Dizzy From the Local Spin

Letters published September 27, 2001

Hearts in Atlantis
Shoring up our commitment to negligence:

As a loyal reader of both Scene and The Free Times, I must say that, this week, your issue [September 13] borders on embarrassing. For a national news story to occur on the day before your press deadline and not to run any coverage on it at all is absurd. When there are Cleveland connections and issues that affect Clevelanders (air travel, parking bans, heightened security), it is downright negligent and irresponsible. Your magazine needs to reevaluate what is important to those of us who care about national news from a Cleveland perspective, not just Cleveland news.

Jason Story

Wiccans are the ones getting laid:

C'mon, after all this time, do we really need to go pointing out to a supposedly hip and with-it rag like Scene that confusing Wiccans with satanists is bad juju? [Nightwatch, August 30]. I have no idea what Godsmack's Sully Erna believes. If he's a neo-pagan or a classic Judeo-Christian satanist, good for him.

I do care, however, that Michael Gallucci threw careless references to Wiccans as "black mass-attending devotees of the dark side" into his review, and an astute editor failed to notice. Hey, next time there's a band in town with a Jewish frontman, Mike, would you make some offhand comments about "Christ killers?" I'm sure no one would mind.

Since you guys apparently learned all you need to know about witches from horror films, here's a quick refresher course: Neo-paganism is the catchall heading for a variety of earth-based religions, including Wicca. Neo-pagans and Wiccans do not believe in or worship the Christian devil. Wiccans (and most pagans) worship the Mother Goddess and Her male consort. Since the latter is sometimes depicted as Pan, with antlers or horns, He can be confused with images of Satan -- which is exactly what the medieval church fathers hoped for. A devotion to evil or Satan, or claiming to attend black mass, is almost always the sign of an adolescent male who is unable to get laid. I have never, in my 15-plus years in the pagan community, met a sincere Wiccan or pagan who made any of those claims.

Cleveland is home to a large and active neo-pagan community. The biggest pagan festival in the country is organized out of Cleveland, and we are home to druids, Norse, Church of All Worlds, CUUPs [Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans] groups, and many independent covens and witches. We would appreciate not seeing a legal, recognized religion be slagged off for laughs by ignorant reviewers.

Sade Sindar-Wolfkitten

How a minority becomes the majority:

In response to Erick Trickey's article "Kosher Pickle" [August 23]: Caring for a dying person should not be a question of religious beliefs; it should just be done. A sick 95-year-old woman is not going to be around another 20 years. But I agree that this home has the right to refuse those whom they don't want -- provided they receive no federal, state, or local assistance whatsoever. However, if any of the public's money is given to this home, its exclusion of other persons to save space for "their own" breaks several federal laws and certainly amounts to full-fledged discrimination.

This issue is clearly bigger than giving a Gentile adequate nursing care at a Jewish nursing home. This is a situation where a formerly discriminated group now has complete power to discriminate against the majority. We are 50 years beyond Reverend McMickle's quote about justifying past behaviors under a discriminatory society. With or without a synagogue, I assume Reverend McMickle and your readers would like nondiscriminatory health care for everyone, regardless of color, religion, or race.

The overall practice of creating "areas" of their "own" is a survival tactic of a bygone era. How can prejudice and exclusion be a healthy thing? Obviously, Jews are not a majority, but many now are prominent businessmen, and many are active in overseeing major components of our society and economy. As I see it, this integrates them into the majority. It's time to stop the "only for our own" mentality.

Jeremy Hersey

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