You are not alone!
None of the above items, aside from what is claimed to be a ceremonial robe, are mandated tools required for religious Satanic practices. An impala’s head and horns could possibly be used on an altar, but not just by a practicing Satanist, but Pagans too. And while the above mentioned ornaments may have some spiritual significance for a person, they are not clear-cut indications of Satanic practices.” PENTON 15 October 2012.
On 31 October 2008 the SAPC passed the second Amendment to its Constitution. This Constitution is registered with SARS, Home Affairs and has been submitted to the Human Rights Commission as part of the SAPC’s PAYA Manual, a document available to every member of the public, in response for the need for transparency of all Public Benefit Organizations called for by Government and respected by the Council.
The SAPC is the first Pagan Organization listed as an official Religion in South Africa. It is a Section 21 Public Benefit Organization in terms of the SARS Act, the Public Benefit Activities being cited in Paragraph 5. Religion, Belief or Philosophy – a) The promotion or practice of religion which encompasses acts of worship, witness, teaching and community service based on a belief in a deity.
The SAPC was inaugurated in 2006 as a unifying body of like-minded Pagans with a vision of co-operative unity. With this in mind, we encourage the cross pollination of groups and individuals, always remembering to respect each other’s traditions without attempting to enforce personal views.
The Pagan Council is formulated on the Arthurian round table principle, all members therefore have equal rights, retaining autonomy and self-definition at all times. The guiding principle of the Council is “Live and let live”. The Council is largely representative of Solitary Pagans and Affiliated Groups who share the same vision. Paganism is defined by the SAPC as a polytheistic and pantheistic religion, generally nature based, and as a syncretic or genuine revival/reconstruction of national ethnic cultural belief. Pagans are those who worship Pagan Gods.
The SAPC works to facilitate a quorum of self-identified Pagans who wish to ascribe to its’ aims, share ideas and philosophies for the furthering of Paganism within our respective communities.
SAPC membership is reserved for individuals and groups who self-identify as Pagans, reserving the right to self-define as a Council.
THE CODE OF PRINCIPLES
In point 2 of the SAPC’s Constitution you will find the Mission Statement as well as its Code of Principles. Pay particular attention to points 2.2.10 and 2.2.12 which deal specifically with our ritual implements as well as the Council’s exhortation of Council Members with the obedience of the “just laws” of our Country.
2. 1. Mission Statement
The SAPC is dedicated to facilitating the realization of the ideal of a unified national South African Pagan society.
2.2. The Code of Principles
2.2.1. As Pagans we recognize humanity’s duty towards the environment and acknowledge that Nature is our Mother and teacher. We should strive to protect Her and to live in harmony with Nature.
2.2.2. We acknowledge the interconnectedness of everything and should therefore strive to practice kindness, generosity, hospitality and cooperation.
2.2.3. We acknowledge equality of the sexes and should therefore not regard one above the other.
2.2.4. We should honour those who teach and acknowledge those who have given themselves in leadership to the revival and advancement of Paganism.
2.2.5. We should avoid gossip and the repetition of unverified facts, and avoid passing judgment on others. We should not promote a spirit of animosity towards other religious paths.
2.2.6. Honour is a sacred virtue. Let our actions be upright, causing harm to none. We should at all costs, avoid deceit, exploitation of others, fraud, violence, theft, abusive behavior, substance abuse and any form of action deemed illegal and detrimental to society.
2.2.7. We believe in religious freedom and should therefore be tolerant and accepting of other Pagan and non-Pagan spiritualities and religions.
2.2.8. We should remain true to our highest selves and strive to act with wisdom and strive never to do anything that would bring our religion and spirituality into disrepute.
2.2.9. We should be honest with others and let them know that we expect nothing less from them. Our word should be our bond.
2.2.10. Pagans should strive to obey the just laws of the land and its government.
2.2.11. Pagans should strive to act with dignity. Let our words, thoughts and actions be in line with our philosophy of life, respect and reverence towards all.
2.2.12. Pagans reserve the right to preserve our cultural and Pagan heritage (including the use and carrying of swords, knives and ritual tools) and traditions in the form of rituals, doctrines, practices and religious holy days.
Pagan Rights are enshrined in the Constitution of the SAPC and in the Constitution of South Africa.
In 2008 the SAPC Executive (Damon Leff, Fey Fand, Raene Packery, Tamra of the Grove and Morgause Fonteleve) , under guidance of Convener Luke Martin, foresaw this “future stumbling block” and provision was made for the protection of Pagan Rights, with specific mention made with regards to our rites, rituals, ritual implements and ritual garb.
It is my opinion that unless there is irrefutable and concrete proof of involvement in criminal activities, the confiscation of our religious implements, literature and attire by the SAPS would constitute a gross contravention of the rights accorded us by the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa.
Pagans and Members of the Council, what we are reading about in the press is beyond acceptance and for many a scary prospect. Do not be discouraged and do not go into hiding. Now is the time to stand together and make avail of the groundwork that was done in advance in the sad event that such times of “false accusations”, religious prejudice and persecution returned. Every voice is needed; in their books we might be an insignificant religious minority, but equal rights mean equal rights for ALL, even for minorities such as ourselves.
Speak up, stand proud more than ever and in the event that you’re being targeted, ask for advice and assistance. You are not alone!
This article was originally posted on Monday, 10/15/2012 on the website of the South African Pagan Council – http://www.pagancouncil.co.za/node/1045