On March 7, 2001, The Detroit News reported on the suicide of twelve-year-old Tempest Smith in Lincoln Park, Michigan. The article suggested that she might have been sent over the edge by "constant ridicule by peers." In part, "they teased her because she read books about Wicca, a pagan religion often associated with witchcraft."
On March 2, 2001, the St. Petersburg Times
reported that Inverness resident Charles Schrader
"says he was harassed by deputies"
after he spoke at a meeting of the School Board.
Schrader "is the pagan who has previously interrupted School
Board opening prayer with a Wiccan incantation and who has sharply criticized" the board chairwoman on
On February 19, 2001, a group of Pagans wrote an open statement to President Bush and other government officials in which they expressed concerns about Bush's new faith-based initiatives and about discriminatory comments made by individuals in government and from the media. Pagans are concerned they will be discriminated against in the awarding of government funds to faith-based initiatives. This letter is collecting signatures on the AREN website at http://www.aren.org.
An press release about the open letter outlined instances of discrimination against Pagans on the part of government officials and the media. For example, on "Mc Laughlin's One on One," Stephen Goldsmith, the Domestic Policy Advisor to the President, said that he
did not "think that Wiccans would meet the standard of being humane
providers of domestic violence shelters." Indiana
Representative Souder stated on the House floor in April that
"it is unlikely under President Bush that the witches would get funding."
On February 18, 2001, The New York Times Magazine reported that "comparatively minor sources of mercury contamination in New York's harbor may be a result of local spiritual and cultural practices...Thirty-five New York-area botanicas, or stores offering herbal products and religious items used in the Afro-Caribbean and Latin American traditions of Santeria, voodoo and Espiritismo, as well as revised Wiccan practices, reported selling 100 to 300 capsules per day."
On February 18, 2001, the St. Petersburg Times
reported on Pagan Mike Rodgers who "helps publish an Internet magazine from Dade City that strives to unite
pagans and spread understanding...Rodgers said he knows what it's like
to be a pagan" in a country dominated by much larger
religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Ancient Heritage Magazine...
On February 18, 2001, The News Tribune reported on the growing movement of Paganism in many parts of the country. Pagans "follow pre-Christian or pagan teachings...Members say they are drawn to the groups' reverence for the Earth,
the worship of the Goddess and God, and an approach to spirituality
that stresses personal responsibility and empowerment." Pagans still do not feel accepted by others as members of "a real religion...By some estimates, there are at least 200,000 pagans in the United
States," but there are probably more....
On February 10, 2001, The Akron Beacon Journal published an article entitled, "Pagans are grateful for understanding." "Pagans praise the decision by the Akron Area Interfaith Council to move dinner rather than cut the pagan singing group from the program...Following objections from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, the...
On February 8, 2001, The Columbus Dispatch reported that "witches and
pagans demonstrated recently that they know how to mobilize for political
action" when Moraine, Ohio, "considered passing
an ordinance that would have banned fortunetelling for a fee...Council members began receiving e-mails and phone calls...On the night the ordinance was to come up for a
vote, it was standing-room-only in council chambers, which seats about 150...After hearing objections that the ordinance was an unconstitutional restraint
On January 29, 2001, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that "while the Wiccan religion has been around longer than numerous other religions, lately the idea of witchcraft is prompting many teens to take a closer look." Teens explain their interest variously as based in interest in the power to charm someone, interest in the supernatural, or a technique to distinguish themselves and rebel. Many teens are fairly uneducated about the religion, however, according to Scott Brown, an 18-year-old graduate of Germantown...
On January 16, 2001, The Irish Times reported that "a teenager who was suspended from school for allegedly practising witchcraft has sued the Tulsa Union school district in Oklahoma. The district is preparing its reply to the suit from Brandi Blackbear, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union. Blackbear (whose father is native
American and mother is of Sicilian extraction) was suspended first early in 1999 after teachers confiscated a story she was writing about a gun on a school bus. She was suspended again in December 1999...
On January 6, 2001, The Dallas Morning News reported that "a little more than a year ago, Pleasant Valley Unitarian Universalist Church made some dramatic changes in its Sunday service. Members started lighting candles for the elements: earth, air, fire and water. Sermons became more focused on natural themes, such as gardening. And worship leaders started using the words God and Goddess. It was time, the Garland church had decided, to "go pagan," to become the first avowed
On January 5, 2001, Starhawk responded to Charlotte Allen's "The Scholar and the Goddess." In her letter to the editor, Starhawk critiques Allen's understanding of Wicca as relying on historical origins for its credibility, stating that "Goddess religion is not based on belief, in history, in archaeology, in any Great Goddess past or present. Our spirituality is based on experience, on a direct relationship with the cycles of birth, growth, death and regeneration in nature and in human lives." Starhawk also notes that Allen "misses the...