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    NPR Reporter and Author Margot Adler to Discuss Paganism in America

    Jan 25, 2010

    National Public Radio correspondent and best-selling book author Margot Adler will discuss "Paganism: Religion, Not Superstition" during the annual Colliver lecture at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Long Theatre on the Stockton campus. The event is free and open to the public. After the lecture, Adler will sign her books for audience members.

    National Public Radio reporter Margot AdlerAdler has been a radio producer and journalist since 1968, reporting on New York and the interface between culture and politics, education, technology, and many other issues of the day. She is currently a New York correspondent for National Public Radio and her reports air on NPR's "All Things Considered", "Morning Edition" and "Weekend Edition." In addition, for eight years she hosted Justice Talking," a national radio show on constitutional issues.

    Adler, a practicing Wiccan, has written what many religious scholars consider to be the authoritative guide to Pagans in the United States - "Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today." Her most recent book is "Heretic's Heart: A Journey through Spirit and Revolution.

    "I was drawn to Paganism in the early '70s. If you think back, it was the time of the first Earth Day, the dawning of the ecology movement, and also the real beginning of the second wave of feminism," Adler said "It was a kind of ecological religion, if you will, which said human beings were not 'above' nature, but part of nature, and that everything was interconnected. I was never particularly interested in magic or the occult, instead much more interested in nature, ecology, feminism and a religion that said all was connected."

    In "Drawing Down the Moon," Adler argues that most people don't realize the word "Pagan" simply refers to pre-Christian polytheistic nature religions, such as the various Native American creeds, Japanese Shinto, Celtic Druid, and Western European Wicca. In its original definition, Pagan meant "country dweller" and was originally used as a derogatory term to describe someone who was unsophisticated, not someone without spirituality, as the word has been used to mean in modern rhetoric.

    The Colliver lecture series was established in 1957 to honor the memory of George Colliver, a former religious studies professor at Pacific. Each lecture explores a different aspect of religion in modern society. Last year, the lecture featured journalist and Muslim Asra Nomani, who was the featured subject of the documentary "The Mosque in Morgantown." Other past speakers include Jacques Berlinerblau, acclaimed author and professor of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Catholicism expert Garry Wills, Asian-religion expert and author Roger Ames, and The Rev. J. Philip Wogaman, former minister to several U.S. presidents and national politicians. The lectures are sponsored by The College of the Pacific's Religious & Classical Studies Department.

    Copies of "Drawing Down the Moon" and "Heretic's Heart" will be available for purchase during the lecture. This will be the first Colliver lecture on Paganism.