Oct 22, 2011

DC40 Counter Event Gets Beliefnet Treatment

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

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Well, I still have my Beliefnet News feed, despite my disgust, and today I noticed an interesting item on a DC40 counter event coming up. Rob Kerby's post pretty much sticks to the press release and doesn't editorialize much. But if you're thinking the story was treated fairly, 'fraid not.

Here's the relevant info from Capital Witch:

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.

. . .

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.”

So, that much is completely awesome and I'm glad to know about it. Whether you're going or not, I'd say that'd be a good time to join in in spirit and Om the Dome.

While much of the Kerby's post is "just the facts" there is a bit of subtle snark, like the lede which could be read as Pagans being irritated that Christians are praying for the country.

A group that says it represents the District of Columbia’s pagan community is upset that a group of Christians is praying for America.

He also put Samhain eve in quotes which makes it look like it's something novel that the organizers made up, as opposed to an established holiday. That's particularly alarming when you consider that Beliefnet has a Pagan community section... for now.

All of that I could let go but where the bias really becomes apparent is in the disappearing comments. When I first read this story earlier today there was a very smart comment from, if memory serves, someone named Erica. It's gone now. I wish I'd taken a screen capture. It didn't occur to me that it would be deleted. When will I learn?! The comment said something about how Erica (???) was reading the founding father's writings every day of the DC40 as a reminder of how committed they were to the separation of church and state. I'm not doing it justice.

It's funny. One of the other things I've been noticing about Beliefnet over the past several months is the paucity of comments. There used to be a lot more. I assumed their readership was down or that the news stories just weren't interesting enough to invite comment. I'm rethinking that. It would seem that only comments that echo Kerby's views are welcome. The rest go down the memory hole. And it would seem that separation of church and state is not big with Mr. Kerby. Good to know.

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