Opinion: Editorial, Harrisonburg Daily News Record, February 3, 2010
"Apparently, Fox News reports, the USAFA has quite the contingent of tree and rock worshippers, and they needed a spot to mumble their mumbo-jumbo
No word on whether the Academy will provide goats for the animal sacrifice, although several herds of cloven-footed beasts are said to have fled the area. The “neo-pagans” will dedicate their stony shrine on March 10.
Far be it for mere mortals to doubt this coven’s spiritual sincerity. No one wants to get hexed or vexed, or whatever happens when Wiccans and Druids don their robes, serenade the owls and prance around their rocks among the Ponderosa Pines. Colorado, by the way, is also home to the Quaking Aspen, so the very thought of berobed witches and warlocks gamboling about the woods and warbling at the Moon may explain why the aspens are quaking.
No, a far more compelling interrogatory observation is why anyone, much less the academy, would take the “neo-pagans” seriously. The academy is, after all, a very serious place.
Or at least it used to be."
Respect Freedom Of Religion
by Eugene C. Buie, Harrisonburg Daily News Record, February 19, 2010
"It is unseemly to make fun of things we may not understand, particularly religions chosen and valued by others. That is not a strange thing to say in America where it used to be customary to honor and respect everyone’s “freedom of choice,” especially where religious beliefs and practices are concerned.----------------------------------------
We steadfastly defend our freedom of expression. Additionally, we are offended by attempts to take this expression away from us. Do we now publicly ridicule this same freedom where others are concerned when they choose to worship gods that Christians or other religions do not accept?
This transcendent revelation of the “One True God” has competed with the Nature gods from earliest recorded history. Nevertheless, the Christian commission is to simply present the Gospel of Christ to be accepted or rejected. In the end, we all must decide whether to be a child of God or a Pagan or a godless secularist. But for now, we all are entitled to worship as we choose without ridicule."
OU adviser hunts ghosts on Animal Planet
Gregory Maus, Oklahoma Daily, February 19, 2010
"Students in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication know Chris Borthick as an academic adviser, but he also works an an occult specialist for an organization whose exploits will be featured today on cable television.----------------------------------------
Oklahoma Paranormal Research and Investigations will be featured in an episode of the Animal Planet paranormal anthology series, “The Haunted,” 9 p.m. Friday.
Borthick said his contribution to the group is to provide information on spiritual beliefs, in case the team encounters anything related to religions, such as Wicca or traditional American Indian beliefs."
Myths Obscure Voodoo, Source of Comfort in Haiti
by Samuel G. Freedman, New York Times, February 19, 2010
"Consider a few facts. Voodoo is one of the official religions of Haiti, and its designation in 2003 merely granted official acknowledgment to a longstanding reality. The slave revolt that brought Haiti independence indeed relied on voodoo, the New World version of ancestral African faiths. To this day, by various scholarly estimates, between 50 and 95 percent of Haitians practice at least elements of voodoo, often in conjunction with Catholicism.----------------------------------------
But Catholicism in Haiti, as too few journalists seemed to realize, is not more or less like Catholicism in a Polish parish in Chicago or an Irish one in Boston. It is a Catholicism in symbiosis with voodoo, a Catholicism in which saints are conflated with African deities and dead ancestors serve as interlocutors between God and humanity.
Prof. Patrick Bellegarde-Smith of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, an expert in voodoo as well as a voodoo priest, likens the religious texture of Haiti to that of Japan. The same Japanese person, he said, will observe the Shinto faith for certain rituals, Buddhism for others, and will see no contradiction or mutual exclusivity.
“I’d tell reporters to go into the shanties and find the local voodoo priest,” said Amy Wilentz, the author of an acclaimed book on contemporary Haiti, “The Rainy Season.” “Voodoo is very close to the ground. It’s a neighborhood to neighborhood, courtyard kind of religion. And one where you support each other in time of need.”"
The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures by Nicholas Wade.
Book Review: Tracing the genesis of the world's religions
by Anne Grant, Providence Journal, February 19, 2010
"Pagan agricultural festivals morphed into monotheists’ most sacred observances celebrating, for example, the exodus of Jews from slavery and the resurrection of Jesus. Wade explains how “this sense of emotional familiarity . . . makes one’s own religion feel so natural, whereas most other religions feel far-fetched or deluded.”----------------------------------------
He reaches around the world, forward and back: cultures reinvent their religions to unify groups for survival of the fittest. He shows how sacred texts rewrote history with uplifting themes to achieve political and theological unification.
Wade concludes this landmark work by proposing that humanity’s faith instinct needs to escape rigid religious canons and “choose a sustainable balance between warfare and conciliation” to fit us for survival in a secular, global age."