OakGrove Archives
Past News and Issues
2nd Quarter 2002
Posted 6/27/02 9:28 PM:
Judge stays Pledge decision
June 27, 2002 Posted: 6:37 PM EDT (2237 GMT)
SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- The judge who ruled Wednesday that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because the phrase "under God" violates the separation of church and state issued a stay Thursday pending further appeals.
Thursday's stay issued by Nixon-appointee Alfred Goodwin of U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals did not dramatically alter the dynamics of the case because the ruling was not expected to take effect immediately.

Muslim woman to challenge ban on veil in driver's license photo
June 27, 2002 Posted: 9:02 PM EDT (0102 GMT)
 ORLANDO, Florida. (AP) -- A judge ruled Thursday that a Muslim woman can pursue her legal fight to wear a veil for a driver's license photo, despite objections from the state that it jeopardizes public safety.
Judge Ted Coleman denied a state motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Sultaana Freeman, whose driver's license was revoked when she refused to replace her photograph with one showing her face unveiled.

Miss Cleo won't answer questions on birth papers
June 27, 2002
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Television psychic Miss Cleo repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination Wednesday, refusing to discuss a birth certificate showing she was born in Los Angeles to American parents.
Miss Cleo, whose real name is Youree Dell Harris and who has claimed to be a Jamaican shaman, was giving a deposition in a civil suit filed by Florida.
The suit accuses her of deceptive trade practices for her television ads pitching a psychic hot line that charged up to $4.95 a minute.

Posted 6/26/02 7:36 PM:
'Under God' in Pledge ruled unconstitutional
June 26, 2002 Posted: 6:55 PM EDT (2255 GMT)
SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- A federal appeals court Wednesday ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is an unconstitutional "endorsement of religion" because of the addition of the phrase "under God" in 1954 by Congress.
A three-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to a lower court. If allowed to stand, the ruling would apply to schools in the nine states covered by the 9th Circuit.

Posted 6/26/02 7:25 AM:
Study: Humans overtaxing the Earth
June 25, 2002 Posted: 12:39 PM EDT (1639 GMT)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The consumption of forests, energy and land by humans is exceeding the rate at which Earth can replenish itself, according to research published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study, conducted by C alifornia-based Redefining Progress, a nonprofit group concerned with environmental conservation and its economics, warned that a failure to rein in humanity's overuse of natural resources could send the planet into "ecological bankruptcy."

Posted 6/25/02 10:29 PM:
Ten Commandments Bill Faces Uphill Battle in House
By Rachel Osterman
Despite the backing of powerful social conservative groups, a bill to post the Ten Commandments in the House chamber appears to have little chance of passing following the primary loss of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brian Kerns (R-Ind.), last month. With the resolution remaining in committee, none of the 38 co-sponsors of the controversial proposal has agreed to step up and make the display of the Decalogue their personal cause, Congressional aides said. Nor have any Senators introduced companion legislation.
But Kerns, a freshman House Member, did manage to touch off debate about the separation of church and state, the distinction between moral and religious codes, and the government’s already existing mingling with religion.

Posted 6/25/02 7:59 PM:
Germany moves to enshrine rights for animals
From Roger Boyes in Berlin
GERMANY became the first European Union country to protect animal rights in its Constitution yesterday. The move has alarmed scientists, hunters and the country’s Muslims, who believe that they may be banned from ritual slaughter of animals.
The Bundesrat, the upper House of Parliament, gave overwhelming support to a law to amend the Constitution to make it a duty of the State to protect not only human life, but also that of animals. Inspired by the Greens, the law is the culmination of a ten-year political struggle.

Posted 6/23/02 9:15 AM:
Culinary Consumerism
Are you going to Scarborough fair?
By Daniel Rogov
For at least 5,000 years, people have been enamoured of the aromatic plants now known as herbs. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Sumerians and Assyrians all had extensive knowledge about herbs; in addition to their use in seasoning foods and as medicines, these delicate plants also played a large factor in legend, fable and witchcraft.
Egyptians once considered basil so godlike a plant that only the pharaohs were allowed to cut it, and then only with a golden sickle. So important were tarragon and bay to the Sumerians that they appointed Gula, the goddess of sorcery, as guardian of them. In the lore of ancient Greece and Rome, Hecate, the mother of the enchantresses Medea and Circe, found hundreds of ways of using herbs to bewitch or poison her enemies.

Pastor Beaten After Blunt Eulogy
The Carolina Channel | 21 June 02 | AP
Posted on 6/22/02 6:50 AM Pacific by aomagrat
LOXLEY, Ala. -- Authorities in Loxley, Ala., are investigating the alleged beating of a preacher by funeral mourners who didn't like his blunt eulogy.
Glynis Bethel told The Associated Press that her husband -- the Rev. Orlando Bethel -- was attacked during a June 14 funeral and dragged out of the church.
That's because Bethel told mourners the deceased was in Hell and that they were headed the same way.

Posted 6/21/02 9:56 PM:
In Pictures: Summer solstice
Thousands of happy revellers greeted the dawn of the mid-summer sun at Stonehenge for the annual summer solstice.
More than 20,000 people - from new age travellers to druids - attended what police described as a peaceful celebration at the ancient stones.

Posted 6/21/02 7:07 AM:
Happy Summer Solstice!

Thousands mark summer solstice at Stonehenge with dancing, chants
STONEHENGE, England (AP) -- Dancing, chanting and beating drums, thousands of people greeted the dawn of the year's longest day Friday amid the prehistoric stones of Stonehenge.
While millions of their compatriots rose early to watch England's World Cup quarterfinal clash with Brazil, more than 20,000 partygoers, druids and New Age followers watched dawn break over the 4,000-year-old stone circle.
As the sun -- obscured by thick cloud -- rose over the lichen-covered stones at 4:42 a.m. local time, revellers beat drums, banged gongs and blew whistles.
"It's such a cool place to be," said John Rothwell, a self-proclaimed 'traditional British witch' and computer technician from Telford in central England.

U.S. asks court to decide on Net porn filters
Critics say filters block legitimate material
June 20, 2002 Posted: 2:11 PM EDT (1811 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States asked the Supreme Court Thursday to overturn a federal court ruling that prohibits withholding money from public libraries that don't install computer software to block sexually explicit Web sites.
A three-judge panel struck down Congress' third and latest attempt to shield children from Internet pornography last month.
The court unanimously found that the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) relies on filtering programs that also block sites on politics, health, science and other topics that should not be suppressed.
[Not to mention sites on certain religions. - Oak]

Posted 6/20/02 9:20 PM:
Aboriginals, brides, pagans: Many look forward to celebrating summer solstice
TORONTO (CP) -- Figures dancing and singing around a huge bonfire at midnight, people waiting breathlessly for the sun to set, prayers offered up to the god of fertility. An ancient Druid ritual? More like a gathering of people in an otherwise conservative corner of Toronto.
A dozen or more members of TWIG (Toronto Temple of the Wiccan Grove) were to gather in a quiet forested area in the north part the city and then make their way down to the shores of Lake Ontario to watch the sun rise Friday on the longest day of the year.

'Stonehenge was Bronze Age Millennium Dome'
A Plymouth man believes Stonehenge originally looked like a Bronze Age version of the Millennium Dome.
Bruce Bedlam says the Wiltshire monument would have been a meeting place, government centre and temple.
He claims the outer ring of monolithic stones supported a cone-shaped timber roof, like a cathedral's.
The wooden beams would have stretched out from the stones to form a 10-point star on the ground, like the supports that jut out from the Dome.

Posted 6/18/02 7:18 AM:
CAIR: Penn. School District Asked To Allow Muslim's Prayer; High
School Police Officer Prevented From Attending Friday Services
To: National Desk
Contact: Parvez Ahmed of CAIR-Central Pennsylvania, 717-421-4064,
E-mail: Pahmed@psu.edu
WASHINGTON, June 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Central Pennsylvania office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CPA) today called on the School District of Philadelphia to allow a Muslim employee to attend religiously-mandated prayers. The Washington-headquartered Islamic advocacy group says the employee,
a police officer at a Philadelphia-area high school, is being denied the right to attend obligatory communal Islamic prayers on Friday afternoons.
The school district denied the officer the right to attend those prayers after he returned from a two-month leave of absence. (He volunteered to give up his lunch break four days each week to make up for the time lost. Other officers agreed to cover his absence.) Prior to going on leave, the officer had been allowed to take two hours off each Friday to attend the prayers, called "jumah" by Muslims. School district officials did not offer a reason for the change in policy.

Posted 6/18/02 6:59 AM:
Court protects door-to-door proselytizing
USA Today
June 18, 2002
WASHINGTON - People who want to go door to door to discuss religion or politics cannot be forced to get a permit from local officials, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The decision in a case brought by the Jehovah's Witnesses extolled the value of free speech and rejected concerns about homeowners' safety.

June 18, 2002 -- ALBANY - The state Legislature last night approved a "Women's Health Bill" that the Catholic Church says will force it to fund birth control for many of its employees.
The new measure requires private-sector health-insurance policies to cover the prevention, early detection and treatment of breast and cervical cancer, osteoporosis and other women's health needs, as well as provide prescription contraception.

Posted 6/17/02 7:06 AM:
Pagan Picnic conjures festival of fun - and banishes intolerance
By Joan Little - Post-Dispatch
06/16/2002 10:45 PM
It was a chance to drum and dance, communicate with plant spirits, learn about Scottish folk magic and watch some belly dancing or faux Medieval sword-fighting.
All those things and much more were part of the two-day Pagan Picnic in Tower Grove Park this weekend.
Sponsored by the Council For Alternative Spiritual Traditions, the picnic is a chance for pagans to celebrate being pagans, said River Higginbotham, chair of this year's 10th-annual event. Local pagans also see it as an educational opportunity - a chance to let the public know what paganism is all about.
(Ridiculously long URL)

Posted 6/15/02 10:04 AM:
Baptist Pastor Attacks Islam, Inciting Cries of Intolerance
A prominent Southern Baptist pastor caused protests this week with a speech condemning American religious pluralism and calling the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, a pedophile.
Critics said the remarks by the Rev. Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, illustrated how hate speech against Muslims had become a staple of conservative Christian political discourse. The speech also briefly united Muslim and Jewish groups in outrage over what they called the Baptists' intolerance of other religions.
Mr. Vines called Muhammad a "demon-possessed pedophile," asserting that his 12th and final wife was a 9-year-old girl, and declared that Muslims worshiped a different God than Christians.

U.S. bishops set to act on abuse
Daniel J. Wakin The New York Times
Saturday, June 15, 2002
DALLAS Faced with a public outcry over sexual molesters within the church, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops appeared ready Friday to approve a policy that would remove all offenders from parish life and order most guilty priests defrocked.
"This is a defining moment for us this morning as bishops," Archbishop Harry Flynn, chairman of the bishop's ad hoc committee on sexual abuse, said as he began the meeting Friday. "A moment for us to declare our resolve once and for all - to root out a cancer in our church."
Among other measures, the nearly 300 bishops gathered at a Dallas hotel are expected to implement a new requirement that any fresh accusations of abuse by the clergy be reported to civil authorities.

Sect Dad Found Guilty In Son's Murder
Robidoux Convicted Of First-Degree Murder
POSTED: 11:22 a.m. EDT June 14, 2002
UPDATED: 5:35 p.m. EDT June 14, 2002
TAUNTON, Mass. -- The head of an Attleboro religious sect was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday in the starvation death of his infant son.
NewsCenter 5's Rhondella Richardson said that 29 year-old Jacques Robidoux was found guilty of first-degree murder -- three years after his son Samuel died just days shy of his first birthday.

Posted 6/15/02 9:20 AM:
Low-risk virus can infect photos
'Potentially no file type could be safe'
June 13, 2002 Posted: 4:04 PM EDT (2004 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new virus threatens to strike one of the Internet's most common and useful activities: sharing family photos.
The malicious program is the first ever to infect picture files, though it is not currently attacking computers. Called "Perrun," it worries researchers because it is the first to be able to cross from infecting a program to infecting data files, long considered safe from such threats.

Planetary system found that resembles ours
June 13, 2002 Posted: 5:13 PM EDT (2113 GMT)
By Richard Stenger - CNN
(CNN) -- After spotting dozens of planets in exotic orbits, scientists have found a planetary system that looks similar to our solar system.
The announcement came Thursday as astronomers described the discovery of 15 new planets in other star systems, including one that resembles Jupiter around a sun-like star.

Clergy scandal overshadows teacher-sex cases
June 13, 2002 Posted: 9:46 AM EDT (1346 GMT)
SAN BERNARDINO, California (AP) -- A California high school teacher runs off to Las Vegas with her 15-year-old student. A Louisiana teacher is accused of having an affair with her 14-year-old student. In the Bronx, a teacher is charged with statutory rape involving a 16-year-old former student.
Such cases aren't uncommon across the country. But unlike the Roman Catholic Church's troubles with pedophile priests, teacher-student sex cases have received little attention beyond a few sensational cases.

Deal reached on praying toddler
A 5-year-old kindergartner in upstate New York who was prohibited from saying grace aloud before snack time at school can pray again under a proposed settlement reached this week.
Under the settlement, officials with the Saratoga Springs School District acknowledge Kayla Broadus' right to pray out loud before snack time without disturbing others or inviting others to pray with her.

Posted 6/12/02 5:25 PM:
‘Choose Life’ plates draw lawsuits
Abortion advocates challenge states
June 12 — In the fight over abortion, the latest battleground is on the rear end of cars. Antiabortion advocates have persuaded six states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina — to offer license plates inscribed with the phrase “Choose Life.” At least 13 other states are considering legislation to offer plates with the same message.
IN FLORIDA, so far the only state where the plates have made it onto cars, the $20 surcharge paid by drivers who request the plates has added up to $1 million since they were introduced two years ago. The money is being used for such purposes as funding pregnancy-counseling centers that discourage women from having abortions and paying the medical expenses for women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies who intend to give their babies up for adoption.

Commandments Poster Barred in Court
Federal Judge Rules Poster Showing Ten Commandments Should Not Be Displayed in Ohio Courtroom
The Associated Press
CLEVELAND, June 12 — A federal judge ruled  that a poster showing the Ten Commandments should not be displayed in a county courtroom.
U.S. District Judge Kathleen O'Malley ruled Tuesday that Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese's purpose for posting the commandments was "generally laudable" but "constitutionally deficient, because the debate he seeks to foster is inherently religious in character."

Grateful Dead drummer working a strong beat
Mickey Hart exploring more cultural drumming
June 12, 2002 Posted: 11:54 AM EDT (1554 GMT)
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Mickey Hart has gone from the Grateful Dead to "Mondo Head."
As one-half of the Dead's two-drummer roster known as the Rhythm Devils, Hart helped bang out the beat that propelled the Dead's ethereal melodies for nearly 30 years.

Religious Coalition Claims Most People of Faith Support Abortion Rights
Matt Pyeatt - CNSNews.com Staff Writer
June 12, 2002
Washington (CNSNews.com) - A "vast majority" of people of faith support a woman's right to get an abortion, according to a participant at the annual conference of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).
"It's a well-kept secret, but it is really true," said Ann Hayman, who spoke with CNSNews.com Tuesday at the conference in Washington, D.C. "The Religious Coalition really represents that seventy, eighty percent of the folks out there," she added.
Rev. Carlton Veazey, president and chief executive officer of the coalition, said his group supports "a woman's right to determine when or whether to have children according to her own conscience and religious beliefs without governmental

Stolen pharaoh's head lands dealer in prison
June 11, 2002 Posted: 8:59 PM EDT (0059 GMT)
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- A prominent Manhattan gallery owner was sentenced Tuesday to 33 months in prison for conspiring to receive stolen Egyptian antiquities including a mummified pharaoh's head that sold for $1.2 million.
Frederick Schultz, president of Frederick Schultz Ancient Art and the former president of the National Association of Dealers in Ancient, Oriental and Primitive Art, also was fined $50,000.

What is an itako?
Miki Fujii / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
Kohkan Sasaki, professor emeritus of Komazawa University is a researcher of religious anthropology who has studied shamanism in Asia. He recently spoke to The Daily Yomiuri about itako.
Daily Yomiuri: Why are most itako women?
Sasaki: There are various explanations. While male shamans are common in China and Southeast Asia, female shamans are more prevalent in India, North and South Korea, and Japan, where societies are based on patriarchal values. I think shamans tend to be female in societies where women are suppressed or discriminated against as an inferior gender. By associating themselves with the gods, women are able to balance their power with men in such societies.

Posted 6/9/02 6:12 PM:
Can a PC think for itself?
Cyc may one day provide common-sense computing
June 9, 2002 Posted: 8:53 AM EDT (1253 GMT)
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Day after day since 1984, teams of programmers, linguists, theologians, mathematicians and philosophers have plugged away at a $60 million project they hope will transform human existence: teaching a computer common sense.
They have been feeding a database named Cyc 1.4 million truths and generalities about daily life so it can automatically make assumptions humans make: Creatures that die stay dead. Dogs have spines. Scaling a cliff requires intense physical effort.

Posted 6/9/02 9:05 AM:
Cameroon: Who needs a witch doctor if you've got talent?
Sun Jun 9, 3:43 AM ET
By ERICA BULMAN, Associated Press Writer
Sorcery, amulets, hexes and sacrificing livestock - Cameroon says it has finally outgrown all that now that it possesses the strongest magic: talent.
Still resorting to the use of witch doctors as recently as the African Nations Cup in 1998, Cameroon says it no longer needs help from the netherworld.
"Other teams do it all the time at matches. There are a lot of different beliefs in Africa," said Cameroon striker Patrick Suffo, who plays for Sheffield United. "At the last African Nations Cup, one team buried a lamb.

Posted 6/8/02 10:54 AM:
Hate Internet sites ordered closed
The judge's decision follows a probe led by London police.
By Jennifer O'Brien -- Free Press Reporter
A Toronto judge has shut down a dozen hate Internet sites as a result of an investigation led by the London police hate crimes unit.
Alex Kulbashian, 21, whom police say is "the largest purveyor of Canadian hate Web literature," was banned Thursday from using the Internet -- unless the computer programmer is working -- as a bail condition.
Kulbashian is appealing his conviction on a racially motivated assault. He had been sentenced to five months in jail for his role in the severe beating of a black man by four skinheads in Toronto two years ago.

Amish sect told they must use reflective triangles on their buggies
By Dan Lewerenz, Associated Press, 6/7/2002 03:12
EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) A judge has ruled that an ultraconservative Amish congregation must use orange-and-red reflective triangles on their buggies despite arguments by the group that gaudy decorations violate their beliefs.
Twenty members of the Swartzentruber Amish sect who live about 65 miles from Pittsburgh were hit Thursday with 27 fines of $95 each for failing to use the slow-moving vehicle symbol on roadways.

Schools to install Internet filters on computers
By NEIL OFFEN : The Herald-Sun
Jun 5, 2002 : 6:12 pm ET
CHAPEL HILL -- Despite a court decision striking down a federal law designed to
protect children who use the Internet, the city schools are proceeding with plans to
install filters on school computers.
"We’re still going ahead with the process," said Bob Stocking, the district’s director of
instructional technology.

Posted 6/6/02 11:08 PM:
Lawyer: Couple in Sect Starved Son
Wed Jun 5, 7:12 PM ET
By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer
TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) - A religious sect member and his wife slowly, knowingly starved their infant son to death in 1999 as he cried horrifically, a prosecutor said Wednesday as the man's murder trial opened.
Assistant District Attorney Walter Shea said Jacques Robidoux kept extensive notes of baby Samuel's drawn-out death, which Shea said began after another sect member received a religious prophesy.
The prosecution's first witness.. ..said sect members thought of themselves as "God's chosen people," and were not allowed televisions, checkbooks, jewelry or eyeglasses. They discarded all books except the Bible and didn't celebrate birthdays, believing the candles on the cake had pagan origins.
[The irony is that if that boy had been born to a Pagan family, he'd probably be a happy, healthy 2-year old now. - Oak]

Posted 6/4/02 10:01 PM:
Studios look into the future and see fantasy films
BY MAUREEN RYAN - Chicago Tribune
As "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" cruises past $300 million in domestic box-office receipts — on pace to take in about the same amount in the U.S. as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" — it doesn't take a wizard to predict that Hollywood has more witches, spells and fanciful creatures in its future.
A decade ago, cop-buddy movies and Arnold Schwarzenegger fare ruled the multiplexes, but these days, studios are betting their futures on the likes of Artemis Fowl, a 12-year-old would-be arch-criminal whose series of adventures involve attitudinal leprechauns and purloined pots of gold. For studio execs new to the world of kids' lit, author Eoin Colfer even had a ready-made description of one of his Fowl tales: "`Die Hard' with fairies."

Posted 6/3/02 7:34 AM:
Some swear by 'miracle' worker
French 'traiteur' keeps healing tradition alive, stirs support, controversy
By LAURA FAULK - Special to The Advocate
ABBEVILLE -- Everyone has a talent.
"The power of prayer, to me, will heal anything," said Lousay Aube of Abbeville, a traiteur, a Cajun French term for healer.
While some defend this claim as vigorously as others question it, one thing is indisputable: Traiteurs in general -- and Aube in particular -- have stoked the interest of academics and movie and documentary makers alike.

Students fight ban on giving Bibles at school
By PERRY BEEMAN - Register Staff Writer
Three Davenport students have sued their school district in federal court after they were told they couldn't pass out Bibles and a church-event flier on school grounds when classes weren't in session.
Sasha and Jaron Dean, along with Becky Swope, filed a lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Davenport claiming the district violated their constitutional right to free speech.

Posted 6/2/02 3:59 PM:
Landlord sues over faith rights
Civil Rights Commission claims he discriminated against unwed couple
By Phil Trexler - Beacon Journal staff writer
David Grey says he takes his religion to heart. To defend it, he's taking it to court.
As a landlord, Grey freely acknowledges he conveys his Christian beliefs to the tenants he accepts. That's his right to practice his religion, he says.
Such was the case when an unmarried couple with children sought to rent his Voris Avenue house in Akron last fall. Grey told the couple no; he could not in good faith rent the home to the unmarried couple.

Pro-life Nurse Wins 'Conscience' Case
Melanie Hunter, CNSNews.com
Saturday, June 1, 2002
A pro-life nurse has won her lawsuit against a California health clinic that fired her after she refused to give patients the "morning-after" pill, because it prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
A federal jury in California has awarded Michele Diaz $47,000, an amount that includes back pay and emotional damages. The Virginia-based American Center for Law & Justice, which represented Diaz, said the verdict "sends a very clear message that the conscience rights of employees must be respected by employers everywhere."

Posted 6/1/02 5:42 PM:
A National Disgrace
By Alan Bisbort
Published 05/30/02
So many outrages. So little time. Now I know how the millions of decent, trusting American Catholics must feel about the crimes of their priests and the cover-ups of their cardinals. Now I know because the president of the United States may have the blood of his own citizens on his hands.
Up until now, I admit that I've disliked George W. Bush. I've disliked him for the shady way he gained power, for his pretense of being "a uniter, not a divider" even as he pushed an agenda that, arguably, 75 percent of the American people do not share. For his secrecy, smugness and sheer laziness. For being a pampered frat boy accustomed to having others do his bidding. For calling to mind what F. Scott Fitzgerald (through Nick Carroway) said about Tom and Daisy Buchanan: "They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people come in and clean up the mess they had made."
But now I loathe George W. Bush. It does not feel good to loathe the leader of the country you love. It is no consolation to know that, as bad as I thought Bush would be as president before the election, he's much worse than my most pessimistic fantasies.

Book explores young people's blended faith
By Cecile S. Holmes - Religion News Service
The blended spirituality characteristic of young American adults originates in their experience, says the editor of a new multifaith book of essays.
Jon Sweeney, who edited "God Within: Our Spiritual Future -- As Told by Today's Young Adults" (SkyLight Paths, $14.95), distinguishes between Generation X, the somewhat disaffected offspring of baby boomers, and Generation Y, the "Echo" generation. But he views the free-flowing religiosity of both generations as a natural result of cultural patterns and personal experiences.

Posted 6/1/02 7:36 AM:
ACLU seeks school-prayer ban
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union said yesterday that it will meet with the Kanawha County school board next week and ask for the abolition of the student-led prayer policy that was declared invalid by a federal judge. However, Andrew Schneider, executive director of ACLU of West Virginia, said he plans no action against the students who spontaneously recited the Lord's Prayer during St. Albans High School's graduation ceremony on Thursday night.
More than 100 students stood and recited the prayer in defiance of a federal judge's ruling barring an invocation.

Some people are uneasy over FBI's extended reach
By Pete Yost - The Associated Press
May 31, 2002
WASHINGTON -- Who's keeping tabs on your Internet chat? Who's in the next pew or on the next prayer rug? Who's got their eye on you at the library?
Could be the FBI, under rules announced Thursday that give agents more power to watch people just about anywhere they congregate in public -- including cyberspace.

Posted 5/31/02 9:05 PM:
Officers of Avalon site now live!
----- Original Message -----
From: KCuhulain@aol.com
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2002 12:18 AM
Subject: International Officers of Avalon
Something extraordinary is about to happen. Something that has never happened before. What started as an e-group for Pagan emergency personnel is turning into the first international organization for Pagan emergency personnel: Officers of Avalon. We've obtained the domain name ( http://www.officersofavalon.org ) and one of our members is working on our web site even as I write this. Even more extraordinary, we are now working toward the first ever international gathering of Pagan cops,
firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs ever held. We are just now discussing where and exactly when this event should take place. The two locations suggested are Las Vegas and Washington DC.
Officers of Avalon wants to show the world that we follow a valid and respectable spiritual path. We want to show the people of the free world that some of the people who are defending that freedom are Pagans like us. We want to establish a support network for those Pagans within the emergency services who do not yet feel that they can safely make their Pagan beliefs public.
I've volunteered to be the spokesperson for this new organization. We're looking for your support. If any of you know of any Pagan emergency personnel out there, please pass this information on to them. If any of you can help in any way, please contact us. 25 years ago I was the first Wiccan cop to come out of the broom closet. Please help us let all of the other Pagans working to make you safe come out as well.
Bright Blessings
Kerr Cuhulain
Officers of Avalon
The e-mail addresses for Officers of Avalon are now:
I am the spokesperson at kcuhulain@aol.com
home page: http://www.officersofavalon.org

Posted 5/31/02 12:42 PM:
Stripper mom poses for Playboy Web site
May 31, 2002 Posted: 6:14 AM EDT (1014 GMT)
SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- A California woman who quit a stripping job so her 5-year-old daughter could return to her Christian school has now posed nude for Playboy's Web site, although disappointed church officials said the child would not be expelled this time.
Christina Silvas, 24, drew international headlines when her daughter was expelled from kindergarten two weeks ago at Capital Christian School in Sacramento on grounds her mother's job as a nude dancer violated the church's "Christian Philosophy" agreement.

Federal judges toss out online pornography law
May 31, 2002 Posted: 9:40 AM EDT (1340 GMT)
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Three federal judges on Friday threw out a federal law that would have forced public libraries to equip computers with software designed to block access to Internet pornography.
In a 195-page decision, the judges said the Children's Internet Protection Act went too far because it also blocking access to sites that contained protected speech.
"Any public library that adheres to CIPA's conditions will necessarily restrict patrons access to a substantial amount of protected speech in violation of the First Amendment," the judges wrote.

Posted 5/30/02 11:17 PM:
Ten Commandments Suppporters Get New Hope
Story by Mike Dunne on Thu, May 30th 2002 (4:50 PM)
It began with a prayer.. as several advocates for the continued posting of the Ten Commandments in Hamilton County Courts Buildings assembled before the controversial plaque this morning for a prayer service. Then it was up two floors to the Commission room to make a last ditch plea for the Commissioners to appeal the Federal order for the Commandments removal.
But Commissioner Curtis Adams made it very clear where the Commission stood in terms of the Federal court order,'I was sworn to uphold the law and I think it would be hard for this county commission after we have already lost to defy the order of a federal judge.'
But then.. hope... Attorney Catherine White whose weekend newspaper ad asked for money to help support an appeal of the Federal order suggested the Commissioners use a point made by Judge Edgar in his ruling. The Judge pointed out the Supreme Court features a sculpture of Moses holdng the Ten Commandments along with more then [sic] two dozen other historic features.

Posted 5/30/02 8:04 PM:
FBI Given More Latitude
New Surveillance Rules Remove Evidence Hurdle
By Susan Schmidt and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 30, 2002; Page A01
New Justice Department guidelines to be unveiled today will give FBI agents latitude to monitor Internet sites, libraries and religious institutions without first having to offer evidence of potential criminal activity, officials said yesterday.
The changes, part of the Justice Department's effort to mount a proactive war on terror, will mark a significant change for the FBI. While agents have been permitted in the past to conduct such surveillance if they had specific information, they have been loath to do so because of confusion about what was actually permitted, law enforcement officials said.
But as word of the new guidelines circulated yesterday, some civil liberties groups expressed fears of a
Big Brother government monitoring its citizens.
"The FBI is now telling the American people, 'You no longer have to do anything unlawful in order to get that knock on the door,' " said Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington office. "You can be doing a prefectly legal activity like worshiping or talking in a chat room, they can spy on you anyway."

Posted 5/28/02 10:23 AM:
Why we need herbalists
Ever since an animal species became self-conscious, he has recognised disease as the most persistent cause of death, that bourne from which - as hermetic poet Shakespeare quips - no travel returns.
But, precisely because he was conscious, man has always deployed hands, brains and words to fight back. And it is to nature that he has resorted for a cure.
Plants have been primary to it. That is why, in many languages, "medicine" and "tree" are known by the same word - as in Kikuyu muti, Luhya omusala, and Luo yath.

Court asked to review ruling on park display
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)— A federal circuit appeals court was asked Monday to review a February ruling that said the community of Plattsmouth, Neb., must remove a park monument with the Ten Commandments and Jewish stars of David.
An estimated 4,000 Ten Commandment monuments are displayed in U.S. cities.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a court order barring an Indiana display. Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas, as well as Nebraska, filed briefs in that case.

Next 'Potter' delayed, but spell hasn't worn off
By David Mehegan, Globe Staff, 5/28/2002
That noise you've been hearing in the last 10 days is the sound of millions of crests falling all over the world. The reason: Volume 5 of British author J.K. Rowling's fantastically popular Harry Potter children's books will not be published this summer, as expected. But if readers are disappointed, the word from booksellers and librarians seems to be that kids still love the Potter books and are willing to wait.
Indeed, the prevalent view is that the Harry Potter phenomenon is so unlike anything seen in children's publishing before - a series read avidly by all ages - that  Rowling's readers will be there for her, no matter how long it takes to finish the projected seven volumes.

Posted 5/23/02 4:40 PM:
St. Albans student plans protest of graduation prayer
High school senior enlists help of ACLU, may picket
Carrie Smith - Daily Mail staff
Thursday May 23, 2002; 11:00 AM
A St. Albans High School senior plans to demonstrate outside the Charleston Civic Center and picket his own graduation next week if he is not successful in a lawsuit against the school to ban a student-led prayer at the commencement ceremony.
"It goes against every aspect of our Constitution," 18-year-old Tyler Deveny said. "A West Virginia soldier just sacrificed his life fighting for our Constitution. I think we ought to adhere to it."

Posted 5/23/02 12:25 AM:
Parent files suit to block prayer at graduation
DENVER (AP) - A teacher upset that his seventh-grade daughter will have to sit through a prayer at graduation filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the practice.
Sean Shields claims a student-led prayer set to be read at Plainview School graduation Saturday violates the First Amendment.
The federal lawsuit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union on Shields' behalf seeks a temporary injunction to prevent the prayer and a trial to consider a permanent ban.

Hymnless graduation goes smoothly
By MIKE WHYE - Register Staff Writer
Woodbine, Ia. - Members of Woodbine High School's Class of 2002 got what they wanted most Sunday: their diplomas and a normal graduation ceremony.
For several weeks, attention had focused on the school because the parents of two students won a lawsuit aimed at keeping the school choir from singing "The Lord's Prayer" during the ceremony. The singing of the song had been a 30-year tradition at Woodbine.
Although there had been rumors that something might happen during graduation ceremonies, only one incident involving faith occurred: When class PresidentBrice Farley sneezed toward the end of his speech, several people in the audience and many of his classmates called out, "God bless you!"

Posted 5/22/02 9:38 PM:
Teen 'witch' attacked
Riot Hlatshwayo
Polokwane (Pietersburg)- Pandemonium broke out at a senior secondary school in Limpopo on Wednesday after pupils rampaged against a female pupil they accused of witchcraft.
 Pupils at Makgongwana High School in Makanye village near Polokwane accused the 15-year-old of casting a spell to make more than 20 girls faint during break on Tuesday.
The pupils attacked the girl and police had to be called to rescue her, said central region police spokesperson Captain Mohale Ramatseba.

Posted 5/20/02 8:52 PM:
Ten Commandments legal bills in Hamilton's court
CHATTANOOGA (AP) — After promising not to spend taxpayer money going to court over displays of the Ten Commandments in court buildings, Hamilton County commissioners are stuck with the legal bills.
Ten Commandments-Tennessee, a group that encouraged the commission's court fight against the American Civil Liberties Union and promised in January to help cover legal costs, is refusing to pay.

Posted 5/20/02 8:08 PM:
Singing, praying for tolerance, understanding
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press May 20, 2002.
By JANNISE JOHNSON - Valley Press Staff Writer
PALMDALE - An afternoon geared toward better understanding among the Antelope Valley's diverse religious populations grew out of what was perceived by many to be an act of intolerance.
But the Sunday "Afternoon of Interfaith Prayer for Religious Tolerance" at McAdam Park felt like a celebration.
Sponsored by the Antelope Valley Interfaith Council, the multidenominational event, grew out of a Christian group's protest in March against the Wiccans' pagan festival celebrating the spring equinox.

Posted 5/20/02 12:45 PM:
Charles designs 'healing garden'
Prince hopes to ease Britain's rifts by using sacred geometry and symbolism at Chelsea flower show
John Vidal
Thursday May 16, 2002
The Guardian
Prince Charles has linked with a former spiritual psychologist to design a garden based on sacred geometry and ancient religious symbolism which he hopes will heal the rifts in Britain and, it will be inevitably interpreted, his own life.
His "healing garden", which will be shown next week at the Chelsea flower show, is ostensibly an orthodox medical garden, with hundreds of varieties of herbs and plants that have been used medicinally in Britain for centuries. Its intention, says the prince, is to remind people of what has been lost in nature.
But it also reveals the prince's state of mind and his philosophical outlook, which appears to be leaning ever more heavily towards the esoteric, symbolic and mystical. According to Jinny Blom, who helped the prince design the garden and who used to work as a transpersonal psychologist - a new age discipline popular in California - "every part of the garden has deep significance and meaning".

Posted 5/16/02 8:52 PM:
Calif. may force schools to drop Indian mascots
May 16, 2002 Posted: 11:18 AM EDT (1518 GMT)
FRESNO, California (AP) -- California may become first state to force nearly all public schools to drop American Indian team names and mascots such as Redskins, Chiefs and Apaches.
Indians have taken their fight to the Legislature, where a bill to outlaw such names was approved Wednesday in its last committee test before going to a vote in the Assembly.
The bill would force name changes at elementary, middle and high schools as well as community colleges and the University of California and California State University systems.
Outlawed would be Redskins, Indians, Braves, Chiefs, Apaches, and Comanches, as well as any other American Indian tribal name.

Posted 5/16/02 6:36 AM:
Marriage Amendment Preserves Male-Female Union
Thursday, May 16, 2002
By Molly Henneberg
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of House members has proposed a Federal Marriage Amendment that would constitutionally limit the definition of matrimony to that of husband and wife.
The amendment, introduced Wednesday by three Republicans and three Democrats reads: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution nor the Constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

Posted 5/11/02 6:55 AM:
Mothers revered in all faiths
BY BOB REEVES - Lincoln Journal Star
Sunday is Mother's Day, a holiday begun in 1908 through the efforts of Anna M. Jarvis, daughter of a Methodist minister who hoped the national observance would promote family togetherness.
 It's an American holiday, but people the world over, since ancient times, have revered mothers.
Historians say the first celebrations in honor of mothers were held in the spring in ancient Greece. The festival paid tribute to Rhea, the mother of the gods.

Posted 5/9/02 7:07 AM:
'Aswang' tales alarm Capicenos
By Joel E. Capundan
ROXAS CITY -- Despite that we are now in the computer age, many people still believe in the existence of supernatural creatures, like the "aswang."
An "aswang" is said to be a human being who is capable of separating the upper half of his body from the lower half, so that its upper half can fly on grown wings.
It is said to relish on the flesh of fetuses in the womb of mothers but will eat any human flesh.
Capiz province is well known as a "haven of witches" (which this writer does not believe in) not only in Western Visayas but also in Manila.

Hamilton school board to consider fate of Harry Potter books
By The Canadian Press
Hamilton - Hamilton's Catholic school board is considering whether the wildly popular Harry Potter series of books should continue to be available in school libraries.
A board committee is being set up to review the novels by British author J.K. Rowling, after a parent wrote board chair  Pat Daly expressing concern about the series' portrayal of witchcraft and magic.

Posted 5/5/02 8:02 PM:
Harry Potter and the Quest for the Unfinished Volume
Each time Rachel Ruskin, 11, enters a bookstore in her New York City neighborhood, she walks straight to the information desk to ask a question pressing on the minds of millions of children around the country: When will the next Harry Potter book appear?
No one knows, not even J. K. Rowling, the British author who invented Harry Potter and the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. After turning out four Harry Potter books at a rate of one a year through July 2000, Ms. Rowling is already months late in completing the fifth book in time for its planned publication in July.

Posted 5/4/02 8:10 AM:
S.F. publisher turns his attention to the pagan world
Lord Martine
Friday, April 26, 2002
Life keeps getting weirder. But would we have it any other way?
Not V. Vale. The longtime San Francisco publisher has taken the weird and made it plain for a generation of punk, alternative and even mainstream readers through his RE/Search publications.
Vale's latest book is "Modern Pagans: An Investigation of Contemporary Pagan Practices." A collaboration with John Sulak, the book is a follow-up to the best-selling 1989 "Modern Primitives." It features interviews with today's leading lights of paganism, many headquartered in the Bay Area.

Posted 5/3/02 8:53 PM:
Cakes with gods' images shock Hindus in UK
Shyam Bhatia in London
Hindu activists in London are outraged by a London store's decision to sell iced fruit cakes decorated with the likenesses of Indian gods and a goddess.
The luxury cakes that depict a frolicking Lord Ganesha against a backdrop of pink icing, as well as Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna and goddess Lakshmi, are on sale in the patisserie section of Selfridges on Oxford Street.
Vishva Hindu Parishad's UK general secretary Kishore Ruparelia said: "I am flabbergasted that they have gone to these lengths to depict our gods and goddesses.
"They wouldn't present Jesus Christ in this way. It's disrespectful and makes a mockery of our religious beliefs."
[Ruparelia has obviously never never watched anyone pop a "Testamint" into their mouth after washing down a "Bible Bar" with a "Jesus Saves" root beer. - Oak]

Posted 5/2/02 5:17 AM:
The changing face of May Day
May Day is a holiday in many parts of the world, but the day means different things to different people.
For some it is a time to celebrate spring, for others a day to remember the workers of the world.
The origins of May Day go back at least to Saxon England.
Some people believe that May Day celebrations began with the tree worship of Druids - others believe they go back even further to the spring festivals of Egypt.

Happy Beltane! - May 1, 2002

Posted 5/1/02 8:31 PM:
Gifts of the Goddess
Cape author and artist Karri Ann Alrich serves up a fresh festival menu for May Day, a celebration of the spring planting season
By AMY ABERN - Contributing Writer
It's May Day and the feasting has begun.
The origin of May Day may be traced back to Pagan Europe when May 1 was designated a holy day commemorating the first day of spring planting.
The ancient Celts and Saxons called it Beltane, the Day of fire, and would begin celebrating on the eve of April 30 with great parties and feasting.
Peasants would carry burning torches and wooden wheels up large hills, set the wheels on fire at the top of the hill and roll them back down to honor the coming of the season's heat and light. While these practices are no longer encouraged - there are no really big hills on Cape Cod - feasting is always a good idea.
If you're looking to create your own feast, look no further than Page 6 in Brewster native Karri Ann Allrich's "Recipes From A Vegetarian Goddess" cookbook (Llewellyn Publications, $17.95) for a complete May Day menu.

Posted 5/1/02 7:08 AM:
May Day!
By Sally Browne - Special to The Examiner
On Wednesday around 5:45 a.m., High Priestess and Witch M. Macha NightMare will head up to Inspiration Point to watch the Berkeley Morris dancers "dance the sun up."
Then she might grab some breakfast, pick some mugwort in the hills, and feel good for the rest of the day. This is something she has been doing for 15 years.
"They used to do a dance called Stannes Morris," she says, "The dancers come together and clash their antlers. And when you see the sky lightening behind, it's really very magical and very effective."
This is just one of the British folk rituals which Bay Area Pagans are embracing as part of their celebrations for May Day. May Day, or Beltane, is one of eight religious holidays celebrated by Witches and many other Pagans to observe the turning of the wheel of the year. Traditionally it was an agricultural celebration to mark the ending of the dark half of the year and herald the beginning of summer.

Posted 4/30/02 9:43 PM:
Witches say Christians violated their rights
April 30, 2002 Posted: 8:10 PM EDT (0010 GMT)
LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Like any other church group they have their pot luck suppers, charity fundraisers and mid-week fellowship meetings.
The witches and warlocks of Lancaster, California, also happen to practice an ancient, Earth-centered religion known as Paganism, which involves invoking spirits and spells, concocting herbal potions, praying to an array of gods and goddesses, and performing mock "animal sacrifice" rituals by melting chocolate bunnies in fondue pots and eating the gooey remains.
In the spirit of diversity and political correctness the growing group of more than 300 residents of the suburban enclave 40 miles north of downtown Los Angeles sometimes invite the public to their gatherings.
But they say their Christian neighbors violated their rights on the evening of March 16 when they showed up for a sacred spring equinox ceremony in the parking lot of a local Pagan gift shop, praying loudly to Jesus while drowning out their singing and chanting with Christian praise music.

Posted 4/30/02 12:33 PM:
Dave Richardson - The Times Herald-Record (NY)
When Isaac Bonewits put up fliers around town advertising a class on Wicca, he didn't think it was a big deal.
To Bonewits ­ an ordained Druid priest and expert on all things pagan ­ Wicca, an ancient, nature-based belief system akin to what many today call witchcraft, is a perfectly normal part of everyday life.
But to many Christians, Wicca represents something they see as evil, something that goes contrary to everything they've been taught by their own religion.

Posted 4/29/02 8:36 PM:
Satanic student group seeks funding at UWO
By Eric Bradley of the Northwestern
They don’t light candles, sacrifice goats or speak in tongues - but a recent court ruling guarantees a Satanic student group at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will have access to thousands of dollars raised from stu-dent fees to pay for its activities.
Admittedly, members of Obsidian Enlightenment use the name Satan as a way to shock people in realizing there are differing religious ideas on campus. They’ve been able to attract devout Christians to their weekly meetings where discussions on dogma, realism and religious sig-nificance last for hours.
Some of the group’s 20 or so members are Satanists and the group intends to take their message beyond the cere-bral this fall. That’s when they are allowed to approach the student government and ask for thousands in student funds to promote its programs.

Posted 4/28/02 7:27 PM:
Biblical postings trial on Monday
By Kimberly Greuter - Staff Writer
Hamilton County's placement of the Ten Commandments in three courthouses will go on trial this week.
Testimony will begin Monday before U.S. District Court Judge R. Allan Edgar in what is expected to be a one-day, nonjury trial. Judge Edgar could issue a decision from the bench after testimony concludes, or he could take the matter under advisement and make a ruling later.
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said the lawsuit was filed to protect the rights of all citizens.
"This effort is not an anti-religion or an anti-Christian effort, but in fact an effort to protect the constitutional guarantees that ensure religious freedom," Ms. Weinberg said.
[Note: Registration required to view this article.]

Posted 4/27/02 5:58 AM:
Ghana 'witch' sues village elders
The woman was tried in the market place
An 80-year-old Ghanaian woman has filed a lawsuit against the elders of her village after they branded her a witch.
If she wins her case, she could help end a practice which sees dozens of women every year abused and sent into exile.
Janet Tibu is seeking damages from 12 men, including the village chief and a church minister.

Instant Kalma: John Macintyre
John is a Scottish co-ordinator for the Pagan Federation. The Beltane festival is on 30 April at Calton Hill, Edinburgh.
Feel the burn or yogic breathing?
If it’s the sort of burn you feel when you stumble jumping the Beltane fire then I’d go for that. The alternative sounds much too complicated.
Long hot bath or ice-cold shower?
To be honest I’d rather sleep late but if pressed, would reluctantly stagger into the ice-cold shower. I could feel virtuous thinking of all the energy I was saving.

Posted 4/25/02 9:17 PM:
Local body takes on U.S. Constitution
Roanoke County votes on prayer
A number of local governments have endorsed the amendment introduced by Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla.
The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow people to pray "on public property, including schools." Only Windsor Hills Supervisor Joseph McNamara suggested the Constitution might be outside the board's bailiwick.
"I think we're stepping out of our sphere of control when we endorse an amendment to the United States Constitution," he said. Besides, "I think we are fixing something that in my mind is not broken. I think our forefathers did a pretty good job with the Constitution."

Fire festival at risk of being snuffed out
EDINBURGH could see its last Beltane Fire Festival next week after organisers admitted an £8000 shortfall in funding.
The event, an ancient annual Celtic festival to celebrate the coming of summer, is expected to attract more than 15,000 people to Calton Hill on Tuesday for fire-breathing thrills and spills. But the Beltane Fire Society says it is in danger of having to close after this year’s pagan extravaganza because of the rising running costs.

U.S. cardinals stop short of 'zero tolerance'
April 25, 2002 Posted: 2:56 AM EDT (0656 GMT)
VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- U.S. Roman Catholic cardinals summoned here by Pope John Paul II condemned Wednesday the sexual abuse of minors by priests, but they stopped short of proposing a "zero tolerance" policy toward priest-molesters.
In a communique issued after the two-day meeting called to address the scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in America, the cardinals said they would instead recommend a national policy for the dismissal of a priest "who has become notorious and is guilty of the serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors."
[So it's alright if they only rape a couple of children, or can keep it out of the newspapers? Okay, I'm glad to see they've finally taken a firm stand on this - Oak]

Posted 4/21/02 9:46 PM:
Witch Hunters Create Confusion Over HIV/Aids
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
April 21, 2002
Posted to the web April 21, 2002
Euphracia Mahenga
SELF-proclaimed witch hunters operating under the name of Tsikamutanda, are creating havoc within families in Mawabeni village, 45km south of Bulawayo, as they seek to reduce the growing number of deaths among the young people which they attribute to witchcraft.
Their activities have caused confusion over how society perceives the Aids pandemic.
Instead of using the high death rates to instil Aids awareness in Mawabeni, the headman and the Tsikamutanda are attributing them to witchcraft.

Posted 4/20/02 6:43 PM:
Mormons mock Mormons
Oft-teased group figures, if you can't 'Beet' 'em, join 'em
By THOMAS BURR Salt Lake Tribune
April 13, 2002
CEDAR CITY, Utah - The rocket-shaped Provo Temple blasts off into the heavens. A coffee-free Starbucks opens at Brigham Young University. Gladys Knight records "Midnight Train to Kolob."
This is not your typical church news.
In fact, it's not fact at all. The satirical snippets are from The Sugar Beet, an online newspaper that pokes fun at the unique culture surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rather than a sneak attack from anti-Mormons, the Web site's good-natured jabs come from within. The Sugar Beet is of Mormons, by Mormons and for, primarily, Mormons.

Commission backs prayers in schools
By Denver Post Staff and Wire Reports
Saturday, April 20, 2002 - COLORADO SPRINGS - The El Paso County commissioners have approved a resolution supporting voluntary school prayer, prompting objections from some residents who cited  constitutional protections from state religion.
The commissioners' nonbinding vote on Thursday endorsed House Joint Resolution 81, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 20. Reps. Joe Hefley, Bob Schaffer and Tom Tancredo, all Colorado Republicans, are among the sponsors.

Gov. Foster signs school prayer bill
Complaints could prompt challenge
By Ed Anderson  - Capital bureau/The Times-Picayune
BATON ROUGE -- Gov. Foster has signed a bill authorizing a brief period for silent prayer or meditation at the start of each day in public schools, a statute that an opponent said Friday he will monitor for possible abuse and litigation on behalf of students, teachers or parents.
Foster signed House Bill 13 by Rep. Tony Perkins, R-Baker, returning Louisiana to the position it was in before 1999, when the Legislature authorized vocal prayer in schools. The 1999 law was struck down by a federal court in Monroe, leaving the state with no school-prayer law, Perkins said.

Harry Potter to stay in city schools
A panel of staffers and parents finds the books don’t violate any guidelines.
By Claudette Riley - News-Leader
By Monday, Harry Potter books will be back on Springfield school library shelves.
Last month, more than 650 copies of the best-selling children’s books were put on reserve — behind library counters at all 53 district schools — as a committee reviewed a grandmother’s complaint that the series taught witchcraft.
“I’m making the decision to put the books back,” said Associate Superintendent Emmett Sawyer, who supervised the review process. “We realize this has been a controversial issue.”

Gay priests will be on Vatican agenda
By Tom Musbach, Gay.com / PlanetOut.com Network
SUMMARY: A Vatican (news - web sites) official said meetings about the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church will include talk of screening gay seminarians.
Preparing for high-level meetings about the sexual abuse crisis in the U.S. Catholic Church, a Vatican official said on Thursday that one of the discussion topics will be the screening of gay seminary candidates.
Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Laity, said the pope and the U.S. Catholic cardinals will "definitely be talking about" screening gay seminarians, reports the New York Times.
While respected Catholic publications and liberal theologians have said the church should address homosexuality, albeit with sensitivity and independence from the issue of pedophilia, some experts doubt that screening gay candidates for the priesthood would be possible, let alone advisable.

Posted 4/18/02 5:54 AM:
Wiccan protest 'hate incident'
Agencies air designation with task force
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press April 17, 2002.
By JULIE DRAKE - Valley Press Staff Writer
LANCASTER - The Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office are classifying the protest of a Wiccan rededication ceremony last month as a "hate incident."
However, a hate incident is different from a hate crime, said Sgt. Katherine Voyer, who heads the Sheriff's Department's Hate Crimes Unit.
In the days after the protest, the Sheriff's Department said the disruption was not a hate crime and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office declined to press any charges.
Voyer, who investigated the fracas, said hate incidents are noncriminal and border on free speech issues.
"They are a pattern or indicator of potential future conduct, and that's why they're tracked," she said. "They are not criminal and they are not investigated, for the most part."

Posted 4/15/02 9:32 PM:
Wait a Spell For Next Potter Book
Special to The News
LONDON Harry Potter fans, sit tight — it looks as though book No. 5 will not be on the shelves until fall, at the earliest.
J.K. Rowling's latest, tentatively titled "The Order of the Phoenix," had been expected in July.
"That would have been the ideal date," said Lucy Chapman, children's publicity manager at Rowling's British publisher, Bloomsbury.
But Chapman said that summer publication is now very unlikely.

More bad luck in witchcraft trial
Durban - The bad luck which has marred a witchcraft trial in the Durban High Court and which has seen the death of eight people close to the trial over the past three years, continued on Monday when the trial had to be postponed because one of the accused was ill.
Since the start of the trial of 12 people accused of beating to death, a woman they accused of practising witchcraft, four of their co-accused and four witnesses, including the chief State witness and two policemen, have died, all from illness. There are now eight left to stand trial.

Posted 4/15/02 1:49 PM:
Satan Ban Exposes Mayor to Wrath
Mon Apr 15, 3:16 AM ET
By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer
INGLIS, Fla. (AP) - The last time an agent of temptation came to this sleepy hamlet near the Gulf Coast, throngs of screaming girls followed his every move.
Forty-years later, a more pernicious force than Elvis Presley was apparently stalking the town — Satan.
Or so the mayor believed.

Posted 4/14/02 11:51 AM:
What the courts have said about religion in public schools
The following court cases deal with Bible instruction, prayer and access to public facilities by religious student groups:
In McCollum v. Board of Education (1948), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools cannot let students out of class or adjust class schedules for on-campus religious instruction during the school day while holding nonparticipants in class or study hall.
In Zorach v. Clauson (1952), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools can adjust class schedules to release students for off-site religious instruction.

Posted 4/14/02 10:58 AM:
Under Cover
Eri Takahashi - Japan Today
Tuesday, April 9, 2002 at 10:30 JST
TOKYO — Whereas most designers emphasized the feminine, flower prints and white at their 2002 spring-summer collections as if to reflect calm and peace in the wake of the Sept 11 terror attacks in the U.S., it seems Harry Potter had a hand in influencing the 2002-2003 autumn-winter collection.
At least, that's the way it seemed at Jun Takahashi's show for his Under Cover label. A witch was there, casting a spell on everyone. It was mysterious and illusory with colors and designs unified under the theme of witchcraft.
[More like the theme of a homeless, destitute street-witch, if you ask me. I throw away better stuff than that. - Oak]
[I'm sorry, but we don't dress like that. That stuff's just ugly! - Amberflame]

Posted 4/13/02 4:03 PM:
School prayer a legal football for Santa Fe
Court allows latest suit to proceed
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
An appellate court threw out a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit against the Santa Fe school district, permitting the thorny issue of school prayer to proceed in a federal court.
Marian Ward, then a high school senior, and her parents sued the Galveston County school district in 1999, alleging its policy regarding pre-game messages that barred mention of any deity violated her religious freedom and free speech rights.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals initially affirmed the district court's ruling March 14, but Ward's attorneys requested another hearing. On second review, the appellate court unanimously reversed itself this week.

Sides going toe-to-toe on 10 Commandments
By Amy Green - Associated Press writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Charles Wysong believes God has stirred a fight in Tennessee.
As president of Ten Commandments-Tennessee, Wysong wants to see the biblical laws posted in public places throughout the state. He vows his organization will pay all the legal expenses for defending three displays in Hamilton County.
June Griffin, meanwhile, has traveled the state for five years in her 1993 Pontiac, trying to persuade commissioners in all of Tennessee's 95 counties to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings. More than half of the state's counties do so.

School district ordered to allow girl to say grace before snack
Associated Press
April 13, 2002
UTICA, N.Y. -- A federal judge on Friday ordered a New York school district to let a kindergartner say grace out loud before snack time. The preliminary injunction will remain in effect at least until a trial in the case brought on behalf of 5-year-old Kayla Broadus, whose teacher stopped her from praying with other students during a snack period Jan. 15 at a school in Wilton, N.Y. No trial date has been set.
The Saratoga Springs City school district said the prayer violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
The family sued, arguing that Kayla's prayer is protected by the First Amendment and is seeking $50,000 in punitive damages.

Metro law chief warns against posting Ten Commandments
By ANNE PAINE - Staff Writer
Yet another legal opinion is telling Metro Council that it would err if the Ten Commandments were posted in Metro-owned buildings.
Metro Law Director Karl Dean issued his thoughts yesterday that were quite succinct as to the question of whether the posting would be unconstitutional.
''Yes,'' he wrote.
The summation was followed by eight pages outlining court cases to back his conclusion.
''This is not a close call,'' Dean said yesterday in an interview. ''The law, in my opinion, is very well established.''

Posted 4/12/02 7:40 PM:
MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (AP) -- Students at West Virginia University say a policy that establishes "free expression areas" at seven locations on campus is unconstitutional and limits free speech and assembly.
Many take issue with the policy's stipulations that reservations be made at least 24 hours in advance for protests and demonstrations held "before or after normal business hours" and for those expected to attract more than 50 people.
A few days ago, when students tried to make reservations, they found that the university had no written application for such activities and no written criteria for deciding which permits to approve.
So students drafted their own permission slips Thursday and submitted one for every day of the year. Each of the 365 slips was the same, seeking permission for 25,000 participants -- essentially every student, teacher and employee -- to "exercise the rights of free speech and assembly at the WVU campus" from midnight to midnight.

Posted 4/12/02 12:34 PM:
Councilman withdraws resolution rejecting Commandments display
By ANNE PAINE - Staff Writer
Dueling resolutions on the Ten Commandments — one in favor of and one against posting them in Metro government buildings — almost ended up on next week's Metro Council agenda.
Councilman Bob Bogen had prepared to file one saying that the Metro Council ''rejects any attempts to post or display'' the biblical statutes in government facilities. He was reacting to Councilman Ron Nollner's resolution proposed this week to authorize their posting.
Bogen says, however, that he has decided not to present his resolution after receiving the following advice from Don Jones, the council staff director and an attorney:
''I am of the opinion that the council taking action to reject the posting of the Ten Commandments suffers from the same constitutional issues as that of a resolution encouraging posting of the Ten Commandments,'' Jones wrote to Bogen.

Posted 4/10/02 5:41 PM:
Governor offers plan on religion in schools
Proposal an effort to prod lawmakers
Visit our 2002 Legislature section for complete coverage of this year's session.
By Jim Saunders - Times-Union staff writer
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush yesterday offered a compromise to try to end a nasty battle about whether Florida's education laws should include a list of religious activities that are acceptable in public schools.
The battle between the House and the Senate led to the collapse last week of a special legislative session that Bush called to rewrite the state's school laws.
House leaders wanted to include the list of activities, which detail such things as praying, reading Bibles and passing out religious literature. But the Senate argued that it could lead to students imposing their beliefs -- ranging from Christianity to devil worship -- on other students.
Senators went home Friday without voting on the bill, primarily because of opposition to including the list of religious activities. Some senators, however, also opposed other parts of the bill, including one that says school boards would have the option of allowing students to keep guns in their locked cars.

Posted 4/9/02 9:25 PM:
Ten Commandments Plaque Ordered to Be Covered Up
By Shannon P. Duffy - The Legal Intelligencer
Within two weeks, Chester County must cover up a plaque of the Ten Commandments on the east  wall of the courthouse with a drapery that closely matches the color of the building's limestone walls, a federal judge ruled Monday.
U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell's decision came in response to the county's request that he issue a stay of his March 6 order that called for removal of the plaque -- which has hung for more than 80 years -- while the county pursues its appeals.

Posted 4/8/02 7:40 PM:
Wiccagate: What do Witches Grove protesters have to hide?
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press April 8, 2002.
By RICH BREAULT - Valley Press Staff Writer
Let's just call it Wiccagate.
For those of you who may have missed it, inexplicable because it even made national news, a rededication of the Witches Grove, a Lancaster store frequented by followers of the Wiccan religion, was disrupted by a group of Christian demonstrators March 16.
Store proprietors alleged that Christian protesters bumped participants in the Wiccan ritual, screamed Bible verses and blared Christian rock music in the store's back parking lot, where the rededication ceremony took place.
One protester allegedly flashed an identification card bearing a printed logo of the Sheriff's Department.
The Wiccans believe the disruption was a hate crime.
"If it wasn't hate, what was it?" Riker asked. "It was pure intimidation. There's no way it wasn't hate."

The spell of Catemaco
By Susana Hayward - San Antonio Express-News
Web Posted : 04/07/2002 12:00 AM
CATEMACO, Mexico —— In this "capital of witches" — ringed by a blue lagoon bursting with birds and forests — wizards and shamans vie for souls, rousing God and Satan in ancient rituals evocative of a garden of good and evil.
Located in the tropical Las Tuxtlas biosphere, enfolded by Lake Catemaco on the Gulf of Mexico in Veracruz state, Catemaco lures thousands of tourists. But they don't come for its colorful boardwalk or because it is one of Mexico's largest biospheres.
They come to seek cures from depression, unrequited love and illnesses.
Many arrive to cast evil spells. At least a dozen, some say up to 100, warlocks, herbalists, shamans, psychics and fortunetellers are eager to help them.

Soccer Team Seeks Witch Doctor's Help
Mon Apr 8, 8:33 AM ET
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - Ivory Coast is turning to witch doctors to try to take the curse off its losing soccer team.
Defense Minister Moisa Lida Kouassi presented sorcerers with a bottle of alcohol and $200 last week, appealing for "continued help to the republic, and, in particular, the Sports Ministry."
Ivory Coast won its lone African Nations Cup title in 1992. Popular belief has it that the government solicited off-field help that year from the sorcerers of Akradio, a village outside the commercial capital of Abidjan.
But the witch doctors were supposedly never paid for their assistance — and many believe they took it out on the soccer team.

Posted 4/7/02 3:24 PM:
Drive to Ban Gay Marriage Is Accused of Duping Signers
RAINTREE, Mass., April 5 — Outside a Stop & Shop in this suburb south of Boston a few months ago, Richard Leeman was stopped by a man with a clipboard who asked him to sign a petition to ban the practice of slaughtering horses for people to eat. Mr. Leeman, a retired insurance executive, planted his signature on the paper.
But Mr. Leeman recently discovered that the petition he signed was apparently not to protect horses, but to ban gay marriage in Massachusetts, something Mr. Leeman says he would never support.

Posted 4/6/02 5:08 PM:
Chaplain allegedly flashed sheriff I.D.
Pagan worshiper accuses protester
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press April 6, 2002.
By JULIE DRAKE - Valley Press Staff Writer
LANCASTER - A pagan worshiper targeted for protest by a volunteer sheriff's chaplain said the clergyman flashed sheriff's I.D. at him and told him no one from the Sheriff's Department would respond to their complaint.
Thomas Breul, who served as a "guardian" for the ceremony - a kind of informal security escort - alleges that Benjamin Canavello, "shoved" a sheriff's I.D. at him when he requested Canavello turn down the Christian music he was playing.
Breul said when he said he would call the police, Canavello allegedly said, "the sheriff's won't come ... you've already lost the war."
Canavello is with the sheriff department's volunteer clergy program, and is the son-in-law of the Rev. Billy Pricer, a retired deputy who is a politically active clergyman, a former Assembly candidate and also a sheriff's volunteer chaplain.
Asked if Canavello could make himself available for comment on the matter, Pricer said there is an ongoing internal sheriff's investigation and that Canavello "has been advised not to make any comments."

Posted 4/6/02 1:31 PM:
Rare Planet Alignment in April and May
By Joe Rao
Special to SPACE.com
posted: 07:00 am ET  02 April 2002
Several planets are assembling toward a rare alignment later this month, when five of them will crowd into a patch of sky small enough that all will be visible in a single glance. The setup will provide a planet-watching opportunity that won't be repeated for a century.
Even now, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn form a nearly straight line in the west each night. By late April, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Saturn will all bunch up in the western sky just after sunset, with bright Jupiter also nearby.
Three of the planets -- Venus, Saturn and Mars -- will crowd into an even smaller patch of sky in early May.

Posted 4/6/02 7:12 AM:
Clergyman defends anti-Wiccan protest
Volunteer sheriff's chaplain admits presence at incident
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press April 5, 2002.
By JULIE DRAKE - Valley Press Staff Writer
LANCASTER - One of the Valley's most politically active clergyman, a volunteer chaplain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, on Thursday acknowledged his role in a rowdy demonstration against followers of the Wiccan religion.
The Rev. Billy Pricer, founder and executive director of United Community Action Network, or U-CAN, in Lancaster, admitted he was among the group of Christians who circled the Witches Grove store on Lancaster Boulevard during a rededication ceremony March 16.
"I was there," Pricer said.
Pricer said he was sitting in his son-in-law's car, parked across the alley from where the ceremony and disturbance took place.
"We weren't there to do anything other than offer alternatives (to Wicca)," Pricer said.

Battle Rages Over Ten Commandments
The Associated Press
 WEST CHESTER, Pa. April 6 — You can't miss the oversized Ten Commandments posted at the door of the Chester County courthouse. Nearly every visitor walks past the bronze panel admonishing all to keep the Sabbath holy and "have no other gods before me."
Regular court visitors say they never considered the 82-year-old plaque anything other than a historical curiosity. And many are bristling now at a federal judge's ruling that hanging the Commandments on a county building breeches the constitutional separation of church and state.

Education bill's religion provision splits Florida Senate
Copyright © 2002 AP Online
By JACKIE HALLIFAX, Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 5, 2002 7:54 p.m. EST) - A special legislative session called by Gov. Jeb Bush to pass a sweeping education measure ended in chaos Friday over a provision allowing students to pray and speak about religion in schools. An angry Bush said he would call lawmakers back to Tallahassee next week to try again.
The fight erupted in the Senate, which refused for the second time in two weeks to pass the school code rewrite bill because of the religion provision.

[Tennessee] Attorney general issues Commandments opinion
Associated Press
Displays of the Ten Commandments on government property amount to an unconstitutional promotion of religion, the state attorney general said.
The displays violate a provision of the First Amendment, which states ''Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,'' state Attorney General Paul Summers said in an opinion Wednesday.
''Courts have held this provision applicable to states and their political subdivisions.''

Wisconsin News Briefs
From the Journal Sentinel
Last Updated: April 4, 2002
YMCA to gain city's Ten Commandments
Monroe -The City Council has decided to move a Ten Commandments monument from a park to the Green County Family YMCA.
Monroe becomes the second city in Wisconsin to move its monument after pressure from a Madison advocacy group and a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
The council voted Wednesday to remove the stone monument from Lincoln Park and give it to the YMCA in June. The statue had stood there for 30 years.
In February, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up an Indiana case, letting stand a lower court ruling that barred placing a similar monument on statehouse grounds.

Lawsuit: Embalming violated family's faith
April 3, 2002 Posted: 9:17 AM EST (1417 GMT)
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- A widower filed a lawsuit claiming his wife was embalmed by a university's mortuary science students without his permission or knowledge.
Jeffrey Post claims Lynn University violated his and his wife's Jewish faith because embalming is not allowed under their religion.
"There will be no closure now," said Post. "If you are embalmed or tattooed, you are denied the privilege of seeing God. My wife will never rest in peace."
The lawsuit seeks class-action status, saying up to 600 other bodies may also have been embalmed by Lynn University without permission.

Posted 4/4/02 9:50 PM:
Images of war and passion show depths of women's power
April 1, 2002
"Women Who Ruled: Queens, Goddesses, Amazons in Renaissance and Baroque Art," an exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, was inspired by a painting from the mid-1700s of a woman holding on a plate the man's head she had just severed.
To curator Annette Dixon, that image suggested the complex power women have wielded since the Garden of Eden.

Posted 4/4/02 8:17 PM:
Indian temple revives 'human sacrifice'
By Rahul Karmakar in Guwahati, north-eastern India
Followers of a Hindu cult in India's north-eastern state of Assam have revived the ancient practice of human sacrifice.
But in the absence of human volunteers, devotees at the Kamakhya Temple near the state capital Guwahati are using six-foot effigies made of flour for the rite.

Posted 4/2/02 7:52 PM:
Christians disrupted pagan equinox party
Los Angeles Daily News
April 01, 2002 06:30:00
LANCASTER, Calif. -- Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force officials are asking for the assistance of federal agencies to investigate an incident between members of two religious organizations -- one Christian, one pagan.
The U.S. Attorney General's Hate Crime Task Force and the FBI have been contacted to investigate the incident because it doesn't qualify as a hate crime under state law.
"We won't tolerate their actions at all," said Human Relations Task Force President Darren Parker, referring to a group that reportedly interfered with a religious ceremony. "We are going to get these people no matter what."

A fascinating look at Egypt and its gods
By OLIN CHISM / The Dallas Morning News
Ancient Egypt rarely fails to fascinate. Egypt: Land of the Gods is an interesting and sometimes surprising new miniseries that covers 5,000 years of religion in the historic land, going back to the beginnings of the Old Kingdom and continuing to today. The camera thoroughly explores ancient and modern sites. Egyptologists and religious figures appear as commentators.
The series is divided into four hourlong segments. "Cradle of Religions" explores the religions having strong connections to Egypt. "Sacred Space" is about religious structures; "Death and Rebirth" covers ideas about death and the possibility of an afterlife. "Land of Magic" might be called "Practical Religion." It deals with the search for solutions to everyday problems rather than cosmic questions about existence.

Head could be Nefertari's
Cairo - Egyptian and German archeologists have discovered the head of a colossal statue which could be an image of Nefertari, the queen of Pharaoh Ramses II, a senior antiquities official said on Thursday.
The head, discovered in the Nile Delta region of Tel Basta, could also belong to her daughter Princess Merit-Amon, the official said.
"The head, in granite, stands 3.5m high and is 3m wide, and weighs more than 11 tons," the director of antiquities for the Delta, Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, said.
"These measurements mean that the statue measured more than 16m in height, which would make it the largest discovered in the Delta region," added Maqsoud, comparing it to the famous colossi of Ramses II in the temple of Abu Simbel in Egypt's far south which stands 23m in height.

Charmed, I'm sure
April 1, 2002 Posted: 6:03 p.m. EST (2303 GMT)
By Gail O'Neill - CNN
(CNN) -- Nostalgia is the key word this spring -- with signature looks like wedge heels, ankle wrap sandals and lots of straw making a big comeback. Think South Beach (or Havana) circa 1950. And don't forget the charm bracelet, because that other '50s "must-have" accessory will also be making some noise this season.
 Charms can be traced back to ancient African and Asian cultures. According to designer Vivienn Tam, the shamans (or medicine men) of Mongolia wore small metal discs called "tippets" sewn to their clothing. As the nomads wandered from place to place, the objects would make a sound that was thought to be healing.
And what of modern day society? Do any of us still believe in the magical power of ornamentation?
Neiman Marcus is betting the store that we do.

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