International Pagan Coming Out Day – May 2
Coming out to someone is a decision only you can make and it’s a decision best made when you are ready to do so. IPCOD encourages Pagans who are ready to come on out!
There are benefits, personally and for our religious community as a whole, as more Pagans come out. Some of these benefits include the reduction of anxiety caused by living a double life and creating a climate of greater acceptance for all Pagans. Read full story from pagancomingoutday.com
Bountiful a ‘cult,’ says polygamous leader’s brother
The isolated polygamous commune of Bountiful, B.C., is a “cult” where religion is used to control residents and take away their rights, says the brother of one the community’s leaders.
Truman Oler, whose brother James leads one of two divided factions within Bountiful, left the fundamentalist Mormon community in southeastern B.C. several years ago and has rarely seen his family since.
Oler, now 29, testified Tuesday at a B.C. court case examining Canada’s anti-polygamy law, describing a community where children are taught from an early age that anything less than complete obedience — including entering into polygamous marriages– would mean an eternity in hell.
“My thinking about Bountiful and the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) has evolved the longer I have been away from the community,” Truman said in a written affidavit filed in advance of his testimony.
“I now think that the FLDS is like a cult and that it is damaging for children to grow up in that environment. The FLDS does not permit anyone free choice. You are told what to do.” Read full story from ctvbc.ctv.ca
Savannah officials reject ghost film in cemetery
The Syfy TV channel wants to shoot an epsiode in a Savannah cemetery, but city officials won’t approve the idea.
Producers want to film an episode of “Fact or Faked,” which would examine a tourist’s 2008 claim that he filmed a ghostly image of a boy running through the cemetery.
Acting City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney and Jerry Flemming, director of cemeteries, say they’re following city policy on the use of cemeteries.
“The municipal cemeteries are not for sensational or entertainment purposes. Any tours or events marketed as haunted, paranormal, or involving ghosts, spiritualists or mediums are strictly prohibited from any of the municipal cemeteries,” the policy states.
Aldermen Tony Thomas, Mary Ellen Sprague, Clifton Jones and Larry Stuber agreed the sanctity of the cemetery and the respect owed to the deceased and their families has to be considered. Read full story from ajc.com
Faith & Religion: ‘Living Library’ allows the curious to explore other faiths at Ann Arbor event
In small circles inside the Social Hall at the Temple Beth Emeth/St. Clare Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, “patrons” leaned in close to hear “living books” like Doug Jackson talk about their religious experiences.
As part of the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County’s “Living Library” program last Sunday, representatives from various religions and faiths shared their experiences and answered questions while maintaining the feel of a traditional library.
“My first patron asked about my life, the success and failures in my own practice of Christian Science,” said Jackson, representing the First Church of Christ, Scientists.
Each representative was given a call number and patrons were allowed a 20-minute checkout.
“It’s nice for me to hear the variety of paths people have taken,” said Mark Salzer of Ann Arbor Township.
Salzer, who attends a Mennonite church, was conflicted as to whether he wanted to look into the Pagan or Universalist faiths next after having heard about Science of the Mind. Read full story from annarbor.com
An act of faith, desperation or protest: Self-immolations through time
(CNN) — Night had fallen when the men heard the sounds on the mountain. First it was a chime, then a recitation of verses, followed by the crackle of wood burning. They scrambled to the summit to see what was happening.
There, seated with his palms together and facing west, was their friend. Flames leapt around the peaceful man, engulfing him. It was just as he’d intended.
The year was 527.
This story of Daodu, a Buddhist monk, is told in James Benn’s “Burning for the Buddha: Self-Immolation in Chinese Buddhism.” Benn, an associate professor of religion at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, writes that the act of setting one’s self on fire dates back in Chinese Buddhist tradition to the late fourth century.
But no matter how old, self-immolation still leaves people horrified, riveted and moved. Read full story from cnn.com
Psychotherapy and the healing power of narrating a life
An important part of the psychotherapy process, as I understand it and have practiced it, involves constructing a narrative of one’s life.
This may seem like a curious task given that we all know or should know the story of our lives. We’ve been imagining the movie to be made from that story forever, right?
Well, that may be true of some us, but a surprising number of people actually don’t have a coherent story: something that hangs together, makes sense, and has some internal consistency. The story may have large, important chunks missing. Or the narrative is fragmented and chaotic. Sometimes the story is there but it is self-condemnatory and unfair.
A woman who was raped at the age of 16 was telling herself that she consented to sex with a man much older than she was, someone she barely knew. She thought of herself as a slut. All the adults in her family would agree (if they knew the story): a 16-year-old is a grown-up and responsible for her actions. Read full story from scientificamerican.com
India must face up to Hindu terrorism
For far too long, the enduring response of the Indian establishment to Hindu nationalists has rarely surpassed mild scorn. Their organised violent eruptions across the country – slaughtering Muslims and Christians, destroying their places of worship, cutting open pregnant wombs – never seemed sufficient enough to the state to cast them as a meaningful threat to India’s national security.
But the recently leaked confession of a repentant Hindu priest, Swami Aseemanand, confirms what India’s security establishment should have uncovered: a series of blasts between 2006 and 2008 were carried out by Hindu outfits. The attacks targeted a predominantly Muslim town and places of Muslim worship elsewhere. Their victims were primarily Muslim. Yet the reflexive reaction of the police was to round up young Muslim men, torture them, extract confessions and declare the cases solved. Read full story from guardian.co.uk
Russians seek omens and foretell husbands in winter ritual
MOSCOW — On winter nights set aside for fortune telling, young Russian women drip hot wax, throw shoes out of the window and crumple newspapers, hoping to foresee their future husbands and careers.
In a ritual vividly described in 19th century literature and still alive today, Russians tell fortunes in the evenings between Russian Orthodox Christmas (January 6-7) and the festival of Epiphany on January 19.
While fortune-telling is practised between Christian holidays, it is frowned upon by the Russian Orthodox Church, which sees it as a remnant of paganism. Read full story from google.com
Church letter warns against mandatory reporting of child sex abuse
Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) — Irish victims of sexual abuse are “disgusted” by a newly revealed letter in which a Vatican official expresses “serious reservations” about requiring bishops to report suspected abuse by priests to police, they said Wednesday.
Abuse survivors will question the cardinal leading a special papal delegation to Ireland about the letter, they said.
“We are disgusted by details revealed in the letter. Many of our members just can’t take this in and have been deeply affected by the revelations,” Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse spokeswoman Margaret McGuckin told CNN. Read full story from cnn.com