From DC 40 to Chicago 50

The NAR is at it again, and this time they’re coming for Chicago.

The email announcement reads:

Chicago 50 – Fifty Days between Passover and Pentecost
April 9 – May 28
For more information visit: www.chicago50.com

From Passover through Pentecost we will worship in Chicago, Illinois. Father has a dream for Chicago. Chicago has a destiny, and isn’t to be the most corrupt city in the nation! It is gifted to be an exhorter city, and has grace to proclaim to the earth that there is NO KING BUT JESUS.
We will pray again as one nation under God.
Beginning Monday, April 9, Delaware will raise the torch of eternal intercession and lay the axe to the root of corruption in the nation. Standing on behalf of our nation, we will “AS ONE” address the corruption by appropriating the Blood-bought victory of the cross, and for 50 days release light into the structures of darkness that have ruled Chicago. We will use this most corrupt gate to agree for corruption to be dealt with throughout the nation.

The website linked there only has a splash page for now. The reference to “Delaware” makes me think they’re probably going to try to organize another 50-state day-by-day prayer pattern.

How do people in Chicago feel about this? Do folks there want to organize a response the way we did with Hail Columbia for DC?

This doesn’t seem at first to be quite as personal as the attacks on Columbia and the entire concept of secular government, but keep in mind that when they talk about “structures of darkness,” modern neo-Paganism is included. And I for one resent the implication that only Christianity (and presumably Christians) can fix corruption.

Speaking of DC, the email also mentions that they’re selling DVDs about the DC 40 campaign as part of their fundraising efforts, plus they’ll be in DC next week for a handful of small events.

Personally, I’m going to keep making devotion to Columbia for protection against all these malefic attempts to install theocracy.

Pagan Protest in DC: October 30th

On October 30th, Pagans will gather in DC to celebrate the Divine Feminine and to protest the increasing efforts of religious fundamentalists to influence government. I’ll see you there!

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

Framing and giving energy: How we work against DC40 matters

In light of the upcoming DC40 event, a lot of Pagans have expressed the opinion that responding to people like these fringe Christians only gives them more power, that it feeds them more energy to work with. That’s not necessarily true; the way we frame our response can determine whether we’re feeding them more energy or not.

Hecate has up another one of her oh-so-necessary posts about framing in response to DC40. I’d like to expand on that by giving some contrasting examples of responses that do and don’t reinforce fringe Christians’ framing of the situation.

My ideas for responses are focused on promoting a positive. That’s a basic principle of magic and affirmations: you say things that you want to happen. You don’t say “Please make sure this plane doesn’t crash,” because that’s talking about a plane crash. Negating a frame reinforces that frame. You say, “Let this trip be safe and smooth,” because that’s talking about what you want. Positive framing keeps your attention and energy on the desired outcome.

Now this isn’t just about saying “nice” things. It doesn’t have to be all sweetness and light; I fully understand that my vision of religious liberty is an affront to these would-be theocrats. That’s not a nice thing to say, in their world. But it is a positive framing in the sense that it keeps the focus on what I want.

You may choose to do a working like this using the idea of reflection, that the harmful intent and purpose will be reflected away from those it is meant to reach, possibly back on the originators. That’s fine, but again, framing matters. If you concentrate on what’s being reflected, you’re accepting their framing and directing your energy and attention to their harmful efforts. Concentrate instead on what’s doing the reflecting, and on the people who are being protected by that reflection.

Others raised the idea of “repurposing” the harmful intent or energy. I imagine that this can be done in positive-framing terms, but I seriously, seriously discourage it in this case. It’s extremely likely that you will end up feeding their energy. These people are strong and experienced and have a deep, deep passion behind their intent. They have a clear vision. They are not including a “an it harm none” or “for the greatest good of all” clause that you can latch onto for leverage to redirect them.

Magically speaking, stopping this energy is going to be hard, hard work. Think about it more in terms of momentum than electricity. Trying to repurpose this energy is like jumping in a truck going really, really fast and trying to get it to go in exactly the opposite direction without using the brakes.

I do include in my visualization the idea that any energy thrown at the shielding or at the wall of separation is grounded, harmlessly, and that since the shielding draws some of its strength from being connected to the earth, then in some sense their energy gets recycled to fuel the shield, but that’s an afterthought and not something I pay a lot of attention to.

In the mundane world, it is true that even negative attention often encourages its recipient. But, as a Pagan said about polyamory on the Wild Hunt today, “the road to equality lies through the fields of visibility.” Take Hecate’s advice and if you counter-protest in any public form, make it an opportunity for outreach and visibility for Pagans as good, normal people, not just about these fringe Christians.

Finally, there is the problem with responding to action rather than initiating action. That’s where a lot of other work matters so much. Being out as a Pagan can help; well-run Pagan Pride Days can help. Taking positive political and social action are essential. We’re already doing some of that, so let’s do more, as much as we can, and realize that that’s the real work of promoting religious plurality and understanding, and defending religious liberty.

Ways to support Columbia

Here are some ideas of ways you can participate in supporting Columbia and defending religious liberty against the upcoming “siege” of DC by fringe Christians.

Read more

More on DC40

It’s not clear exactly what DC40’s “siege” of DC is going to involve, but from the few clues on their website, here’s what I can gather:

If they have “worship teams” or other gatherings in DC itself, they may be planning to gather at The Gatepost, a site that apparently hosts several different Christian-based community efforts. The Gatepost’s website doesn’t have any information about upcoming events associated with DC40, but if they are hosting it, the good news is that The Gatepost is in southeast DC, across the Anacostia from major downtown sites and the Jefferson Memorial.

The Jefferson Memorial is particularly important because as David of CapitalWitch pointed out, one of the big events highlighted on the cryptic timeline for DC40 is “Drums in D.C.” on October 28th. That’s the date of this year’s annual Samhain drumming at the Jefferson Memorial, a longstanding Pagan DC tradition.

The other thing listed on that date is “Georgian Banov,” which turns out the be the name of a speaker and worship leader. He and a few other like-minded individuals are listed on their website as leading something called “The Shift” in Washington DC during October 22-29. Are they planning on a competing event? Trying to disrupt the Pagan drumming? They don’t give details, but I’ll keep working on it.

Another confusing timeline entry reads “Bill Suddoth, Freemasonry, Islam,” on October 7th, which is, as they note, also Yom Kippur. Suddoth is the leader of “Righteous Acts Ministries,” which opens its statement on “Deliverance Ministry Training School” by saying “Our society is steeped in violence, witchcraft, and perversion.” Suddoth’s ministry apparently specializes in “deliverance” from issues like this. His own itinerary states that he’ll be in Maryland on Oct. 5th as part of his “50 State Freemasonry/Islam Tour,” so it is possible that he’ll put in an appearance in DC around that time.

Suddoth’s news page has a letter from him to supporters which reads in part:

I believe the Lord has revealed this new strategy and this assignment of a 50 state Freemasonry tour so a major blow can be made and a real turning point take place in dealing with the spirits of Baal, Jezebel, perversion, witchcraft, antichrist and other spirits affecting this nation. The Lord has given me several confirmations and I am dedicating this year to this seemingly monumental task.

Recently in researching and dealing more with Islam, I have discovered an amazing link between Freemasonry and Islam. In fact, I’m now convinced that the Masonic is the open door in our nation to the spirits behind Islam which is one of the biggest threats to our nation’s security and our Christian heritage and freedom.

Elsewhere, Suddoth claims to have discovered that Freemasonry is “witchcraft” and worship of the Christian Devil, and that it causes its initiates to be possessed by demons, and places them, their families, and their descendents under a curse or demonic influence, which he says correlates with a pattern of child molestation as well.

Ironically, many Founding Fathers whom Christian Dominionists claim to revere were Masons; the Masonic Memorial to George Washington is clearly visible on the Arlington, VA skyline. Inside, the memorial tells how Washington brought over Masons from the England and Scotland to work on the White House and other construction projects in DC, and how Masonic lodges have been in existence in DC since its very beginnings.

In his article on witchcraft, Suddoth claims that:

Wicca is to witchcraft, as marijuana is to the drug culture. It’s the entry level to Satanism and the occult. Wiccans consider themselves to be “white” witches or for lack of a better term “Good” witches. The problem with that is God hates all witchcraft. … God so hates witchcraft that the children of Israel were instructed in Ex 22:18 to kill any witches found among them.

Suddoth mixes in a few mentions of Gardner, describing the rise of Neo-Paganism as an “attack against our society and our Christian values.” He goes on with the same old lies about Satanism, orgies, drugs, and that “Though Wiccans claim not to be involved with any type of animal or human sacrifice. Witchcraft has always been associated with the letting of blood.” (sic) He implies that this might even mean human sacrifice. These people are willing to lie and given the chance will fan the flames of another “Satanic Panic” like there was in the 1980s.

He has the support of Cindy Jacobs, John Benefiel, and others involved in DC40 in this effort, so it’s likely that they see this as a convenient opportunity to help him advance his cause as well. Other parts of his letters show that he is fully committed to the “7 Mountains” strategy of Christian Dominionists to take control of what they have identified as seven key areas of life. This movement is striving for all-out theocracy. They are not kidding, they are not joking, and they are dead-set against Paganism and Wicca.

They are also very, very serious and experienced about raising and throwing around large amounts of energy with specific intents against their targets. I’ll be writing more about potential responses to that soon.

Supporting Columbia, and Lady Liberty

Some conservative Christians are planning on “laying siege” to the District of Columbia from October 3rd to November 11th, and I’m going to spend that time praying that this country preserves religious liberty as one of its foundational principles and most valuable ideals.

According to Right Wing Watch, the “spiritual warfare” effort is headed by John Benefiel, Cindy Jacobs, and others. Benefiel announced in August 2010 that the fact that Washington DC draws its name from Columbia, a personification of Liberty or Freedom, “gives her a legal right to mess things up in our nation’s capital,” and that this is why elected legislators “go crazy” when they get to DC.

To counter this influence, he declared that he had used his spiritual authority to “divorce Baal” (apparently the country was married to him in some sense). He proudly recounted that when someone asked, “How can you do that?” his response was, “Well, we just did it. … I have more authority than the US Congress does.” He added that [Christians are] “the real spiritual authority.” He also announced that he had repudiated the name “District of Columbia” and renamed the area the “District of Christ.” Hecate has the links and the legal commentary; check her out!

Now Benefiel is taking this attack on supposedly evil influences a step further by coordinating a nationwide prayer effort to “releas[e] the light and sound of eternal worship over the District of Christ.” This effort is variously named DC40, Forty Days of Light Over D.C., and 51 Days of Reformation Intercession. (It’s apparently 40 days in DC and the last 11 in Philadelphia.)

The main video for this effort calls on the country to “arise as one,” and uses explicit warfare imagery such as interlocked shields and each state taking a turn as “point man” in an effort to “change the spiritual atmosphere … forever.”

Additional videos, such as “What Is DC40?” say that Americans should “come as one people,” explicitly a Christian people, to “release the same spirit as the men who met in Philadelphia had once again.” The goal is to elect leaders who “find that compromise is not the way” because it is impossible to “compromise with unrigheousness” or immorality or what is not holy. These are supposed to be “leaders once again who have a fear of [the Christian] God.”

Another video announces that “The cry of the American Revolution was, ‘No King but Jesus!'” Historians would be amazed to discover that.

The “overview” page on the website is rather confusing, with mentions of “End-Time Handmaidens” and others involved in the effort, apparently praying for or against such things as “Islam” and particular people, but hopefully the forthcooming prayer guide will clear all that up, especially since it is produced by someone who has had “foundational truths of liberty burn[ing] in her heart for years.”

As someone who has a strong devotion to religious liberty, I find this “siege” dangerous and disgusting. It fundamentally misunderstands the nature of religious liberty which was built into our country at its founding. Whether one sees liberty as an idealization or as a personification, Liberty is a very strange creature: she says right up front, “Of course you have other gods besides me.”

Her law is to allow others their reverence so long as it harms no one. In direct contravention of that principle, these people are actively seeking to change the government of the United States so that my religion – indeed, any religion except their specific sub-sect of Christianity- would be disallowed, and public laws would compel private adherence to their interpretations of their spiritual directives, at the specific expense of religious liberty, and even personal liberty, for all who disagree.

In response to this, I have made a commitment to the personification of Liberty. You may call her Freedom, as in the statue crowning the dome of the Capitol building, or you may call her Columbia, patron goddess of the district, or you may know her as the ideal of religious toleration that Thomas Jefferson worked so tirelessly to embed in Virginia’s laws and which became part of America’s Bill of Rights, the very fabric of our legal existence.

I will be spending this time making a daily devotion to her, not against these conservative Christians, but in hopes that they and I might find ways to live peaceably together in a nation that values religious pluralism. I will also be reinforcing my personal and home wardings against those who would attack me and mine, and I will follow Hecate’s suggestion of writing to my legislators, with intent embedded, to importune them not to betray the foundational ideals of our country by working with those who would see me destroyed simply because I worship a different god(dess/es) than they do. If you value these ideas or have any reverence for the principle of religious Liberty, I encourage you to take similar action.

H/t Right Wing Watch (additional links can be found from there).