Chapter XVIII: 2000 CE to the Present

by Jesse Potter aka Elkin Vanaeon
 On this ninth day of August in the year of our Lord and Lady 2005 CE

March 3rd, 2000 CE - On March 3rd, 2000, the Papal Letter was sent by courier to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Congregation of the Faith, Vatican City, Europe for delivery by hand to the Holy Father - His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Bishop of Rome, Vatican City, Vatican State, Europe!

This letter is occasioned upon your implementation of the Year 2000 Jubilee of the Catholic Church. It is our understanding that you feel that it is necessary for the Church to undergo an examination of conscience to move forward into the new millennium. We are told that on March 12th, you will offer a public apology for the Inquisition and the damage it has caused, and other areas where the Church may have in the past deviated from the teachings of Christ in some way.

We applaud your motivation and these proposals as spiritually sound conclusions. There is no better way to teach all the people of the world than by example. In reviewing your addresses, homilies and statements of the past years, it is clear that you are courageously leading your people to a higher form of understanding, insight, and spiritual life through this voluntary taking of responsibility for past oversights, neglects, or injustices in the history of the Church. We thoroughly understand this action, for as those of the Wicca and other Pagans from various traditions, we are conscious of our obligations to Deity to be responsible and accountable in every way.

We find ourselves in a position where we must follow your example, for we too are ultimately responsible for guiding the spiritual health of our respective peoples. Yet we find ourselves with a dilemma. Let us explain.

We are certain that you will agree that there is little reason why any informed person would not agree that the Wiccan and Pagan faiths today have been misrepresented and badly treated by the persisting popular mythologies, rooted in the middle ages, since much has been published by many objective academicians in the past twenty years.

Still, there are some who will not hear us and continue to believe ill of us by choice, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, and this has caused not insubstantial ill will toward Christianity among our people. Whatever the justification, these resentments are contrary to our moral laws. Such ill feelings enslave the inner self, that part of the self that communes with Deity, and left unchecked, will inhibit our movement toward Spirit.

We find your deeds and proposals of the recent past to be most laudable, and feel that we can do no less for our own people. We are bound to Spirit to follow a just course of action, even when the cue originates from another faith, for it is at the heart of our beliefs and practices, and our vows.

In light of this, we are asking our people to let go of those ill feelings and resentments, and redirect their energies into more creative and constructive dialog and purpose, to better serve Deity, our personal relationships, our respective communities and the world as a whole.

Therefore, in keeping with the spirit of your recent endeavors, we offer our forgiveness to the Church for any injury, real or perceived, our ancestors sustained due to the Inquisition and from any subsequent misinformation concerning our faiths which may have been perpetuated in the ensuing years.

Further, we ask forgiveness from the Church for those of our people who have inflated or exaggerated the effect of the actions of the Church, and for any anti-Catholic sentiment, which may have been spread, by our people. Further, we make a firm commitment to work tirelessly toward building tolerance between our respective peoples, using the common bond of our shared humanity and of Spirit as the foundation.

We have only one world. Let us get back to the real work at hand, that of teaching our people how to grow and thrive spiritually, in peace on this great planet we share with all of humanity. Most Respectfully Yours, for The Aquarian Tabernacle Church International:

The Rt. Rev. Wende Northstar Davis, Archpriestess of the tradition and The Rt. Rev. Peter Pathfinder Davis, Archpriest of the tradition. Drafted by Revs. Colleen and Drew Rose, Presiding Elders, The Church of Caduceus-ATC on behalf of: The Aquarian Tabernacle Church in America, Rev. Albert Dudley, Dir. of Religious Affairs; Rev. Deborah Hudson, ATC International Vice President and President of The Woolston-Steen (Wiccan) Theological Seminary; The Aquarian Tabernacle Church of Canada, Michele Favarger, APs and Erik Lindblad, AP; The Aquarian Tabernacle Church in Australia, (COWA-ATC) Lady Tamara Von Forslun, APs; Rev. Peter A. Guala, HP; The Aquarian Tabernacle Church in France, Rev. Anthony Kemp, AP.; The Aquarian Tabernacle Church in Ireland, Janet Farrar, APs.;

And concurred in by the following Wiccan and Pagan traditions and groups:

The Irminsul Aettir, an Asatru church, Rev. Susan Granquist, Presiding Gydhia; The Covenant of the Pentacle Wiccan Church, Rev. Velvet Reith, Presiding Elder; Our Lady of the Mist Wiccan Church, Rev. Donald Joseph, Presiding Elder; The Church of Iron Oak, Rev. Roger Coleman, Presiding Elder; The Church of Indo-European Wicca, The Rt. Rev. Garland Priddy, presiding; Nature-Wise Church of Wicca, Rev. Steven E. Repko, and Rev. Bonnie Repko, Presiding Elders; Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance, Rev. Marcus Kephera Wicoff, Principal Minister; The Church and School of Wicca, Rev. Gavin Frost, PhD and Rev. Yvonne Frost, DD, founders; Sylvanic Tradition (Strega), Rev. Dr. Arawn Machia, Presiding Elder; Mintaka Wiccan Church, Rev. Sarah Simpson, Senior Clergy; Hands of Change, a Wiccan church, by the Kore Body of Elders: Rev. Amara Wiley, Rev. Peggy Sahulka, Rev. C. Lynn Carr, Rev. Cate Anderson, Rev. Anthony Minson; Dragonwood Church, Rev. Ardeith Carter, Presiding Elder; Craftwise, Rev. Catherine Dalton and Rev. Francis A. Dalton III, Presiding Elders;

And by these distinguished Wiccan authors, lecturers and teachers who have also requested they be included Rev. Patricia Telesco, (30 Wiccan books); Rev. Ann Maya Heath (5 Wiccan books) and Robert C. Heath; Eileen Holland, The Wicca Handbook.

April 6th 2000 CE - U.S. District Judge S. Hugh Dillin ruled that Elwood High School seniors Brandi Lehman and Shauntee Chaffin have a First Amendment right to wear a pentagram while working because it is a symbol of their religion, Wicca. He declared, "The school system of Elwood Indiana had violated the students' First Amendment rights to wear the symbols of Wicca, a nature-based religion. The Judgement was based on an earlier legal precedent by the seven-justice majority ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1969, which stated that students (in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1965), wearing black arm bands to protest the Vietnam war had the right to do so as a form of "pure speech!" That kind of expression could not be banned unless it interfered with schoolwork or discipline.

The ruling imposed a preliminary injunction on the Elwood Community School Corporation to allow the students to wear the Wiccan Pentacle. Two seniors at Elwood High School brought the suit against the school system saying they are followers of Wicca and had worn Wiccan pentagrams, an inverted five-pointed star, to high school and cadet teaching classes. As cadet teachers, they worked with regular classroom teachers in third-grade classes at Edgewood Elementary School. Their lawsuit said they had been told by the principals of both schools not to wear their Wiccan pentagrams while working in the elementary school. The students said the prohibition prompted them to leave the teaching program.

March 12th, 2000 CE - Pope John Paul II offered a Universal Confession of Sins and Request for Forgiveness in the Mass in Rome on March 12, 2000 in which he offered:

2000 CE - US - Senate Judiciary Committee Orrin Hatch introduced the Religious Liberty Protection Act of 2000 (Placed on Calendar in Senate) S 2081 PCS Calendar No. 436 106th CONGRESS 2d Session S. 2081 Entitled the `Religious Liberty Protection Act of 2000'. This Bill is to amend the 1999 RPLA as well as the 1993 RFRA, questions of whether the bill, if passed, would create problems in enforcing laws against child abuse and domestic violence, protecting civil rights, assuring children's and women's access to health care services, and maintaining appropriate land use and zoning policies.

2000 CE - The Senate took up and passed by unanimous consent the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA S.2869) and signed into law by President Clinton in September 2000. The RLUIPA replaces Hatch's original bill the "Religious Liberty Protection Act (RLPA)," S. 2081. Although S. 2869 was narrowly constructed to remove the civil liberty concerns that were included in S. 2081, the new bill still threatens the historic rights of local governments to control local land use decisions by essentially exempting religious institutions from complying with local land use ordinances.

The bill prevents local governments from applying their land use regulations in ways that substantially burden religious exercise, unless doing so serves a compelling governmental interest while imposing the least restrictive means.

2001 CE - On September 11th, 2001, Muslim terrorists took control of four planes and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center towers, in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington. A fourth hijacked plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Trading on Wall Street stopped and all military bases were put on Threatcon Alpha, the highest level of alert. President Bush addressed the nation and vowed to "find those responsible and bring them to justice." Hundreds of New York City firemen and policemen sent to rescue WTC workers died when both WTC Twin Towers collapsed. World leaders reacted with outrage over the attacks. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered all airports around the country closed in the first nationwide shutdown.

2,807 victims died during the collapse; 1,360 families received death certificates without the existence of identifiable bodies or remains and additional 1,374 families received death certificates upon the identification of a body or human remains. The Justice Department released names of the 19 hijackers.

The medical examiner identified approximately 4,000 of nearly 20,000 partial human remains it had collected. DNA samples helped identify remains in more than 500 cases. Dental samples helped identify more than 300 other victims. The two hijacked airliners that hit the WTC carried 127 other passengers and 20 crew members, there were 184 victims at the Pentagon, 125 people in the building plus 53 passengers and six crew members on the third hijacked plane. In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the fourth hijacked plane crashed, there were 40 victims -- 33 passengers and seven crew members.

Following the Attack - In the wake of the attacks, the U.S. Capitol, White House and other federal buildings were evacuated in Washington. In New York, U.N. headquarters was evacuated, as were skyscrapers in several other cities. President Bush labeled attacks "acts of war" and asks Congress to devote $20 billion to help rebuild and recover, he later vowed that America will "lead the world to victory" over terrorism in a struggle he termed the first war of the 21st century. Secretary of State Colin Powell identified Osama Bin Laden as the prime suspect. President Bush declared a national emergency and gave the military authority to call 50,000 reservists to active duty, declaring Iraq, Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, and Korea were the Axis of Evil and declared war on Terrorism. Afghanistan's Taliban militia warned of "revenge" if the United States attack it for harboring bin Laden. Taliban leaders called on Muslims to wage holy war on America if attacked. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated the administration was preparing a sustained offensive against terrorists and countries that support them.

The United States and six of the world's richest nations agreed to produce a coordinated plan to freeze the assets of all terrorist organizations. Saudi Arabia cut ties with the Taliban government and Osama bin Laden's organization made a fresh call to arms saying, "wherever there are Americans and Jews, they will be targeted."

U.S. and Pakistani officials ended two days of talks in Islamabad, with Pakistani leader saying nations agreed on military preparations for combating Osama bin Laden's terrorist network in Afghanistan. Thousands stormed the abandoned U.S. Embassy compound in Afghan capital of Kabul. The United Nations agency said assault on Afghanistan could send up to 1.5 million refugees into Pakistan and other neighboring countries. War was finally declared on Afghanistan and the Taliban Government was removed.

2001 CE - U.S. - Dec 5, Television Evangelist Pat Robertson launches attack on the Wiccan religion; Robertson interviewed Caryl Matrisciana of Jeremiah Films on the "700 club" program. Discussing her recent video concerning the Harry Potter books, she is distressed that the books are being read in public schools. Equating the fantasy witchcraft found in these books with an unrelated established NeoPagan religion, Wicca, she concluded that schools are violating the principle of separation of Church and State. After the interview, Robertson made a list of the main reasons why a country like the U.S. could invoke divine displeasure. He talked "about God lifting his anointing mantle from the United States of America." The first item on the list was "Witchcraft."

2001 CE - U.S. - Dec 8, Wisconsin, Politicians attack Wiccan chaplain, Rev. Jamyi Witch, 43, a Wiccan priestess, started work as a chaplain at the Waupun Correctional Institution working with another chaplain: Rev. Francis Paliekara, an Episcopal priest. Reaction to her hiring was swift, particularly among Republican State legislators:

2001 CE
U.S. - Dec 9, Leavenworth, Kan., land use permit for the interdenominational 168-acre Gaea Retreat Center over religious rituals performed there, was revoked effectively closing it down. The action was in response to a petition by residents which accused the Center of allowing witches and pagans to dance naked around bonfires at night who "
may be weaving magical spells." A spokeswoman for the retreat says the county admits there has been no illegal activity at the facility, and Gaea has filed suit claiming religious discrimination.

2001 CE - The Pagan Federation Conference declared their 30th Anniversary at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 20th of November, which was organized by a Committee headed up by Sally Fisher and Nigel Bourne. This was a celebration of the repealing of the Witchcraft Act of 50 years ago.

2002 CE - US - Freedom Baptist Church v. Township of Middletown, in which The Becket Fund and the U.S. Department of Justice each offered arguments supporting RLUIPA's constitutionality. Charges of violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) were presented by the Township of Middletown which raised the Establishment Clause argument for the first time as to whether Zoning boards have a clear and unmistakable obligation to obey the First Amendment.

2002 CE - Resolution adopted by the European Parliamentarian Conference on Tibet European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium. The participants of the European Parliamentarian Conference on Tibet included members of the European Parliament, the National Parliaments of the Member States of European Union, Candidate States, Switzerland, and representatives of the Tibet support groups and NGOs. Who gathered in Brussels on the 14th and 15th of November to consider the situation in Tibet.

This Section is still "Under Construction"!

This section is still pending!

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