|Bardic Circle Featuring Loke E. Coyote...
Labor Day of Love
Audience Count: 20,657
There's a group of Pagan soldiers at Fort Hood who have organized an Open Circle so they can exercise their freedom of religion while they serve their country. One day an Austin newspaper ran a story about them and all hell broke loose. Unlike many previous stories, this one was overwhelmingly positive. It was a full page spread including pictures of military Wiccans jumping over a ritual fire, explained what Paganism is all about, beliefs and sabbats, and dispelling many of the myths that continue to plague us. Of course there were those, including US Representative Barr, who chose to complain about it. He was told that the army recognizes Wicca as a religion and that these soldiers had every right to worship as they please.
Then a local preacher by the name of Jack Harvey decided he should do something about it. Apparently the US military was a little more than he wanted to take on, so instead he turned his attentions to a local witch shop called New Age Connection. He began by preaching some absurd lies to his congregation, telling them that witches eat babies and that his parishioners should come to church armed in case Pagans tried to abduct their kids. Then he organized a protest against New Age Connection to try to run them out of town. The word went out thru the Pagan grapevine and we decided to stand our ground.
The demonstration was to take place on Labor Day 1999, which just happened to be my birthday. Pagans started arriving early and soon we filled the store and had a party going on in the parking lot. Tensions started to rise a bit as the day dragged on and still Harvey's group didn't appear. We tried to loosen things up a bit with an informal bardic circle. People told stories and jokes, read poetry, sang songs and played some music. Then someone spotted Harvey's bus pulling in to the lot.
We weren't sure what to expect from Harvey. We'd heard about his call for people to arm themselves and were concerned he might try to turn things violent, so we had asked that only adults attend. We were sure he'd try to provoke a fight and we were determined not to let him. The last thing we wanted was a bunch of angry villagers armed with torches and pitchforks organizing a witch burning. The owner of a car lot across the street offered to let us congregate there and we decided it would be a good idea to put some distance between the two groups.
Harvey's troops filed off the bus and began shouting hate at us. There were maybe thirty of them including many children. Although the temperature was in the triple digits, all wore long sleeved shirts and long pants. They had just come from playing softball and looked very uncomfortable. Apparently they hadn't thought to bring any drinking water, but they did bring lots of signs with colorful slogans like "abortion is murder", "homos burn in hell" and "Wiccans are witches". Harvey began screaming at us thru a bullhorn. He told us how we would all roast in Hell, how God hates us, and that we should take off our clothes so the cops could arrest us.
When we saw his group we all relaxed somewhat since we outnumbered them by a factor of five to one. Some Christians had come to the demonstration to support our freedom of religion. They brought a thirty foot banner which said "love thy neighbor", a chant we took up as it was unfurled. One of them, wearing a "what would Jesus do?" shirt, walked around carrying a cross and chanting along with us. As Harvey continued his tirade, we danced, sang, chanted, and had a great time. At one point I launched into the Star Spangled Banner on kazoo and our entire crowd sang along. After an hour or so of this, Harvey's group turned tail and bolted. He had expected to either scare us away or provoke us into open confrontation, but we maintained good spirits and refused to let him triumph. I think there were a few kids among his people that took a good hard look at what went on that day and gained a whole new perspective.
So of course I had to write a song about the day's experiences. It's become one of Loke E. Coyote's most requested numbers. Of course fundamentalism still exists, even within our own community. When I played Labor Day of Love at Austin Pagan Pride Day 2000, someone accused me of Christian bashing because one of the lines is "God hates everyone". This individual didn't realize that Harvey's people had said this, not me. They told me "God hates all sinners" and "we're all sinners", so I asked "does that mean God hates everyone?" and they told me "yes, but we're forgiven". I still get a chuckle remembering that conversation! Overall, this is one of my favorite songs because it brings back memories of a day when love and light won hands down over hate and ignorance. May there be many more such days!
Recorded: This song was recorded live at Wolvenwold's spring Festival 2000 in Elk Creek Missouri.
Guests/Players: Trickster plays guitar and sings while Diana McFadden (also of Green Crown and KIVA) plays some tasty mandolin. We borrowed Dreamtrybe's rhythm gods Tawnney, Nighthawk and Tabbor to play djembe. Griffen brewed the mead used to fuel the jam.
Technical Notes: This was the first major stop on MeGaPaGaPaLooZa and we all had a great time. Chuck Denning of Wiccan Pride Productions worked sound and recorded the show, mastering was handled by Wiccabilly Circus.
Artist Profile: Wiccabilly Circus is the online home of Loke E. Coyote, the band that answers the question: "What if Weird Al Yankovic had been a bunch of Pagan musicians who actually knew how to play instruments and had their own songs?". And no, we don't know who asked the question.
The group plays wiccabilly and a variety of other musical styles like rap, blues, rock, cowboy hip-hop and metal, all with a sense of humor. The lyrics examine and poke fun at complex issues such as religious tolerence, gay/lesbian rights, politics and interpersonal relationships. Plus it's got a great smoking groove and an awesome beat for dancing to!
12/4/2000 UPDATE: Now you can download or stream lots of Loke E. Coyote music from our page at mp3.com!! There's selections from all our CD releases plus lots of tunes unavailable elsewhere. New songs are added on a regular basis, usually before they make it to an official release. Best of all - it's FREE! Well, actually the BEST part is that we get paid when you listen for free!! Way cool! http://www.mp3.com/wiccabilly
LINK to the mp3 File: Click HERE
Labor Day of Love
(words & music by Trickster)
some gods let you party
and some gods make you crawl
but the god that Jack Harvey worships
he don't like anyone at all
there's a military base and it's called Fort Hood
where the American army stands for freedom and good
strong brave men and women, ain't no chickens
and some of them soldiers are Pagans and Wiccans
well they follow their paths, they worship as they please
just like the US Constitution guarantees
in the First Amendment, it's our freedom of religion
when it comes to gods, you make your own decision
well these Pagan soldiers who protect our nation
decided they'd form a little congregation
do some ritual and some celebration
called it "Open Circle", it's a big sensation
cause someone wrote a story in the local newspaper
it wasn't no bottom of the garbage can scraper
informative and fair, a good opinion shaper
until it reached the hands of a loony bin escaper
he's a preacher named Harvey from the town of Killeen
he was ignorant narrow minded bigoted and mean
barking and growling like a dog with rabies
telling everybody that witches eat babies
and he asked his followers to bring their guns
to church in case we try to snatch and eat their younguns
a lot of good people tried to set him straight
but he wouldn't listen to them or let go of his hate
cause it's hot as Hell in Texas
and he's not quite well in Texas
near Killeen and Fort Hood's a town called Copperas Cove
there's a witch shop there, it's a real treasure trove
they got crystals, cards, books and herbs, anything you please
they even got Loke E. Coyote CD's
well Harvey decided he should run them out of town
he rounded up some people and he headed on down
but the Pagans got wind of it, we called up all our friends
cause we'll never let the burning times happen again
and it's hot as Hell in Texas
but we ain't going to Hell in Texas
well the big day came and we met up at the store
there was at least 150 of us, maybe many more
there were Wiccans, Druids, atheists, and even Christians too
with a cross and shirt that said "what would Jesus do?"
Harvey stamped and screamed, he rattled his saber
we waved a big sign, it said "love thy neighbor"
he said "you sinners and you witches gonna all burn in Hell
like the Southern Baptists, homos, and the Jews as well"
he said: "God hates sinners, God hates sinners
God hates sinners and we're all sinners
we're all sinners, every last one of us
all you unclean witches, all us Christians on the bus
you and me, everybody
we're all sinners and God hates sinners
and everyone's a sinner and God hates sinners
and everyone's a sinner and God hates everyone
god hates everyone, God hates everyone
now I didn't quite know what to make of what he said
cause Jesus preached love and he was spouting hate instead
I said "exactly which god is it you're praying to?
is it Jesus Christ or is it Cthulhu?"
well he shouted thru his bullhorn and we did some songs and chants
we offered him a drink in case he's thirsty from his rants
we got a little closer and he almost wet his pants
he thought we would attack, we did a spiral dance
he's afraid we'd hex him and he'd end up cursed
but he's already Jack Harvey, we can't make it any worse
ignorant narrow minded bigoted and bitter
the last thing he saw was us cleaning up his litter
cause it's hot as Hell in Texas
but we ain't going to Hell in Texas
ring the Liberty Bell in Texas
because all is well in Texas
copyright 2000 Loke E. Coyote's Wiccabilly Circus