AREN History.
Alternative Religions Education Network


Twenty Eight years ago Dr. Leo Martello formed Witches Anti Defamation League ("Don`t just stand there: WADL!") in order to fight for the rights of Witches, Pagans and other Earth Religionists as the Country was beginning a revitalization of the Elder Paths of Religion. He lovingly and carefully crafted an Organization that is today one of if not the oldest Pagan Rights group in The United States of America. Dr. Leo changed the name from Witches Anti-Defamation League to Witches Anti Discrimination Lobby so the name would not be confused with the ADL (Anti Defamation League).

In late 1996 Silver RavenWolf took WADL and began to "modernize" it and move it toward the Millennium moving WADL from the Pen and Ink phase to the Electronic Era. Crystal ~Mylove~ Dutton took WADL from Silver and again, built on whatwas started.

Reverend Debbie Johnson took the helm in December 1997 and carried it forward to begin networking between various groups. She changed "Lobby" back to "League". She worked for the good of the "Pagan On The Street" to bring protection from discrimination to each person who found themselves persecuted because they wore a Pentacle, read Tarot Cards or believed in a Goddess Figure rather than the Patriarchal God of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Reverend Johnson stressed the need for Unity within the Pagan Movement, and to this end WADL has united with several National and Regional groups to form Sacred Earth Alliance, a group that is preparing a Directory for use by all Pagans listing Groups, Individuals, and organizations that are dedicated to Pagan Religious and Civil Rights.

In August of 1998, the presidency was passed on to Steven Foster. Mr. Foster (Silverlock) has shown an intense desire to move WADL forward into the 21st century by continuing the encouragement of Pagan Unity in all forms. Mr. Foster has also started an online movement to encourage all Pagans to register to vote as well as encourage them to get involved in their communities.

On January 1, 2000, WADL changed it's name to AREN (Alternative Religions Educational Network) so confusion between WADL and the ADL would no longer cause difficulties for either organization.

While the core of WADL remains within AREN (all representatives, directors, executive staff, by laws, and missions are virtually identical), AREN hopes to move even further into positive proactivity. While it's been a long and wonderful journey for WADL, we hope AREN's journey is short. Our goal is to go out of business.

Addendum 8 years later than the above:

Time to do an update on AREN. While most other Pagan oriented religious rights organizations have gone by the wayside AREN is still plugging along although in a somewhat different manner than before. Steve Foster resigned due to personal and health problems a couple of years ago and AREN has become primarily a networking organization with no official officers and no representatives. Probably just due to the times we live in, this has worked out better and kept us in the business of disseminating information. We produce an 8 times a year newsletter, ACTION, that is very well distributed and read and we maintain a website, www.aren.org, with lots of information concerning religious rights.

We now have a General Coordinator and wedsite guru, Bill Kilborn, a Newsletter Editor, Christopher Blackwell, a Prison Ministry Director and General Advisor, Darla Kaye Wynne, a Canadian Director, Roger Lymburner, and a European Correspondent, Diana Sasse. Many others pitch in and help keep the journey and the dream of Religious Rights Means Religious Rights For All alive.

 

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