OakGrove Archives
Past News and Issues
2nd Quarter 2000
6/28/00:  Colorado Man Kills Own Daughter, Claims She Was "The Devil"
"MANITOU SPRINGS - Robert Walter Dunn, pinned to the ground in his back yard
                           by strangers, told police rushing to the scene, "I killed the devil."
A few steps away, his 7-year-old daughter, Aaren Dunn, lay dying on the kitchen floor with a broken arm and knife wounds across her neck, chest and back."

S.P.I.R.A.L. Seeks Tennessee Pagan Clergy
[Forgot to post this letter that's been in my inbox all month, but here it is - Oak]

"Greetings all,
I would like to submit a request to those of you who are Pagan Clergy in the state of Tennessee and surrounding areas.
The Pagan community organization SPIRAL (Serving Pagans in Religion and Life) http://www.spiralhorn.net/spiral of which I am a member, has decided to expand it's community outreach to include a directory of clergy who are willing to perform rites of passage to those seeking these services.
We are seeking clergy in all areas of the state.  The directory will be kept confidential.  When a request comes in, we will look up the clergy in the persons area and contact them with the seekers name and email/phone.  It will then be up to the clergy member
to contact the seeker to discuss the type of service the person needs.
Normal things we would like to see clergy offer are: Paganings/Wiccanings, Handfastings, Handpartings/Funeral Rites and Pastoral Counseling.
If you are intersted in offering this much needed service to the pagan community, please email me directly at clan_elder_rune@yahoo.com PLEASE place directory in the subject line.  I will then send out a form to be filled out and emailed back so we can begin to add you to our database.
We really feel this will be a valuable resource for our community.  There are many pagans who would like to know that they have clergy to turn to, even if they are not in a coven or other type of group.  We hope that those of us who feel a draw to aid our community will give of themselves in this type of service.
Lady Morgaine
Vice-Chair, SPIRAL
HPS, Clan Elder Rune
Noletirian Tradition"

6/26/00: "Supreme Court sets aside ruling allowing some prayer
in Alabama schools - Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today set aside a ruling that let public school students in an Alabama county lead group prayers at graduations, assemblies and sports events."

Freedom Forum closes shop: The discussion forums at Freedomforum.org have been closed indefinitely. While the site will continue delivering the latest in news pertaining to Constitutional Rights, religion forum regulars now meet at Scarmig's new forum, Religious ReFFugees at http://network54.com/Hide/Forum/67989

"France adopts tough anti-sect law
PARIS - The French National Assembly adopted Europe's toughest anti-sect legislation Thursday, creating a controversial new crime of "mental manipulation" punishable by a maximum fine of $75,000 and five years imprisonment."

"Art contest winner dogged by controversy over portrayal of Jesus
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vermont (AP) -- For six months, artist Janet McKenzie has been steadily in demand for radio, television and newspaper interviews. She has been deluged with letters and e-mails hailing her as prophetic, begging to buy her painting.
Such is the fame that has come from her work, "Jesus of the People.""

"Celebrating the Year 5008
LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) — Bolivia's Aymara Indians celebrated the start of their 5008 calendar year Wednesday with a predawn ritual at the Tihuanacu ruins which coincided with the southern hemisphere's winter solstice."

6/21/00: Happy Solstice! The first full day of Summer came in with a bang at Stonehenge, where thousands of Druids and other Pagans got to celebrate in style when the stones were opened to the public for the first time in 16 years.

6/19/00: Supreme Court Upholds First Amendment in Texas Football Prayer Case
"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that prayer does not belong in public schools, even if students initiate and lead the prayers.
The court ruled 6-3 in a Texas case that public schools cannot allow student-led prayer before high school football games, a decision that reinforces the wall between church and state erected by the First Amendment."

Druids Will Be Rockin' at Summer Solstice
"LONDON (Reuters) - Hundreds of drum-beating Druids and a strong police presence are expected to converge on Stonehenge Tuesday evening when public access will be allowed at the prehistoric landmark for the first time in 16 years."
"LONDON (AP) - For the first time in 16 years, the public will be able to greet the dawn of the summer - the first of the new millennium - at the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge."

6/17/00: Religious Wars: A reader's letter to the editor questions a community which protested Mormon volunteer workers at school, but passes out Bibles in the principal's office.

Lesbian Minister Sues Church: "DENVER - Two Boulder, Colo., women who live
                    together in a committed relationship have sued the Episcopal Church, claiming church officials violated their rights out of hatred for homosexuals.
                    Lee Ann Bryce was fired from her job as youth minister at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in Boulder because of prejudice against homosexuals, according to the lawsuit filed in Denver U.S. District Court."

Virginia Cautions School Officials About "Moment of Silence": Wishing to avoid a constitutional challenge to the state's "Moment of Silence" provision, Virginia state superintendent of public instruction Jo Lynne DeMary sent a memo to to school superintendents and principals stating, "It is important to caution teachers and administrators not to suggest or imply that students should or should not use that time for prayer."
DeMary's guidelines have been met with criticism.

6/15/00:  Louisiana School-Prayer Law Ruled Unconstitutional
First, Louisiana law provided for a moment of silence. No problem there. Then, the law was amended to allow for silent prayer or meditation. That's fine too; Nobody had to pray but the kids knew they had that choice. Then, in 1999, the statute was replaced by one that left out the word "silent," and Ouachita Parish School Board interpreted this to allow spoken prayer both in classrooms and by students over the intercom. This led to a "John Doe" lawsuit by a student alleging he was harassed after he refused to pray in class.
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Robert James states, in part, "This statute cannot help but create the appearance that the state of Louisiana is endorsing religion since the state has created a venue for public prayer in public facilities under the supervision of public officials."
Related information: June 14 press release by Americans United for Separation of Church and State:http://www.au.org/pr61400.htm

6/13/00: White Buffalo Born to Miracle Moon
"The birth of a white buffalo is said to be the fulfillment of age-old legends. It's a one in 60-million chance that a pure breed buffalo will be born white. And an even smaller chance that it's offspring will also be white, but a couple near Belle Fourche can now say they have a matched set.
Three years ago Jim and Dena Riley were surprised with a very special new comer at their bison ranch... a white buffalo, who they now call Miracle Moon. And now that she's three years old, Miracle Moon has had her first baby... another white buffalo."

School Gives "Hand-slap" to Students Involved in Simulated Rape
"WEST BATH, Maine (AP) - No charges will be brought against three schoolboys accused of holding down a 9-year-old girl on a playground and simulating intercourse, a prosecutor said Thursday."
"A lawyer for the third-grade girl's parents said two male classmates pinned down the girl on a playground May 2 while another boy climbed on top of her and simulated sexual intercourse. It happened again two days later before the school took action, lawyer Richard Regan said."

"Letter-bomb" is False Alarm - The suspicious package received by noted author Gerina Dunwich turned out to be a fake according to the postmaster, who discarded it and never filed a police report.

Gerina Dunwich writes:
"Please listen with an open mind and allow me explain what happened in
regards  to this crazy letter bomb incident. Last weekend I indeed receive a
package from Columbus with contents that resembled a letter bomb. I had my
husband bring it to the post office to look at it. He came home and informed
me that  it had been turned over to the police and was being investigated. I
then sent an email to  a few author friends to let them know about the
incident and warn them in  case they received a similar thing in the mail.  I
only had their best interest  in mind.  I recently found out from my darling
husband that what actually happened  last week  was that the postmaster
checked the package and did not think it was an  actual bomb. It most likely
was a hoax to scare me. The package was discarded,  and no police report
filed. Not thinking that I would contact others about  this, he  told me that
the police were investigating it. He thought that this would put my mind  at
ease because I was so shaken by what had happened  and he truly thought  I
probably would not have believed him at the time had he told me that it was a
false alarm. I did not know this at the time I first emailed Kerr Cuhulain,
and I had  no idea that this would get so out of hand. Until my husband
revealed the truth to  me last night, I was convinced that the bomb was real.
I apologize to all for any confusions that this whole thing might have
caused, but I still feel it is necessary to  warn others to exercise caution
with suspicious packages in the mail. And  for those  who have suggested that
this was a publicity stunt, let me assure you that  this is not  the type of
publicity that any author wants. In fact I requested that my  name be kept
out of this from the start. I hope this settles this matter once and for all."

[Although we can breath a sigh of relief in this matter, it's still good advice to treat any suspicious-looking package with caution - Oak]

6/11/00: Letter-bomb Sent to Pagan Author - Well-known author Gerina Dunwich was recently targeted by a letter-bomb. In a letter to fellow author Kerr Culhain, Dunwich cautions Pagans in the public eye to exercise caution whenever receiving mail from an unknown source:

Dear Kerr,
  I felt I should bring a certain matter to your attention since you are involved in law enforcement and workshops to educate the public. I was the recipient of a letter bomb this past weekend. It was postmarked Columbus, Ohio and sent to my post office box. Luckily no one was hurt. I suspected there was something strange about the package and handed it over to the postmaster, who in turn notified the police and bomb squad. The matter is now under investigation but I've been informed that the chances are slim that they will be able to find out who sent it, since the return address was obviously a fake one and whoever sent it was probably very careful not to leave fingerprints. I do not know anyone in Columbus, Ohio (except for AJ Drew of Salem West) and I have no personal enemies that I know of. I do not know if I am being targeted personally or am just one name of many on this mad bomber's list , but I think that all Wiccan/Pagan/Occult authors and public figures should be aware and very cautious whenever they receive a suspicious package in the mail from someone they do not know - especially if it postmarked from Columbus, Ohio!   Take care.
Blessed Be,
Gerina Dunwich

Oklahoma Aims to Strike 'Squaw' As Offensive Name
 OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma plans to join a growing number of U.S. states in striking the word "squaw," widely believed to mean an Indian woman, from place names because Native Americans say it is a sexual slur, officials said on Monday.

Green power to illuminate state religious sites
BRUNSWICK — The light that shines in houses of worship around the state may come from God, but it should be ‘‘green,’’ according to Maine Interfaith Power & Light.

Hungarians to Rebuild Palace of Hun King Attila
 BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The palace of Attila, King of the Huns, will be rebuilt on its supposed original site in the Hungarian plain in Tapioszentmarton, the mayor of the town said.

An Eyewitness Account of Dr. Laura's First TV Taping
It was an ethical dilemma worthy of the "Dr. Laura" radio show. A gay Hollywood "extra" shows up for a taping of the "Leeza" TV show at Paramount Studios. But he suddenly finds that Leeza Gibbons has been canceled, and in her place is the queen-of-mean herself, anti-gay radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger.

Appeals Court Rules IRS Can Reject Tax Exemption Of Overtly Partisan Churches
A unanimous ruling by a federal appeals court today in Branch Ministries v. Rossotti should put an end to Religious Right efforts to draft churches into partisan political efforts, said AU. The case concerned a N.Y. fundamentalist Christian church that took full-page ads in USA Today and The Washington Times in 1992, warning people that voting for then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton was a "sin" (posted 5/12/00).

Archaeologists Discover Lost Cities
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (AP) - Archaeologists scouring the Mediterranean seabed announced Saturday they have found the 2,500-year-old ruins of submerged Pharaonic cities that until now were known only through Greek tragedies, travelogues and legends.
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Archaeologists on Saturday showed off relics retrieved from the nearly complete ruins of ancient cities they said they had discovered on the seabed off the Egyptian coast.

5/28/00: Wow, the time's gotten away from me! I know it's been a while since this page was last updated, but last weekend I was away at a festival and have been playing catch-up ever since:  Be sure to check out the latest additions to Armchair Activism, Pagan Parenting, and Merchants pages!

May Moon Madness should have been called May Mud Madness this year. It rained on and off all weekend, and the hosts decided to open up registration a bit, increasing the crowd from the expected ~300 to approximately 500 people. 999 feet (one guy there only had one leg) tromping through the wooded paths between the camping, merchanting and ritual areas made for quite a mess by Sunday!

 The girls decided to go to bed early Friday night so they could start shaking down... er, bargaining with the merchants first thing in the morning, so they got into their sleeping bags at 9pm. I decided to lie down for a bit before joining the festivities, and the next thing I knew it was pouring rain - on me. Seems I'd forgotten to zip up the tent and the only thing between me and a downpour was the mosquito netting in the wall-sized screen window. Worst of all, I missed seeing the great performance by Emerald Rose down at the castle.

 Saturday night's bonfire was great, although it rained on it, too. I don't ordinarily go skyclad, but after dancing around a bit, it suddenly seemed stupid getting my clothes wet, so I dumped them in the tent and trotted back down to the circle. It was just incredible, dancing in the cool rain in sharp contrast to the heat of the balefire against my skin, with the drummers wailing away on their ashikos and djembes. After a few false starts complicated by perhaps one too many late-night pots of coffee, I finally went to sleep at around 2 am. When I woke up at 6:30 this morning, a few of the drummers and dancers were still going.

 Sorry to say that Amberflame didn't go with us this year. She'd gotten a kink in her back the day before and felt that sleeping on the ground this weekend might be contraindicated, so told us to go on without her. Happy to report that she's okay; At some point this weekend she sat up from the couch and heard (and felt) a big pop, and her back straightened right up. (She's fine now.)

Now for some real news, even if it is mostly from two weeks ago:
"Procter & Gamble has abruptly reversed its decision to become the first major advertiser on the "Dr. Laura" show.  P&G's reversal is the latest in a string of controversies surrounding the show, syndicated by Paramount TV and slated for debut this September."

Women do not have a civil right not to be raped. Upholding the decision of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Court ruled 5-4 that Subtitle C of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 unconstitutionally infringed on state's rights.

"'Save the Whales' Trip Beached by a Whale
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California activist who embarked on a transpacific sailing adventure dedicating to saving the whales called off the attempt on Friday after his boat ran into one of the large mammals."

Texas district accused of punishing students for bringing Bibles to school
Three Texas middle school students have sued a school district in federal court alleging their fundamental rights were violated when they were punished for having Christian texts on campus.

5/15/00: Hastings Books Pulls Pagan Titles
[Note: I contacted the author who confirmed the following excerpts from a letter written to Hastings circulating on various mailing lists. I invite any Hastings customer or representative's comments- Oak]

"...was shocked when I recently visited the new age section at the Louisville area hastings.  Being a practicing witch, I have found your new age section a Goddess send many times over.  I especially liked the way you have your new age section positioned away from the "religion" section.  It's hard to browse books comfortably away from the other mainstream religions.

However what disturbs me is when I went into hastings the other week.  I found that the new age section that used to be a completely sequestered area had it's shelf space reduced by half.  What further disturbed me was that you guys totally stripped the shelves of most books by bestselling authors on Wicca.  Titles from Amber K, Silver Ravenwolf and most shockingly Scott Cunningham were removed.  We questioned one of your managers... ...who told me he was the one who had to pull most of those titles and felt very disheartened because he would have like to have the chance to read many of the titles there.

We were further informed that the hastings recall was not only recalled at this store... but was recalled NATIONWIDE as well.  I hope this was not true... as this is a slap in the face to many of your best customers.  I am copying this letter to leaders of other local
pagan groups.  Please reconsider your actions in what you have done.  I have -not- been the only one who has noticed the actions that you have taken.  Several other friends
of similar beliefs have noticed this as well...

...I WILL NOT SHOP HASTINGS AGAIN IF AT LEAST THE BOOK DECISION IS NOT RE-EVALUATED.  Please reconsider.  I will be forwarding this e-mail to as many people I can and asking them to forward this e-mail to as many as they can as well.  I am asking all my friends to e-mail service@hastings-ent.com with their thoughts and feelings on this matter."

[Name withheld by request]

More on Salina, KS Protest
(See "Buddist Speaker Sparks Protests" below, posted 5/11/00)
"...when there are no Roman centurions with whips and spikes handy, one just has to make do with whatever is available.  For one Salina woman, a soft-spoken, bicycle-riding Buddhist monk from California will serve nicely."
"Intolerance of the views of others is not uncommon among some conservative Christian groups, a University of Kansas professor said Wednesday, a day after a Salina woman expressed public outrage that a Buddhist monk is set to speak next week at the Salina Public Library."
"A Salina pastor sought Thursday to distance his church from a controversy sparked by a Salina woman objecting to a speech planned Monday night by a Buddhist monk at the Salina Public Library."

5/13/00:  Owenboro, KY Wiccans Speak Out on Beliefs
(Second in a series by Karen Owen, Columnist for the Messenger-Enquirer)
"'This must be how Paul and the apostles felt,' I thought recently, sitting in a local coffee shop. I was surrounded by Wiccans, members of a religion that wouldn't have been out of place in the ancient Roman world."
Story: http://www.messenger-inquirer.com/owen/1574603.htm

Religious Ethics?
No Wiccan would ever think of taking a minor into their circle without either written permission or at least one of the child's parents present. Not so with this Baptist church in Texas: "Twelve-year-old Zack says he had no idea he was being targeted for conversion when he attended a youth event with his friends at a Baptist church."
Story: http://abcnews.go.com/onair/2020/2020_000512_conversion_feature.html

Salem Trying to Keep Skeletons in the Closet
The Salem, Mass. city council is has refused to grant Douglas Antreassian a license to run a "Hearse Tour" of the city's famous "witch trial" sites. "'I'm not going to tell you this promotes a positive image of the city,'' said Councilor Kim Driscoll."
Full Story: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000513/us/hearse_controversy_1.html

"Wife Accused of Magic Spell on Husband Wins Appeal
DUBAI (Reuters) - A UAE teacher sentenced to four months in jail for casting a spell on her former husband and his sister won an appeal, a local newspaper reported Thursday." Full Story:

5/11/00: Thursday May 11, 10:30 am Eastern Time
Company Press Release
SOURCE: Turner Network Television
"ATLANTA, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Academy Award® winner Anjelica Huston, Emmy winner Julianna Margulies, and Academy Award® nominee Joan Allen are set to start production in Turner Network Television's (TNT) THE MISTS OF AVALON, an exciting new twist on the magical legend of King Arthur, it was announced today by Julie Weitz, executive vice president of original programming, TNT. Samantha Mathis, Caroline Goodall, Edward Atterton, Michael Vartan and Hans Matheson will also star in the four-hour miniseries, which will premiere on TNT in 2001."

"THE MISTS OF AVALON is the story of legendary Camelot, as seen through the eyes of the women who wielded power behind King Arthur's throne. Huston will play Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, who tries to preserve the pagan beliefs of Avalon.
Margulies will portray Morgaine, Arthur's sister, who becomes Viviane's pawn in the quest for control of Camelot. Allen will play Morgause, Goodall will play Igraine, Mathis will play Gwenhwyfar, Atterton will play Arthur, Vartan will play Lancelot and Matheson will play Mordred."
Full Story: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/000511/ga_tnt_mis_1.html

 Ancient Gods, Modern Games
The Olympic torch was lit at the Temple of Hera following a prayer to Apollo, Greek God of the Sun, at the traditional ceremony marking the beginning of the Sydney Olympic Games.
Story: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/xseap/20000510/lo/20000510001.html

Buddist Speaker Sparks Protests
Kandy Crosby, a Pentecostal Christian, plans to lead a prayer meeting/protest outside the Salina (Kansas) Public Library during a presentation by a visiting Buddist monk. A petition will also be circulated reading, "We the undersigned do wish to stop the speaking of Hugh Gould on an introduction of the teaching of the practices of Zen Buddhism at the Salina Public Library. We stand against the teaching of Buddhism or any false religion. We stand for the spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone of every faith in all parts of the world."
Story: http://wire.dailynews.net/salina/news/23976755.html

5/9/00: Foot Readers Tripped Up by Japanese Police:
Foot-Reading cult leader Hogen Fukunaga arrested after a four-year investigation of fraud that cost five women $240,000.
Story: www.knoxnews.com/shns/story.cfm?pk=JAPANFOOTCULT-05-09-00&cat=LR

5/7/00: Federal Judge Rules 10 Commandments Must Go
Kentucky's recent declaration that the 10 Commandments are "historical documents" has been challenged by the ACLU and a temporary order issued May 5, 2000 requires that they be taken down from schools and other government buildings in Harlan, Pulaski and McCreary counties, pending trial.  Referring to the 10 Commandments and other, edited documents added to the displays, Judge Jennifer B. Coffman wrote, "The overriding theme of each individual document as presented in the display and of the display as a whole is one of religion and more specifically of Christianity.''
Story: www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/news/050600/statedocs/06commandments.htm

5/6/00:  Festival Time!
Across the country and around the world, festivals and gatherings are being held to celebrate the various seasonal holidays of importance to Pagans. The last such holiday was Beltane, officially May 1, but we're attending a private gathering in a couple of weeks held in honor of this fertility celebration. Although our holidays occur year-round, the warm days of Spring and Summer really make us want to get outside with Mama Nature, and I've been getting so much e-mail lately announcing gatherings that it's getting hard to keep up with it all.  Because of this I feel I need to lay down a few simple guidelines.

In your event announcement, please include the following:
Name of the event. This can also include name of the host(s), as in "PaganParty 2000 - Presented by Party Pagan Circle" or similar.

  1. Location. No, you don't have to give potential "party-crashers" the exact address in your announcement, but you do need to let people know generally where your event will be held if you expect them to respond. A few days ago I deleted a letter announcing about a half-dozen events that sounded interesting, but only listed street addresses, without a city or state to go with them. For all I knew, these events could be in Peru!  Something like "Chicago Area" or "Near Tupelo, Mississippi" is just fine.
  2. Date(s) and time, if applicable. A suggested format is "July 10-12, 2000." Don't bury this down in the body of your announcement, as I list festivals chronologically and delete announcements if I can't figure out where to put them.
  3. (Optional) Description of event. What sort of activities, workshops, etc., are planned? Do you have any special guest speakers or presenters? Are meals potluck or provided? Is the site "clothing-optional"? Be informative, but please keep it brief, as I edit down announcements that get too large. In cases where your announcement would involve more than about one type-written page, that usually means I cut out this whole section entirely.

  4. Contact information. This can be a web page address for your complete announcement, an e-mail address, or your postal address (and phone number, if you wish) or any combination of these. I won't publish your festival announcement without at least one way to contact you. Also, this will be necessary if your event requires registration, as I don't publish those, either (See below).

    Please DON'T include:

    1. Registration forms. That's why you need to add your e-mail address. The formatting usually gets all muddled up when I've tried to include these in the past, and nobody  wants to print out the whole festival page just to fill out a form anyway.

    2. LOTS OF WORDS IN ALL CAPS SEPARATED WITH DASHES .... LIKE BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS ..... SPECIAL HEADLINES --- OR PERIODS --- ~~~OR~~~ ^^SPECIAL^^ ***CHARACTERS***  --- OR MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS FOR EMPHASIS!!!!  I'll post it that way if you do, and doesn't it just look plain dumb?

      One more thing: Use your spell-check!

5/3/00: Fighting Fire with Fire?
[I almost got angry reading this story - until I saw the irony in it!]
Young mother Debbie Ritchie is turning a magick spell created for a friend whose child was dealing with night terrors into a business venture: When a co-worker reported sleepless nights while because her son was afraid of the "witches" in his room, Debbie filled a bottle with water, labeled it "Witch Spray" and instructed this lady to spritz it around the room at bedtime. Well of course it worked, and this became the seed that has now led to a video release, "Monsters Be Gone" starring "Magic Al", a magician who uses his knowledge to help children deal with the scary things in their world.
Story: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/000503/fl_underdo_1.html
Monsters Be Gone website: http://www.monstersbegone.com

Quick, name the 3 biggest names in Rock music history. You probably thought ofThe Beatles for sure, perhaps The Rolling Stones, and maybe The Greatful Dead? You're dead wrong. Try Lou Reed, Alanis Morissette and the Eurythmics.
No, I'm not kidding; Tell me when The Beatles ever got the pope for their opening act? Story: http://www.knoxnews.com/shns/story.cfm?pk=POPE-ROCK-04-28-00&cat=LR

Another mix of Rock and Ritual: Tina Turner, perhaps one of the hottest Rock & Roll babes of to ever hit the stage, hits the Buddist chants before the stage lights come on.
Story: http://www.knoxnews.com/shns/story.cfm?pk=BUDDHISM-05-02-00&cat=LR

In one of the saddest arguments ever heard against ratifying the U.N. Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Rep. Christopher Smith (Republican, NJ) claims it might eliminate Mother's Day. His argument was supported, not surprisingly, by  Sen. Jesse Helms (Republican, N.C.) who has for years refused to schedule hearings or submit the treaty to the full Senate for a vote.[Why don't they just come out and tell women to get back in the kitchen and shut up?]
Story: http://foxnews.com/national/0503/d_ap_0503_149.sml

Fifteen Children Burned During Gruesome "Folklore Ceremony" in Mezimesto, Czechoslovakia: During the annual "Burning of Witches" ceremony, what was supposed to be a campfire erupted into an inferno that sent several children to the hospital with first and second-degree burns.
Story: http://www.centraleurope.com/news.php3?id=156181

"Deliver us from illicit exorcisms, Bishops plead"
 "A SURGE in exorcisms conducted without the approval of the Church of England is causing growing concern among Bishops.
A report to be debated at the General Synod in July is expected to describe a huge increase in the numbers of individuals seeking exorcisms, or "deliverance", from what
  they believe is demonic possession."

4/28/00: Student Teachers Can Wear Pentagrams
"Two Elwood high school students have won the right to wear Wiccan pentagrams as teacher's aides in an elementary school.
With the help of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, the students had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court after being told by school principals they could not wear the Wiccan symbols while working in the cadet teaching program.
The federal court decision, issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge S. Hugh Dillin, said the school system had violated the students' First Amendment rights to wear the symbols of Wicca, a nature-based religion."
Story: http://www.starnews.com/news/citystate/0428st_wiccan.html

4/27/00:  Kentucky Cover-up
"DENNISTON A pagan festival that's returning to Menifee County for the second consecutive year will include an adults-only ``sex magic class'' and weekend-long trial marriages, but no nudity, organizers say.
Plans for late-night clothing-optional fireside dancing were scrubbed after county officials declined to issue the group a ``nudist society permit'' and warned that the pagans could be prosecuted for violating child-abuse laws if minors had access to the ceremony."

PBS Documentary, "The Vikings" to Air on NOVA May 9, 2000
"On 8 June 793, a boat full of Scandinavian raiders landed at the undefended island monastery of Lindisfarne in northeast England. They savagely attacked the monks and pillaged one of Christendom's holiest shrines, sending shock waves through Europe; many believed God had sent the Northmen as an act of divine judgment."
Find out more at http://www.pbs.org/nova/vikings/

     Movie, "Drawing Down the Moon" Soon to be Released
"DDTM tells the story of an eccentric young woman who moves to a small town to start a homeless shelter. Her beliefs (she's a witch) and progressive ideas for the community bring her into conflict with both the respectable townsfolk and the local criminal element."
To find out more, visit http://www.drawingdownthemoon.com/main/index.html

4/25/00: As if some of us don't put up with enough criticism for our Pagan beliefs, a few Christians also feel peer pressure for celebrating the secular aspects of some of their religious holidays. In my opinion, Chick Jacobs, staff writer for the Fayettville Observer, knows the best way to handle this:
"It’s not eggsactly the right attitude to share at Easter"  http://www.fayettevillenc.com/foto/news/content/2000/tx00apr/w21fam.htm

"Popemon"?  In an April 20, 2000 story, The Times (London) reports that Pokemon has now received the official blessing of the Vatican.
See story: "Vatican Catches Pokemon Fever" http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/2000/04/20/timfgneur03001.html

4/19/00: Interesting stuff found 'round the web lately...
I've been hearing a lot of flap about genetically engineered foods. I must be the only person in the world that hasn't chosen sides, because frankly it doesn't sound all that bad that science might one day give us, say, an apple tree that eats Japanese beetles instead of the other way around like it is now. On the other hand, I see the point of the folks that fear a day when all our crop plants produce sterile seeds, thus completing our shift to reliance on corporate farming for sustanence. In any event, it doesn't hurt to know what's going on, so don't say you weren't warned. If you want to learn more, and voice your opinion to the Food and Drug Administration on this issue, check out this site by The Center for Food Safety: http://www.foodsafetynow.org/.

Canadian Matriarchy?
Columnist John Robson vents about the battle of the sexes in the March 31 edition of The Ottawa Citizen: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/columnists/robson/000331/3850215.html

Tired of bad news all the time?
Bridgestone/Firestone recently announced the gift of another 6000 acres of unspoiled wilderness to the state of Tennessee, bringing their total donations to 10,000 acres since 1998. The 10,000 acre tract will be called the Bridgestone/Firestone
                    Centennial Wilderness, and will be made available for low-impact public recreation activities. Stories: http://www.knoxnews.com/archives/browserecent/04142000/archives/7804.shtml

New Pagan Web-Zine in the Works
Black Cats and Silver Broomsticks is actively seeking submissions for their new webzine, to debute on Summer Solstice, 2000. for submission guidelines, see their website at http://www.geocities.com/blackcats_silverbroomsticks/.

More Good News!
"2,000 Acres Saved by Care2.com and The Nature Conservancy in Wildly Successful 'Race for the Rain Forest.'" Announced yesterday on Yahoo! Finance, this press release by Care2.com states that free donations by visitors have saved an area of rainforest "about the size of the state of Rhode Island." Although Race for the Rain Forest will end on Earth Day, April 22, 2000, until then it can be found on the Armchair Activism page along with several similar sites.
Story: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/000418/ca_care2_c_1.html

4/15/00: "Where do you want to go today?" (Take your time on this one, okay?)
In an all-too funny commentary on offbeat religion news, Scripps Howard News
                    Service writer Terry Mattingly explains "Microsoft's secret satanic message to consumers."

4/11/00: What's New? Darn near everything!
Just finished adding a new humor page to Fun Stuff, four great sites for Pagan parents and their kids to Pagan Parenting, and two more sites to the Armchair Activism page, making it easier than ever to make changes for the better in the world from your keyboard. If you are one of the thousands who bookmarked The Hunger Site and visit daily to make food donations to the hungry, then this page is for you! The links open in a new window, allowing you to make your donation without losing the page. After clicking the "donate" link on the new page, just click back to the Activism page and click the next link; This will appear in the new window you opened previously, so all you have to do is go down the list making free donations to all the worthy causes there!

Update on "Another Twist..." story dated 4/9/00 (below.) Columbus, GA freshman Edgar Cruz abandoned his "mission from God" to pray aloud during the school's morning moment of silence due to lack of support: http://www.l-e-o.com/news/0411SCHOOLPR.htm

4/10/00: Second Plaintiff Joins Pentagram Lawsuit Against Elwood High School -
Shauntee Chaffin, 18, has joined original plaintiff Brandi Lehman, 17, in a lawsuit over the right of Wiccan students in the cadet-teaching program to wear a pentagram necklace, the symbol of the Wiccan faith. Lehman sued last month because she was told she couldn't wear her pentagram while partipating in the school's student-teaching program.
See 4/1/00 Oakgrove coverage below, and this update at http://www.starnews.com/pmupdate/0410st_student.html

4/9/00: Another Twist on School Prayer - Even as the U.S. Supreme Court deliberates student-led prayer in Texas, a Columbus, GA high-school freshman insists on furthering his own religious agenda by disrupting his school's "moment of silence" to pray aloud.
From Mark Rice, [Columbus, GA] Ledger-Enquirer Staff Writer: "John Robert Cruz, 14, was suspended for 10 days last month for defying school officials' warnings to stop praying aloud during the state-mandated minute of quiet reflection. Cruz prayed aloud five times before he was suspended, then repeated the behavior Tuesday when he returned to school."
Story: http://www.l-e-o.com/news/0407SCHOOLPR.htm
Cruz had been scheduled to return to classes on Monday, but overslept, according to another report dated April 8, 2000:  http://www.l-e-o.com/news/0408SCHOOLPR.htm
In News Columnist Tim Chitwood's opinion, this could possibly "eliminate that moment of prayer.": http://www.l-e-o.com/news/0409CHITcopy.htm

"Magic Music" Used to Soothe Premature Babies - Vanderbilt University Medical Center's newborn intensive care unit has joined several hospitals around the country that have found harp music soothing to premature babies. Weekly performances by student musician Betty-Ashton Andrews "makes it easier for them to grow and heal.”
Story: http://www.msnbc.com/local/RTTN/2848.asp

4/6/00: Americans of all Faiths Await Supreme Court's Decision - While our highest court hears arguments in the case of Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe concerning student-led prayers at school football games, the nation watches anxiously, and one columnist comments:
"Our Nation -- and world -- battle religious intolerance
In the United States, the courts need to send a message that they won't allow schools [to] promote religion under the guise of student free speech." wrote Robyn E. Blumner, in the April 2, 2000 edition of St. Petersburg Times.
Story: http://www.sptimes.com/News/040200/Perspective/Our_Nation____and_wor.2.shtml

From Beliefnet.com - "Neopagans Reveal Themselves: The movement is growing, but participants remain 'highly individualistic.'"
[Shoot, we could have told 'em that, couldn't we? - Oak]
Story: http://www.beliefnet.com/story/16/story_1604_1.html

4/4/00: 4,000-year-old Queen's Pyramid Discovered Near Cairo - Announced at the Eighth International Congress of Egyptologists, the finding is remarkable because of the nature of the religious texts found in the queen's burial chamber. Such "burial texts" have in the past only been discovered buried with kings.
Story: http://www.discovery.com/news/briefs/20000403/history_pyramid.html

Maine Outlaws Squaws - Maine Governor Angus King just signed into law a bill outlawing the word "squaw" in all state place names. The term, generally thought of as meaning "woman," is considered demeaning by Native Americans because it actually defines a woman "with loose morals."
Story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000404/aponline104311_000.htm

And finally, just a little late, this positive look at Fellowship of Isis from the Saturday, March 25, 2000 edition of the Bangor Daily News (You folks are supposed to be sending me this stuff, you know? LOL)
Story: http://www.bangordailynews.net/cgi-bin/article.cfm?storynumber=16027&A=1

4/2/00: "Witch Killings" in India prompt legislation - From The Chicago Tribune Internet Edition, March 29, 2000:  "'In remote villages of Bihar, one of India's poorest states, an increasing number of women are being ostracized, tortured or even murdered by their neighbors and relatives after being labeled as witches by the village ojha.'"
"'The motive is often to settle scores but more frequently to displace women and take away their land and other properties,' says NGO worker Somesh Kumar."
"'Once a woman is declared a witch and ostracized from the village, it becomes easy to strip her of her property,' explains Mahasweta Devi, an author who is involved in a movement against superstition and witchcraft."
"In a bid to solve the problem, the state government is about to introduce legislation called the Prevention of Witch Practices Act.
              Under the bill, people who practice witchcraft, declare women as witches or participate in torture will be fined up to 2,000 rupees ($46) or imprisoned for up to a year without bail."
Story (Requires Registration): http://chicagotribune.com/leisure/womannews/article/0,2669,SAV-0003290325,FF.html

4/1/00: More Pentagram Problems in Indiana - No sooner than Irma Patton successfully defended her right to wear her pentagram at Clark High School in Hammond than another school has ordered a high-school Senior, also Wiccan, to remove the symbol of her religious beliefs in Elwood, Indiana.
Brandi Lehman, 17, is suing for a court order allowing her to wear her necklace while working as a teacher's aid. The school has agreed to credit her for time missed from the program until the suit is settled, but won't allow her to teach in the meantime.
3/30/00 Story: http://www.starnews.com/news/citystate/0330st_brandi.html
3/31/00 Follow-up: http://www.starnews.com/data/wire/out/0331ap_k2ul0it109.html
4/1/00 Follow-up: http://www.starnews.com/news/citystate/0401st_brandi.html

More news for April 1st:
CLICK HERE for an important announcement from Microsoft, creators of the famous MS Internet Explorer browser software.

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