Updates: Demonic Influences, Ministerial Exception, and those Pagan Olympics

Just some quick updates on stories previously discussed here on The Wild Hunt.More Discussion on Exorcism and Demonic Influences: Last week I took issue with Patheos Catholic columnist Fr. Dwight Longenecker, who made the argument that Aurora, Colorado killer James Holmes may have been demonically possessed. Now, Religion News Service has picked up the story, bringing this controversial view to a much wider audience. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qK58CZslAs"Longenecker dismissed the range of explanations for what might have motivated Holmes -- a bad childhood, mental illness, social awkwardness, extreme political or religious views, or exposure to violent video games or to the Ba … [Read more...]

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.I'd like to start by saying that my thoughts and prayers go out to those injured, and the families of those killed, in a senseless theater murder-spree that occurred in Aurora, Colorado on July 20th at a Midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. I'd like to appeal to the divine within us all, that we avoid conspiracy theories, or using this tragedy to win an argument, and instead focus, at least for now, on those who are existing in a world of pain, fear, doubt, and unc … [Read more...]

Religious Freedom: Once More, With Feeling

Today, a federal judge in Nebraska threw out a lawsuit against the Obama Administration's proposed rules on contraception coverage. The reason was two-fold: some of the plaintiffs lacked standing because they are already exempted from the rule, and the law hasn't been implemented yet, so there's no proof that it would actually infringe on the religious freedom of institutions that oppose contraception. "...although the Rule that lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ complaint establishes a definitive, final definition of "religious employer," ... [it] is currently undergoing a process of amendment to accommodate these organizations. The plaintiffs face no direct and immediate harm, and one ca … [Read more...]

Otherworldly Communications are Protected Speech

Ordinances against fortune telling have a long history, from bans on sorcery and witchcraft in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Europe, embodied today in places like Saudi Arabia, to anti-fraud bans (often based in various ethnic prejudices) in the 19th century, to current laws that claim to be protecting citizens from fraud, but are often pushed by conservative Christian lawmakers. For generations those who practiced fortune-telling as a profession existed on the margins of society, usually depicted as mere swindlers preying on the gullible, until a new ethos started to emerge that classified divination as an art. Part of a spiritual and religious tradition that practitioners felt should be … [Read more...]