Religious freedom is something that a lot of people talk about. But what are the actual battles being fought for those whose religious freedom is most impeded? Today for Fiery Tuesday we take a look at different ways in which minorities in the United States are fighting for their civil rights, from Pagans to Muslims to American Indians / Native Americans. Take a look!
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I had been looking for a job for about a year when I decided that I was going to take the next opportunity I was offered, even if it was volunteer work. I sent out a very clear intent that I would accept whatever I was offered the next day. The universe having a sense of humor, the next day the Libertarian Party asked me to run for public office. So I did.
That's how I came to run for Nevada State Assembly in 2010.
I've been completely out as a heathen for a long time, and I've always published under my birth name, even as the publisher and editor of Berserkrgangr Magazine in the 90s. The print edition of Asatru For Beginners was just hitting the presses, and I was publicizing the new edition, so when I ran for office, I knew that a few seconds with a search engine would bring up the words Asatru, heathen, and pagan. Sometimes reporters covering the election asked me about Asatru, and included a short quote about it in the election coverage. Sometimes heathen and pagan reporters reported on my campaign as news of interest to heathens and pagans. Other than that, it didn't really come up as an issue during my campaign.
Most people were far more interested in what I could do for them than in demographic details of my identity. Other than organizations for a specific religion, ancestry, sexual orientation, etc., the only demographic that seemed to matter to most people in my local area was that I was a woman, and that was a plus. It was such a plus that I adopted a more feminine style for my campaign style than I use in my real life. In real life I'm a little non-binary. In the campaign, well, being female is good for an extra 5% of the vote, and one of my campaign's major goals was to show that women had a place in the Libertarian Party, so I made sure I always photographed as female. My hair was always down, and I wore a lot of pink.
I ran again in 2013, for Henderson City Council. Again, my religious affiliation didn't seem to matter much to anyone but other pagans and heathens. After the campaign was over, I heard that one group decided not to endorse my campaign because of my religion, but I only heard about it because a supporter told me. I got support from a wide array of different local groups and individuals from various points on the political spectrum. The City Council race was a 4 way contest, and I received over 15% of the vote.
Over the course of my two campaigns, I became deeply connected to the local community, as well as becoming much more well-known in the heathen and pagan communities nationally. I don't know how much of my new fame came from my book tour and how much from running for office, since I did both in the same year. I learned a ton, influenced the local conversation on issues, and made lots of great friends, and I'm glad I did it, but I am never, ever, ever running again.
Politics and religion: difficult subjects which many consider unsuited for polite conversation. What happens when they mix? In many ways its inevitable; people care passionately about politics and they also care passionately about religion. That doesn't mean it's always easy though. This week we take a look at the different ways in which political and religious values are clashing over the world and how, in many cases, that bleeds over into discrimination and bigotry. All this and more for this week's Fiery Tuesday.
I write this on Beltane eve, later than I hoped. A bout with some bug has laid me low and I will not be up to my usual activities this Sabbat. But perhaps my enforced period of solitude has enabled me to think a little more deeply than I might have about the meaning of this time.
Beltane and May Day comprise one of the two most important Wiccan Sabbats, the other, Samhain, being six months away. For Wiccans and most other NeoPagans Beltane marks the beginning of summer. We believe every basic dimension of physical existence is sacred in its own way, and seek to honor each at that time of the year when it can be most powerfully symbolized in ritual and celebration. Beltane and May Day so honor summer....
Shellfish are a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us in Leviticus to suppress. They also smell bad. [...] Any person who willingly consumes or sells shellfish is guilty of a felony, and shall be fined $666 thousand per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 6 years, 6 months, and 6 days.
President Obama announced last week that the United States and Cuba are moving toward normalizing their relationship. I may have the world’s strangest set of credentials to comment on this. I have been there twice, both times legally. I have visited Cuban schools and talked to the students. I have presented on Cuba at professional conferences, universities, and to church groups. I was doing research in Havana on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution (nothing interesting happened).
From the Wild Hunt: Robert Rudachyk is seeking the nomination to become the Liberal Party of Canada‘s candidate for the federal riding of Saskatoon West. What makes this run for office unusual is that Rudachyk appears to be the first openly Heathen candidate to run for public office in Canada.