OakGrove Archives
Past News and Issues
3rd Quarter 2001
9/24/01: What Falwell, Robertson and Bin Laden Have in Common
Harley Sorensen, Special to SF Gate
Monday, September 24, 2001
If the unspeakable tragedy of Sept. 11 taught us anything, it is the evil of mixing religion with government. Those of you who pray should offer a small prayer of thanks for the wisdom of the  founders of our great nation.
If we look objectively around the world, we can easily see that nations that mix religion with government are always in a state of agitation.
If we look objectively at ourselves, it is clear that the religious fanatics on our own soil are littledifferent than the most stringent fanatics anywhere.
I refer specifically now to Osama bin Jerry Falwell and his equally corrupt sidekick, Osama bin Pat Robertson.

9/23/01:  A Call to Arms, or Treating the Disease
Pagan author Isaac Bonewits' comments on religious fanaticism
"The attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington DC by Muslim Fundamentalists have crystallized a number of ideas that have been drifting around in my head for several years. This “911 call” wasn’t just a wake up call about terrorism, it was a sign that the Culture War between Modernity and Fundamentalism has become irredeemably deadly. Though there are multiple non-religious motives behind Islamic terrorism, this essay will focus on the religious factors sanctifying and justifying mass murder."

MARC MELTZER - meltzem@phillynews.com
Members of a Germantown Catholic church and a Chestnut Hill synagogue are offering to accompany Muslims and others who might feel threatened while moving about in public.
"We're calling it an accompaniment service," said Richard Taylor, of St. Vincent dePaul Church, who is coordinating the effort with his wife, Phyllis.
The Taylors and members of Mishkan Shalom, in Chestnut Hill, have approached the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, on Germantown Avenue near Girard, North Philadelphia, about providing such help.
The group is willing to accompany Muslims and others who feel threatened anywhere they wish to go.

Letter From The Editor
 Sunday, September 23, 2001
"A group of 18 Utahns stood on the Statehouse steps Monday, petitioning residents to acknowledge and to begin closing divides undermining the state. I was among them.  If you don't accept there are such divisions -- cultural/religious, political, economic, or ethnic/racial -- you could be part of the problem.
"There is one difference between Taliban clerics, who religiously guide the Afghan government, and those radical CBN clerics, who desire to be America's spiritual directors: The former warps Islam and the latter perverts Christianity. Surely, neither represents Allah/God.
          There are the glassy-eyed in the news media, as well. Ann Coulter, columnist for the weekly National Review, wrote on Sept. 13 that the solution to Osama bin Laden and his ilk is to "invade their countries, kill  their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." How bin Ladenesque.
God save America from all fanatics."

'I'm Sorry'
Falwell Now Says Gays and Feminists Not at Fault for Attacks
LYNCHBURG, Va. , Sept. 20 — The Rev. Jerry Falwell is taking back comments he made after last week's terrorist attacks, saying he shouldn't have blamed gays, civil libertarians and others for making America a target.
As the nation was still reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks, Falwell appeared on the Christian television program The 700 Club. He and the show's host, Pat Robertson, were expressing their sorrow over the death and destruction when Falwell broke into a speech about who should take some of the responsibility for the attacks.
He laid blame at the feet of homosexuals, abortion-rights supporters and the American Civil Liberties Union, saying their beliefs prompted God to allow terrorists to attack America.

Pagan Coalition Denounces Falwell, Robertson Remarks
U.S. Newswire
17 Sep 18:10
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A coalition of Pagan groups today denounced remarks made by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on the "700 Club" broadcast on Sept. 13.
The coalition issued the following statement today:
"It is with profound regret and outrage that our coalition of national Pagan organizations, clergy, civil rights advocates and community organizers notes the irresponsible statements made by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on the "700 Club" broadcast on September 13, 2001."
"We would like to remind Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson that the recent heinous acts of terrorism suffered by our country were perpetrated by fanatics intending to reduce our citizenry to their level. These acts were certainly not perpetrated by Pagans. While
Mr. Falwell has issued a general apology, his attempt to turn a horrible tragedy to personal gain is reprehensible and must be seen for what it is."
"In this time of great crisis, people of faith turn to their leaders for guidance. American Pagan leaders have supported rescue and relief efforts from the first hours of the tragedies. We are continuing to marshal our resources to provide aid to the stricken,
as well as to protect and defend our American Muslim brothers and sisters from unwarranted bigotry and attacks. We call upon Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson to join with us in caring for those in need and treating as sacred our deeply held American principle of religious freedom."

9/17/01: America's Newest Witch-Hunt
Editorial comments from the webmaster in the latest addition to Oak Bark.

9/11/01:  National Tragedy!
Terrorists strike United States
In the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, two hijacked jetliners crashed into New York’s World Trade Center on Tuesday, and a third struck the Pentagon. President Bush vowed retaliation.

Note from Oakdancer:
We here at the grove are in shock over the terrorist acts committed today on American soil, and wish to express our sincere sympathy to the victims, their families,friends and co-workers in this nightmarish series of events. Our prayers are with you all, as well as with the firefighters, police, medical and military personnel, and rescue workers battling time to save the injured and those still unaccounted for.
We pray for strength for the rescuers, and for those needing rescue, that they might hold on and survive. We pray for the best weather for the rescue attempts, and control of further damage from spreading fires. We pray for healing, both physically and spiritually for our nation and the world.
And finally, we pray that justice prevail.
May the Lady and the Lord keep and protect us all.
God and Goddess Bless America!

Note from Amber:
I know some of you are probably wondering what type of help you can offer specifically, both in terms of magick and mundane. Here are some ideas:
Go donate blood! This is a call I have heard countless times today.
If you have the means, check with your local stores and agencies to make donations of food, water, clothing, etc. As the survivors are rescued, this type of help will be invaluable. Also the rescue workers will need supplies as well.
There have also been calls for people who are comfortable with the idea, and who have the means, to open up their homes to stranded travellers, as well as rescue workers and victim's families. Please keep in mind that many parents were lost in this tragedy - not just employees. Thousands of children tonight are wondering where their mothers or fathers are.
Magickally, my first concern is for the victims and rescue workers. Today I begged the Lady and Lord to make the violence stop, right here and right now. I also worked for favorable weather for the rescue operations. The biggest concern for the next 24 hours or so is getting into the debris-laden areas, because of the heavy smoke and dust clouds, as well as the instability of the Towers and surrounding buildings. So, perhaps we can all focus on energies on supporting these structures, and working for the most optimal weather conditions to disperse the smoke and dust clouds.
I know we are all angry, but our initial focus must be on the victims and the survivors. Let us concentrate on healing energies for those who have lived through this tragedy, and also energies to help those who have passed over, or who are in the midst of passage.
My second concern is the safety of the rest of America and, indeed, the world. In this respect, I will work again to energize the concept that the violence stops NOW. I will be sending supportive energies to our military and other government and volunteer energies - basically anyone who is working to protect us.
My third concern is that those who committed this act of terrorism will be caught quickly. I never thought I would find myself agreeing with President Bush, but in this case I do concur with him on one thing ... not only must we apprehend those directly responsible, but also any who provide sanctuary for them. I truly believe that the sooner these terrorists are caught, the better ... not only in terms of Americans' safety and peace of mind, but in the worldwide arena as well.
I have many more thoughts on this, but I want Oak to be able to get this message out as soon as possible. For any of you who have been directly touched by this horrific day, my heart aches for you and my thoughts are with you. For the rest of us, may we all join together and heal our country and ourselves.

Emergency Contact Numbers, courtesy of ABC News:

Support for Family and Friends of Victim
Victims of Crime Hotline

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): 1-800-462-9029

American Airlines:  1-800-245-0999
United Airlines: 1-800-932-8555

St. Vincent's Hospital:  212-604-7285

Donating Blood
The American Red Cross: 1-800-GIVE-LIFE
America's Blood Centers:  1-888-BLOOD-88 to schedule an appointment.

Helping Investigators
Federal Bureau of Investigation: To report information on the attacks, go to www.IFCC.FBI.gov

9/10/01: Site update - The banner links page is gone. I stopped adding new banners ages ago because the page was getting ridiculously slow to load, and have been planning to eliminate the page for a long time. This morning I decided to go ahead and bookmark the links on that page, and eliminated the thing altogether. Just as well, too, because a couple of the sites had changed quite a bit from their original form, and one of them had apparently lost their domain name, resulting in what was once a pretty neat Pagan site link leading to a porn site. So THAT definitely had to go!

9/9/01: Site update - After working like a dog to get the site moved to the new host, I just couldn't leave it alone. As a result, the Pagan Merchants, Cool Links and Festivals pages have all been updated as of today. Many thanks to those who submitted information for these pages for your patience. To anyone who's submitted a link for one of these pages and doesn't see it listed, I must have lost it somehow. Please accept my apologies, and re-submit.

And now for the news:

Casting off god
Chrissy Illey
Let’s think about candles. It used to be that when I was stumped for what to give as a gift, I’d send over a bottle of champagne. Now, it’s a Dyptique candle or a boxed-up astrological one, or even a gardenia number. Why does Elton John’s house permanently smell of jasmine? Because he’s comforted by the power, by the incense. Candles are huge business and they symbolise the very shift, in that even in our own domestic, menial and trivial way, lighting a candle acknowledges that there’s a burning force, another power.

Strange Gods
Neo-paganism on campus.
Peter Wood, associate provost, Boston University
September 5, 2001
My parents are witches. My grandfather was a witch. My great grandfather was a witch, and his spellbook is my most precious possession. When my partner and I were looking for a Wiccan commitment ceremony, we found important spells in his book."

8/19/01: Bolivians Ask 'Mother Earth' to Help New President
Simon Gardner
LA CUMBRE, Bolivia (Reuters) - As the shaman dances around a blazing pyre on a windswept Bolivian summit muttering incantations, a dried llama fetus' head rises like a phoenix from the ashes and the holy man is stopped in his tracks.
``Look! Look, that bodes well!'' the witch doctor cried, as the couple hiring his services to make a traditional highland Indian offering to ``Pachamama'' -- or Mother Earth -- look on, delighted at the prospect of the prosperity such offerings are meant to bring.

Paganism Grows in the US
Rob Ballenger
For most Americans, Labor Day marks the end of summer. But some will observe the season's decline next week with an ancient harvest festival called Lammas. These people view the changing seasons as spiritual events, and the Chicago Tribune newspaper calls their religion Paganism - the fastest growing faith in North America.

Policeman Fired for Wearing Cross Takes Case to Supremes
Lawrence Morahan - CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
August 06, 2001
(CNSNews.com) - A Texas police sergeant who was fired for insubordination after he refused to remove a piece of religious insignia from his uniform is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court on grounds that his right to free speech was violated.
Patrol Sergeant George Daniels, a 13-year veteran of the Arlington, Texas Police Department, said he was a victim of religious discrimination when he was fired in September 1998 for wearing a Christian cross pinned to the lapel of his uniform.

The Pagan and the Pentagon
Angela Kennedy Washington, D.C.
He comes home with briefcase in hand from a long day "in the trenches." His wife and boys greet him at he door. They sit and exchange the events of the day in their Coca-Cola decorated kitchen.
But before he heads upstairs to change out of his "blues" he stops by the altar, lights a candle and thanks the gods for his beautiful family. He then releases the stresses of the day with a quick glance at a wooden pentacle.
Air Force Major Anthony Gatlin, chief of the Military Personnel Division for the Secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon, is not only a proud member of the U.S. Air Force, but also a practicing pagan.

A local Wiccan may go to jail for exposing his child to his religion.
Is this the 21st century, or the 17th?
"This is the ghoulish corner," Conon Brewer jokes, leading a visitor past his front door, with its "Jesus Lives" sticker, to his computer desk. It's the most colorful spot in Brewer's small house in Cabot, an hour's drive north of Pittsburgh in Butler County, but it's scary only if you haven't experienced American pop culture lately.
Scattered on the table and tacked to the walls are a spider left over from last Halloween and a plastic raven from Wal-Mart. There are Pokemon and cat figures Conon says his 10-year-old daughter Sara gave him. There are skulls used in fish tanks, Buddhas, a yin-yang symbol, gargoyles, skeletons and a stone water fountain of the type available in most department stores. There is a Cartman mouse pad. And there is a poster of a Hindu god, which Conon got during a public tour of the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Penn Hills with Sara and his new wife Paula in April.
"My uncle, who is into Harley-Davidsons," Paula volunteers, "his personal space is scarier."It would be an absurd contest, except for this: Conon Brewer may be held in contempt of court this week for allowing Sara to see his computer desk and anything else that hints at his personal sense of spirituality. He stands accused of violating his 2000 divorce decree, which orders him not to expose his young daughter to books with "spirits and ghosts" or to the teachings of his religion -- Wicca.

Roy Moore unveils monument
JEFF AMY - Capital Bureau
MONTGOMERY -- Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore gave the state 5,280 pounds of granite Wednesday, and maybe a future legal fight.
Moore had a monument depicting the Ten Commandments and 14 other quotations about God and law quietly trucked in overnight and positioned prominently in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. Besides the Supreme Court, the building houses two other appeals courts, and administrative offices.

Antichrist sign sparks free-speech holy war
Pope billboard ignites Catholic outrage, death threats
Joe Kovacs - © 2001 WorldNetDaily.com
CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – A billboard proclaiming the pope is the Antichrist has unleashed the wrath of the Catholic community, sparked a debate over First Amendment rights, and led to death threats against the man behind the message.
The red, white and blue sign, located along Interstate-5 just north of Medford, Oregon reads, "The POPE Is The ANTICHRIST, Free Proof," and provides a website address for more information.

Teenage witch claims 48 victims
A 13-YEAR-OLD Nigerian 'witch', who was charged  yesterday with killing a two-year-old boy, has admitted taking part in the ritual murders of 47 others.
Police arrested the girl, Jummai Hassan, in the  northeastern city of Maiduguri. Authorities exhumed the body of the toddler, who has been identified only by his first name, Ibro.

Leading Scholar on Film Treatments of `Arthur Legend' Discusses New Mini-Series and Significance of 'The Mists of Avalon'
PHILADELPHIA, July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Kevin Harty, Ph.D., professor of English at La Salle University is one of the world's leading scholars on the films of the ``Arthur Legend.'' In addition to writing and editing books on the topic, he teaches courses about the Arthur legend in literature and cinema. He says the new TNT Mini-Series ``The Mists of Avalon'' does ``a good job'' of developing the tension between two influences in early English story telling, one that made men the heroes, the other that made women the heroes.

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