Friday, February 11, 2011

Update on Maetreum of Cybele Legal Case

The Maetreum of Cybele today posted a response to a recent New York Times article about the Goddess organization's 5-year legal battle with the Town of Catskill, NY. The Maetreum, which has been granted a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status as a religious organization by the federal government, terms the NY Times article, "excellent," but wishes to address comments by Daniel Vincelette quoted in the Times article. Vincelette is the lawyer representing the Town. The Times quotes Vincelette as saying that the Town has not questioned the legitimacy of the Maetreum's religion. In its response, the Maetreum takes issue with Vincelette's assertion. According to the Maetreum:

In motion after motion for the past three years and in each application for property tax exemption before that Mr. Vincelette has done exactly that. Over and over he has challenged our very basis as a religion including in a marathon deposition of myself of over four hours where he even questioned, line by line, every penny in our financial statements and that we have not published in book form our thealogy. He called our legitimacy into question because we do not have a "Sunday School" program/. He has required me personally to provide proof of my own religious credentials over and over and over. Now he claims the refusal to grant our exemption is solely because our property is not used for "religious purposes" except incidentally, that it is merely a residence. Mr. Vincelette has made these claims to two other reporters, none of them bought it because all three have conducted their interviews on our property. They saw for themselves the nature of our Phrgianum, they learned first hand we continually take in women in need. This does not happen in a mere residence.
The Maetreum article goes on to describe the construction of a permanent temple on the organization's property, of Goddess statues that are present in the temple and their inn, and of actions the Maetreum has taken which counter Vincelette's claims. To get to the Maetreum article go to, scroll down a bit and you'll see the link. The page linked to also has other updates and documents about the case.

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At Saturday, February 12, 2011 1:25:00 AM, Blogger Makarios said...

This is not unusual. It is what barristers call "arguing in the alternative." A classic example is a defense to a complaint that your goats had eaten some of your neighbour's cabbages:

- You had no cabbages
- If you had cabbages, they were not eaten
- If your cabbages were eaten, it was not by goats
-If they were eaten by goats, it was not by my goats
- If it was by my goats, they were insane and not responsible for their actions

Obviously each successive argument contradicts the previous one. The purpose here is to preempt as many of the opposing party's theories as possible.

It is, of course, disingenuous for counsel for the town to deny that hs is doing this, but it is not, in itself, an illegitimate approach to building a defence.

At Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:08:00 AM, OpenID wiccanwoman said...

The fight was long, hard and expensive... but the Maetreum has won their appeal!

In fact, the case made the front page of the New York Law Journal yesterday.

At Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:09:00 AM, OpenID wiccanwoman said...

(Not sure if this went through, so if it did, kindly delete the double-posting!)

The fight was long, hard and expensive... but the Maetreum has won their appeal!

In fact, the case made the front page of the New York Law Journal yesterday.


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Judith Laura

More blogs about /goddess/feminist theology/spiritual feminism/pagan/feminist spirituality/.