Archive for the 'New York City' Category

Is there any suitable common ritual format for a diverse gathering of Lilith devotees?

March 22, 2011

Lilith’s Tribe in New York City aims to be inclusive of the many different kinds of people who are drawn to Lilith. That’s tricky to accomplish, on many levels.

If such a group were to perform a public or semi-public ritual, what kind of ritual format would be appropriate?

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Some of my history of challenging prejudice (mainly anti-Satanism by Pagans)

March 19, 2011

Lately, challenging people’s prejudices has gotten much harder than it used to be. Once it was easy and fun. Over the years it became much more difficult. Lately, it often seems to have become almost impossible. For whatever reasons, it seems that most people today are a lot less willing to consider new ideas than most people were, say, back in the 1970’s.

Nevertheless, even today it is still possible to make progress in counteracting specific prejudices, if one is willing to be persistent about it.

Here’s a brief history of some of my major successes and failures at challenging people’s prejudices over the past few decades:

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On being “God-owned”: “spiritual orientation” vs. divine “rape”?

March 15, 2011

Another post by Anya Kless has called my attention to the following: (1) Fun Facts For the Deity-Owned by Laura Patsouris, Patheos, January 26, 2011, and (2) God-Owned: Humans as Pets by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, January 26, 2011.

I can relate to the experience of being “God-owned,” although I’ve tended to use different terminology to describe it.

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Lilith and Samael, according to Anya Kless

March 13, 2011

Anya Kless, author of Lilith: Queen of the Desert, has written a very interesting blog post titled Samael: God of the Left Hand. Among other things, she confesses:

I don’t know if I’m ready to say that anyone who works with Satan is actually working with Samael (or one of His faces), but it seems quite possible. Considering the eye-rolling I used to do about Satanism, it’s actually rather ironic that, if the Satanists are right, I’m working with Him. Gods are funny that way.

I am, of course, relieved to see that past-tense “used to.” She also references a website called “Severity of God” (about Samael) by a LaVeyan Satanist who is also an Aztec reconstructionist.

Anyhow, Anya Kless’s post is an interesting compilation of lore about Samael, plus a brief account of some of her own personal spiritual experiences involving Samael.

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Preliminary response to Michael Cuneo on exorcism

February 12, 2011

I recently ordered a copy of American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty by Michael Cuneo, who teaches anthropology and sociology at Fordham University in the Bronx, here in New York City. According to various reviews (listed near the bottom of this post), Cuneo’s book is an in-depth study, from an open-mindedly skeptical point of view, of exorcism as practiced by both Catholics and Protestants here in the U.S.A.

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The JBFCS Cult Clinic and Satanism: A response to Arnold Markowitz, LCSW

January 27, 2011

(revised February 10, 2011)

Here in New York City, there is a Cult Hotline and Clinic run by the JBFCS (the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services). They provide various helpful services to ex-members of “cults” and to estranged families and friends of “cult” members. They are, as far as I can tell, the only place in New York City that offers such services.

Truly harmful religious groups certainly do exist, and it’s good that there are at least a few places, like the JBFCS Cult Clinic, where people who have been hurt by such groups can get help. But the website of the JBFCS Cult Clinic associates Satanism in general with “cults,” even though the vast majority of Satanist groups (or, at least, most of the ones I’ve run into) do not fit the JBFCS Cult Clinic’s definition of a “cult.”

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Bill Keller and his “9/11 Christian Center at Ground Zero”

July 14, 2010

Earlier I commented briefly on the nonsensical protests against the construction of a mosque several blocks from Ground Zero. Now, according to a post today by Richard Bartholomew, a Controversial Preacher Seeks to Establish “Outreach Center” Near Ground Zero. The controversial preacher is Bill Keller, who is planning to build an anti-Muslim “9/11 Christian Center at Ground Zero.”

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The alleged “Satan-loving arsonist,” again, in the case of Glory of Christ Church in the Bronx

July 12, 2010

A church in the Bronx that had been burned down by arsonists last year, Glory of Christ Church, has been rebuilt and held its first worship services in the new building yesterday, according to several news stories yesterday and today.

In news stories back in December about the arson itself, there was quite a bit of unfounded hullabaloo about the arsonist being a “Satanist.” In today’s news stories — or at least the online versions — the word “Satanist” does not appear, but one story does describe the culprit as “a Satan-loving arsonist.” Even “Satan-loving” is unfounded.

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New York City Mosque Protest

June 13, 2010

Looks like we’ve got quite a recent stirring of irrational Islamophobia in New York City recently. The blog Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion has a good summary: New York Mosque Protest by Richard Bartholemew, June 9, 2010.

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More about the case of Anthony Anderson

May 22, 2010

[Sigh!] I just now unapproved yet another comment, from Axis Sallyboy X. that was in gratuitous violation of WordPress’s terms of service, and of my own desire to keep this blog G-rated, for the sake of search engine rankings and such. I’ll now paraphrase and respond to the substantive parts of the comment.

In response to my request for more info on how (according to an earlier comment by Sallyboy) Anthony Anderson was brutalized by the police, Sallyboy wrote that, before the vandalism/graffiti incident, Anthony Anderson had been doing office work at the 105th police precinct (92-08 222nd Street, Queens Village, NYC), first as a volunteer, then as an employee. Once he became a “Super Duper Special Trustee,” according to Sallyboy, Anderson was used as a sex slave by the entire staff at the precinct.

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Reply to “Axis Sallyboy X”

May 18, 2010

On another blog of mine, someone identified as “Axis Sallyboy X” posted a fervent comment on my post announcing the Church of Azazel’s statement against violent crime and vandalism. Unfortunately, the comment was full of expletives plus some implied threats, which are not in my interests to allow, as they are likely a terms-of-service violation.

So I’ve deleted the comment. Below is an edited version of the comment, followed by my reply:

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More about the Kimberly Simon murder case, featured on “America’s Most Wanted” tomorrow

March 12, 2010

Below is a copy (minus contact info) of a press release I sent out today regarding a murder case that will be featured on “America’s Most Wanted” tomorrow, for which the currently-suspected perpetrators are a small group of “Satan worshipers.”

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Some very good news

April 23, 2009

I’ve been away for a long time — very busy with a new job, among other things.

Some good news: As of this past month, I’ve found a very passionate co-administrator for the budding NYC proto-congregation of the Church of Azazel, and also for New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry. Hopefully both can now, finally, begin to get off the ground. I cannot launch them all by myself.

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Belated reply to Phil Orenstein about Debbie Almontaser and the KGIA

September 21, 2008

Phil Orenstein posted a reply, here, to my post More about the controversy over the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA). Phil, I’m sorry about the delay in moderating your comment, which was posted during my recent hiatus from this blog. Anyhow, here is my further reply.

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More about the controversy over the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA)

May 31, 2008

My post The “Stop the Madrassa” Coalition and its campaign against the Khalil Gibran International Academy has been quoted on the FrontPage magazine site in an article titled Fantasizing “The New McCarthyism” by Phil Orenstein, FrontPageMagazine.com, Friday, May 23, 2008.

Islamism (the totalitarian ideology) does pose a real threat. But it’s a threat that needs to be addressed with surgical precision, not blind hysteria.

Alas, Phil Orenstein’s article comes across to me as hysteria-mongering: a flood of accusations against various people, combined with a blatantly fallacious dismissal of the civil rights concerns of Muslims. But his article has inspired me to research several topics more deeply this past week, including hate crime statistics and the recent history of bigotry against both Jews and Muslims.

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The “Stop the Madrassa” Coalition and its campaign against the Khalil Gibran International Academy

April 29, 2008

When I first ran into the “Stop the Madrassa” Coalition’s blog last week, I was inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt that they may have had a valid church-state separation issue regarding the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA). I do think it’s important to uphold separation of church (mosque) and state.

However, the more I’ve looked into this matter, the more it seems to me that the “Stop the Madrassa” Coalition is crying wolf. Their one valid complaint is the Board of Education’s unwillingness to provide complete information about the curriculum to the general public. On this matter, their arch-scapegoat, the Khalil Gibran school’s founder and former principal Debbie Almontaser, agrees with them, as I learned last night. She too wishes that the Board of Education and the school’s current administration would be more transparent, to allay public fears.

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