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Christians in San Diego are being summoned for “emergency” prayer and fasting to counter the “Pagan Pride” event scheduled for today in the seaside city.

The third annual event, titled San Diego for Pagan Pride 2005, aims to “foster pride in pagan identity through education, activism, charity and community.”

But San Diegan James Hartline distributed an e-mail warning Christians that the “activities of Pagan Pride are so vile, that this notice could not reveal everything in one writing that they do. Extreme witchcraft, curses, demonic rituals, sacrificial altars and occultism are just some of the highlighted events occurring at Pagan Pride.”

Hartline notes Pagan Pride will take place in the city’s famous Balboa Park, which attracts thousands of tourists to its features, including the San Diego Zoo.

“Hundreds of pagans, witches, warlocks, wiccans, psychics and black magic practitioners are all marching on the park for their demonic festival,” he said.

Modern-day paganism is a collection of beliefs embracing many movements and traditions, including Wicca, New Age Mysticism, American Indian practices, tarot readings and Buddhism.

Last year, there were at least 70 pagan pride events in 36 states. The first Pagan Pride Day was held in Indianapolis in 1998

Pagans in New Port Richey, Fla., who plan to hold their event Sept. 25, say they’re tired of being labeled as devil worshippers who sacrifice animals under a full moon.

“People think paganism is evil,” said Robert Crom, 25, local coordinator of Pasco Pagan Pride Day. “Some people, especially among mainstream religions, feel threatened by us.”

The daylong activities in the Florida town – including music, pagan worship and public education – are expected to draw at least 100 devotees.

Related story:

Pagans to hold ‘Pride Day’

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