Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Wars 12/20/07

In 2004, it was decided by certain up front Christian folks that Christmas was being assaulted by the rest of us. Either we were too materialistic or not reverent enough or totally indifferent to the birth of Christ. The holy day itself was being drowned out by the loud obnoxious ads enticing us to support retail businesses during the festival of lights, tinsel, and horizontally-challenged Santa Clauses. Wow. Suddenly, Christmas was in need of defense and legal teams. I didn't really give two shits about it. Apathy and brain injury are companionable bedmates.

Fast-forward to the last couple of weeks ending the year 2007. A couple of things happened. The first was that my atheist husband rebelled against the company Christmas party and the subsequent concern of a loud-mouthed co-worker when he refused to kick in a couple of bucks for a present for the boss. The second was my attendance at a 12-step meeting where "spirituality" was one of the topics.

It was the day of the staff Christmas party-- a small affair involving co-workers and Christmas cookies. He refused to participate in the frenzied conviviality which is the mark of staff parties everywhere. Instead, he chose to take his routine lunchtime walk outside. I didn't find any fault with that choice.

The last hellhole that I had worked at expected the managers to take part in every friggin' staff party that came along. Being as I don't drink and don't really enjoy giving up my free [unpaid] time to hang out with my co-workers-- after my attendance at one or two of these things-- I stopped going. The higher end bosses were pushy yet I held my ground. I told them the truth. The parties weren't my thing, didn't relieve my stress, and weren't something I wanted to spend my time doing. Period. Life went on in spite of my refusal to participate in what for me would have been social fakery.

At the last hellhole, someone or other was always hitting us up for money-- a group Christmas present for the Jewish boss, a present for whoever was having a baby shower that week, a few dollars here, a couple more there. I gave, stupidly. My husband likewise also gave to various group efforts at making merry in his own place of employ. After his walk on the day of the staff Christmas party, he was asked to donate a few bucks towards a Christmas present for the boss. This time, he said, "No."

And then hell broke loose in his hellhole. Husband was the only one who had refused as it turned out. Begging co-worker proceeded to announce his refusal to everyone within earshot-- which as it turned out was the entire staff. Husband got pissed and pondered several versions of offensive e-mails which he would have liked to write in response but knew he couldn't.

While hell was breaking loose at his job, I was attending the 12 step meeting where the topic of "spirituality" was rapidly disintegrating into how materialistic the world is, how Christ's birthday was being shit upon by the unholy masses, how most everyone got it all wrong, how Jesus is the reason for the season. Rather than cause division in the room, I left and went to another meeting where the topic was indeed more centered on issues related to recovery.

"Let's celebrate Solstice," my husband proposed to me when he got home, knowing that as a non-wiccan witch I gave a nod to the passing of the seasons. "Screw that," I said. "Solstice just marks an astronomical event in the sky. Let's be evil Roman satanists and go whole hog out for Saturnalia!" He agreed even though none of his ancestors hailed from Italy.

Some of mine did. Perhaps they were the pagans watching the march of Christianity overtaking Europe and mourning the loss of sacred groves to the new religion. Perhaps they were the soldiers burning down the groves or the builders erecting churches over the hallowed ground now declared to be profane. More than likely, they were just regular folk hanging out in Southern Italy working the fields or selling stuff in their stores or whatever the hell it was they did on a daily basis. I sort of doubt that they had to attend staff holiday parties or chip in for a new toga for the boss.

Christmas is not really my holiday. I grew up in a Christmas-celebrating family and that was alright I guess. I have a variety of memories of Christmases past. I remember the giant Christmas tree at Rockerfeller Center in the City, the street vendors celebrating roasted chestnuts, the two guys who loaded up a canoe in Bambergers' with unpaid for Christmas presents and carried it down the elevator and out the front door without being stopped, the Santa Clauses and the fact that some had blue eyes and some had brown led me to conclude that the whole Santa thing was a story, my mother's fake green tree, my dad's fake silver ones, snow, vacations, the cranberry red raincoat and cool red ski outfit with the decorative corn cobs that my dad gave me one year and my mother throwing them out [she did this to everything he gave me every Christmas], lasagna at my aunt's, antipasto at my step-grandmother's, lights, decorations, my dad's repertoire of fun songs fitting the season. I also remember going to church.

Up until this year, husband and I participated in the secular madness. Lights got strung, expensive presents which we increasingly could not afford got bought year after year, the tree went up, the cats got to adjust the decorations on the lower branches, the dog got excited, visits got made, food got eaten, wrapping paper got thrown out and so on. This year, we decided to buy minimal sorts of gifts for our two families. I've been out of work for four years due to complications of traumatic brain injury after all. We took a severe financial hit on that one. We acknowledged our reality and this year acted accordingly. This year, we will not be crying about money we could not afford to spend. The lights, tree, and decorations remained in their boxes in the attic. Our lives and the lives of those around us continue in spite of the fact that we have decided to live within our means, energy levels, and non-beliefs. I am thankful that in the United States of America we can make our choices as we see fit.

We don't have any human kids. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying. They just didn't happen. Consequently, I've never had children to explai the whys and wherefores or the politics of Christmas to. I've never had to explain that public school students are permitted to sing traditional Christmas carols as written along with secular songs, never had to protest against a teacher informing my children that they are destined for hell, never had to educate my children on the varieties of traditions as practiced by tons of people in tons of places. This year, as the Shrub and presidential candidates air their stupid little commercials slash campaigns wishing the voters a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or both, I won't be having to explaining what is really going on in those commercials to my offspring. For that I count myself spared.

I don't decide where I will shop on the basis of whether employees have been instructed to say "Merry Christmas," "Season's Greetings," "Happy Holidays" or nothing. I don't choose my friends on the basis of what they celebrate or don't celebrate this time of year. While I don't ascribe to the notion of an inherently Christian nation or to the idea that anyone who doesn't believe that Jonah could have survived in the belly of a whale for three days, seen that oh so controversial movie "The Passion of Christ, or rejects the whole Jesus as savior routine is automatically going to the sulphur pits to burn forever and ever Amen, I don't hate people who do embrace those concepts. It does not harm me to wish people who celebrate Christmas a "Merry Christmas." It does not offend my essence to have strangers automatically assume that I celebrate Christmas.

You want to know what really bothers me? Okay, so that is a rhetorical question since I am going to tell you anyways. What really frosts me is that the House of Reps recently took time out to pass that ridiculous nonsense about the importance of Christmas and Christianity. Oh I know that Christianity has a bunch of followers. Some of those followers [particularly in other countries] are not having a happy time of things because of their faith. American Christians who have the nerve to broadcast that they too are among the persecuted might wish to try life in Pakistan or Egypt or even Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, in New York City several Jews riding a subway got beaten up. Apparently, responding "Happy Chanaukah" to ten people wishing you a "Merry Christmas" can result in a bloodbath. Similar to the bloodbath of the execution of Christ I suppose. Except that it was a Muslim who came to the aid of those getting the modern day ass-kickings. Abortion rights or civil rights for those of us who are non-hetero does not equate Christianity being made illegal in the United States.

Christians in the United States who fight abortion rights or the inclusion of actual or perceived sexual orientation in hate crimes are not threatened with death daily. A family in heavily Muslim Pakistan who recently converted from Islam to Christianity is in hiding in fear for their lives. An iman in England is now wanting to kill his converted to Christianity daughter. Christians in West Papua are in danger of wholesale genocide courtesy of Muslim Indonesia. Christians are faced with the possibility of being gunned down over in Iraq where recently a 24 year old woman was killed in just that manner.

To the Christians in the United States who are clamoring to get on the persecuted-for-my-faith bandwagon, get a clue. Go visit the website which as near as I can make out is a website run by Christians for Christians. Life over here is pretty damn good. Please remember that. This so-called war on Christmas is a smokescreen. Dump it. Let's all get on with the business of learning how to live peacefully with each other in spite of our differences, shall we?

*radical sapphoq dedicates this blog to her husband*


Saturday, December 08, 2007

...the lack of notification when an entry has been administratively set to "Explicit Adult Content" is a problem, and we are working on implementing a way to notify you...We also feel it is important that content which has been set as containing "Explicit Adult Content", or "Adult Concepts" clearly indicate that this is the case.
*Appeal for said administrative decision???
And how is the decision decided???
And why are yous crawling through friends-locked posts???
What exactly is an adult concept??? Cursing? Politics? Freedom from your religion? Witches? Lesbians? Bisexuals? Gays? Trans? AIDS? Death? Bad-mouthing Putin? Dissidence??? Revolt? Wank? Thought? Atheism? Secular Humanism? Animal welfare rather than animal rights? Rape? Sexual abuse? Surviving childhood sexual abuse?
If I wanted someone to police my thoughts, I would not have moved away from my mother.

For those who see the adult content lj-cut, we realize they may not see the lj-cut intended by the author of the post. This is something for which we do not have an immediate solution...and are open to any suggestions you might have.
*Here's a suggestion. DUMP IT. Translation: don't. Don't get involved in these petty censorship issues with the right-wing whacKKKos who are trying to dictate their ideas and impose their version of fundamentalist dominionist christianity upon the rest of us. Or is it Putin himself that we are battling???
A couple of words for you: Safe Harbour.

Additionally, we are determining what the best option available is for users who initially entered an incorrect date of birth. As a temporary solution, with their username and a copy of any government issued identification which includes a date of birth.
*Other places are content with the use of a credit card as proof of age.
How about just kicking off all the minors who didn't have the sense to lie about their ages when signing up?
And send any of yous a copy of government issued i.d.??? Dream ON.

...our Abuse report form does not properly indicate that our Hate Speech policies apply to members of any sex, gender, or sexual orientation. We assure you this is simply an oversight...the Abuse Prevention Team's Hate Speech policy has, and will continue to apply to these groups.
*That is bogus. NOT GOOD ENUF. The abuse team in my experience is only interested in finding ways to tell us to check the FAQs and not to bother them with any serious issues. Can you say: stalkingharassmentimpersonationhatecrimesanorexicsuicide???

...we feel it is important to give you an update on our plans to resolve these outstanding issues, and welcome any additional feedback you may have on how to further improve the adult content flagging system.
*Additional feedback on how to further improve the adult content flagging system. My feedback is welcome, eh? Here is my feedback: DUMP IT.

For any lj user who has managed to read through this post and gives a shit, sapphoq has accounts at insane journal, commie journal, blogger, multiply.
And for those who don't give a shit about where I will be, I still hope that you will find a better home where free thought is not illusionary.

Finally, on all of this BULLSHIT about how we MUST protect other peoples' little rugrats and not write mean things in our journals:

What you people are doing is far more obscene than a few curse words and naughty bits about Harry Potter fucking Draco or Snape or whoever.

And all you people working for Live Journal Inc., in a couple of years when SUP decides to move the offices out of San Francisco, I hope you enjoy living in other countries.


Fuck censorship...Fuck censorship...Fuck censorship...

Monday, December 03, 2007

El Jay Selling Out to a Russian Company

Ah ha! Six Apart is selling Live Journal. Perhaps then that is part of the reason for the idiocy that is infesting El Jay these days.

We will see what we see. I don't know if a Russian Company will do better with Live Journal or not.

radical sapphoq watching the lunatics in the hallways

Live Journal Waves Censorship Flags Around Again

Over at , Live Journal in the Press speaks nothing about the latest thing that has gotten many users in a tizzy. All of the articles referred to are from 2003 and 2004. Live Journal and its' dictatorial company Six Apart are both set upon becoming an embarrassment to the cause of freedom of electronica.

Users are now being asked to flag each others' journals for content that is adult sexy, adult themes, hate speech [with sexual orientation left out-- shame on you El Gay], offensive and one other category that I cannot think of right now. There is an inherent bias in all of this. If journals containing g.l.b.t.i.q. content are flagged, there won't be too many eyebrows raised. And witches-- lots of people don't want the witches around either. Filthy non-god heathens, atheists, sex outside of marriage, gasp drugs, rape memories...the list goes on. I propose adding dominionists and revisionists to the list. And that is the problem inherent in believing "in self-expression." There is always a risk that some folks are bound to express themselves in ways that at least one of us will not care for. And what the hel ever happened to parents supervising their kids on the net???

The post which is supposed to answer concerns expressed about the so-called flagging uh actually censorship-of-others tools found here at doesn't. The promise made several months ago of clear policies and definitions remains un-addressed.

From the reader is told that the "we" of Live Journal believes in self-expression and diversity. To that I can only say, ,sarcasm> "Yeah, right. Walk this way to see the bridge I got for sale in Brooklyn." < /sarcasm>.

sapphoq says: The machinations of Six Apart are truly something to watch. Hey if El Jay wants to become vanilla, El Jay will have to do that without any more help from my bisexual bucks. I am currently cross-posting to Insane Journal. And Commie Journal is looking better daily. Yahell 360, another great defender of censorship, is going under on January 31, 2008. Maybe I will live long enough to see Live Journal go the way of 360.

*radical sapphoq opposing censorship over and out*

Flag it. Offensive Content.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

China Gives U.S. the Goods

Bunches of toys and some other stuff manufactured in mainland China have been recalled over the past several months-- 80 000 flashing pacifiers, 274 000 defective fluorescent shop lights, 55 000 imported Fisher Price toys-- pet food ingredients, batteries, and tires raised initial concerns starting in March.

The state of California has filed a lawsuit. Chinese toy manufacturers are wanting to sue as well.

Meanwhile I have to wonder: Is the Chinese government trying to kill us? The more benign explanation is inadequate standards and cost-cutting measures in Chinese factories. Chinese factories are privatizing. The mediacs want us to believe that is at the crux of the problem. That's nice but how does a date rape drug wind up in Aqua Dots? 21 million toys made in China were recalled this summer and the Chinese toy makers are insulted enough to consider suing? Give me a break peeps.

It was bad enough when kidney failure was one of the side effects of the pet food ingredients from China, bad enough when a shop lamp from China can explode. Now babies risk choking on detaching pacifiers and little kids can be hurt by lead and a date rape drug. Stop it. Boycott all Chinese goods. It just might be safer.

Call me reactionary. I do not care. None of the kids on our list are getting anything made in China. So be it then.

I know toys from other places get recalled. I point out that the amount of stuff from China getting recalled is obscene. We are getting crap from China. Crap that is potentially injurious to the health of U.S. citizens. I don't think that we should have to put up or shut up on this one. Don't buy anything from China. It just might kill you or your offspring. Let Chinese factories come up with a definitive plan of action if they wish to keep exporting to the United States. Let them implement said plan, get the lead out, eliminate the harmful ingredients. Until we have proof that what is coming to our shores from China is safer than it has been since the spring, I am spending my cold green American cash on American goods.

radical sapphoq

Friday, October 26, 2007

Professor Dumbledore and Unrequited Love

"Don't join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed."
American general and 34th President of the United States (1890–1969)

The J.K. Rowling fictional series regarding a young male wizard and his adventures during his school years while attending a school of magic remains the most challenged books of this century. J.K. announcing at Carnegie Hall that Dumbledore was gay may not help her books remain on the shelves of sectarian libraries everywhere. Nor does it do much in my opinion to further [or detract from] the issues that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed, queer, and questioning deal with in everyday living. With gay bashings and hate crimes flourishing in a nearby county and the continued assault on civil rights for non-heterosexuals in the United States, I find it difficult to care that a fictional character is a homosexual. Nothing in the books themselves-- aimed at a primarily juvenile audience-- addressed Dumbledore's sexual orientation. There were no mentions of a lover and no steamy sex scenes. When I was engrossed in the books and the movies, I spent zero time analyzing which characters might not be straight. I didn't care. Perhaps that makes me less of an activist for the variety of causes for the community of which I am a part. So go ahead, try to rip my radical identification card out of my pagan bisexual hands. It won't work yanno. But don't despair just yet. After all, the hetero-or-die crowd can still rejoice that both hockey and Iran are safe from the likes of us. Bully for them!

An article appearing in the Boston Globe yesterday indicated that a parochial school priest removed the Harry Potter book series from the school library. An article in the Salt Lake Tribune drew a distinction between the ability to rightly decide between reading material that may or may not be appropriate for oneself and one's legal charges [read: children] and the allergies that public institutions [read: public libraries] have to folks challenging reading material for all patrons of the public institution. St. Joseph's School in Massachusetts is not a public institution and so the priest was acting within his office to do as he wished with the Potter books.
If a priest wishes to believe that Hogwarts accurately portrays what witchcraft is about, he obviously is vastly *unfamiliar* with real circle work. Young Harry Potter fans everywhere can sleep at night comfortable in the knowledge that reading a book or watching a movie cannot convert one to either witchcraft or to *falling in love with someone who happens to share the same gender* that they do.
Kinda makes one wonder about the priest though.

Did a chord resonate deep within when young Harry's wand picked him at Ollivander's in Diagon Alley? Or was there a sort of crush on the fictional Dumbledore who for all his cavorting with Harry demonstrated not one molecule of misplaced pedophilic affection? Or a fantasy of the old tottering wizard showing up at the rectory to rectify some misunderstanding regarding the difference between pedophilia and gay love, between fictional and human children [something which those who run Live Journal still show evidence of confusing], between the transfiguration of Professor McGonagall from a feline sitting on a desk and the transubstantiation of blood to wine and body to wafer? Alas, how does one measure accurately the differences between fantasy and reality?

Dumbledore is gay [and dead too], unlike the entire country of Iran and all hockey teams where nary a gay can be found. Hatred is real and has direct and sometimes bloody consequences. J.K. is worth a cool four mil and pedoheads will continue to gather in chat rooms strung out across electronica. In comparison to the news of the day, the announcement of Dumbledore's gayness is hardly worth all the fuss it has been stirring up. I remain a staunch advocate of civil rights for all civils. The vids on YouTube will continue to amuse me at random intervals. No real or imaginary children were harmed in the typing of this blog post.

radical sapphoq

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Think of the CHIL-DREN

In Missouri, orphanages and homes for the children of immigrants were started up because of need in the late 1800s. Children of immigrants-- some who were half-orphans-- were at increased risk for placement in these places because of serious illness of a parent or because the family could not financially afford to take care of all of its' members. Religious organizations were at the forefront. There were orphanages for children of German immigrants being run by several sects. Girls were taught to cook and sew. Boys were taught to chop wood.

Missouri is the stomping grounds for many religious homes for children today although for different reasons. Thanks to some ultra-religiosos, there is a popular but mistaken belief in allowing religious homes to govern themselves in some states without a need for any real oversight or state licensing. The thing is, state regs would force the hiring of more staff who are better qualified, some increased supervision of their charges, and the adoption of regs that they are reluctant to kowtow to. Specifically, in the growing industry of sending troubled teens away for treatment, corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is allowed in the Bible, according to these places. The folks in charge invoke a higher authority when challenged-- no less than the personage of the Divine White Heterosexual Male Master himself.

When Brother Lester Roloff opened the Rebekah Home for Girls in Texas, state requirements had been relaxed due to Governor-at-the-time [now President] Bush's interest in perpetuating the de-regulation of regulations over religious outfits and the Rebekah Home could engage in paddling the girls, denying them reading materials and the basic right to practice the religion of their choice, putting girls in isolation rooms for up to several weeks on end without allowing them to wash or bathe, monitoring their correspondence, and chaining them to pipes. Most religious outfits had already gone along with the state regs in Texas. The Roloff homes [there were several at the time] and a few other radical fringe groups celebrated the ruling. Waco happened and H.R. 2482 expired which meant once again that homes such as Roloff's would have to be licensed and regulated.

Roloff moved his homes to Florida, Mississippi, Georgia. He placed them under the auspices of the Independent Baptist Church-- a sect which he founded. That was on the advice of his attorney. Brother Roloff was killed in an small aircraft crash in 1962. His successor, Reverend Bobby A. Wills moved the homes to Missouri because Mississippi wanted licensing.
There are currently six or so homes existing today which have ties to Brother Roloff. These homes all train troubled teens in the Bible and the knowledge of the necessity of getting saved. They also believe in corporal punishment, restricting or supervising correspondence with those outside, and physical isolation from the temptations of the world. The Rebekah Home for Girls is still in Texas-- an empty campus with an eye for re-opening awaiting the favor of President Bush once again. Bad enough to have all these faith-based programs paid for by our taxes methinks. Even worse that they do not have to play by the same rules as the rest of us.

The school possessing the most notoriety was perhaps the one run by Bob Wills. There are entire websites devoted to the Mountain Park Baptist Boarding School and its' legal woes. Driven from Mississippi, the school and three others settled in unregulated Missouri. Several former students have begun lawsuits alleging abuse. September 2007's Free Thought Today newsletter out of Madison, Wisconsin contains an essay by one of the plantiffs-- Carrie Louise Nutt. Her essay on page 12 is titled, "Christian Schools for the Damned." She paints a severe picture of censorship, fear, and punishment. Mountain Park was closed in 2003. It's sister school is alive and well in Florida.

Survivors of Mountain Park and other places like the infamous Elan School in Poland Springs, Maine are speaking out. A websearch will bring you to a Fornits Board where Elan folks commiserate on the things endured during their stay. As it turns out, the school itself is not quite the hang-out-in-the-rugged-wilderness that its' website advertises. Elan also has Group Meetings and also a note about the humiliation practiced there on the teens. Group Meetings, called G.M.s by the initiates, are feared. Residents "get their feelings out" on the assigned scapegoat of the day by the dorm mates conducting an open group physical attack followed by staff haranguing with the kids joining in. A G.M. can last from 4 hours to 24 hours. Total brutality was reserved for the runaways. The "splitters" are hunted down in the woods [the Evan School is surrounded by woods] by physically strong teens and beaten most severely.

Supporters will say that the harsh discipline gave them their child back or that their child got Jesus or is now living a decent life. Detractors tell different harsher stories. The harsh stories are not limited to Independent Baptist Churches' schools/homes for teens. Most folks are familiar with the wilderness camps that are advertised for the emotionally deranged teen. Some may even recall teen boot camps which were popularized by teevee talk show host Jenny Jones and others. Boot Camps and Wilderness Camps also do not have to follow some of the more peskier regs-- like staff qualifications. Nowadays a desperate parent can send off their troublesome teen to such faraway places as Samoa and Jamaica. Places outside of the U.S.A. definitely do not have to follow our rules. And there is something else too. The kid may come back dead or maimed. Websites set up by "consultants" who "recommend" the perfect program for children to go to are partially to blame. And then one also has to wonder why a parent would trust an electronic stranger to know where their kid should go without ever meeting said "consultants."

I have never faced having to put my child on a PINS petition or watch them go off to prison in handcuffs. I have never had the experience of unmitigated hatred by my offspring or the heartbreak of having to place my child in residential treatment. I don't have any kids. It wasn't for lack of trying. It just didn't happen. I don't know the anguish of having to make a decision that must be heart-breaking. I do know survivors of institutional abuse. The troubled teen industry has become an industry. Sure there are good folks out there. There are indifferent folks out there too, desperate folks, dangerous folks. Children are our future. But please don't tell me to Think of the CHIL-DREN and then turn around and support yet another faith-based initiative which adds up to improper treatment of kids in order to skirt some regs and oversight, beat the hell out of them in accordance with the dictates of some book, and censor their every breath.

radical sapphoq

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rhonda Gruber

Rhonda Gruber is an agnostic witch living in Horry County, South Carolina. She and her husband were recently arrested for allegations of harassment and child neglect. She has a sixteen year old son who may or may not be on a prescription drug for A.D.H.D., guns in the house, and an affinity for illegal drugs and extra-marital sex by her own admission.

When she was arrested, she self-described as a witch. That appeared in the police report because she said so, not because the cops down there really care much about those things. [Horry County includes Myrtle Beach, a really neat place which I have been to-- not your typical southern small town at all]. She used this "as a witch" statement to claim that she is being persecuted as a witch.

Her son was arrested for threatening to shoot some kids at school with one of the guns in the house. Verification of his alleged R.O.T.C. "with marine boot camp" status could be neither verified nor disproved. Her sixteen year old son is allegedly being held in juvie for his alleged threats [until trial?]. The booking site for Horry County does not list the names of minors. What it does show is that Rhonda Gruber's bail was set at 5,000 dollars and her husband's at 500.

Rhonda Gruber has been rather busy. She has sent her appeal all over-- it asks for donations as well as advice and protective energy-- and she has now taken her cause to the A.C.L.U. To date, the A.C.L.U. has not decided if it will be involved or not. She claimed to at least one blogger that Al Sharpton is defending her. She has also been cleaning up her risque myspace profile and naughty pictures; and no longer publicly displays a list of her myspace friends. [She has two myspace blogs-- one for herself and one for her mail-order witch business].

The search warrant was written for items such as child porn, computers, thumb drives, illicit drugs and paraphernalia, and guns. No witch tools were listed for seizure. Rhonda Gruber was not arrested for anything to do with witchcraft. The concern of Horry County is not with what spiritual path she professes to practice.

radical sapphoq's current verdict: NO money for Rhonda Gruber. NO sympathy for someone hiding behind religion in order to excuse bad behavior. And the following advice: take some responsibility for your actions lady.


Below is one e-mail from Rhonda Gruber which was sent to an incredimail witch group I frequent. Spelling was left alone.
Following that are the sources I used for this post.

radical sapphoq

> >
> > My name is Rhonda Gruber AKA Wicked Lil Witch and I am a Proud Witch. I
> > am currently being persecuted as a Witch by a Lt. Kevin Duke of the
> > Horry County Police Dept. My life and the lives of my family and
> friends
> > are being threatened and destroyed by this man with the backing of
> > countless other officials.
> >
> > I was arrested Monday Sept 10th '07 by Lt Duke for Breach of Peace,
> > Child Endangerment/ Neglect and 1st degree Harrassement.
> >
> > This all began around the end of May '07 from many false police reports
> > from a neighboring family, The Luisettis, who also seemed to think I
> > deserved to be arrested for my religious beliefs. They stated such in
> > their police reports. When this began to become a pattern of filing
> > false reports, we began seeking Police protection FROM them. We were
> > told numerous times that we had no reason to receive their protection,
> > just to ignore them. Yet they continued to file their reports on us. We
> > were told the only we could do is file a Civil Suit. This wouldn't fix
> > the problem for quite awhile if ever.The Police Dept on numerous
> > occasions, even refused to file any reports for us.
> >
> > We had at one point searched out help from Magistrates in the area. One
> > told us that filing these reports was most definitely something the
> > Police could do something about and that they should but he was fairly
> > certain that they wouldn't. He went on a 10 min rant about it to us. He
> > even took the time to gives us copies of the laws on filing false
> > reports, which we took to this Lt Duke, who after realizing we weren't
> > going to leave his office too easily, Then wrote us report stating that
> > the report from the Luisettis was investigated and the allegations were
> > unfounded and seemed to be stemming from harrassement from the
> neighbors.
> >
> > Now Monday, my 16 yr old son was targeted for their harrassment . In
> the
> > morning the Luisetti's daughter had a young man assualt him at the bus
> > stop. We filed a report that morning. That afternoon another allegation
> > from their daughter that he beat her up Friday on school property which
> > led to his suspension since the school wouldn't investigate it other
> > than her statement and her 2 friend's statements. She would have been
> > getting on the bus at the time while he was on the other side of the
> > building getting a ride from one of his friends. Then as we were
> sitting
> > in my garage workshop working on getting the suspension investigated by
> > the school board, waiting to see if the death threat my son received
> was
> > going to take place. The threat came from the Luisetti's daughter
> > getting a young man to "kill" my son due to the beating she received
> > from him. He was supposed to be coming to our house after school. We
> > were then visited by an irrational Lt. Duke as he whipped into our
> > driveway screaming that Spencer was reported to be brandishing and
> > pointing an assault rifle at the Luisettis. Which isn't even close to
> > what he was doing. Duke then stated that is is tired of all this and
> > someone is going to jail. He didn't care to hear anything we had to to
> > say about our side. Anytime I was trying to say something I was told to
> > shut up or be arrested. He was VERY aggressive and yelling. He
> seemed to
> > trying to provoke an altercation. I freely admit I was upset and a
> > little loud but I was trying to defend my son. I was never violent or
> > out of control. I was just pissed and trying to make some sense out of
> > the situation. When I was told to shut up I did which seemed to further
> > anger Duke. I was only arrested after they put the cuffs on my son. I
> > then told my Husband to find a attorney and quick. This was
> when
> > they arrested me.
> >
> > I was never read my Miranda Rights to this day but the questions they
> > asked me were used in my arrest. Doesn't seem legal to me...
> >
> > My charges of Child Endangerment were due to the fact that we have
> > several legal weapons around a minor. I must inform you my son is an
> > ROTC member with Marine Boot Camp training in weapons, can disassemble/
> > reassemble an M16 on the field. He was also on the Rifle Team last year
> > and is Athletics Team Commander. He also knew our weapons, from target
> > shooting and cleaning. He even pointed out to the Police Weapons Expert
> > how to release the clip and open the bolt chamber as they couldn't. He
> > is very safe and well versed in weapons. I must point point that is
> > legally old enough to have a hunting license. He is also looking to
> join
> > the National Guard on his 17th B-Day, Oct 3rd this yr. Upon his 18th
> > B-Day he was planning a Military career. We are proud of him and is a
> > really good person. We are very upset with all the things being alleged
> > about him.
> >
> > To summarize:
> > We are being persecuted because of my spiritual choices, not being
> > Christian. Lt. Duke has a web page stating his religious beliefs and
> > infertility and adoption problems which leads us to the belief that he
> > can no longer separate his personal feelings from his ability to do his
> > job in an objective manner. He seems to have appointed himself as a
> > personal victim's advocate for allegedly neglected and abused children.
> >
> > The fact that I am a practicing witch is being noted in complaints and
> > warrants against me and my family. It has even been voiced in court
> > along with allegations stating I have cast spells on 2 cops and the
> > luisetti family by the solicitor during proceedings. My familiar
> > pyewacket seems to have been mishandled during the search of our home.
> > She was running and flinching from us the day after. I am very hurt by
> > this. Though this can't be proven, I know my animal and this is not her
> > normal behavior.
> >
> > We have always tried to help others and be good people, so this is very
> > hard for us to deal with. I am lucky to have a very strong supportive
> > circle of friends and family or we would still be in jail. My in-laws
> > had to take the majority of their retirement fund for some 20 thousand
> > dollars to hire a powerful law firm to help us. Though I will never be
> > ashamed of being a witch, I am so very sorry for all the trouble and
> > loss of money it has cost them to stand up for us.
> >
> > The reason for this letter is that we need all the help we can find to
> > fight this. Whether it is positive protective energy, advice, or
> > donations to help pay for this. I will not rest until I have made a
> > difference for all that believe in freedom of religion. I don't want
> > this to just disappear, I want to make a stand for all free thinkers
> > against persecution. We all know the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
> >
> > For all that believe in freedom of choice, please stand behind me or
> > even beside me in court while I fight. I am not a quitter and I have a
> > loud voice. I always stand up for what I believe in, all I ask is to
> not
> > have to stand alone in this. It's time to fight for what we all believe
> > in, not just lie down and take it. I have enclosed the papers that are
> > in my possession to prove my claims. I will include more as they come
> > into my possession. I am not easily scared although they are trying to
> > intimidate us. Threatening phone calls have been made to family and
> > friends even now. In supporting us, you are also supporting yourselves.
> >
> > We are looking to get this story out to as many places as possible. The
> > more people who are aware the harder it will be for them to get aware
> > with it!
> >
> > We NEED your help!!!
> > Blessed be.
> > Rhonda Gruber
> > AKA wickedlilwitch@ <>
> > 843-997-7558 or 843-602-0160 (happy to answer questions)
> >

If you do not think that the ACLU should support someone who is using the word "pagan" and "witch" to hide bad behavior then please please, please email them at:

Same letter as above reproduced in scads of other places including:

Doubts being expressed:

From Stacey's myspace:

No appearances of this story on any news site that I can find, however:
Rhonda and Steven [husband] were both arrested for harassment and for unlawful
neglect of a child...

Rhonda Gruber's tame myspace profile and blog:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Stormy Wiccans: triggering total****updated 10/13/07

Following links a couple of days ago, I found a board called Pagan Nation and claims by author A.J. Drew concerning Gavin and Yvonne Frost. Yes, I posted on Pagan Nation. Yes I answered questions regarding ritual and rapists, not fully understanding why the questions were being asked. I thought, "Oh, a dude who cares about rape." Yeah, I have read some part of at least one of A.J.'s book and yeah, I am aware that in terms of historical research he does not come close to Issac Bonewits' marvelous skills at ferreting out information [nor is he as inaccurate as Ed Fitch, or Edain McCoy and the Irish Pumpkins]. I didn't know exactly what I had stumbled into until tonight, upon further investigation.

Gavin and Yvonne Frost, founders of the Church and School of Wicca have become embroiled with A.J. Drew in a controversy regarding material which appears in at least three editions of one of their books. Specifically, A.J. Drew is questioning the inclusion of instructions related to the use of dildos by adolescent girls [with the help of their dads if necessary] and a calender to do it with, and the snipping by mothers of any penile skin which potentially interferes with the sexual pleasure of teenaged sons. The problem is that the Frosts claim that these things were included within an historical context, that folks under the age of 18 should not be initiated into a coven, that A.J. Drew's quotes and webshots of the pages in question are not accurate. A.J. Drew counterclaims that these instructions are pedophilic in nature-- thus rendering the book unsuitable for marketing and distribution-- and that the Frosts are advocates of pedophilia. The larger issue is the insensitivity or blind acceptance by the majority of the pagan public without question. Complicating the issue is the many reprints of the book from 1972 through to the present day. The 1999/2000 printing contains the disclaimer regarding the age of 18, the 1995 printing does not.

Wikipedia [not considered to be good enough evidence] quoted bits of the disputed excerpts on their site and Percival has screenshots of three pages on a Freeweb site [again, not considered to be good enough evidence and no, not a sock puppet of A.J. Drew. I recognize Percival's name from another blogging venue]. Over on Live Journal, blogger Dionysusdevotee records both his disgust at the non-reaction of the NonFluffyPagans El Jay community and disgust with A.J. Drew for inserting other non-pertinent material into his complaint. [Whether or not the Frosts ever ran a bordello is irrelevant to the issue at hand]. One of the folks commenting states correctly that it is up to A.J. Drew to provide proof of his allegations and not up to us the audience to go looking for it ourselves.

There has been extensive name-calling and threats on all sides, which now also includes the Pagan Pride Project folks [not related to the larger national organization by a similar name] of Fayettesville, Arkansas. A.J. Drew freely admits that he called in the police and alerted them to the possible sale of a book containing instructions on sexual abuse of minors. A.J. Drew also is allowing a ritual at his Witches' Ball next weekend involving survivors of rape and effigies, possibly of the Frosts themselves as of this writing, being stomped into smithereens. He claims that 80 rounds were fired into an effigy of himself. With accusations flying on both sides, it is difficult to sort out culpability.

Here I must insert that Jack T. Chick is indirectly involved. [Head shake]. Gavin Frost had one student via his correspondence course whose name is John Todd. John Todd has gone back and forth between practicing Wicca and a form of fundamentalist Christianity. John Todd allegedly assisted a runaway over state lines and was convicted of statutory rape, for which he spent six months in county lock-up. He was further suspected or accused of using his coven in another state as a cover to garner ripe underaged females for sex. Todd's bad behavior was not limited to covens as there are reports that he also was trying for underaged females in Christian circles and indeed got one teenaged sister-in-law with child. Todd's army records were dug up through the efforts of the magazine Christianity Today and even way back then-- before his becoming a student of the Church and School of Wicca and before his involvement with preaching-- there were indications of trouble. One notation described Todd as a habitual liar. Various Christian ministries began to distance themselves from Todd, however Jack Chick didn't. Jack Chick featured Todd and his fantastic claims in several of his comic-style tracks. Jack Chick referred to Gavin Frost as "the pope of the occult" and to Issac Bonewits as some kind of strong armed muscle man or guard. Kerr Cuhulain wrote a striking article on Witchvox which detailed John Todd's fantastic claims regarding Wicca at:
[Read the whole thing. It is excellent].

When the Frosts referred to A.J. Drew as B.D.D., I wanted to speak out and I did so. A response from Shadowhawk and my response to the point Shadowhawk raises has been reproduced below. The original exchange can be found at:

I have a traumatic brain injury caused by an automobile accident.

I am not amused by the use of the initials B.D.D.

Please educate yourselves about brain injuries [traumatic and acquired] and then hope like hell that it never happens to you.


September 26, 2007 9:19 AM

Shadowhawk said...

When one such as Aj Drew uses a Brain injury as an EXCUSE for vendettas and bad behaviour in general the BDD fits

September 26, 2007 9:34 AM

sapphoq said:
[a botched cut and paste job of Shadowhawk's quote followed by:]

Those of us who do have brain injuries-- whether from accidents or falls or physical confrontations [traumatic] or strokes, operations, poisonings, or tumors [acquired]-- do have BRAIN DAMAGE. In that sense, and in that sense only, "brain-damaged dude" is an accurate moniker.

Brain damage/brain injury is not who we are. I know that I cannot blame everything on my brain injury. I strongly doubt that A.J. Drew's actions can be explained [or excused] by his brain injury. All of us, with brain injuries or not, are more than our labels. To excuse our own personal bad behavior is to act as if we are our labels.


None of us are one-sided or all-bad or all-good or all-knowing. That statement includes A.J. Drew, the Frosts, and people on one side or the other or who wish to remain neutral, and the entire human race.

Name-calling cheapens all of us and weakens the arguments for both sides of this. That is something that I probably should have said first.


At this point, I believe this matter will have to be settled [as much as possible] by the courts. I think I read in this blog somewhere or in the comments that there is indeed a court date set. I must confess that I am astonished that A.J. Drew and the Frosts have not been told by their respective lawyers [or are ignoring the advice of their lawyers?] to stop trying the case electronically in the public arena of the internet.


Putting aside any personal feeling or experience or thought or opinion about the written material at the heart of this matter, I will close with the following statements:

I support the Frosts' right to write, publish, and sell their material. Part of the risk of having freedom of speech is that someone will come along and say or write things that are offensive to someone else. I am willing to take that risk in order to continue to live in a free society.

I support A.J. Drew's right to question inclusion of certain material in the book and subsequent revisions WITHOUT alleging that the Frosts have ever personally engaged in such behaviors or are in favor of such behaviors.

I support the Frosts' right to respond or not respond to A.J. Drew's questioning of the material as they see fit.

I do not support A.J. Drew calling the police in reference to possible selling of the Frosts' book at a pagan event in Arkansas. I think there are better ways to publicize that one has serious qualms about things which are written in a book.
Deciding that a book should not be distributed in the United States is up to the legal system, period. Our suppositions are conjectures only.

I do not support either side making claims or unsubstantiated allegations against the other without citing sources. Information without names and supporting documents is meaningless.

I do not support any blog which lists people or websites as supporters of pedophilia without proof, period.

I do not support name-calling of any kind by anyone. I do understand that this issue is emotionally charged and the difficulties [not excused by brain injury/brain damage or neuro-typical status] inherent in refraining from the name-calling.

I wish everyone the best in sorting this one out and in addressing the issues in a rational sane manner with the help of professional advocates within the legal system.

With respect to all,
brain-damaged spike

Personally, I found the instructions for adolescent or pre-adolescent girls involving two homemade dildos to be disturbing. I don't like the idea of a dildo chart, two sizes of dildos, dads helping their daughters with these things, or of moms snipping intimate parts of their sons' anatomies to ensure their sexual pleasure. I'm not crazy about partner-swapping either but that does not involve the under-aged. The choice of monogamy or some form of polyamory is between the adults involved. Because I am not residing in a prison or other institution and because I am fortunate to live in a country which has freedom of speech, I support the right of others to write about things that I find disturbing as well as to express viewpoints which are contrary to my own.

It is not for me to judge whether or not the Frosts advocate ritual child or teen sexual abuse or even speculate on the whys of the decisions of authors and their publishers. I will say though unequivocally that I despise the inclusion of such information in a primer on any form of modern [hey, the 70s are not that far gone and the year 2000 is less than a decade gone by] Wicca. Quoting from historical documents and ancient texts is one thing, manuscripts preserved from antiquity is another, and fiction quite another. This book in all of its' reprintings is none of those things.

I was at a diner today for lunch. An acquaintance was talking about standards of reality. We as a society have learned to expect rudeness and lewdness. Consequently, when the Frosts' book was published in 1972, there was no public outcry. And that is when it should have happened. Oh, perhaps not by A.J. Drew if he wasn't around yet. [A.J. Drew's excuse about not his not blogging on the internet yet wears a bit thin in my estimation]. Certainly those who came along before us could have raised an alarm. I remember 1972. In 1972, the backlash against survivors of incest had barely begun. We knew what constituted child abuse then. We were aware of rape, even of date rape and rape by husbands. [Rape by women and mothers was not freely acknowledged. Rape of men was thought to happen only in prison cells]. In 1972, women were meeting in each others' homes to hold Consciousness Raising Sessions. The book Sisterhood is Powerful was in its' heyday.

I also remember, years later, Madonna's book with the metal covers containing her sexy poses. There was also a shot there of a German Shepard Dog between her legs looking up. The suggestion of beastiality was clear to the casual reader. "Oh, that is just a staged shot," a friend told me. I stopped listening to Madonna's music. I did not reconcile myself to her when she transformed into some macabre mother of the year. It was too late.

There is something to avoiding any appearance of. In failing to do so, the Frosts and Madonna have lost their opportunity to get a hold of my bisexual bucks. In other words, I have read the Frosts' book at the bookstore. I will not buy it. Plenty of other people will, paying astronomical amounts of money over on e-Bay. And that is how it goes in a free market economy. And I am sure that I have books on my bookshelves which other folks may find objectionable. No one is forcing anyone to buy anything. That is the beauty. We have become conditioned to the staged shots and the glossing over of what we do not wish to absorb. That is our shame.

radical sapphoq


Don't forget to read the comments in all of the blogs listed. They are not to be missed. *spike*

Customer reviews of The Good Witches' Bible, 1972 printing.

Pendragon's review.

seventh printing

George Knowles weighs in.
A.J. quotes from the 1972 version.
comments very telling

John Todd
John Todd and a few wild claims regarding witchcraft

John Todd [wikipedia may not be free from bias..
various christian ministers on John Todd

Excellent article on John Todd and other oathbreakers.
Jack Chick
Christian detractors of Wicca and the Frosts
Two posts at the blog of The Pagan Temple who is one of the commentators at the Frosts' blog.
the Frosts' on wikipedia
Frosts' homepages

coherent thoughts of the Frosts' without namecalling.
the Frosts' blogspot. Scroll through to find what you need.

A.J. Drew's site and board.

A.J. Drew's blog.
Minors without parental permission must pay a bit more.

Edited by sapphoq on 9/20/07 because of botched cut and paste of Shadowhawk's original response to sapphoq.
I have continued to think on these things and I suspect I will be thinking on these things some more. I have been reading the Frosts' blog tonight. Plus, a man took the time to e-mail me a message over at yahoo 360 concerning my cross-posting there. I thought his comment was important so I published it there, where it will remain unless he asks me to take it down.

The link is:
Please read the comments. One is by my friend David who was involved with the Frosts and neither had nor witnessed anything untoward and one includes the message I got from Essus.
So far Essus has not written requesting that I take down his words. If he does, I will. I do appreciate his corrections to my assumption/inability to find information about any protests occurring in 1972 after the first edition of the Frosts' book was published.

I visited the Frosts blog on blogspot where I found the battle still raging onward.
My newest comment there:

Hello everyone,

Here is what I do not understand:
Why is all of this stuff about a book coming up NOW?

The book wasn't published yesterday.


Having said that, I will now say this: the Frosts have a right to write whatever material they write in whatever context they write it just like any other writer; the publisher has a right to include, exclude or ask for a rewrite of any part of the book just like any other publisher; and people have a right to buy a book or not buy it.

The risk we run in a free society that has freedom of speech is that we will run into material that we may not personally agree with or like or understand.

While I do not understand the whys and wherefores of the material presented and thus may find it offensive because of my own individual viewpoints, experiences, and misunderstandings and I have exercised my right to say so...

I don't get to dictate to others what I think they ought to do.

Maybe we can all allow the courts and the lawyers to do their thing and just get on with it, shall we?


Over at A.J. Drew's blog, I found him discoursing on protected vs. unprotected speech. My civilian understanding of the law is that we do not get to decide willy-nilly what is protected, what isn't, what is obscene, what is pornographic...from a legal standpoint. I believe that is something that a court has to decide. I am not a lawyer so I may not be correct. I shall have to further research the question. At this time, I strongly believe that I am correct that legally a court has to decide this protected vs. unprotected thing.

And a blogger that has written a very level-headed post I found over at:
A pretty cool blog all in all and one that deserves a regular readership.

This is the end of my posting on the Frosts. I will publish any comments that are civil and refrain from name-calling. Rational discourse and intelligent discussion of differences are endorsed. This is my playground and I get to set the rules. The rules here are (a). no spamming, (b). no anonymous posts, and (c). no profanity, name-calling, intentional rudeness.

And if there are no comments-- perhaps that will be valuable information for me as well in terms of a somewhat non-existent readership.

spike of radical.sapphoq

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Senator Larry Craig

I first became aware of this story via MSNBC news the countdown program "will you be talking about this story tomorrow" thing.

The background is briefly that Senator Larry Craig R-Idaho was arrested for lewd behavior in a Minneapolis airport bathroom and didn't tell the republican senatorial folks in D.C. about it. He pled guilty to a lesser charge.

Apparently he "tapped" the foot of a plainclothes cop in the next stall or "has a wide stance" [MSNBC] and wound up touching said foot of set cop. It is alleged that he also stuck his hand three times into the adjoining stall in some fashion or other, changed stalls, and used his briefcase to block anyone from peering under his stall.


I am a bisexual woman so if any of you wish to accuse me of homophobia or xenophobia, go right ahead. I don't care. I am stating the following based on what I know: Some gay men are whores for sex with strangers and for a time public restroom stops on the Northway [I-87] in New York State were closed. These were the restrooms where no other services with a human being attached-- i.e. information desks-- existed.
So yeah, men looking for a quickie do patrol public restrooms along with some other places.


My opinion is that I really do not care if Senator Larry Craig is gay [he denies being gay] or bisexual or was overcome by temporal epilepsy seizures or whatever. I don't care if he did it or not. While perhaps he should have alerted his bosses to possible political backlash [in the manner that the senator from Louisiana did when he ran into trouble due to visiting prostitutes], the fact that Senator Larry Craig was in a restroom in an airport doing whatever he was doing or not doing is really none of my business. Oh, if he did, I think it is rather tacky of him and in poor taste using poor judgment; but I care more about leadership qualities and stuff like that when it comes to politicians.

Clitton was stupid for thinking that he could get away with the Lewinsky thing in the white house-- he might have done better with a presidential prostitute who was both blind and deaf-- but I digress. The point is, people have sex. Whether we think they should or whatever, people have been having sex for a long time now and they probably will continue to do so, even at times when most of the rest of us would exercise some prudence.

People do plead guilty to lesser charges in order to avoid the courtroom and I cannot fault Larry Craig for that. He pled guilty to "disorderly conduct." Larry Craig will now be facing a possible Senate investigation as well as a court fine and a year's worth of unsupervised probation. [Ten days in jail were suspended.] Whether or not he is guilty of violating a Senate Code of Conduct is not for me to decide.
The voters of Idaho will also decide whether to give his seat [a seat which has long been held by republicans] to a Republican or a Democrat at some future date. As I do not live in Idaho, I won't be voting for or against him in Idaho.

So in short, let the man alone.


radical sapphoq

sources: MSNBC countdown, teevee


The arrest report:

On You Tube, the vid I saw on MSNBC:,1,1950352.story

Story has made Wikipedia:

Craig's website:

Craig's Mitt Romney You Tube video as of this typing is up: