Sunday, June 15, 2014

Speaking of religion: Pagans stir a fuss in Beebe

Posted By on Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 7:35 AM

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Heard of the Seekers Temple? If not, I expect you will before long.

It's a pagan temple and store that says it has run into a slew of headaches in attempting to pursue its business and religion in Beebe, Ark.

Bertram and Felicia Dahl, the high priest and priestess of Seekers Temple, have this extensive account, "Problems in Beebe." They say Beebe officials had welcomed their move from El Paso until they found out they were pagans. The accusations range from prior-restraint code enforcement to discriminatory park rental policies to arrests for complaining about harassment from another church by means of a rotating lighthouse beacon flashing on their home.

It's a monumental account. It is also only one side of the coin. But if the ACLU gets involved, it might be more fully developed.

This much we know. Beebe Mayor Mike Robertson, whom the Dahls say has been resistant to their operation, has demonstrated before his thinking on church-state separation. In 2010, we wrote about some religious practices there and quoted the mayor:

It is my opinion and the Beebe City Council's that government leaders must pray to God as the true leader of the nation and that a nation cannot exist if they are not one nation under God trusting in God as the leader. It is my opinion government has allowed non-believers far too many liberties taking God out of our daily lives. As mayor of this city I will continue to open our meeting with a prayer and a pledge to our country – one nation under God.

Priest Dahl says the mayor's animus toward his particular beliefs is so strong he won't allow Dahl to speak at City Council meetings. Dahl asked for supporters to join him June 23 as he seeks, again, to be heard.

Writes Dahl:

We only wish to worship in peace and do not feel it is the right of the Christians to bully us out of their town.

The Pagans of this country should have the same right of Freedom of Religion.

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