The Wild Hunt goes independent, looks to fund Pagan media

From Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wild Hunt and Editor in Chief of the Pagan Newswire Collective:

Though I’ve written thousands of posts for The Wild Hunt, I couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of excitement writing today’s. Not just because I’ve been away for over a week, but because this is the first post of a newly independent Wild Hunt. A Wild Hunt that, while maintaining many of the things you’ve grown to love about our site, will also see a number of changes. The first will be that The Wild Hunt is no longer a solo venture. I am proud to welcome two new writer/reporters who will be making regular contributions each month here at this site: Rynn Fox and Heather Greene (Miraselena). Both have excellent resumes and backgrounds, and I’m excited about not only for what they’ll bring to you as readers, but also what they’ll allow me to do: spend more time writing and researching original journalism for the Pagan community.

In addition, The Wild Hunt is standing on principle, and will not only be paying our two new reporters, but will also be paying all contributors to the site from this point forward. I’ve seen a troubling trend within our culture to expect content and excellent reporting to happen without support from the community the writers are serving. While there is amazing free content out there, and many, many, talented writers who are doing this for the love of it, I feel there needs to be a space where this work is nurtured, supported, and paid for. From guest posts by top-notch writers like Eric Scott, a contributing editor at Killing The Buddha, to the contemplative writings of Teo Bishop, or the latest breaking story from a Pagan Newswire Collective bureau. So with my first post of the newly independent Wild Hunt, let me announce our annual Fall Funding Drive.

Fall fund large

http://www.indiegogo.com/the-wild-hunt-fall-funding

Over the next month I’m hoping to raise $6000 to not only cover costs here, but to use that money to turn The Wild Hunt into an enterprise that pushes this site to a different level, one that sustains, trains, and propagates excellence in Pagan journalism, analysis, and commentary. Head over to the official IndieGoGo site for a full explanation of what the money will be used for, the various perks of becoming a Wild Hunt funder, and why your donation is so important. So spread the word, and if can, please contribute!

Here’s how we’ll spend that $6000 dollars:

$1000: Yearly Hosting Fee

$1200: $100 per month for reporter Rynn Fox

$1200: $100 per month for reporter/columnist Heather Greene

$1200: $100 per month to run stories from the Pagan Newswire Collective

$1200: Yearly budget for guest posts from other writers.

$200: Fees and other expenses.

This will, I believe, provide incentive to build better Pagan journalism, help train writers and reporters interested in emulating The Wild Hunt, and allow me (Jason) the time to write more in-depth journalism for our community.

But Jason, why aren’t you being paid in this budget? Good question! If we happen to surpass our goal, I will budget a salary for myself, but I’m more concerned with buidling a new model for Pagan media and I’m willing to put my time, energy, and money, where my mouth is. If we succeed here, maybe we can do more, build more, expect more, from our Pagan media outlets.

GOP Presidential candidate impresses with pro-Pagan stance

If you are a fiscal liberal and wish for more governmental intervention in your daily life, then GOP Presidential hopeful Johnson is not the candidate for you.  If, however, you are like most Americans and are looking for a President who leans more socially liberal/fiscally conservative you may want to give Johnson a further look.  Couple this view with an unabashed pro-Pagan, pro-human rights outlook and clear openness to alternative views on a whole host of issues and you may have as close to an ideal candidate for President as the Pagan community has yet seen.

Last night’s video conference between Gov. Johnson and Pagan and Hindu media was unusual and groundbreaking.  Unlike most every other candidate for political office at any level, Johnson not only agreed to speak publicly with Pagans, he promoted the event openly on his official Google+ page.   In talking with other Pagan media after the conference, many of us related personal experiences with politicians, even those sympathetic to us in private, who refuse to be seen speaking with us in public.   They don’t want an association with ‘people like us’ to damage their credibility and truth to tell, they don’t care enough about our concerns to address them.  This was not the case with Johnson.  During the interview he showed no discomfort addressing issues specific to our community and never flinched from saying the word Pagan.  An example of how supportive Gov. Johnson is to Pagan rights, and basic human rights, can be summed up in a message he had for Pagans and Wiccans serving in the US military,“It should be about equality, it’s not, and I appreciate their service  even though you are not being treated equally.”

It could be easy to dismiss Johnson’s decision in speaking with Pagans while seeking election as the actions of an unknown candidate low in the polls, but that would miss the mark.  Johnson is a successful two-term Governor of New Mexico and is the only GOP candidate who scores positive approval ratings in his home state.  He is not a ‘nothing’ candidate, but a qualified candidate with executive level experience.  What has hampered his candidacy is the mainstream medias’ inexplicable exclusion of Johnson from televised debates.  They have set up criteria that bars Johnson’s inclusion in the debates, a candidate must reach 2% in their polls, but ensures he can never meet that bar by excluding him as an option in their polls.  This sets up a scenario where Johnson is a longshot for the GOP nomination, unless people vote for him in the GOP primaries.  So while we finally have a Presidential candidate who is willing to listen to Pagans and supports us on many issues important to our community, we may never have the opportunity to vote for him.  What makes it even more bittersweet for some Pagans is that such an outspoken candidate for Pagan rights is running on the Republican ticket, not Democratic.

Click HERE to watch the video conference with Gov. Johnson courtesy of KeithBarrett.tv.

A full transcript is available at the Staff of Asclepius blog.

The hour and a half interview covered a wide range of questions about GLBT rights, Pagan military chaplains, raw milk, teaching yoga in schools, TSA and the Patriot Act, economic, and environmental concerns.  Many of the questions were submitted by Pagan community leaders like Rev. Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary and by your average Pagan on the street.    Below are just a few of the highlights from the hour and half Q&A with Gov. Johnson, but I strongly encourage everyone to view the entire interview.

Cara Schulz, PMC-MN:  It is commonly thought in the Pagan community that Republican candidates are hostile to minority religions such as ours.  What message would you like to get across to Pagan voters about how you would represent them if elected president?

Johnson:  There should be a separation of church and state.  I happen to think the world looks down on Republicans for their social conservative views which include religion in government.

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Pagan Chaplain Receives International Award

via PNC-DC

Patrick being presented the award by Suhag Shukla. Photo courtesy of the Lady Liberty League.

On Tuesday, September 14, 2010, Wiccan minister Rev Patrick McCollum received the Mahatma Ghandi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism from the Hindu American Foundation (HAF).  The award was presented during the seventh annual Capitol Hill reception sponsored by HAF.  This year’s reception was held in the Gold Room of the US Congress Rayburn Building.  Patrick was one of four award recipients.  Neal Katyal, Acting Solicitor General of the United States received the Pride of Community Award.  Community activist Vishal Agarwal received the Dharma Seva Award.  US Congressman Edward R. Royce (Republican, Orange, California) received the Friend of the Community Award.

“Patrick is not only the first Pagan to receive this award, but the first Pagan to receive an international interfaith advancement award.  This is an important milestone in Pagan interfaith relations,” said Rev. Selena Fox, Senior Minister, Circle Sanctuary.  “I am glad that Patrick and his work to build bridges of understanding and collaboration among those of many faiths was honored.”

In his remarks upon receiving the award, Patrick expressed appreciation for this recognition, and also spoke about the importance of respecting diversity and sacredness of human beings.  “We are all part of the human family and we must learn to respect each other and live in harmony.”

David Salisbury from the Pagan Newswire Collective’s Washington DC bureau will be at tonight’s Lady Liberty League 25th Anniversary Reception, where Mr. McCollum is also to be honored,  so please check out their site for full coverage. Additionally, The Wild Hunt is providing more information on this event throughout today and tomorrow.