moments when it comes to religious intolerance. According to the Register, out of the UK, Birmingham City Council recently had a big scandle involving improper use of the internet by its members, so they installed BlueCoat Webfiltering Software on its computers which blocks access to things related to keywords like porn, cannibalism (?), witchcraft, new age, atheism… well, you can see where this is going. And while I think everyone can agree that city council members probably don’t need to be surfing the web from their office on those subjects anyway, they are free to surf things related to Christianity, Islam, Protestantism, etc. But have no fear, the National Secular Society seems to have had a little chat with them and now it seems locals have nothing much left to gripe about beyond the fact that a British city council bought American. This may be another case of news that was not news and wtf am I blogging about it? Mainly because I’m fascinated to discover that the UK has a National Secular Society. You can read about this debacle here.

Some of you may remember Bob Barr. Back in 1999 he won The Burning Times award for his comments regarding Wiccans in the military. Ever wonder what he’s up to these days? Well, he’s running for president on the Libertarian ticket and recanting all sorts of things, including his position on Wiccans in the military. He must’ve realized just how many Libertarian Pagans there are out there.