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DC Pagans to confront New Apostolic Reformation, Lafayette Square Park, Sunday, Oct 30th
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From Caroline Kenner:

"DC Pagans to Hold Halloween Ceremony Countering the New Apostolic Reformation Cursing Prayer Campaign On October 30th in Lafayette Square Park

Silver Spring, MD, October 19th, 2011 Priestesses and priests from the Washington, DC Pagan community will hold a Celebration of the Divine Feminine and Religious Freedom in Lafayette Square Park across from the White House on Sunday, October 30th, 2011, as a protest to the New Apostolic Reformation’s 51-day prayer campaign targeting Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, Heathens, and other Goddess-worshipers nationwide.

The New Apostolic Reformation is a Dominionist group of Christians preaching that all feminine forms of deity are demonic. The NAR is engaged in a 51-day campaign of imprecatory prayer to create a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in the USA. Republican presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are influenced by the NAR agenda.

Reverend Barry Lynn, United Church of Christ minister and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said, “Some people think the Dominionists and the New Apostolic Reformation are a newfangled movement. I call them what they are: the Religious Right in a new gown. They're not fooling anyone. This is the same old bunch of theocrats we've been dealing with for more than 40 years. It's the same crew that believes only its narrow version of Christianity is acceptable and pleasing to God. It's the same collection of people who believe their religion gives them the right to run everyone else's lives.”

Rev. Lynn went on to say, “I have news for them: Wiccans and Pagans are part of the American religious mosaic, and they're here to stay. Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison gave us religious liberty - and that means religious liberty for everyone. The followers of nature-based faiths are going to use it because they don't want to lose it. What could be more in keeping with the great American tradition?”

Katrina Messenger, a writer, teacher, blogger, poet and Washington, DC native, will be the main celebrant in Lafayette Square Park. Ms. Messenger said, "The methods used by the NAR and other Dominionists are founded upon hate, fear, and ignorance. Their demonization of our Gods and Goddesses uses inflammatory language that can lead to violence and discrimination against followers of minority religions. We have choices in how to respond to this threat to our freedom and our faiths. Many are resorting to prayer, some to writing letters, and some to defensive strategies. We decided to honor the Queen of Heaven, the Goddess Inanna, in a public space, and demonstrate the very freedoms the Dominionists seek to destroy." Ms. Messenger is the founder of Connect DC and the Reflections Mystery School in Petworth.

Event organizer Caroline Kenner is a Washington, DC-born shamanic healer and teacher who now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. “Nationally, many in our community are appalled by the scurrilous lies about our Goddesses spread by the New Apostolic Reformation. We Pagans are proud American citizens entitled to all the religious freedom granted by the Founders of this country in our Constitution. We are dismayed by the hate-filled rhetoric the New Apostolic Reformation uses, and we wish to show the public that our Goddesses are beneficent and peaceful deities.”

The event in Lafayette Square Park begins at noon and ends at 5pm on Sunday, October 30th, Samhain eve to many Pagans, leading into one of the most holy days of the Pagan year. “Samhain, or Halloween, is the Feast of the Ancestors in some of our Pagan religions. We will invoke the Founding Fathers and Mothers of our nation during our ceremony, along with a multitude of Goddesses from pantheons both ancient and modern. Among our Goddesses will be Lady Liberty and Columbia, the Goddess who stands guard atop the Capitol Building,” said Ms. Kenner. “The New Apostolic Reformation people would topple Columbia from Her pinnacle, and rename DC the District of Christ.”

There will be a number of people offering prayers during the ritual, including a Unitarian Universalist minister and celebrants from several Pagan faiths. After the religious ceremony, there will be drumming, dancing, chanting and energy raising designed to protect people in all fifty states and DC who support freedom of religious belief and practice for everyone. People of all faiths or none are welcome to join the event.

Sacred Space, an annual conference on metaphysics, mysticism and magick, now in its 22nd year, is the sponsor of the celebration in Lafayette Square Park on October 30th. Supporting organizations include Connect DC, Reflections Mystery School and Gryphons Grove School of Shamanism. Individual supporters include Washington, DC Pagan bloggers Hecate Demeter, Literata and David Salisbury.

For more information or to read the NAR curse against Pagans, visit: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2011/09/the-new-apostolic-reformation-message-to-pagans.html

CONTACT: Caroline Kenner
301-384-8455
301-412-1760
mythkenner@aol.com

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I personally have no problem with Columbia on top of the Capitol building, but if Ms. Kenner views Columbia as her deity, wouldn't having her atop the Capitol be a violation of church and state as much as if they put Jesus, Buddha or Mohammed on top? Just sayin'...

It's a fair question, but considering how many Greek/Roman gods there are on government buildings, it might be moot. I suspect that most people would consider the old gods irrelevant. I don't, but I'm not most people.

It's an interesting question. I don't think it's quite the same thing, though.

Columbia was not a deity by original intent, but an alternative/poetic name for America:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_%28name%29

She became personified by political and magazine art, and I think only accumulated a mythic/deific identity much later on (not sure about this; I suppose it's possible that some of the American Masons and others were working with her from early on, but I suspect it's more linked with modern Paganism). Caroline's reverence of her as a deity is entirely valid, but beside the point.

If someone declares a public secular monument to be of religious significance, does that make it a violation of the establishment clause? As sjo pointed out, there are lots of classical deity statues on public buildings and they were not put there as acts of worship... but there are reconstructionist Greek and Roman Pagans that worship those gods today. I don't think that this constitutes a violation of the establishment clause- the intent of placement was non-religious, and there is plenty of precedent for the use of such figures in symbolic but secular contexts in art of all kinds.

It would be much harder to argue that the placement of a statue of Jesus (for example) on a public building had no religious intent- the figure of Jesus is almost impossible to separate from the religion of Christianity... his image is in a very real way a symbol of Christianity. The burden of proof (that the intent was not religious) would be on the people who wanted the statue placed.

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This sounds like fun! Are you going?

I'd like to. Depends on my schedule (and monsteralice's)

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