While my blog is not a news blog and I am not a journalist/investigative reporter, I was made aware of some news earlier today that is of import to the overarching “Pagan” community, and that I felt needed to be shared and discussed.
As some of you reading this now may already be aware — the story having been covered throughout the media over the last few months, including by Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wild Hunt and by contributor Peter J. Reilly of Forbes — on the 21st of November 2013 the Maetreum of Cybele had finally won its fight in a case heard by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court for religious property tax exemption against the town of Catskill, New York. Ironically, this victory had been won around the same time that Judge Barbara Crabb controversially ruled, for better or worse, that tax-free housing allowances paid to members of the clergy are unconstitutional — which Forbes contributor Peter J. Reilly reported on in a separate article on the 25th of November 2013. Tax-free housing allowances are, according to Reilly’s report on Judge Crabb’s decision, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
The overarching “Pagan” community has, apparently, begun to celebrate the victory won by the Maetreum too soon. The controversies surrounding both rulings are evidently far from over. The the town of Catskill, NY is once again trying to defeat any and all rulings in favor of the Maetreum. According to an update made on the 15th of January 2014 on the Maetreum of Cybele’s official facebook page:
We received notice late yesterday afternoon that Catskill is appealing our win in Appellate court. They just won’t give up. We need to quickly raise three thousand dollars for the answers. Our lawyer does not feel that they have legitimate grounds for the appeal but it must be answered immediately.
Further details regarding this new (potential) appeal are as yet unknown.
For those of you who wish to contribute to the Maetreum of Cybele and its ongoing legal struggles and other projects, donations may be made via paypal here.
While the views and practices of their organization vary widely from those of many “Pagan” and other minority religious groups, it is crucial that when such difficulties arise we come to one-another’s aid. In fighting for and securing the rights of other minority religions, we may both improve the states of our various communities through interfaith relations and better ensure our various (minority) religions’ survival.