By Tim Vanderpool.
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But that peace was shattered on Aug. Sometime in the wee morning hours, they heaved heavy steel balls through the glass front door and completely trashed the front window. Kesler learned of the vandalism a short time later. She guarded her business that night, peering nervously through broken glass shards that shimmered in the eerie glow of streetlights. In fact, there's been a string of strange incidents plaguing The Broom Closet since it opened in April, petty but disturbing events: a customer's car ransacked; gang s etched into the front window.
Adding insult, after the window was later destroyed, The Broom Closet put out a collection plate for replacement costs.
Two teenaged girls popped in and stole it. In all, it's an unfortunate pattern for this cheery little shop, nestled in the heart of Tucson and dear to the hearts of local pagans.
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And the shop's financial backer, a Christian minister, has promised to help. But the destruction's scars go far beyond money, Kesler says. Nearby, the cash register was wide-open, "and it wasn't touched. Painstaking search for new planets begins on a mountaintop in Arizona. The police have called this a case of criminal damage.
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But to Kesler, it's a hate crime. Like gay Americans, witches and other pagans often keep their beliefs private for fear of losing their jobs or being attacked by Christian right-wingers.
In other words, they exist in the "broom closet. But thanks in part to Hollywood stereotyping, practitioners have long been lumped with devil worshippers. How could it be? Our religion even predates Christianity, and the whole Christian concept of a devil.
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In Iraq, Wiccan members of the military were recently pelted with rocks and bottles by fellow soldiers as they worshipped in a sacred circle. To preclude further incidents, military officials called in chaplain and Wicca expert Patrick McCollum. And immediately, the chaplain set about dispelling misconceptions about paganism.
Speaking to a reporter from the Contra Costa TimesMcCollum noted that too many people get their ideas of paganism from television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed. And that translates into plenty of ignorance. During a public hearing on the matter, scores of townspeople turned out to oppose her, amidst cries of "Hallelujah!
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With backing from the American Civil Liberties Union, she sued--and won--in federal court. For her trouble, Wynne's home has been vandalized nine times; someone killed and gutted her cat, then hanged it; her truck's gas tank has been filled with sand; and she's been largely ostracized by the good Christians of Great Falls.
Such conflicts will likely become more common; researchers believe that the of neo-pagans in the United States continues to grow, and may already up toOf those, the majority live in California and New England, while an estimated 8 percent dwell in Arizona and other mountain states. And as a group, pagans tend to hold refreshingly progressive values.
In her book, A Community of Witches: Contemporary NeoPaganism and Witchcraft in the United Statessociologist Helen Berger notes that pagans emphasize visions of a just world, a clean environment, women's rights, lesbian rights and gay rights. They also share a distinct dislike for authoritarianism. While this might place them at odds with currently dominant political trends, pagans aren't particularly singled out by fundamentalist Christians, says longtime local Wiccan Jim Laws. In the '80s and '90s--when there was still this idea of the international satanic conspiracy burning babies and all that kind of stuff--there was more trouble.
Fires don't burn that pagan dating Vista. Anyway, there just wasn't any evidence of such a satanic conspiracy, and as far as I know, the fundies just gave that up. Stephanie Fossman, a store regular, put her thoughts to paper on Aug. The result is a furious, two- note that Kesler keeps on the counter.
It's been ed by a small army of angry, fellow pagans. As the customers who trickled in to shop saw the scene in this place, they each picked up a broom or a shovel and began to try and piece the storefront back together.
Checks and Balances: Eviction moratorium extended but aid dollars still tied up with county, state and agencies. Cannabis Main Dispensaries. September 02, Her tidy midtown store is a supply center for the metaphysically minded, where glass cases hold herbs, candles, incense and spiritual stones.
It's a soothing place where Tucson's often-misunderstood pagan community finds solace and like-minded thinkers. Editor's Note: Surfing the Airwaves. City Week: Weekly Picks.
Top Stories. Speaking of Crime. More ». Latest in Currents Feature. Checks and Balances: Eviction moratorium extended but aid dollars still tied up with county, state and agencies By Christina Duran Aug 12, More Currents Feature ».
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