Q. When is the only time that nazi propaganda rag the Daily Mail is at least remotely fair to Wicca and Paganism? A. When there is an even worse Religion – i.e. in the Daily Mail’s view – to be attacked in the same article! So for example, here is a heart-warming tale of a Wiccan who was sacked after taking time off to celebrate Samhain, who went on to triumph at the Employment Tribunal when claiming unfair dismissal. The Daily Mail does not have a history of being kind to Wiccans, but in this instance because her employers were Sikhs it decided to side with her. Now I could try to infer that here is a none too subtle indication of the Daily Mail’s inherent racism against those of Indian ethnicity, but that would be churlish so I won’t. Anyway, here’s the story:
Tag Archives: Daily Mail
Witch sacked for taking Halloween off work to attend Wiccan ceremony wins £15,000 after claiming religious discrimination | Mail Online
In the most blatant piece of yellow journalism I have witnessed since… well… the last time I read the same newspaper, the Daily Mail has announced that due to what it perceives as a flaw in the new Equal Marriages bill, Pagan Weddings could be legalised in England and Wales. NB: in the mentality of the Daily Mail, this is supposedly a Bad Thing.
At the moment, if you want to have a Pagan wedding in England or Wales, you are obliged to come to an arrangement which is common on the continent of Europe, i.e. have two wedding ceremonies – the first being the kind that you would ideally want as a ceremony, but with a second which consists of a quick ten-minute jobbie down the Registrar’s office on Monday morning to actually make it legal. Now it so happens that Christian churches almost always have their own registrar to attend their marriages which is why a Christian couple only needs the one ceremony. Thus: if a Pagan religion were allowed to have the same arrangement, this would spare Pagan couples the extra expense and bureaucracy as well.
Needless to say, however, the true situation is far more complicated.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the amendment to the Equal Marriages bill which is the source of the controversy applies only to Humanists – not to other named groups. The Daily Mail therefore has conveniently pulled some “anonymous government sources” out of its arse to supposedly say that “ridiculous” (sic) sects like pagans and even Jedis could mount a legal challenge to the Act on the basis of some sort of human rights discrimination type bullshit and force the recognition of their own ceremonies as well.
“But what,” I hallucinate that I hear my many millions of pagan (and even Jedi) readers say, “would be wrong with that?”
As far as the Daily Mail is concerned, everything. As far as people whose opinions count, however, there is a more subtle objection. In an ideal world, members of any religion ought not to have to resort to litigation – which may prove costly, time-consuming and stressful – to vindicate their basic rights. Therefore the best solution is not to have to resort to a dodgy legal challenge, but to actually have the right to marriage written in the black and white of the statute.
So come on, Members of Parliament! And Peers as well! The bill is currently before Parliament and you have the power to propose a suitably worded amendment which would allow such groups to conduct proper ceremonies. Search your feelings – you know it to be true.
News today that Nazi propaganda rag the Daily Mail continues its unhealthy fascination with pagans by running a piece on them that stoops to its usual levels of journalistic credibility. To wit: amongst the Metropolitan Police Force there are apparently four spiritualists, “a pagan and a DRUID” (sic) who are serving officers.
Yeah I know, technically they could have said “four spiritualists and two pagans,” and the article does correct itself later on. Still, what’s a little yellow-journalism when trying to concoct a good headline? Nevertheless: just in case there are Daily Mail readers coming to my blog to receive enlightenment to the true state of affairs, and more importantly for the comedy value to the rest of my millions of readers, I will continue.
This all comes about after someone made a Freedom of Information request to the Met in relation to non-mainstream religions. In relation to the one officer who is a druid, the Mail helpfully explains
According to the Romans, Druids practised human sacrifice 2,000 years ago, but modern day druidism – called neo-Druidism – focuses on the worship of nature, especially trees.
Pagans are described as people
… which worship a string of gods and festivals according to archaic religions which pre-date Christianity.
Spiritualists are described thus:
Spiritualists and mediums believe that there is life after death and that by holding seances, the dead can talk to the living, either through direct communication or the Ouija board.
I’m not actually sure that this is the case! If the marketing for Ouija boards is anything to go by, most of those who use them are silly people with no occult training who are out to scare themselves for kicks. Becoming a proper medium, on the other hand, involves several years training within a development circle, so that one learns not only to contact the departed but also to do so in a safe, respectful, and appropriate manner – and not to freak out when doing so. Nevertheless: I’m surprised they don’t employ more mediums – after all they could come in immensely useful in solving homicide cases!
Mercifully, the Daily Mail goes on to reassure us that:
The list found that no officers were Devil worshippers – also known as Occultists …
Cheers, Daily Mail, for lumping all occultists as Devil worshippers! Nevertheless, though, the good news is that police officers are perfectly entitled, legally speaking, to hold beliefs such as paganism and druidism due to freedom of religion being enshrined in UK Human rights law. However, perhaps the most blatant display of editorial bias on the Daily Mail’s part is that in relation to advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the paper says:
Druids, vegans and green activists should be given special treatment at work, according to ‘lunatic’ advice from the equalities watchdog.
Inevitably the last word is given to a rent-a-quote Tory MP, Dominic Raab, who says
This is a recipe for every crank and crazy to take their boss for a ride. The EHRC has become an expensive taxpayer-funded laughing stock.
So next time you are in London for a drunken night-out in Leicester Square – or celebrating the death of Britain’s greatest Prime Minister – or both – spare a thought that there is a one in 15,500 chance that the officer arresting you is in fact a Pagan, and consequently liable to be labelled by the Mail as a lunatic.
A slow day on Planet Sumner today, which is why I was forced into reading the Daily Mail, where lo and behold, I uncover a story about an ancient “Defixion” or “curse tablet.” There have been defixiones before but this is particularly interesting because it was recently re-discovered after having been lost for a hundred years.
The Defixion in question seems to be a binding spell against an unfortunate chap called Psellus. Intriguingly, a feminine goddess appears to be invoked: the Italian scientist interviewed tentatively suggests that it might be Hecate.
Now I can think of one good reason why it might not be so: the female figure depicted on the Defixion has none of the known traditional symbolism. However, the Fluffy-Bunny Brigade have taken to the comments section denying that it is Hecate, because they can’t believe that she would ever curse anybody.
Sigh. It doesn’t take five minutes to come up with the most sympathetic description of Hecate from ancient times, namely Hesiod’s Theogony:
Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will.
It ought not to take a genius to realise that if Hecate is gracious enough to grant victory in “the battle that destroys men,” to her faithful followers, it is not beyond her scruples to see their enemies defeated, i.e. destroyed.
So, whether or not the female figure on the Defixion is question is Hecate, would she realistically have been willing to curse someone anyway? In the right circumstances yes she would – because two thousand years before the invention of fluffy-bunnyism and political correctness, that is how ancient people viewed the gods and goddesses.
At times when I am desperately bored I read the UK’s comedy newspaper, the Daily Mail, looking for some badly written news article … and just today I find one entitled Pagan mother’s fury after son brings home Bible from school but witchcraft books are banned. It tells of a Pagan woman who was outraged when her son brought home – of his own accord, mind! – a Bible from school, which was one of a consignment donated by the Gideon Society. So incenced was she that such scurrilous literature was available at the school, she tried to bring in a load of spell-books to distribute to the pupils… but was declined.
This story is remarkable for a number of reasons. For a start, this is the first time I have heard of a Pagan giving her books away for free, given that Llewellyn usually charges top-dollar for all kinds of rubbish 😉 . Secondly and more to the point, though, American schools apparently have an all or nothing approach to religion based upon an interpretation of the First Amendment. This is alleged to be part of a successful “grand experiment” to avoid religious trouble which has happened in e.g. Germany and Ireland. This of course plainly ignores the fact that such trouble has not happened in the UK, which operates a Church-of-England-by-default-but-you-can-opt-out-of-it-if-you-want type of system. Maybe this system works in the UK because the Church of England doesn’t count as a proper religion!
Anyhoo, in the all-or-nothing debate, I am backing the “All” option – for the simple reason that if it goes through, I intend to found my own religion! That way people will be forced to read my books! (Actually I don’t mind if they don’t read them as long as they pay for them 😉 ).
“Inception becomes reality: People can teach themselves new skills in dreams” says the Daily Mail. Apparently researchers at Yale University have published a paper on the same in this week’s New Scientist.
Honestly: when I first read the article, I thought that the Daily Mail had raided my site for one of my old blog posts – but no, apparently, despite the fact that lucid dreamers like myself and others have been saying it for years, some scientists have now done experiments on it, which purportedly makes it official. The idea of being able to control ones dreams so as to stimulate ones learning sounds so plausible to me that I didn’t really give it much of a second thought. Until I saw the following throwaway remark – referring to Peter Morgan, the author of the paper:
Morgan hopes to be able to improve a person’s social control and decision-making abilities.
I think not! Is it just me or does this remark sound incredibly dodgy? What the fuck is a person’s “social control” any business of Peter Morgan, Yale University, or anyone else’s for that matter? To “improve” a person’s social control you have to lay down a standard by which it can be judged. In other words, it entails imposing one’s own arbitrary values on someone else. And they intend to control someone’s dreams to do it!!! Never have I heard of such an intrusive idea! Oh wait, yes I have, as a matter of fact: Aldous Huxley first wrote about the same thing in Brave New World in 1932. Fuck me, these scientists ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Independent Roman Catholic publisher of pamphlets, “The Catholic Truth Society,” has come up with a “helpful” guide on how to bring witches and wiccans to Christ and His Church. It is called Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers, and is written by a former witch who was apparently saved for the Lord. I note that from the blurb it tries to answer why young people are attracted to Wicca – as if it is only a youth fad and of no interest to adults!
Honestly! As every pagan knows: no witch would ever disgrace herself by writing such an egregious book attempting to convert teenage Christians to Witchcraft.
Inevitably though, the cauldron of controversy surrounding this story has been stirred up by Nazi propaganda rag and Britain’s most anti-Pagan newspaper, the Daily Mail – in a piece entitled How to cure a witch: Catholic Church issues guide in Britain to turn the tables on Harry Potter. Now examine this headline once again. First of all there is the absurdity of the Daily Mail turning the issue from Christianity vs Wicca to Christianity vs Harry Potter (why? what has the Mail got against Harry Potter?). More sinisterly though, there is that word – “cure.” The CTS talks about evangelizing and prosetylising, the Daily Mail talks about “curing.” IMHO, if the Catholic Church wants to retain any semblance of credibility it should dissocciate itself from the Daily Mail which seems to be pursuing its own incoherent anti-pagan agenda.
News today that Pagan prisoners in the UK will be allowed to take four of the eight sabbats as days off work whilst they are in hokey – which four is not specified, although apparently prison governors will be provided with a list of the major pagan holidays for reference. This is part of a move in which, in the spirit of religious equality, convicts of different religions are allowed to cease breaking rocks in the hot sun on the holy days of their own religion.
Needless to say, this is not how it has been reported by Nazi propaganda rag The Daily Mail. In an unintentionally hilarious article entitled Pagan prisoners given time off to worship the Sun God the Mail has described (mostly inaccurately) what Pagans are supposed to get up to on these days (see diagram), as if this were some reason not to allow these prisoners this indulgence.
There are at least two points which seem to have escaped the Mail (there are of course many more, but I am focussing on the two most important). Firstly, they are only getting as much time off as prisoners of other religions except on different days. Secondly, the prisoners are only going to be let off work for the day so they can celebrate the pagan feast day privately in their cell – they are not being let out of prison or anything like that: so citing – even inaccurately – what pagans outside prisons allegedly get up to is completely irrelevant.
Slow news day at Nazi propaganda rag the Daily Mail, so they trot out another article about Paganism. Samhain, if you will recall, was twelve days ago … so basically what the Beaverbrook press have done is rehash a lot of what they did about a fortnight ago. It is obvious by the sting in the tail that the article is meant to leave the reader with the impression that Pagans are actively threatening Christianity (the journalist spoke to a supposedly-naughty pagan who conveniently “would not be named.”)
Yet despite trotting out various alleged Christian rentaquote people as well, the article is in fact surprisingly well-balanced – for the Daily Mail it is, attempting to give equal voice to both Pagans and the nay-sayers. They even try to be fair to paganism by asking Ron Hutton for a quote, so this might be a bit of a left-handed compliment after all 😛
IMHO, the Daily Mail is clearly secretly fascinated with something it doesn’t completely understand. I really think that Pagans, instead of reacting to every banal piece the Mail comes up with should instead aspire to remain aloof from its brand of journalism. One can no more expect the Daily Mail to produce a piece wholly uncritical of paganism than one can expect a dog not to bark. In that sense the Daily Mail does not deserve Pagans’ anger or hatred, but rather compassion instead, as one would show compassion to a wayward child. 😛
A news report in the Daily Mail has criticised the BBC for devoting time to paganism on Halloween. Note that this is the Daily Mail, of which I have had choice words to say in the past.Just in case my comment conveniently gets lost in the ether, I shall repost it here:
Halloween is not a Christian festival. *All Saints Day” (November 1st) is, so is *All Souls Day* (November 2nd). Indeed the latter is in fact the Christian version of Samhain – i.e. the true Samhain, not the crassly commercialised entity known as Halloween.
The fact is that both Christians and Pagans used the end of October / beginning of November for the same purpose – honouring the souls of departed loved ones.
I say let the pagans have their air-time on 31st October – as long as the Christians can have their air-time on November 1st. Criticising the BBC for lack of Christian coverage on Samhain itself is premature. Only if the Christians don’t get coverage on All Saints Day can one begin to complain that they are being marginalised by the BBC.