Religious Diversity News

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Pagan Yemaya Fund Makes First Disbursement

Source: Pagan Educational Network

On June 22, 1997 Pagan Educational Network published a press release stating that “On June 22, 1997 the Yemaya Fund made its first disbursement to the Inner City Community Church in Knoxville, TN. The gift of one hundred dollars was accompanied by a letter from the fund’s sponsors, the Pagan Educational Network and the Wiccan Community Fund, and materials about Paganism. The Yemaya Fund was established in August 1996 to provide Pagans with a way of responding to arson destroying African-American churches in the South. The Inner City Community Church is devoted to bridging the gaps between black and white Americans.”

Health Risks May Be Associated with use of Mercury in Religious Practice

Source: American Journal of Public Health

In the January 1996 edition of the American Journal of Public Health, a letter to the editor was published that stated, “As providers of community health and mental health services in underserved areas, we recognize the public health threat of dispensing mercury. However, we recommend also that the dangers of mercury be sensitively separated from the social-psychological benefits of spiritualism. In inner-city Hispanic communities, espirtismo is an indigenous source of community socialization and support. Spiritualists frequently represent the first line of extrafamilial mental health intervention. Since botanicas also sell medicinal plants and herbal remedies, they offer some basic health care familiar to the culture of Latin America. Therefore, public health interventions must be aimed at helping spiritualists find safe alternatives to mercury.