Aquarian Tabernacle Church honors Eagle Scout protest
From “The Wild Hunt Magazine”
Spiral Scouts Honor Eagle Scout Protest: Due to an ongoing policy of the Boy Scouts of America “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals,” one recently affirmed by its leadership, a growing number of Eagle Scouts, the organization’s elite members (including Circle Sanctuary Minister Bob Paxton), have been resigning their membership and sending back their badges and medals. Now, alternative scouting organizationSpiralScouts International has announced that they are offering any Eagle Scout who returned their badges in protest their highest honors.
“SpiralScouts International respects the leadership, and responsibility demonstrated by these brave men, who have returned their Eagle Scout badges over this disagreement. We offer each of you the honorary status of ‘PathFinder’, and the Award of ‘Founder’ (our Eagle Scout Equivalent) within SpiralScouts. This is our highest rank, and as you have set forth to hold to the ideals of understanding, equality, and leadership, that we strive for within SSI, it would be our honor to extend this to you. Our program, which began in 1999, was developed to be as inclusive as possible in all areas: it features coed groups and leaders and is nondiscriminatory in all regards (sexual orientation, religion, gender). The program is available to all children, and we are happy to be able to offer this option for scouts.”
SpiralScouts International, which is a project of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, says that“although it cannot repair the hurt that has been caused, we hope this gesture lends support to those who are struggling, and helps us take a step forward into a future that embraces all of us as the sacred beings that each of us are.
Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.
David Wiegleb, Heidi Geyer, and Esther Fishman
- Fields Book Store in San Francisco, California, a haven for spiritual and esoteric books since the 1930s, has announced that it’s closing their physical location and moving to online sales only. Current owner David Wiegleb says that “the bottom line comes down to the bottom line — revenues did not meet expenses for quite a number of years, even after cutting back wherever we could.” They have set up an email address at ThankYou@FieldsBooks.com where patrons can send photos and remembrances which they hope to collect into a gallery to be shared. I’m proud to say I’ve visited (and bought books) at Fields, and that David Wiegleb is a gentleman and a scholar, I wish Fields well as it makes the transition to being an Internet-only business.
- The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions has announced that the 2014 Parliament of the World’s Religions will not be happening in Brussels due to the ongoing economic hardships in Europe, and that they are seeking a new home for the gathering. Quote: “The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and the Parliament of the World’s Religions Brussels 2014 regretfully announce that, due to the European financial crisis, it has not been possible to raise the necessary funds to hold the 2014 Parliament. The two organizations look forward to exploring other potential joint projects. Separately, the Council is pursuing options for the next Parliament with other interested and qualified cities.” Currently, two Pagans, Andras Corban Arthen and Phyllis Curott, sit on the Board of Trustees, while a third, Angie Buchanan, is a Board Emeritus. Could this mean the Parliament will come to America? Will the Parliament even happen in 2014? We’ll keep you posted as things develop.
- Remember “Secret”-peddler James Arthur Ray? The New Age guru is currently in prison after being convicted of negligent homicide after leading a fatal sweat lodge ceremony in 2009. Now, lawyers are seeking to have his convictions overturned, or to have a new trial held, while prosecutors have filed a cross-appeal challenging the assertions made by Ray’s lawyers. So much for all that remorse Ray felt over their deaths.
- California’s sexual orientation conversion therapy ban for minors is being tested in the courts, with federal judges splitting on whether the new law is constitutional. Looks like this one is going straight to the Supremes. I covered the passage of this law back in October, and the key role Pagan psychotherapist Deborah Oak played in its passage. At the time of the law’s passage Oak said that “I’ve always believed that being a therapist was being an agent of change and my work with Gaylesta has proved to be integrative. Being an activist within my profession is satisfying. Good therapy can save lives. Bad therapy can destroy them.”
- Buncombe County Schools in North Carolina will now allow distribution of religious materials, but only once a year, along with non-religious community groups, and after regular school hours. This policy was partially the culmination of months of activism that began when North Carolina Pagan Ginger Strivelli challenged her child’s school’s policy regarding the distribution of religious materials. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times “representatives of Baptist faith, Quakers, Pagans, humanists, atheists and the Unitarian Universalist church all committed to being a presence at the community fairs.”
- Sarah Whedon, author of “Birth on the Labyrinth Path: Sacred Embodiment in the Childbearing Year,” has moved her Pagan Families blog to Patheos.com. We wish her all the best! Meanwhile, in related Patheos Pagan Portal news, portal manager Christine Hoff Kraemer has just published “Seeking the Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies” which looks like a must-read for anyone interested in the subject.
- A coalition of tribes has successfully raised the $9 millions dollars necessary to buy an area of sacred land in the Black Hills of South Dakota known as Pe’Sla, land central to the religious and cultural identities of several tribes. Quote: “According to Rosebud Sioux Tribe Chairman Cyril “Whitey” Scott, the purchase is a done deal. ‘I can tell you that Pe’ Sla, the sacred land on behalf of the Oceti Sakowin, is secured. The $9 million was secured, Pe’ Sla has been purchased.’” I first reported on this story back in August, with subsequent updates. I’m heartened that this sacred land was secured, though it’s unfortunate that they had to pay for it at all.
- Suhag A. Shukla, Co-Founder of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), writes about how congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii breaks the “religious glass ceiling.” Quote: “My hope is that Tulsi Gabbard, as a Hindu American, will bring to Washington and to her style of representation two striking qualities that are as quintessentially Hindu as they are American — the duty to work toward the greater good and pluralism. Hinduism teaches that each of us is an embodiment of the Divine and this shared quality of divinity makes us part of a world family (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam). How should this translate to how one governs? See everyone as an extension of oneself, treat others fairly and equally, regardless of race, religion, gender or class, and support actions (i.e. policies) that benefit the greater good, and not special interests.”
- Check out this interview with Dr. Dave Evans, author of “Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick” and “The History of British Magick After Crowley.” Quote: “It is also very difficult when historical research starts to unpick and in some cases undermine a lore that surrounds a big name, and I got some pretty hateful stuff by email from a few Grant fans who didn’t like me pointing out some historical problems with his tales, even though I made it abundantly clear that while pure academic work on him showed some logic problems, as a magician I had the ultimate respect for him. Unlike Amado Crowley, who I pretty much dismantled in every way possible, his claims were a dreadful case of fairytales (in a bad way) – which was a shame, I really *wanted* Aleister to have left a living vessel behind, with some massive magickal power. Maybe he did, but it was not Amado, and all the email abuse and threats from his students doesn’t change that… As I said, for every asshole there were angels, and now that the fictional character known as Amado has “died” the abusive emails have stopped.”
- The Herald in Everett, Washington profiles Pete Davis and the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. Quote: “I had wanted to establish a place that the pagan and Wiccan people in the greater Seattle area could go for worship without having the neighbors get excited because they had candles or were wearing robes or were chanting in the backyard.”
That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.