Survey on Environmental Values

I know Barbara Davy, and this is legit.

Calling all Pagan and Heathen practitioners. Barbara Jane Davy is surveying Heathens and Pagans on environmental values. To take this 20 minute survey, follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3V3RTGR. The survey goes live today, Wednesday December 13, 2017, and will be open until enough responses are collected, somewhere between two days and two weeks. Please share widely with Heathen and Pagan practitioners.

This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee (ORE#22450). If you have questions for the committee, contact the Chief Ethics Officer, Office of Research Ethics, at 1-519-888-4567 ext. 36005 or ore-ceo@uwaterloo.ca.

IF you have any questions regarding this study, or would like additional information to assist you in reaching a decision about participation, please contact Barbara Jane Davy at bjdavy@uwaterloo.ca or 226-581-3821, or Stephen Quilley at squilley@uwaterloo.ca or 519-888-4567, ext. 38335.”

Well, This Is Puzzling

who signed?Earth Day is upon us, and various people have been promoting the Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.

As John Halstead, one of its strongest advocates, wrote on his blog,

The Statement represents the largest collective expression of Pagan voices ever and the most successful attempt to date to harmonize Pagan voices on what is the most critical issue of our time.

Signing it is not going to clean a single stream, but as has been pointed out, its greatest impact may be on interfaith groups that tend to ignore us.

I have been on the road most of the last three weeks but home again, I decided that yes, I should sign it. So I went to the site and tried to do so, only to get the message screen-captured above.

Three possibilities present themselves:

1. I signed it during some kind of blackout and had no conscious memory of having done so.

2. Someone else signed my name.

3. There was a software glitch.

4. The fairies are messing with me again.

Weird.

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Greenpeace, and the Donatists

Back in the 4th century CE, Western Christianity had a problem. During the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, which began in 303 and was severe in some areas, some Christian clergy in the Berber communities of North Africa had surrendered copies of Scripture and otherwise complied with the emperor’s edicts.

When Diocletian was replaced by the pro-Christian Constantine, the hold-outs who had resisted the persecution denounced the first group as impure. Led by a bishop named Donatus, they argued that clergy who had followed imperial orders were sinners who could no longer baptize or celebrate the Eucharist.

But the bishops in Rome, busy hitching the Christian church to the imperial chariot, said no, it’s all good. Or in Latin, ex opere operato, meaning that even if the priest is a sinner, the sacrament is still valid because it comes from God.

I heard this argument from an environmentalist friend yesterday in regard to the news stories about the European Greenpeace executive who commutes to work twice a week by airplane, even as Greenpeace itself campaigns against air travel.

“This kind of bad-example-setting undercuts the message,” I said.

“The organization’s work is still more important,” she said. Ex opere operato. Or as another Catholic once said, “The church may be a whore, but she is still our mother.”

I thought about the Donatists when the news broke last March about well-known Pagan musician Kenny Klein’s arrest on child-pornography charges.  Am I now supposed to smash my Fishbird CD and delete those tracks from my iPod? Or can I say, “Ex opere operato“?

Now it’s Marion Zimmer Bradley. That her husband Walter Breen was an aggressive pedophile is old news. But now the finger points at her: it’s all summed up here.

So who is throwing away their copies of The Mists of Avalon? Or is there an escape clause for artistic works? Is the creative act the equivalent of a religious sacrament? Must we judge the creation according to the morals of the creator or may we invoke the religion of Art: ex opere operato?

Oh yeah, Greenpeace executive Pascal Husting will now take the train, it is said. He made a “misjudgment.” But read the  comment st the Guardian website by “E McBain”: it sounds like one rule for the clergy and one for the rest of us.

Vampires and the Big Blue Marble

I shared a cabin with Margot Adler and some other presenters at the Florida Pagan Gathering four years ago. At that point she had read about seventy vampire novels and was still going strong, looking for the answer to the question, “Why do literary vampires fascinate us?”

Now she thinks she knows:

Every age embraces the vampires it needs, writes feminist author Nina Auerbach in her book, Our Vampires, Ourselves. Every age uses vampires to express their fears and concerns, writes Eric Nuzum, in his book, The Dead Travel Fast.

In 1897 when Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, England had the largest ports in the world. There was fear of incoming disease, of foreigners, of immigration. And Stoker created the perfect monster, Eastern European, bringing dirt from a foreign land. You can do this for every period that has had a wave of interest in vampires. In the 80’s, with Aids, vampires were often described in novels as parasites. You became infected by vampirism, like a disease.

Here is the whole text and video of  her recent presentation.  Read it, and the title of this post will make sense.

Why You Should Lock Your Car While Shopping at Whole Foods

“Ethical consumers less likely to be kind and more likely to steal, study finds,” is the subhead on an article in the lefty British newspaper The Guardian.

OK, several caveats. This is one study by two social scientists in Canada. Science reporting in the daily press is sometimes sensationalized, and, further, I think you can design a psychological survey to prove anything. (Actual social scientists may want to differ, but that is my impression.)

But it’s ironic to see The Guardian sticking it to Al Gore:

When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to “green” type.

If I am at all inclined to believe Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, it is because in my youth I met too many people who preached “peace and love, man,” but who would steal anything not nailed down. Their professions of morality in some areas seemed to excuse (to them) their behavior in other areas.

A PDF file of the study itself is available at Professor Mazar’s site.