Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is Allowing Witch Hunters on Campus Higher Education?

These days, when something of significance happens in our community,word of it spreads like wildfire through out the community.Oberon Zell Ravenheart posted this story on his Facebook page last night from the Daily Kos, and what came to light was that a bigoted group of religious extremists calling themselves the International Coalition of Apostles had scheduled a 'Social Transformation Conference' in a science building at  the hallowed halls of Harvard University...let me say that again...a group who sponsors speakers who call for the deaths of members of the LBGT community and encourages the  literal hunting down of witches  is holding a conference at Harvard.
And as far as this witch is concerned, Harvard cannot squirm its way out of this hideous faux pas by lamely claiming that they are only renting the use of the building or that this group has First Amendment Rights, because the ICA is advertising that the conference is being held at Harvard, and inference is that Harvard supports it. They are using Harvard's reputation as a a world leader in education and an American icon of higher learning to validate their mission and legitimize their fuzzy religious rhetoric.
The powers that be at Harvard-that would be President Drew Faust and the University Board of Trustees- are fully responsible to the public for this travesty, because this is not just a witchcraft or gay issue, it's a human rights issue. ICA not only condemns all practitioners of alternative lifestyles and faith traditions (admittedly their right), but  its representatives disseminates  information that encourages committing  violent acts against "others". Did someone at Harvard not do their homework on this group before they committed their facilities for hire? Or is Harvard University so money hungry that they will rent to any bunch of loose canon weirdos under the guise of free speech and education? I find the latter hard to believe and the former incredulous. Wasn't it Harvard that just rejected a P2P conference on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because they believed it would have limited appeal and was too controversial ?

Students at Harvard objected to and spoke out against bringing the International Coalition of Apostles on to their campus upon learning that their school was hosting the event...Do the President and Board not care about the opinion of the student body? Surely they must have considered how associating with such a group would result in massive negative PR and affect future enrollment and funding, and if they didn't, then they have underestimated the tolerance of the public...or they are arrogant enough to believe they can get away with anything because Harvard is an Ivy League Sacred Cow.

Saying that the Witchcraft/Pagan community is outraged is an understatement of epic proportion.Maybe those sitting int he ivory towers of Harvard don't believe we really exist. Maybe it's time we stopped our infighting, back-biting and whining about the Burning Times of Yore and do something proactive and constructive before the next major crisis is upon us. If you think that's a little over the top in thinking, then we'd all better check the history books and learn a lesson from the holocaust when the Third Reich nearly annihilated the Jews and their sympathizers, a number of Eastern Bloc countries, and seriously decimated the European gay community all in one fell swoop through infiltration of society. A lot of religious groups either turned their backs or didn't believe in what was happening..until each group was systematically eliminated and there was no one left to tell. While I'm not saying that's what's going to happen, I am saying there's a lesson to be learned about ignoring what's going on around you and thinking that it's only happening to the other guy.

If the ICA were having a private religious conference and it were billed as such, I wouldn't have a problem at all with Harvard giving them meeting space...and they could be as hateful as they wanted, because it's their perogative. But when they bring in speakers who advocate death and violence as a "solution" to " the problem" of other religious groups, I draw a line in the sand.
Social Transformation Conference, indeed.

( I was asked to write a petition in regard to this situation at Harvard. Here's the text of the petition and the link to it on
Those who sponsor modern day 'witchhunts' and related 'educational' conferences to disseminate this information are abusers of human rights in disguise. While we recognize that as every citizen of the United States they have First Amendment rights as to freedom of speech, we feel that the bigotry, hatred and suggested violence historically attributed to this group supersedes that right by the  featured speakers at the Social Transformation Conference sponsored by the International Coalition of Apostles  against Pagans and other non-Christian religious traditions, the GLBTQ community and "Others" This type of hate-mongering should not be tolerated in an enlightened age. It is a violation of common decency that such a conference by the  International Coalition of Apostles,is being hosted by Harvard University, which is putting its future enrollment and governmental/public funding at risk by doing so. The message of this group and this conference in particular reflects the type of worldwide discrimination against human rights and violence seen in the news daily against men,women and children accused of superstitious negativity associated with witchcraft.  We object to this intentionally malicious slandering of the religious traditions of those who  participate in non-Abrahamic practice and choose to identify with a modern and logical definition of witchcraft as an earth-centered faith tradition.
Harvard, long held as an institution of exceptional higher learning, is in effect sanctioning the abuse of human rights in providing this group meeting space.
As citizens and practitioners of alternative and  non- Abrahamic religions, we are outraged that Harvard has lent it's name to the sponsorship of the Social Transformation Conference held by International Coalition of Apostles on it's campus. In our opinion, Harvard University has accepted rental fee which amounts to blood money , and has sold out  the American idea of diversity and freedom of religion-which mean ALL religions.

 Jason  at The Wild Hunt has written an excellent article on this subject:

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