21 December 2007

Yuletide Wishes

A happy Yule to all who read this. May your ancestors watch over and guide you during the coming year, and may you receive blessings of health and prosperity.


17 December 2007

Life Imitating Art

The Giant Rat of Sumatra, it has been found. I cannot be the only one who was wickedly amused by this.

14 December 2007

Hello, Constitution? Fuck off! Sincerely, Congress

This came to me via a friend of mine who found it on GovTrack:

H. Res. 847: Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith

Full text of the bill is here.

How is this not a violation of the Establishment Clause? How is this not a slap in the face to every non-Christian living in this country—which was founded on religious pluralism and government non-involvement in religion?

Here is the text of my letter to my representative, who voted YEA on this resolution:

Rep. Miller;

As somebody who has voted for and supported you during your Congressional career, I am more than a little dismayed by your support of HR 847, passed on 6 December of this year.

The Founding Fathers of this country have made clear through their writings that no one religion should be endorsed or promoted over any other religion in this country. They made it clear through a Constitutional prohibition of the establishment or endorsement of any religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Asatru, Wicca or Santeria.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut "…religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions…" (here is the link for your perusal: He wrote that while sitting in the White House as the 3rd President of the United States.

Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli of 1796 clearly states "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." (again, here is a link: Given comments that have been made to the troops about God being on "our side" in the Iraq War, I find this passage rather darkly ironic.

More recently, recently-retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said in her opinion on "McCreary County vs. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky" that "When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual's decision about whether and how to worship."

Religious freedom is what this nation is founded on. When one religion is favoured over another, whether via resolution expressing sentiment or via force of law, people who do not adhere to that belief system are made to feel insignificant or unwelcome. It's human nature. The wording of HR 847 differs markedly from HR 747 (recognizing Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs the world over) and HR 635 (recognizing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan) in that it specifically promotes Christianity. Furthermore, the resolution's author, your honourable colleague Steve King of Iowa's 5th District, has gone on record as saying that "the foundation of this nation and this culture is Christian", and that the resolution was intended to assert this status in the wake of "an assault on Christianity."

Rep. Miller, I do not assault Christianity when I wish somebody a Joyous Yule during the winter holiday season. I do not assault Christianity when I wear a Mjolnir pendant (one of many symbols of my faith, Asatru) or use the heathen origins of the days of the week. I do not assault Christianity when I procure a small tree for my living room so that I can decorate it with garland and lights as my ancestors did centuries ago. Yet I am feeling assaulted when people like your colleague from Iowa use language in a resolution that sends the message that non-Christians are somehow unwelcome in this country.

I do not appreciate being made to feel unwelcome or unnecessary because of my religious beliefs, Rep, Miller, and I am certain that the other non-Christian constituents in North Carolina's 4th Congressional District feel the same way.



I think that about sums it up, don't you?

Not Knowing What To Say

There are times when you don't know what to say or feel.

This is one of those times.

A friend of mine passed along to me that her sister died this morning after putting up a hell of a fight with cervical cancer. We all knew the end was coming, but still: what do you say at a time like this? "I'm sorry for your loss" doesn't cut it, it really doesn't.

I feel numb right now. Sad for my friend, but still numb. I also feel like an ass because I don't feel like I'm showing proper sadness because my friend is devastated. Sure, she had time to prepare, but she loved her sister and I know that this hits her like a punch in the gut.

Rest easy, Cary Anne. May your ancestors welcome you warmly.

10 December 2007

Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Background: Husband is Mormon, his fellow congregants know I'm pagan--or at least some of them do. We have been receiving assistance from them the last month and a half since I had lost my job (and was on the hunt for another one).

Now that that is out of the way: Yesterday the president of the Elder's Quorum showed up at our door with a metric assload of food--I am not kidding. Cereal, canned goods of various kinds, juices, and so forth. It was a lot, and it was a holiday gift to us.

Now, I am not an ungrateful person--I fully recognize that without their help we more than likely would not have made it through the last month, and I really am grateful. But I'm also a wary person, and I know that a gift given requires a gift in return. I keep wondering when the other shoe will drop and requests for the return gift go from "tithe and attend Sacrament" (which I make sure he does anyway, as a matter of course) to "oh yeah, and your wife's gotta come too" and thence "When's your wife going to join the Church?"

Of course I'm wary. I'm always wary, especially because for a while after my husband and I got married (we were living in another state at the time), members of his Church kept badgering him to either get me to convert or to leave me for some nice Mormon girl, and treated me with no small amount of disdain. He was offered a free ride to Ricks College, with the clear (yet unspoken) proviso that he would be given that if he was the only one who moved out to Idaho. Even after he moved down here, somebody kept putting him on the singles list for his local ward even though I kept telling the person who'd call (to let him know about singles events) that I was his wife, that we'd been married for some years already, and would they please remove his name from the list?

It's been a rocky road between me and the LDS. When I accepted an invite from the Bishop to attend Thanksgiving at his house while my husband was out of town, I was quick to leave the room and go offer to help with the washing-up when the talk in the dining room turned to religion--because as the only non-Mormon in the house, it was only a matter of time before somebody said "So AQ, what's your religion?" Sure, I could have dropped the Creed of the North on them as my "testimony"--but that would have been very unwise, as I knew what would happen had I said something: all the "you need to leave her" crap would have started up again. Not from the Bishop (who knows I'm heathen), but definitely from some of the other members. So I took the advice of the Havamal, and kept my mouth shut.

And I'm still waiting for that damned shoe to drop.

04 December 2007

Yuletide update

OK, so Yule isn't for another two weeks-ish. Deal.

Anyway: I no longer work at the Stop-n-Rob, for reasons that I will not go into in this public forum. I now have my weekends and evenings back, so I can once again have a life.

What this means is that I'm actively getting ready for Yule this year and planning to spend time with my fellow heathens, rather than spending time in a convenience store in a rough neighbourhood wondering if this will be the day I get plugged by some wannabe who's upset that I carded him for a dollar blunt.

Yesterday evening I was at the SuperTarget near where I live. I heard a couple of middle-school age kids talking, and one of them said "What does 'yuletide' mean? Like, you hear it all the time--but what's it mean?" I was going to explain it to them, but they left before I got up the bollocks to turn around and tell them about Yule and the pagan origins of Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe, and so forth. All those fun holiday traditions that the Christianists claim are under attack by us wicked pagans.

And speaking of holidays: this time of year is always rough for me, because I'm so used to spending it alone. Either I've had to work, or I've been by myself (because I was single or--after I got married--because the husband just sleeps all day). So it's always been very painful for me, especially when the alternative was always family drama.

This year, I'm trying to do different. Leave some porridge (well OK, some Malt-O-Meal) out for the wights, try to make some kind of gifts (read: baked goods and other comestibles) to give to local friends, try to clean the house (which is always hard when you have trashed joints and low energy)...I want to do something other than mope, knowhutimean?

And I'll have another craft update soon.