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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I am a huge proponent of the right--God-given or otherwise--to free speech. I think we live in an age where individualism is valued to such a degree, however, that 'freedom of speech' has the potential to become a tool. A political one, when used to silence the opponent, or even a religious one, when used to incite hate or anger onto another religion.

Over the past few days, the on-line Pagan community has come together over some clear examples of the latter form of free speech: several Facebook groups have come up slandering witches (mostly) and actively calling for the eradication of said witches. I leave witches un-capitalized because I fear the founder(s) of these groups are ignorant enough of the modern Pagan movement to be completely unaware that there is even a potential for religious views within the practice of Witchcraft.

These groups happen. They have happened before, and will happen again. In general, I feel freedom of speech applies in these instances: the founder(s) of those pages are within their right to create these pages and speak their mind. That said, freedom of speech should end where others get hurt--and people are getting hurt. From this point on, a monitoring authority should step in and take away the public forum that is used by those harmful to others. In this case, Facebook is doing none of this.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Christine Kraemer
    Christine Kraemer says #
    Helpful site for explaining why such pages constitute a credible threat of violence: http://www.whrin.org/
  • Erika Clarke
    Erika Clarke says #
    I have reported these groups as well and told they weren't removed because they don't violate the facebook policies on hate speec
  • aought
    aought says #
    My gut feeling is that FB is letting this ride to "flush out" all Pagans and sympathizers. Remember, they are nothing but a big da
  • Alicia
    Alicia says #
    Well why don't we vote with our feet and support the many pagan social networks that have sprung up. Why not encourage pagan frien
  • Erika Clarke
    Erika Clarke says #
    Paganspace.net is pagan social network.
Update on FB anti-Pagan hate group

The "Witches must die by fire" Facebook group has returned from its temporary removal. I had a thoughtful reader named Morey, who runs social activism groups on the site, suggested reporting the page to Interpol instead of Facebook, in the hopes of holding them to a higher authority. You can report the page to Interpol here: http://www.interpol.int/Forms/Contact_INTERPOL

If you decide to go the Interpol route, include a screenshot (I have one in this blog post) along with the link (https://www.facebook.com/WitchcraftTheBattleLinesHaveBeenDrawn) and the page's title. Talk about the real-world violence against witches - a quick Google search of "witches and Africa" yields stories like this: http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/family-of-witch-hacked-to-death-1.1296038#.UhJ3p5LVBrs - this page is not a troll or a parody, this is someone inciting people to violence, death, and mutilation. If you need a sample letter, feel free to borrow or amend mine:

...
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I just received this in my in-box from Facebook: "You reported Witches must die by fire. for harassment. This page has been remove
  • Amy Begley
    Amy Begley says #
    Yes both pages have now been removed. "Lady Liberty League" and "Circle Sanctuary" both wrote letters to Facebook about the pages.
  • Christine Kraemer
    Christine Kraemer says #
    Helpful informational page for explaining why these pages contain credible threats of violence: http://www.whrin.org/
  • Caleen Canady
    Caleen Canady says #
    My husband had a suggestion regarding this site that I thought we should pass along. He's dealt in security and investigations and
  • Amy Begley
    Amy Begley says #
    I like that idea Caleen but I have read on some of the Facebook pagan pages that some pagans/wiccans are now under personal attack

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A cross-post this week, if I may - between here at my first blog 'home', and the wonderfully eclectic 'Witches & Pagans' site (because if you can't 'moonlight' as a Pagan, then who can?).

I am very aware that I haven't written anything at either location for a couple of weeks. I could give excuses - ultimately, the days have flown past and life has been more important. I'm sure we all know how that goes. Instead, take a wander with me, if you will.

Regular readers know that one of my favourite places for inspiration is as I walk the dog across the hilltop where I live. This evening I wandered the streets, looking out at the fierce clouds parting after an intense rain and thunder-storm just a few hours ago, the remnants of a rainbow, and the slightly 'stunned' feeling of a normal, modern, country village after a violent and unavoidable incident of Nature. The grass is rich and green, the snails appear to have made a small bypass across the path outside one particular row of houses, and the occasional early bat is swooping overhead.

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