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Jul 03 2013

Christian Authoritarians Wanted Solstice Festival Stopped

A festival to celebrate the summer solstice last weekend had the clergy and Christian folk of Pahokee, Florida up in arms. They packed a city commission meeting and demanded that the city prevent the festival from taking place because OMG pagans! Devil worshipers!

“I just found out about this today. I am disappointed in the city of Pahokee for allowing this group to come,” said Pastor Brad Smith, Florida Director of Kids for Christ. Smith called the event “an abomination”.

“We don’t need this in our town. Not now. Not ever,” said Rev. Raul Rodriguez, of Church of God Door of Jesus Christ…

“We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said Daniel Mondragon. “We do not welcome these things. This is the first annual event, and it should be the last.”

“When I heard about this I immediately began praying,” said Bishop Jared Hines of New Destiny Community Church. “This event is not only detrimental to our city but to our county. What goes on at that lake will affect us all; it will move from the dike and into our homes.”

“We cannot expect our city to survive and prosper if we allow these things,” said Pastor Eugene Babb, of Harlem Church of God.

“God cannot heal our land if we have witches and warlocks violating our community,” said Evangelist Lillian Brown, of Saints on the Move.

Sounds like they need to do a better job of teaching civics in that area. They just seem completely baffled by the fact that non-Christians actually have the right to hold an event, even one that is on private property in this case, without their approval. What do those pagans think this is, a free country? These people want theocracy, plain and simple.

The good news is that the event appears to have gone off without any problems despite the fervent prayers of the self-righteous:

Pastor Jorge Chivara of the Hispanic Nazarene Church addressed the commission through an interpreter, calling pastors of all faiths to unite and pray. He invited everyone (pastors and residents) to join his church on Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m.

He plans to discuss the festival and its potential effects on the community.

“We want to begin praying about what’s taking place before the event, during the event, and after the event,” Chivara said.

That’s a great idea. You pray to your heart’s content. Go tell your imaginary friend all about it and shut the hell up to the rest of us.

53 comments

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  1. 1
    Barefoot Bree

    Sounds to me like Pahokee, FL, needs MORE events like that one, not less.

  2. 2
    Chuck

    Belly dancing?! NNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  3. 3
    holytape

    Not magic spells!!!!!!! I better pray.

  4. 4
    Randomfactor

    I was at a wonderful Solstice Parade this year in California. Lots of tricked-out bicycles, belly dancers, samba groups and even an homage to Rocky Horror Picture Show…and not a church float in sight.

    I think atheists and agnostics around the nation ought to appropriate the Summer Solstice and make it an official festival everywhere. (Then enter the Christmas parades with a Winter Solstice float bwahahaha!!!

  5. 5
    raven

    xian kooks:

    What goes on at that lake will affect us all; it will move from the dike and into our homes.”

    “We cannot expect our city to survive and prosper if we allow these things,” said Pastor Eugene Babb, of Harlem Church of God.

    “God cannot heal our land if we have witches and warlocks violating our community,” said Evangelist Lillian Brown, of Saints on the Move.

    Doesn’t sound like these ministers think their god is very powerful.

    Pagans hold a Solstice celebration and undefined terrible things happen to xians miles away.

    They are halfway there. Their god isn’t very powerful. In fact, my cat is more powerful than their god. She at least exists and even caught a mouse a few days ago.

  6. 6
    Irreverend Bastard

    “magic spells, witches and warlocks”

    It is frightening how some people are incapable of separating fantasy from reality. And I suspect that the only way they see of solving the problem of “witches and warlocks violating our community”, is to burn them.

  7. 7
    matty1

    I wonder how many of these people will squeal about religious freedom if someone sends them a Happy Holidays card this December?

  8. 8
    Trebuchet

    Christians, of course, obsessively celebrate the Winter Solstice, just a couple of days late. They even accuse the rest of us of making war on it.

  9. 9
    raven

    These Florida ministers haven’t thought it through. Nothing new there. They aren’t known for thinking.

    They hold a Solstice celebration every year too.

    It’s called variously Xmas, Yule, the winter holidays, etc..

    Pagans don’t get all upset over xians holding their winter Solstice celebration. Why should they? Pagans love Xmas. It was their holiday before the xians stole it. They are stealing it back.

    PS It’s too early for the war on the war on Xmas. Next holiday war up is the war on Halloween.

  10. 10
    John Pieret

    WHAT’S NEXT?!?! HARRY POTTER BOOKS IN THE SCHOOL LIBRARY?

  11. 11
    Chiroptera

    That’s odd. I thought that the Christianists had figured out that they had to base their objections on things like “not enough portapotties” and “inadequate parking facilities.” In fact, that is what I found odd about the last election — I was totally not expecting campaigns based on “vote for us — we’re absolutely stone cold fuck nuts!”

  12. 12
    Mr Ed

    Who said the dark ages ended.

    I’d like to see if the city council tries do do something even just writing a letter.

  13. 13
    Larry

    Geez, with SSM consuming their every waking moment these days, I would have thought there wasn’t enough room on their god-will-destroy-us plate for outdoor festivals.

    These people really need to get a blow job.

  14. 14
    peterh

    Solstice, equinox and cross-quarter days celebrations are older than Christianity my several orders of magnitude.

  15. 15
    Eamon Knight

    What goes on at that lake will affect us all; it will move from the dike and into our homes.

    What, the pagan cooties are going to get into the water supply and pollute their precious bodily fluids? These people aren’t even trying to distinguish their religion from just plain superstition.

  16. 16
    whheydt

    They/re just jealous because the forgot to steal the Summer Solstice the way they did the Winter Solstice, Vernal Equinox and Fall Cross Quarter day (Samhain).

    Somebody needs to get busy down there and organize festivities for the other cross quarter days and the Autumnal Equinox. (Perhaps the wing nuts will find out that the Society for Creative Anachronism already has a lock on Beltain.)

  17. 17
    eric

    We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing

    The Onion can’t make up stuff like this. It would be considered too transparently silly to be funny. Real life preachers are now becoming parodies of old jokes originally meant to parody them.

  18. 18
    Eamon Knight

    @17: Oh we got trouble, right here in Pahokee, with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for Paganism!!

  19. 19
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Randomfactor #4 – Feh. Seattle has the best Solstice Parade, hands down. And we have naked bicyclists, too. The fun kind, who wear funny and often elaborate “costumes” made from body paint.

  20. 20
    Larry

    #19

    Gregory, you are so doomed!

  21. 21
    matty1

    @17 Next thing they’ll be condemning sex because it might lead to dancing.

  22. 22
    busterggi

    Poor persecuted Christians, imagine actually having to allow people with different beliefs to practise them!

  23. 23
    Gregory in Seattle

    @whheydt #16 – Actually, Christianity DID steal all of the Celtic holy days. It’s just that not all of them are celebrated by Christians any more.

    Feb. 2 – Imbolc; Candlemas
    Mar. 25 (spring equinox) – Ostara; Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Easter (roughly)
    May 1 – Beltain; May Day, Saint Philip the Apostle, Saint James the Just, Saint Walpurga
    Jun. 25 (summer solstice) – Litha; St. John the Baptist (the day before)
    Aug. 1 – Lammas / Lughnasadh; St. Peter In Chains, Lammas (Saxon, “loaf mass”)
    Sep. 25 (autumn equinox) – Mabon; Michaelmas (Sept. 29)
    Nov. 1 – Samhain; All Saints
    Dec. 25 (winter solstice) – Yule; Christmas

    Most of these Christian feasts were lost in the Protestant Reformation; most of the rest have receded in importance within the Catholic Church. Michaelmas still retains a lot of its original importance: coming as it does towards the end of the harvest, its name is still traditionally associated with autumn school terms and the opening of law courts and Parliament.

    Lammas the only odd case, as the widespread Christian observance (the miraculous escape of St. Peter from prison) has little to do with the original Celtic observance (celebrating the first barley harvest.) In the British Isles, a custom arose of having a special mass to bless the first bread of the year arose, but it never caught on in Christendom, probably because it was too closely tied to a seasonal event with considerable variation in different regions.

  24. 24
    Modusoperandi

    LAUGH AT THEM ALL YOU WANT PAGANS BUT YOULL STOP LAUGHING WHEN THE LORD STARTS MAKING THE DAYS SHORTER!

  25. 25
    matty1

    I believe Christian celebrations of midsummer as St John’s day are still common in parts of Scandanavia and the Baltic states.

  26. 26
    greg1466

    And of course they see absolutely no irony in praying because they are opposed to magic spells…

  27. 27
    Eamon Knight

    @25: Also in Quebec, though St. Jean-Baptiste Day has been secularized as La Fête nationale. It’s an interesting aspect of the way culture and identity evolve that possibly the most secular, even anti-religious, jurisdiction on the continent co-opts a specifically Catholic element from its history as a way of differentiating itself from the Anglo majority.

  28. 28
    cptdoom

    But remember, the snake handlers are a-ok, because they call themselves Christians.

  29. 29
    Michael Heath

    Ed concludes:

    You pray to your heart’s content. Go tell your imaginary friend all about it and shut the hell up to the rest of us.

    While I’ve obviously got a problem with these Christians seeking to use government power to stop the event, I’m all for their expressing their animosity towards the event itself. In this case I especially enjoyed this critique:

    “We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said Daniel Mondragon.

    This one brought back the vivid memory of some members of the fundie church of my childhood preaching that the saxophone was Satan’s preferred musical instrument. That motivated me to pick the sax when I joined band. I also found this belief pretty funny back then because everyone up to speed with the times back then knew Satan had replaced the sax with the electric guitar by the mid-1960s.

  30. 30
    cry4turtles

    Addition to bucket list: Bellydance in a godless parade.

  31. 31
    eric

    LOL, Modus.

  32. 32
    baal

    “on private property”
    So the christian religionists don’t like the free exercise clause? I can work with that.

  33. 33
    Mobius

    OMG…Belly Dancing!!! The horror. The horror.

  34. 34
    Ouabache

    I can’t get over the fact that these people literally think that magic exists. They think that their magic spells (which they call prayer) will cancel out the magic spells of these pagans. The mind boggles!

  35. 35
    Eamon Knight

    @34: Religion, unless it very carefully and deliberately guards its “sophistication”, is always in danger of descending into naked magical thinking. And the fundamentalists tend not to try very hard to avoid that fate.

  36. 36
    Cal

    Seems like the War on the Solstice just starts earlier every year… :(

  37. 37
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Ugh. For the eleventy-millionth time, “Warlock” means “oath-breaker”, stop using it to describe Pagans!

  38. 38
    jba55

    Wait wait, paganism leads to belly dancing? I thought it was the other way round. Shit, maybe if I had prayed to the Presbi-Lutheran god instead of the Reformed Presbi-Luthern god I would gotten the right revelation.

    @37: Warlock hasn’t been used in that way for hundreds of years, not that using it for “pagan” when it means a male user of magic is much better.

  39. 39
    kermit.

    “You can burn my house, burn me at the stake, or kill my dog, but please, Mr. Preacherman, please don’t pray at me!”
    – Br’er Rabbit
    .
    It’s all magic for these people – science (uncertain source), miracles (Church), pagan (Devil) magic, Voodoo (Devil) rituals, astrology, homeopathy. All mysterious, they all work, and all can be negated by the others – it depends on the practitioner. I remember as a little baby Baptist hearing about Elijah’s contest with the priests of Baal. The heathen priests couldn’t start a fire for their gods, but Elijah managed to start a fire on his altar even after soaking it in oil(1). And Moses confronted by the priests of Egypt, who cast their wizard staffs down and turned them into snakes. But Moses did the same, and his snake ate their snakes. It’s all magic, and the power of belly dancing is not to be dismissed lightly, Why, just thinking about it makes me all queasy in a funny way.
    .
    (1) As a hobbyist magician, my kid self wondered if that was really water.

  40. 40
    d.c.wilson

    I can’t get over the fact that these people literally think that magic exists. They think that their magic spells (which they call prayer) will cancel out the magic spells of these pagans. The mind boggles!

    Seriously. No one counter spells. I don’t even know why that rule exists.

  41. 41
    Akira MacKenzie

    They’ve got lousy “Vs. Spell” saving throws.

  42. 42
    dingojack

    WMD Kitty (#37) – what’s the weather like way back there in the 13th century?
    ;) Dingo

  43. 43
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    What, I can’t nit-pick over a minor linguistic quibble?

    I’m well aware of the modern usage of “warlock”, thank you, but many Pagans really aren’t happy about said usage, because, hey, aware of the history, and yeah, there’s that handful you find in any sampling of people — the ones who aren’t happy if they don’t have something to complain about. (And believe me, if it ain’t terminology, it’s some other teeny-tiny “nit” that the gods haven’t struck us down for… yet.)

    Anywho, you can just throw me in with the “witchcraft” crowd — not that I believe in “magick”, though the ritual spellcasting can serve as a wonderful psychological prop to get you motivated, it’s really quite fascinating how these things work… well, not like “wave a wand and *boof!*” work, more like “mental boot to the ass, let’s get this thing DONE!” work, yeah?

    I’m in it for the wicked party schedule and the nifty half-human/half-animal gods (Bast, naturally!), myself…

  44. 44
    lancifer

    Belly dancing? This preacher wants to conjure up frightening images of the occult and the first thing that comes to his mind is belly dancing?

  45. 45
    dingojack

    WMD Kitty – I’m sure you’re the first to appreciate the irony of me pointing out your minor linguistic quibble.
    :D Dingo (the pisssant pedant)

  46. 46
    whheydt

    Re: WMDKitty @ 43:

    Do you *really* want to throw in your lot with Isaac Bonewitz by using the term “magick”? The stories I could tell you about Isaac…

  47. 47
    dingojack

    Lance – like this. That’ll frighten the hell outta their god (almost as much as iron chariots).
    :) Dingo

  48. 48
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    DingoJack — It’s all in good fun, I assume. ^_^

    whheydt — Sorry, that spelling is a matter of habit more than anything. Point is, it’s all psychodrama, the rituals and whatnot are just props. The real “magic” happens in your head and your hands when you put real effort into your goal.

    As for Bonewits, meh. He’s produced some useful things and some funny things and a lot of stuff I just rolled my eyes at. I’d not be surprised to find skeletons in his closet, or that he had some rather unlikable traits or habits.

  49. 49
    dingojack

    Oh absolutely.
    Dingo
    ——-
    BTW Apparently ‘wærloga‘ is mostly used in poetical texts.

  50. 50
    peppercarey

    I live in West Palm Beach, FL, about 30 minutes east of Pahokee, and my stepsisters grew up there. The Christians have had their chance at making that city prosper, but it remains one of the most economically depressed areas in the state with a crime rate well above the state and national averages. The only reason to go there is for recreational activities on Lake Okeechobee, but most people choose to visit the lake via the dozens of other adjacent towns and cities, most of which have relatively fewer problems and eyesores.. Pagan festivials can only bring more people to the area (most likely new agey folks and curious onlookers, but possibly also campers and retirees who want something different than the monotony of bland RV parks, walmarts and paved, unshaded walking trails). It should be seen as a potential boon!

  51. 51
    =8)-DX

    “What goes on at that lake will affect us all; it will move from the dike and into our homes.”

    Sounds like Stephen King. Or that computer game – Alan Wake. They better watch out some serious spooky shit is about to come down, time to stock up on the shotguns and flashlights.

  52. 52
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Belly dancing and magic spells!!! ROFL!

    What a maroon. On a more serious note though, do they genuinely think that they have the right to practice their religion, but nobody else does? Because they seem to. Which is fucking idiotic, and totali-fucking-tarian, and just generally fucking disgusting.

  53. 53
    caseloweraz

    “We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said Daniel Mondragon. “We do not welcome these things. This is the first annual event, and it should be the last.”

    Dervishes! Djinni!! Black Magic Women!!!

    The Xtian leaders of Pahokee seem to be unanimous. All I can say is I hope they ban YouTube in their town. Otherwise, they’re doomed — doomed, I tell you!

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