Tags: witch hunts

goddess and god

More evidence of 'witchcraft' , Ancient sanctuary dedicated to Mithras

More evidence of 'witchcraft' discovered at Havana Cemetery
Katie Lopez, KGBT-TV, ‎Sep 24, 2010‎
"This is not the first time there have been claims of witchcraft at the cemetery.

It was just last week that Action 4 News reported about a local mother who found a shrine to Santa Muerte, a cow's tongue and other objects she considered "evil."

"We saw witchcraft objects," said 'Jane.' "We saw a jaw with candle wax, burned paper, and red chile peppers wrapped in plastic bags."

Who's responsible for them remains a mystery.

But there are some that point to Pagans.

Those who practice said there is a misunderstanding about their religion and what they do."


Woman killed, another thrashed for witchcraft
Divy Khare, Times of India, ‎Sep 27, 2010‎
"BOKARO: A 56-year-old woman was killed and another battling for life in hospital after they were mercilessly beaten by a group of villagers for allegedly practicing witchcraft. While the deceased woman has been identified as Guruwari Devi, Mukta Devi is in hospital in critical condition.

The villagers even took out procession along with the two women and later tied them to a black berry tree and thrashed them till they collapsed. The inhuman incident occurred in the tribal-dominated village, Joshi Colony, adjacent to Bokaro Steel Limited (BSL) plant boundary wall under Harla police station on Saturday."


Woman lynched in Orissa, 10 arrested
The Hindu, ‎Sep 27, 2010‎
"A 65-year-old woman was beaten to death in Orissa’s Jharsuguda district for allegedly practising witchcraft, police said, adding that 10 people were detained in the case Monday.

Gangi Munda was killed in Naxapali village, about 25 km from Jharsuguda district headquarters, late Saturday by some in the presence of other villagers.

“We have detained 10 suspects for questioning. We will arrest them after further investigation,” police inspector C.M. Pradhan said.

According to police, a two—month—old baby of the village died of bronchopneumonia —— an illness of lung —— after being treated at a nearby government hospital Saturday.

The baby’s parents, relatives and some villagers blamed Munda for the death and accused her of bringing miseries to the area by practicing witchcraft.

“The villagers then dragged her out of her home and beat her to death,” another police official said.

According to the 2001 census, Jharsuguda district, 374 km from here, has a population of 514,853 and 31.55 percent of them are tribals."



Ancient sanctuary dedicated to Mithras discovered in France
Ann Wuyts, Independent, 29 September 2010
"Archaeologists excavating at Angers, France, have discovered the remains of a temple dedicated to the Indo-Iranian god Mithras. The small, rectangular chapel, in which worshippers gathered for banquets and sacrifices dedicated to the god, is dated to the third century AD.

At the sanctuary, a typical bas-relief of the god Mithras wearing his Phrygian cap shows him slaughtering a bull – the so-called tauroctony. The depiction of the god was intentionally damaged in ancient times, possibly by early Christians trying to suppress the pagan cult."
goddess and god

"Sorcery" in Saudi Arabia, Doorway to Afterlife, Episcopals and Divine Feminine, Otsego prosecutor,

TV presenter gets death sentence for 'sorcery'
By Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, March 20, 2010
"Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to stop the execution of a Lebanese man sentenced to death for "sorcery."

In a statement released Thursday, the international rights group condemned the verdict and demanded the immediate release of Ali Hussain Sibat, former host of a popular call-in show that aired on Sheherazade, a Beirut based satellite TV channel.

According to his lawyer, Sibat, who is 48 and has five children, would predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience."
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Ancient doorway to afterlife discovered in Egypt
AFP, Mon Mar 29, 2010
"CAIRO (AFP) – A large red granite false door from the tomb of an ancient queen's powerful vizier has been discovered in Luxor, Egypt's culture minister said on Monday.

The carved stone door -- which ancient Egyptians believed was the threshold to the afterlife -- was unearthed near the Karnak Temple in Luxor and belongs to the tomb of User, a powerful advisor to the 18th dynasty Queen Hatshepsut, Faruk Hosni said in a statement.

The door, 1.75 metres (5.7 feet) high and 50 cm (19 inches) thick, is engraved with religious texts and various titles used by User, including mayor of the city, vizier and prince, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass was quoted as saying.

"The newly discovered door was reused during the Roman period. It was removed from the tomb of User and used in the wall of a Roman structure," said Mansur Boraik, who headed the excavation mission.

Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt between 1479 BC and 1458 BC, was the longest reigning female pharaoh."
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The Episcopal Church, Wiccans, and the Divine Feminine
by Marcia Segelstein, WORLDmag.com,March 26, 2010
"I suppose nothing The Episcopal Church does should shock me any more. Nonetheless, it does.

In this holiest of Christian seasons, on the evening before Passion Sunday, the Cathedral of All Souls Episcopal Church in Asheville, N.C., hosted an event in its parish hall for an organization called The Mother Grove Goddess Temple. The purpose of the event? To celebrate the spring equinox of course. Wait, you say, that’s not Christian, that’s pagan. But there’s more. According to Mother Grove’s website, its mission “is to create and maintain a permanent sanctuary where people of all faith traditions may openly and safely celebrate the Divine Feminine.” According to Byron Ballard, a Wiccan priestess and a member of the temple, Mother Grove “isn’t a Wiccan group, though some of us are Wiccans.” Just in case you were wondering, Ballard goes on to explain that “Wiccans may also refer to themselves as witches.”"
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Otsego prosecutor fired after dropping charge in psychic case
By Bryce Hoekenga, Kalamazoo Gazette, March 27, 2010
"The city of Otsego’s former prosecutor says he was fired after dropping a charge against a woman who had been accused of violating a 93-year-old city ordinance that prohibits the offering of psychic readings for money.

Stephen Kastran, who had been Otsego's prosecutor since 1975, said he received a letter from the city the week of March 8, saying he had been let go. He said his firing was the result of his decision to drop a charge against Melissa Lesterhouse.

Lesterhouse, who owns Bewitching Wares at 128 E. Allegan St. in Otsego, and her employee, Jacqueline Janeczek, were each cited in late December for providing a psychic reading for money, a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines and 90 days in jail."
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Removing crucifix would violate her Christian faith, nurse tells tribunal
by Steven Morris, guardian.co.uk, Monday 29 March 2010
"The hospital says she was asked to remove the necklace after a risk assessment showed it could be pulled by one of the elderly and sometimes confused patients in her care.

It insists it is a health and safety issue and that the problem is not with the crucifix but the necklace it was attached to.
[...]
"In September I wrote seeking to wear my cross pinned to the outside of my uniform. I did this to see if this request was to the 'offence' of the cross or there were genuine reasons.

"Their answer was that I could wear it pinned on the inside (not outside) of my pocket and confirmed to me they simply wanted to remove the visibility of the crucifix.

"The real reason initially was the 'sight' of the cross but now the argument has shifted to the wearing of a chain."
[...]
Chaplin said the trust granted exemption to "numerous other religious individuals", adding: "I identified two female Muslim doctors permitted to wear a headscarf, which raises more profound health and safety issues.""
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‘Peace, balance and harmony’: Former cop opens New Age shop in Centerville
By Rodney Manley, Macon.com, Sunday, Mar. 28, 2010
" Bibb welcomes anyone, no matter their spiritual background, to stop by.

“You can be Wiccan or a pagan. You can be a Baptist or Catholic,” she said.

Bibb stressed that her shop does not dabble in devil worship.

“I don’t worship the devil. I don’t condone any bad magic. I don’t agree with that at all.”"
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goddess and god

Witchcraft in Africa and India, A Short Story, Okra Soup Dreams, Cotton Mather

Talk about family squabbles!
Man owns snakes, goblins and paraphernalia in his garden
By MEMORY KHOZA, zimGossip, Zimbabwe, February 18, 2010
"THE alleged Mutare rural witchcraft mastermind, Abisha Matimbe, has admitted the presence of snakes, goblins and other underworld paraphernalia in his garden and in the family.
[...]
His bitter father, Mr Torai Matimbe, does not want to hear anything about his son, saying he had suffered enough because of his son’s evil deeds.

“My son is a wizard. He has brought us a lot of suffering. Why is he refusing to join others to find a lasting solution to problems bedeviling this family?” he asked.

Even if I am to die today, I don’t want him anywhere near my grave. If he dies first, I will not step my foot on his grave.

It is sad to note that he is accusing his own mother of witchcraft when he is the one who is in possession of the calabash full of blood.”"
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Nigeria: Echoes From Anambra Polls
Josef Omorotionmwan, AllAfrica.com, 18 February 2010
"Until recently, there was no AIDS; there was no cancer of any description; diabetes and other killer diseases that we know today were not yet born. Every death in the village was attributed to witchcraft. What we now call AIDS was easily the handiwork of that witch (the vampire) who made sure she sucked all the blood before finally killing the victim. Diabetes was at the other extreme: the witch ensured that her victim was inflated before he was finally killed. The explanation for any sudden death, including accidents and even cardiac arrest was simple: such lives were plucked off! For our man with the incurable sore, going to any dispensary was useless since he had fixed his eyes on the yellow woman around as being responsible for the sore. Life was quite simple then. People lived and died in the village. There was no need to go to Saudi Arabia for any treatment. After all, it was clear that the witches; the enemies of progress around could not be happy at the prospect of a single family doing so well. Science was so elemental at that point."
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Man Gets Hard Labor For Hexing Neighbor
by Ron Hogan, Popular Fidelity (blog), ‎Feb 16, 2010‎
"You could also title this article “Don’t Practice Witchcraft In Southeastern Africa While Cursing Your Neighbor To Drought,” because that’s what officials in Malawi say 35-year-old Ckumbeni Mwanatheu did to his neighbor after a dispute. He cursed his neighbor’s land to not get rained on, and as a result, Mr. Mwanatheu has received two months in prison and hard labor for his witchcraft. As it turns out, this is for Mwanatheu’s safety! While witchcraft is punishable by 5 years in jail, most witches in Malawi get torn apart by angry mobs before they can serve time.

Magistrate Lameck Mkwapatira, the presiding judge on the case, said that the suspected witch, “needed to be given a custodial sentence to let the community enjoy peace in his absence and for his own safety.” That’s putting it mildly. Two months in a prison camp or getting shredded by angry neighbors? I’ll take the hard labor, thanks."
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When women become 'witches'
by Saira Kurup, Times of India, ‎Feb 6, 2010‎
"They were accused of being dayans. “There were at least 10,000 villagers watching when these women were beaten up. Word had spread that the dayans would be dancing,” says Deepak Kumar Deo, legal trainer with an NGO, Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) in Ranchi.
[...]
However, there’s now a glimmer of hope, with Union woman and child development minister Krishna Tirath saying recently that there would soon be a law against witch-hunting. But would that ensure justice for the likes of Pinki and Sushila? That, unfortunately, still seems a long way off. "
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The Witch's Mirror - A Short Story
by Dr Ratan Lal Basu, Washington Bangla Radio Online Magazine, ‎Feb 16, 2010‎
"The storm raged through the village and demolished many houses including the hut of the old woman, allegedly a witch. It was at the farthest corner of the village where the bushy field slopes gently down to the small stream. Everybody in the village was relieved as the awe-inspiring woman was killed by natural hazard. Police came; her body was removed after clearing the debris and cremated at the sandy bank of the river. The villagers set fire on the crumbled house and it was gutted in a few minutes. All belongings of the deceased woman were now gutted by fire and the owner of the land on which the hut was erected, hired a priest to do the rituals to sanctify the plot so that no ominous effects of the soul of the woman alleged to be a witch remains. Villagers were now happy that the hidden menace of the witch was gone, but many felt morose as she had never done any harm to anybody and there was no proof that she was a witch; furthermore she used to help the villagers with her herbal medication. The village, however, reverberated with gossips about the deceased witch and her death brought some new topic to spend their idle time on in their monotonous rustic life. The tea stall gossips which had so far remained confined to the monotonous day- to-day living and back biting of the persons absent now swung to a livelier arena and stories were fabricated about the activities of the alleged witch."
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FOOD MATTERS: Okro soup dreams
by Yemisi Ogbe, NEXT, February 18, 2010
"There is a very real obstacle in attempting to explain what the average Nigerian means when he uses the word "demonic". It becomes even more complex when the word is attached to "Okro soup".

The whole matter becomes intractable when one puts all the words together in a sentence reading; "Eating Okro soup in your dreams is demonic". It forms an incoherent idea that makes complete sense to us.
[...]
When I brought up okro soup, the matter was regarded on an altogether different level: It was bad enough dreaming about Jollof rice and plantains, but if one dreamt of okro soup or snails, without any doubt, one was a candidate for a "deliverance" service which means going to a pastor or pastors to be prayed for and to have evil spirits exorcised from one's body.

Were they serious? Deadly so! Everyone but the pastor was reluctant to give details of their own okro soup dreams. You can imagine the condescension with which I was regarded when I suggested that okro soup and snail dreams designated by our subconscious as nightmares and witchcraft recruitment might be our collective way of dealing with the reality of eating foods that are texturally and visually uncomfortable and giving ourselves license to enjoy the foods. How else can one navigate the psychosis between regarding cooked snails as a delicacy and then rejecting it in ones dreams as a tool of the devil?"
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Cotton Mather & the Salem Witch Trials
by Cara Ruccolo, Australia.TO, ‎Feb 2, 2010‎
"Mather describes witchcraft as the doing of “strange things” and witches as the doers of “strange things” (368). “Strange things” is a vague term that could lend itself in an incorrect way in many different situations. Is eccentric Goodie Harrison a witch because she always ties her kerchief in a double-knot, as opposed to a single-knot? Is that small boy being possessed by the devil because he takes an interest in sewing? Is that anti-social elderly man practicing witchcraft since he does not ever leave his house? In such a way, Mather is encouraging townspeople to be very critical of others’ eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. Is an action that “[puzzles] the ordinary sense of mankind” an act of dark magic (368)? Mather seems to assert thus. In a society that vilified going against the strict Puritan norm even in times before witchcraft had ever been introduced, every odd move, odd glance became subject to scrutiny."
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goddess and god

Atheists challenge Prayer, Imbolc Festival, Witch Hunts in Africa

Legal line of prayer unclear
Atheists challenge Fresno council custom
By Russell Clemings, The Fresno Bee, Feb. 12, 2010
" Whether an atheist group succeeds in challenging invocations at Fresno City Council meetings may come down to a legal distinction between "sectarian" and "nonsectarian" prayer.

Nonsectarian prayer -- promoting or endorsing no specific religion -- is allowed under a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court decision. But more recent court decisions have barred prayer that invokes the name of Jesus or otherwise crosses the sectarian line.

Where exactly is that line? That's not entirely clear.

The Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which sent Mayor Ashley Swearengin a letter Monday complaining about the City Council's invocations, says it has written similar letters to six other California cities and is looking for a test case.

"We are contemplating the possibility of litigation in California," said the foundation's co-president, Annie Laurie Gaylor.
[...]
Gaylor said her organization hopes that, in the end, the Fresno council will opt to do without invocations, rather than trying to navigate the channel between sectarian and nonsectarian versions. But she said she's not confident that will happen.

"We're atheists," she said. "We don't believe in miracles.""
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Huge crowds turn out for Marsden’s Imbolc Festival
by Steve Catchpool, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, UK, Feb 13 2010
"MASSIVE crowds descended on Marsden last weekend for the acclaimed annual Imbolc Festival.

Jack Frost and Arctic winter chills were sent packing at the stunning festival, attended by excited people from near and far.

In fact more than 3,500 people – one of the biggest crowds for years – flocked to the Colne Valley village to see the fiery celebrations, organised by local enthusiasts and the Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre.

The 2,000-year-old event featured performances by fire jugglers, fire-swingers and “human fireworks” and many revellers took part in the festival procession from Marsden railway station down to Tunnel End.

Thousands more gathered at the visitor centre to enjoy the fire circus, fire sculptures and the festival finale – a stunning fiery battle between Jack Frost, representing winter, and the Green Man, representing spring."
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Witchcraft-killings tension brews
By Mpume Madlala, Independent Online, February 15 2010
"A heavy police presence is still in place at Umlazi's E Section, where three homes were set alight by community members more than two weeks ago on suspicion that their inhabitants were practising witchcraft.

Mbongeni Zungu, 68, died of smoke inhalation when his home, which he shared with his wife Mildred, 58, grandchildren and children, was set alight in a mob rampage on January 29.

His funeral took place on Friday.

The chairman of the Umlazi community policing forum, Sihle Chiliza, said another family had to leave the area last week after they were accused of witchcraft after a neighbour had collapsed and died.

"We tried to calm the community members, who were very angry, but it did not work. We then decided to place the family in hiding because we feared that their home would be set alight," he said.

Chiliza said that at a community meeting on February 7, people refused to give up their suspicions that the victims were practising witchcraft.

"They also made it clear that they did not want the families back in the community. We then pleaded with them to allow Zungu to be buried at his home, as it was African tradition to do so. They agreed, but said the family should leave," Chiliza explained.

He said 11 people had handed themselves over to the police.

Police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Vincent Mdunge, said the 11 suspects, who had been charged with murder, attempted murder, malicious damage to property and arson, had been released on bail. Police would remain in the area until the situation returned to normal, he said."
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Five women lynched over witchcraft
By Richard Adrama, New Vision Sunday, Uganda, 14th February, 2010
"A 90-YEAR-OLD woman and her daughter were last week lynched by a mob in Kucuala village in Zombo district on allegations of practicing witchcraft.

The north-eastern regional Police spokesman, Henry Alyang, identified the women as Veronica Diacwinya and her 40-year-old daughter, Celina Jokocibo.

Alyang said the mob picked five women at about 8:30pm and clobbered them with sticks and hoe handles.

The mob also reportedly burnt 18 huts in the homesteads of the accused.

“The attackers accused the women of bewitching their daughter, who recently became mentally impaired,” Alyanga said.

The other three, who were not identified, were rescued by the Police after a tip-off from the residents. They sustained serious injuries.

Six residents of the same village, suspected to have headed the mob justice, were rounded up by the Police during a cordon-and-search operation.

Alyang identified the six as John Nyalula, Awola Ajoge, Lenya Ayella, Vincent Nachiku, To Bin and Charles Alengo.

They were detained at Zeu Police station.

In a related incident, a man was lynched by a mob in Marro central village in Nebbi town on Friday morning.

According to Alyang, the man, who is commonly known as Dodo in Paidha where he worked as a butcher, was found in possession of a stolen goat which he was carryingn an un-registered motorcycle."
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goddess and god

Witch vs Green Party, Gods' Robes, Pendle Witch Camp, NZ Pagan Festival, Margot Adler, Hindu Pyre

Witch's poll hopes dashed after rejection by Greens
South Devon.co.uk Herald Express, February 13, 2010
"Ms Goldsmith said she had hoped to represent Torbay on green issues.

She said her lifestyle as a 10th generation hereditary witch was is in tune with the party's politics.

Ms Goldsmith describes herself as a female Shaman — Shamanka or wise woman — who practises the ancient arts to help students on their spiritual journey.

A Green Party spokesman did not make any comment on Ms Goldsmith's recent membership application.

He said: "Sarah Goldsmith resigned from the Green Party in May 2008. The South Devon Green Party will shortly run a selection process to find our general election candidate for the Torbay constituency.

"That candidate will champion our party's goals to preserve public services, restore the NHS, and create jobs to address the recession.""
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Gods’ robes marry tradition and innovation
By Tien-ying Hsu, Taiwan Today, 02/12/2010
"The robes worn by altar statues in Taiwanese temples are something to see, delicately embroidered with ancient Chinese characters or nature themes to accentuate the specific blessings that the gods offer.

Tim Chou, heir to a local traditional embroidery business based in the southern Taiwan County of Chiayi, has come up with unprecedented applications for these “gods’ robes.” One of the most striking is his design of tiny versions of the robes to protect and identify the paper-made lucky charms that pilgrims take home after worshipping a deity. These talismans are small and easily lost, especially when entrusted to children. Over time, one may also forget the specific blessing associated with a charm."
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Bewitching plans for 400th anniversary of Pendle witch trials
By Jon Livesey LancashireTelegraph.co.uk, 10th February 2010
" A YEAR-long programme of events is being proposed to mark the 400th anniversary of the trial and execution of the Pendle witches.

Adrian Lord, the man behind Pendle Witch Camp, wants to organise the series of events to take place in 2012.

He has offered to chair a committee aimed at securing funding for the festivities and coming up with ideas."
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Morrinsville prepares for pagan invasion
By Ali Ikram, 3news.co.nz, Thu, 11 Feb 2010
"Morrinsville will play host to the fourth New Zealand Pagan Festival, starting Friday.

Official statistics show that thousands of Kiwis follow the pagan way of life.

Nightline met with a member of the Order of the Oriental Templars, a secretive group that once counted infamous British occultist Aleister Crowley amongst its numbers.

Lionel Snell was dressed like an accountant on holiday. He's what's known as a 'chaos magician', and while he's used to people thinking that's a bit odd, so are a lot of things.

"Where I come from in England, there were these people who would meet in a temple where there was a field surrounding it where dead bodies were buried, and they'd kneel down in front of images of human torture and degradation and pretend to drink human blood and eat flesh," says Mr Snell.

"That, word for word, is an accurate description of a Church of England ceremony, but it complete misses the point.""
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Author, Margot Adler, to discuss paganism at Pacific
The Record, February 09, 2010
"STOCKTON, CA-- Margot Adler, an author and correspondent for National Public Radio, will lecture about paganism in America at 8 p.m. next Tuesday at the Long Theatre at University of the Pacific.

Adler is a practicing Wiccan. She is author of "Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today," a book considered by scholars to be an authoritative guide. Her most recent book is "Heretic's Heart: A Journey through Spirit and Revolution."

Adler's lecture, "Paganism: Religion, Not Superstition," is part of Pacific's Colliver Lecture Series on religion.

The event is free and open to the public. Adler will conduct a book signing after the lecture. For more information, visit www.pacific.edu."
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Hindu healer wins funeral pyre battle
By Jerome Taylor, The Independent Religious Affairs Correspondent, 10 February 2010
"In the end they decided that Mr Ghai’s wishes to burn on a pyre enclosed within a large structure but open to the elements was not forbidden by the Cremation Act 1902.

In summing up his judgement Lord Justice Neuberger ruled: “Contrary to what everyone seems to have assumed below, and I am not saying it is anyone's fault, it seems to us that Mr Ghai's religious and personal beliefs as to how his remains should be cremated once he dies can be accommodated within current cremation legislation."

The landmark ruling paves the way for anyone in Britain – be they Hindu, Sikh, religious or non-religious – to opt for an open air cremation as long as they can find a crematorium which can conduct the cremations without falling foul of the strict environmental and public health regulations surrounding the disposal of bodies. Currently no such facility exists although the expectation is that some orthodox Hindus will hope to build one soon."
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Polish Nationalists oppose St. Valentine’s Day
by Gazeta Wyborcza, Polskie Radio S.A., 10.02.2010
"Posters saying “F**k Off Valentines, Noc Kupaly OK”, designed by Niklot, a nationalist organisation, have appeared on the streets of the Baltic city of Szczecin.

The organisation wants Poles to abandon the foreign tradition of celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day and go back to their roots, i.e. pagan rites.

Niklot claims that Poles should observe the Kupala Night, a Slavic fertility holiday traditionally celebrated on 23-24 June.

On Kupala Night young men would jump over the flames of bonfires and girls would float wreaths of flowers often lit with candles on rivers, attempting to gain foresight into their relationship fortunes from the flow patterns of the flowers on the river.

Niklot, which opposes the mixing of cultures, languages, nations and races and considers revenge to be the basic right of every man, and is frequently accused of propagating fascism.

“We only refer to tradition, not radical ideology,” Ireneusz Woszczyk from Niklot has said, denying the accusations.

The Helsinki Federation for Human Rights claims that city authorities should wage war against the organisation and check if it has violated the law by pasting anti-Valentine posters with nationalistic slogans."
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goddess and god

Albino killings in Tanzania, Sorcery in Malawi

Albino killings in Tanzania related to ancient tribal beliefs
by Rachel Pollock, MediaGlobal, 11 February 2010
"This recent wave of mass killings have been correlated to ancient tribal beliefs in supernatural powers some refer to as “witchcraft,” which can also be used to inflict harm or damage to property or the members of a community. Unfortunately, today, we are seeing a sharp increase in the amount of killings due to these ancient spiritual beliefs. Mike O’Maera of the Catholic Information Service of Africa (CISA) tells MediaGlobal “The issue of Albinos has had special repercussions in the way persons perceive each other and the whole idea of “quick” riches from witchcraft related rituals.”
[...]
While the beliefs in supernatural powers used to heal people suffering from serious ailment, have always been part of African culture, killings as a result of the myths surrounding disease, have been a recent development. Engstrandneascu commented: “[locals] do not recall such practices taking place in the past (killing of albinos for body parts used in witchcraft). However, ritual killings of animals were and still are common in east and west Africa. In parts of Africa (like Nigeria and Uganda) they do abduct and kill children, suggesting that the use of innocent blood would ‘bless’ a major enterprise. Similarly, albinos have been singled out by the color of their skin and are used in the same way.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, “believes that a combination of tougher judicial measures, education and adequate health services could curb these killings and restore the dignity of people with albinism.” It is from a lack of education and adequate healthcare that these killings were able to escalate to such a degree."
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Malawi man jailed for sorcery
ABS CBN News Agence France-Presse, 02/13/2010
"BLANTYRE - A court in Malawi has jailed a man after he was accused of casting a spell that blocked rain from falling on his neighbor's field, police said Friday.

The court sentenced Chikumbeni Mwanatheu, 35, to two months in prison with hard labor after he admitted a charge of witchcraft, police spokesman Augustus Nkhwazi told AFP.

Magistrate Lameck Mkwapatira ruled that the suspect "needed to be given a custodial sentence to let the community enjoy peace in his absence and for his own safety."

The poor tobacco producing southen African country has been experiencing drought since last year.

Belief in witchcraft and magic runs deep in Malawi. The practice is punishable by up to five years in prison and suspects are often killed by mobs."
goddess and god

Witches and Witch Hunts

Low-Caste Women in Nepal the Target of Horror Witch-Hunts
MedIndia, February 08, 2010
"Hundreds of Dalit women are thought to suffer a similar ordeal every year in Nepal, where superstition and caste-based discrimination remain rife and where most communities still operate on strict patriarchal lines.

Human rights campaigners say the perpetrators of such crimes are rarely brought to justice, with police viewing the persecution of Dalit women as a matter for the community to sort out itself.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has pronounced 2010 the year to end violence against women as Nepal makes the transformation from traditional Hindu monarchy to modern secular state.
[...]
Experts say superstitions about witchcraft are often merely a pretext for victimising women, and sociologist Suraj Kafle points out that it is almost always low-caste women who face such accusations.

"It is always socially and economically vulnerable women who suffer," said Kafle.

"This is simply an excuse to torture poor women who lack support from the rest of the community. Poverty and lack of education make them an easy target.""
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Indian government hopes to ban witchcraft
by Ibtihal Ahmed, DC World News Examiner, Examiner.com, ‎Feb 7, 2010‎
"In an effort to stop witchcraft and witch-hunting, the government of India plans to make witchcrafting illegal in the near future.

Much of witchcrafting practices take place in rural India, including in underdeveloped states such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The United Nations has expressed concern over the murdering of women who are accused of being witches.

According to statistics, between 1987 and 1993, 2,556 women were branded as witches and were murdered as a result. Presumed witches, especially women, are displayed for fellow villagers and seen beaten naked.

On January 2 of this year, three masked men stormed into a village and killed a man and a woman on charges of witchcraft, leaving their children orphans.

Many people claim that a lack of jobs and pensions drive them to perform witch-crafting. Many widows also complain that their pensions were not given to them.

The Indian government hopes to start education campaigns as well as improve the living conditions of most villagers since financial instability is a breeding ground for the problem.

Advash Kaushal, chairman of Rural Litigation and Entitlement, Kendra says, “Lack of access to justice is the main problem. But there are many other barriers too, such as of distance [and] attitudes toward rural people.”"
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'Somebody hurled a grenade inside'
Sapa-AFP, Independent Online, South Africa, February 10 2010
"Bujumbura - A Burundian man suspected of witchcraft and his three children were killed in a grenade attack on their home, officials said Wednesday.

The attack occurred late Tuesday near Itaba, a village in central Burundi, local official Evariste Nzeyimana said.

"Somebody hurled a grenade inside the kitchen where Emmanuel Nyandwi, his wife and three children aged seven to 15 were gathered," he said, adding that only the mother survived with light injuries.

"We haven't yet arrested the culprit but we believe this crime is connected to a family feud involving witchcraft," Nzeyimana said, adding that Nyandwi had recently been accused to causing a relative's death by sorcery.

Grenades can be found easily for as little as one dollar in the central African nation. They are often used to settle land disputes and family feuds and killed more than 130 people in 2008.

Varying estimates put the number of weapons owned illegally at between 100 000 and 300 000 in a nation struggling to emerge from years of civil conflict.

The government claims that a recent campaign enabled the recovery of 70 percent of those weapons but rights groups contest the figure."
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'She threatened to burn me like a witch'
by Zelda Venter, Independent Online, South Africa, February 10 2010
"A family feud during which the sister-in-law of a Kameeldrift woman allegedly threatened to burn her "like a witch" and said her "bones will be picked up on street corners" resulted in the Kameeldrift woman approaching the Pretoria High Court for an urgent interdict.

The court provisionally interdicted Monica Pretorius of Leeufontein not to threaten or harm her sister-in-law, Anneke Bosman, or her family. Pretorius is married to Bosman's brother."
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Wife-slay suspect Lippe testifies he made up confession to end 'witch hunt'
by Rebecca Baker, The Journal News, LoHud.com, Lower Hudson Valley, NY, ‎Feb 8, 2010‎
"Lippe, a 68-year-old jeweler, is on trial on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Faith Lippe, his wife of 18 years. He is accused of knocking her unconscious during an argument Oct. 3, 2008, and burning her body in a 55-gallon barrel behind their Little Lake Road home. Werner Lippe, who was married twice before, was going through a divorce with Faith.

Lippe confessed twice to a friend, who was wearing a police wire, and once to state police. He claims the confession was false. There is no forensic evidence linking him to his wife's death."
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goddess and god

The Jewish People, Witch-hunter Murders, African Polygamy, Religion in Movies, Witches' Hat

Wow! this is really controversial stuff.
"A leading Israeli historian shatters the national myth of the Jewish exodus from the promised land."
The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand (Author), Yael Lotan (Translator)
Book Review: The Invention of the Jewish People
by Harry Clark, CounterPunch Feb 4, 2010
"Sand’s account of Judaism, from exclusive Israelite genealogy, to Hellenic proselytizing, to proselytizing and conversion on the margins of Christianity, in Arabia, North Africa, Spain, and among the Khazars and the Slavs, to defensive introversion amidst the final triumph of Christianity, is the interesting and compelling story of a religious minority subject to normal historical forces.

The contrary view of the unitary Jewish people expelled from its homeland, and wandering aloof in exile for two thousand years, until beginning its return in the late 19th c., is a reactionary myth which Zionism has deployed to conquer Palestine and compel support for it. The myth prevails unchecked today not only in Israel but worldwide. Nothing “has challenged the fundamental concepts that were formed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” Advances in the study of nations and nationalism have not “affected the departments of the ‘History of the People of Israel’ (aka Jewish history) in Israeli universities.

Nor, amazingly, have they left their imprint on the ample output of Jewish studies departments in American or European universities.” The Zionist myth expresses a virulently racialized Jewish consciousness. In the canonical liberal view “anyone who argued that all Jews belong to a nation of alien origin would have been classified at once as an anti-Semite. Nowadays, anyone who dares to suggest that the people known in the world as Jews (as distinct from today’s Jewish Israelis) have never been, and are still not, a people or a nation is immediately denounced as a Jew-hater.”

Sand states in closing that “the mood at the end of this book. . .is more pessimistic than hopeful.” His final paragraph asks:

“In the final account, if it was possible to change the historical imaginary so profoundly, why not put forth a similarly lavish effort of the imagination to create a different tomorrow? If the nation’s history was mainly a dream, why not dream afresh, before it becomes a nightmare?”"
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Three held for E Cape witchcraft murder
by SAPA, Independent Online, South Africa, February 04 2010
"Three men were arrested on Thursday for allegedly beating a woman to death they accused of practising witchcraft, Eastern Cape police said.

The trio, aged between 21 and 28, also faced a charge of arson and another of pointing of a firearm.

They went to a homstead in Bizana on Tuesday and allegedly assaulted a 60-year-old woman they accused of witchcraft, said Captain Mlungisi Matidane.

She died of her wounds. Her husband escaped.

"The same suspects later went back to the same homestead and set alight two rondavels. The 11 occupants survived with minor injuries."

The trio was arrested on Thursday morning and expected to appear in the Bizana Magistrate's Court shortly.

In a separate incident, three men accused of killing 65-year-old Nokitani Tshemesi and her three granddaughters, appeared in the Elliotdale Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

They had suspected the woman of practising witchcraft, police said. Their bodies were found in their home in Ntsingizi village on Tuesday morning. They had been stabbed to death."
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Another take on Polygamy. Even with three wives he fathered a child outside of marriage!!

Union: Stop Zuma witch-hunt
by SAPA, News24, 2010-02-04
"Johannesburg - Critics of President Jacob Zuma are trying to re-engineer society into "one man and one woman for life", the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said on Thursday.

"The media's obsession and interference at President Zuma's private life aims at re-engineering society to conform to the capitalist sex 'norm' of one man and one woman for life, thus denying the complexity of human sexuality," said the CWU.

Demanding that the media "stay out of the bedroom", they said if the media owners and opposition party leaders could not respect Zuma's privacy, they should declare their own partners and "throngs" of children.

"This puritanical witch-hunt against President Zuma waged by the bourgeois media and the opposition is a typical modern day version of Christian fundamentalist crusades against 'sin'."

"This witch-hunt directed towards President Zuma seeks to reinforce the idea in the public sphere that it is morally wrong for either President Zuma or women to be sexually intimate and impregnate each other outside the institution of marriage."

The union believed Zuma's private life was "none of our business".

Zuma had taken two days off to rest after confirming he fathered a child outside his three marriages and engagement.
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'Avatar' draws controversy from the Vatican
by Joe Cramer, The Villanovan (subscription), Feb, 4, 2010
"Rev. David Cregan, O.S.A., a professor in the theater department who holds his doctorate in drama, feels that the Vatican newspaper is extremely important in the function exemplified by its critique of “Avatar.”

“It can be helpful in leading people toward the kinds of artistic projects that will enrich their spiritual lives,” Cregan says.

This would apply not only to films with a particular influence over pop culture at any given moment, but also those which challenge or reinterpret ideas that may be crucial to the religion in general. Yet the newspaper has remained silent on recent religious-themed films, such as “The Book of Eli” and “Legion,” both of which deal with religious implications and iconic imagery in a much more blatant way than the allegorical “Avatar.”
[...]
As often occurs when popular entertainment attempts to address topical issues, questions are raised concerning its place and significance within the issue, as well as its effectiveness in addressing those questions.

Rev. Joseph Farrell, O.S.A., doesn’t see the naturalistic ideologies as necessarily in opposition with Catholic or Augustinian views.

“What I was reminded of was a passage in Book X of the Confessions of St. Augustine when he asks himself the question, ‘What am I loving when I love my God?’” Farrell says.“He goes on a search questioning nature and all created things and keeps getting the answer from them, ‘We are not your God.’ He concludes by saying, ‘They lifted up their mighty voices and cried, “He made us.” My questioning was my attentive spirit, and their reply, their beauty.’”
[...]
Ultimately, “Avatar” is yet another example of the tension that will always exist between art and ideology.
When a form of popular entertainment attempts to address highly topical and divisive issues, even in an allegorical manner, it is sure to incite some criticism. Despite this, it illustrates the importance of having relevant and intelligent arguments on both sides to maintain a well-informed balance for viewers.

“Art can create perspective,” Cregan says. “But art is not doctrine.”"
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South Lyon Cross Country--Witch's Hat Run
Apparently the race is named after a building, the Witches Hat Depot Museum
"The Witch's Hat Depot functions as a museum and the gathering place for the South Lyon Historical Society. It's distinctive roof line gives the building it's name: The Witch's Hat. The building was moved from the original location on East Lake Street to McHattie Park in 1976 as a bicentennial project and it now serves as the focal point for the historic village.

The interior of the depot has been preserved to show what a turn-of-the-century train depot would look like. The Historical Society uses the Depot and the nearby Freight Building to store historic documents. The Depot is an excellent resource for railroad buffs or those who simply want to know more about the history of South Lyon."
goddess and god

Arrest in Sweat Lodge Deaths, Christians Desecrate Circle, Witch-hunters kill family, Wicca Class

James Ray Arrested in Sedona Sweat Lodge Deaths
by Lee Ferran, ABC News, Feb. 3, 2010
"Controversial spiritual leader James Arthur Ray was arrested today and charged with three counts of manslaughter connected to the deaths at a Sedona, Ariz., sweat lodge in October.
Beverly Bunn and Sidney Spencer say spiritual guru pushed participants too far.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest in a statement on its Web site.

"With the arrest of James Ray, Sheriff [Steve] Waugh hopes the familes of the three victims will now have some measure of closure to this tragedy," the post said.

Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman died following a ceremony in the sweat lodge led by Ray on Oct. 9.

Bond was set for Ray at $5 million, the sheriff's office said.

Ray's lawyer, Luis Li, called the charges "unjust" and said that Ray would be proven innocent. "
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Christians Desecrate Wiccan Religious Site at Air Force Academy
by Michael Leon, Veterans Today Network, February 3, 2010
"Evangelical Christians are at it again. The proselytizing only-through-Christ bunch have now taken up desecration of non-Christian religious sites: Not Jews this time but Wiccans. What the hell goes through the minds of these evangelicals who think they can tell other religions—at a military academy no less—what to believe? At their core, evangelicals who despise pluralism are infantile."


Christians Desecrate Pagan Site at Air Force Academy
by Gus diZerega, Beliefnet.com (blog) February 3, 2010
"I was wondering how long the new Pagan site would last without incident given the number of Sauronic folks in Colorado identifying themselves as Christians.

Apparently not long.

I hope those responsible are prosecuted to the full extent possible and if cadets or military officers, given dishonorable discharges as betraying their oath of service. Since their word is worthless, their presence in the service is a risk to all decent people."
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'Witchcraft' vigilantes kill family
by Ügen Vos and SAPA, The Citizen, February 4 2010
"JOHANNESBURG - Police have promised to make an example of a group of vigilantes they say butchered an entire family because they believed their elderly grandmother was involved in witchcraft.

Nokitani Tshemesi, 65, and her three granddaughters were stabbed to death with an assegai in the Eastern Cape village of Ntshingizi early Monday morning. The youngest victim was 10 years old.

Their three suspected killers are appearing in the Mqanduli Magistrate’s Court today.

Police say killings motivated by allegations of witchcraft remain a serious problem in the province, and they want to send a strong message that this was not acceptable.

“We are talking about the safety of women and children, because they are vulnerable to these kinds of crimes,” said police superintendent Mzukisi Fatyela.

“We will take them to court to teach them a lesson, so that others who may do that must know the law will take its course, and punish them.”

Police sniffer dogs were roped in to help find some of the family’s blood-stained clothes, and police have also recovered the assegai used in the horrendous crime.

Police arrested two men, aged 33 and 27, for the crime on Tuesday night.

Yesterday morning they pounced on a third suspect, aged 22, when he returned to his home. Fatyela said the arrests were made thanks to a tip-off from the local community.

Police have ruled out robbery as a motive. Says Fatyela: “The family who was murdered was very poor. She (the grandmother) was accused of witchcraft… she was accused of killing someone (with witchcraft).”

Earlier this month, an 81-year-old woman was stabbed 50 times and had her throat slit near Mtubatuba in KwaZulu-Natal, after her neighbour accused her of witchcraft. Police say the man had convinced himself that the elderly woman was behind the death-by-witchcraft of two family members. "
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Course explores wicca religion
Nanaimo News Bulletin, British Columbia, February 03, 2010
"Anyone interested in exploring the wicca religion is invited back to class.

The Temple of the Green Cauldron is offering Introduction to Wicca, running Wednesdays from Feb. 17 to March 14 at the Harewood Activity Centre, 195 Fourth St.

The course is for those interested in exploring the wiccan or pagan path. The class will cover basic skills and knowledge needed for anyone new to the craft or wishing to brush up on old skills.

Some of the topics will include the history of witchcraft, the Wheel of the Year cycle of the Earth’s seasons, magick and spell craft, ritual construction, divination, meditation and others.

Classroom time will consist of 36 hours of instruction and hands-on practice with an opportunity for assistance.

The class is a community service provided by the Temple of the Green Cauldron and is not for profit. The registraton fee of $80 covers the textbook, class rental and printing.

A limited number of seats are available to those experiencing financial hardship. Class size is restricted and the fee is due before classes begin.

A registration form is available at www.greencauldron.org/workshops/intro_to_wicca/2010_reg.pdf.

For further information, please e-mail info@greencauldron.org or telephone 250-758-8332."
goddess and god

Witches, Witch hunts, Interfaith Discussion,

Witches come out to play
By Mara Pattison-Sowden, Star News Group, Australia, 19th January 2010
"Mrs Yeoman is part of the western suburbs’ largest pagan group, which has been running for five years.

People travel from all over Melbourne to attend the monthly meetings in Werribee. Mrs Yeoman said growing up as an army brat she was exposed to, and fascinated by, many different cultures and religions from Christianity to Hinduism and Buddhism.

She said her own understanding began with how science and belief could work together.

“It’s about working out where you sit in the world. I never quantified my beliefs until I was nearly 30,” she said.

The 43-year-old said regardless of what she believes, “it’s about connecting with the energy of nature.”"
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Witch hunters are still with us
Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance, January 15, 2010
"There have always been two kinds of witches.

The first are the people who perform folk magic in virtually every pre-modern society in recorded history. In England, right up into the 19th century, they were most often known as cunning men or wise women. They usually combined a number of duties, starting with having some rudimentary medical knowledge. They would also likely tell fortunes, sell love spells, and possibly offer curses on the side. They were an accepted part of daily village life.

Then there were the witches as imagined by the Inquisition and various witch-finders in the 16th and 17th centuries. These were far more exciting than a village herbalist with a pack of tarot cards.
[...]
But of course, the witch hunters never went away. It was apparently George Orwell who first used the phrase "witch hunt" to describe a search for scapegoats. He was talking about the Spanish Civil War, during which all sides murdered their opponents, and sometimes their allies.
[...]
Unfortunately, it seems it isn't a matter of putting witch hunts behind us. It's about trying to predict who will be the next target of the hunters."
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Interfaith arts event aims to bring forth ‘Winter’s Light’
by Rick Hellman, The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, 15 January 2010 12:00
"Winter’s Light Jan. 23
The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council presents “Winter’s Light,” a multi-faith evening of storytelling, music, dance and the arts.
The event takes place Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Goppert Theater at Avila University, 11901 Wornall Road. There is a $10-per-person suggested donation. Youth are welcome free of charge.
The schedule is as follows:
6:30 p.m. — Doors open, art displays, refreshments
7:15 p.m. — Children’s story on the stage
7:30 p.m. — Program begins
Reception to follow
For more information, call (913) 548-2973, or visit www.kcinterfaith.org.
[...]
In addition to Galex, the other artists featured here Jan. 23 will include storytellers Caroline Baughman, a practitioner of Paganism; Rev. Cara Hawkins, American Indian spirituality; and Karta Purkh Khalsa, Sikhism. Sonnenschein said there will also be some Sufi dance, Hindu music and more."
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Series to explore tough questions
Stuart Armstrong, Martlet.ca, The University of Victoria's Independent Newspaper, Jan 20, 2010
""Several diverse faiths will come together over the next month to debate where religion fits into some of the most contentious issues in our society.

The Interfaith office is holding a series of public discussions with representatives from the Christian, Jewish, Baha’I, Wiccan, Muslim, Hindu and Buddist faiths, as well as different First Nations faiths. The representatives will debate the religious issues implicated within freedom of speech, environmental policy and people’s sex lives.

Reverend Lucy Reid, UVic’s Anglican Chaplain and priest at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Saanich, says that one of the aims of the series will be to dispel stereotypes about theological debate.

“Whenever we have these seminars there are … people who are surprised that all priests aren’t all conservative, and that a number of them express progressive views on faith – that we are not at all dogmatic and moralizing,” she said.
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Moral dilemma: what will replace the church as our compass?
January 19, 2010 , Jason Walsh and Lenny Antonelli of the The Irish Times ask five academics:
"If, following church scandals, the public is looking for common moral ground, where might they find it?"
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