Shorter version of Peter Wagner: We honor you so much we want to convert you.

C. Peter Wagner, a founder of the New Apostolic Reformation, was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. Since Rachel Tabachnik had just been on Fresh Air and did a great job of explaining what the NAR is and why she and others are concerned about its intentions, I expected this to be an attempt at damage control. It was not a very successful one. Wagner tried to “spin” some of the conversation by shifting his vocabulary to the newer, less-inflammatory terms the NAR is trying …

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Political endorsement and tax exemptions

You may have noticed the statement about “pulpit endorsements” in the example letter to elected officials from Hail Columbia. There is an effort among some conservative Christians to encourage churches to explicitly endorse specific political candidates. Churches and other non-profit organizations are not allowed to campaign for or endorse candidates, and they risk losing their non-profit tax exemption by doing so. The Alliance Defense Fund, a right-wing legal group, has announced that today is “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” when like-minded clergy are supposed to flout tax …

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Fred Clark: Establishment and Free Exercise mutually supportive

Fred Clark, a Christian blogger famous for his deconstructions of the Left Behind series, has written some insightful posts over the years on the topic of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. He argues from a historically Baptist position why strict separation of church and state benefits – and is in fact necessary for – religion.

In Establishment, Fred explains why some religious people see a tension between the Establishment clause and the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious …

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Conversations with Columbia: Part 5

Hecate describes the final Tarot card she drew to describe Columbia and synthesizes the whole reading, saying that Columbia wants her devotees to stop acting from fear, accept her blessings, and step up to protect her principles.

This post is the final in a series begun in July, concerning my conversation with the Goddess Columbia. Here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

My final question to Columbia was: “What do you want from your devotees?” Using the Wildwood Tarot, I pulled the Eight …

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September 11th: Still struggling for religious liberty

On this anniversary, I am more convinced than ever that one of the core meanings of September 11th in my life is the importance of religious liberty for all people.

The attacks of September 11th were not motivated by religion per se; their roots were deep and old and twisted, more complex than I can begin to address here. But in my own country, one of the things I have seen growing out of those terrible events is an increasing intolerance in response, a more motivated, …

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The Faith of Mr. Franklin

This post is mirrored by kind permission of Thalassa.

“When religion is good, it will take care of itself. When it is not able to take care of itself, and God does not see fit to take care of it, so that it has to appeal to the civil power for support, it is evidence to my mind that its cause is a bad one.” 

Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Dr. Price.

I find much to admire about Ben Franklin.  He was at various times in his life runaway, …

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Conversations with Columbia: Part 4

This post is mirrored by kind permission of Hecate Demeter.

It’s fascinating to me, in so many ways, how Paganism has grown and changed in the few short decades since, just about the time that I was born, Doreen Valiente and Gerald Gardner reintroduced it to the Western world. In some ways, the Witchcraft that I practice today, on the banks of the Potomac River, is as different from Gardnerian Wicca as Gerald Gardner’s practice was from rituals enacted by the builders of Stonehenge (and we …

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Conversations with Columbia: Part 3

This post is mirrored by kind permission of Hecate Demeter.

“‘Only connect!’ That was the whole of her sermon. . . . Live in fragments no longer.” ~ E.M. Forster

More than anything else, being a Witch, for me, is about connection. Connection to the Earth, the Elements, my landbase, my watershed, and all the entities (corporeal and non) that share them with me. Connection to the Goddesses and Gods. Connection to the Web of All. And because, like most American Pagans, I live in an urban …

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Conversations with Columbia: Part 2

This post is mirrored by kind permission of Hecate Demeter.

Whenever you get to know someone, and I’m a firm believer that magical workers need to really know each other, it’s helpful to know their history. You know: their family, their stories about school, and love, and life. What critical events shaped them? How did they get to this point? Who is it that, while not present at the table, is still influencing events? What song sums up their life? What’s their favorite movie, emblematic tarot …

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Conversations with Columbia: Part 1

This post is mirrored by kind permission of Hecate Demeter.

As a polytheist, I find it endlessly interesting seeing to which deities different people are drawn.

For some people, there’s an attraction to a pantheon related to their ancestry, although, even there, there’s a wide variety of Goddesses/Gods from which to choose. What makes someone choose Freya over Frigga or Idrun? (Or should the question be, “What makes Freya choose some people, while Frigga chooses others, and Idrun still others?”)

For others, and this has been true for …

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