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Anathema, in common usage, is something or someone that is detested or shunned,  in the Old Testament, anathema referred either to something (living or inanimate) that was consecrated or something denounced as evil or accursed and set aside for sacrificial offering.

In Penfield, anathema is anything determined by the elders of the foundation to be juxtaposed to the general well being of the population and businesses of the town.  Their judgments are irrevocable.  Anything underwritten by the foundation is not only deemed acceptable, but assumed to be essential to the daily life of the town.  

The foundation's secret operatives maintain a constant vigil over Penfield, reporting anything questionable to the elders, who then meet and take whatever action they may feel is necessary.  These deliberations are conducted in secret , and the rituals are also unknown to the ordinary citizens.  Even the concept that there might be some sort of rituals regarding the decisions of the elders is a matter of conjecture.  In fact, the elders of the anathema foundation mask their identities, so that not only does the average person not know who the elders may be, but can be completely unaware of the existence of the foundation itself.

You can't really visit the foundation, nobody except the elders have any idea where meetings take place.  Even the operatives are contacted covertly. Just one of those things.  It is noted that folks who obsess about the foundation, or seem to get a bit paranoid as though it were some sort of conspiracy or a form of an autocratic control system often find it difficult to achieve any approval.

Businesses that are approved by the anathema foundation and consistently maintain that approval have this placard displayed prominently...

Businesses without this endorsement tend to shut down fairly quickly, and although individuals do not receive a placard those  residents unable to get  approval are shunned and are actively encouraged by the operatives of the foundation to move away.  Warnings are never given, people are just expected to behave correctly.  After all, this is Penfield, and we have our fucking standards.

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