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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 28,392,704  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 129

Lurker/Post Ratio: 254 to 1

Question of the Week: 109 - 5/7/2003

The Broom Closet Revisited: What’s Your Current Occupancy Rate?

Are you living more or less in the broom closet since last year? Does the current political climate make you more or less open about your beliefs with strangers or casual acquaintances than you used to be?

Are you worried or have you ever seriously considered that a modern day ‘witch hunt’ might target Pagans in the next few months/years?

Have you taken extra precautions to protect your private information or Pagan identity on the internet? At work? In your neighborhood?

Are you more or less inclined to speak up and/or identify yourself as a Pagan when discussing or writing about political, religious or social issues these days?

 Reponses:   There are 129 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Nope Not Realy May 7th. at 8:28:34 am EDT

Sloopz (Scotland) Age: 17 - Email

I feel that nothing has changed Im no-way scared or worried about saying im a pagan as many people dont understand what it is. The only problems I have had are from the christian community as soon as they hear what I am they sutomatically think im a satanist who slits my wrists and kills people its gettying beond a joke with them. Now I have noticed when they ask my religion I just say im a faith you dont like and no It is not Satanism we dont assciciate with your "devil" it usually keeps the quiet and weirdly this is more offline than online

Not At All May 7th. at 8:37:02 am EDT

Draig (Bramwell, West Virginia) Age: 18 - Email

I was raised to be proud of my beliefs, and i could care less what anyone else thinks of them. Politics, well all that they can do is make things a little harder, but they can't and won't have a moderd day witch hunt because there are to many people like you and me who would not tolerate it. i am open with my beliefs the town i live in every one that asks.i proudly say " i am wiccan, and proud of it."

Bit Weary May 7th. at 8:57:49 am EDT

tonayallicue (midwest usa) Age: 21 - Email

i'm real careful who i tell i'm pagan to. many people are cool with it, but some don't understand & are quick to uh, suddenly become paranoid whenever i'm anywhere within their "field of vision, " i think they seriously think i'm out to get them or am just dying to "cast a spell on them" - even after i said that's all crap. especially since then do i keep my lips zipped.

i recently met a friend who i told was pagan & he was pretty cool about it. i am afraid there will be witch hunts - i'm afraid this war will lead to more terrorism & anti-muslim/anti-non-x-ian/anti-non-european sentiment in the US by the government & by citizens. gives me the opportunity to live in other places then. oh well. we'll fight when we need to - let's not waste too much energy worrying now.

Out Of The Closet May 7th. at 9:13:14 am EDT

Fathom (pittsburgh) Age: 24 - Email

I'm still out and in a bizzare turn of events I outtalked a zealot who was out to save me from my "foolish path" He left questioning himself! That was pretty funny actually. but I am willing to talk to just about anyone if they are willing to be polite. I am really of the idea that since I don't look like the tv goth witch and i'm normal and articulate that I have a responsibility to help dispel the bias against us. I feel it's important to be un-scary so that if someone meets another witch after me they don't dive into the first hedge they can find to get away. But I won't "out" anyone else, there are still plenty of people out there who don't want anyone knowing about them

Proud To Pagan May 7th. at 9:37:58 am EDT

Storyweaver (Michigan, USA) Age: 29 - Email

I'm out of the broom closet amoung my friends and colleagues at work. My family stands as the last barrier I have to cross before I'm out completely.

Today's poltical climate makes me more open. I want people to see me and think: "Wow, I never would have known she was a witch". I am just like them with my own set of religious beliefs. I wear a pentacle alomost all the time and I let that be the opener for a conversation. Over the past few months I have spoken out in defense of all religions. I defend Christianity to my pagan friends, I defend Islam to some of my colleagues, and I defend my rights to religious freedom whenever needed.

I am afraid that there might be a witch hunt. But, it won't be just pagans. It will be anything not Christian as the majority of people believe this is a Christian nation. I honestly wish it were an actual Christian nation. The reason being is that if they followed the tennants of thier belief system we probably wouldn't have gone to war. But, that wasn't over religion it was over oil, but I digress.

I think the best thing I can do is be a shining example of my religion. I think that being out to the public is easier than being out to family. I think that this is the year I'll tell them though. For political reasons I have to let people know so that the see me. I am a voting member of this nation and my voice and who I am need to be heard.

It Helps To Be Pagan Slash Other Things May 7th. at 10:09:55 am EDT

Maria (NY) Age: 26 - Email

A couple of quick observations. Pagan jewelry definitely helps to establish a presense/identity, but everytime I've worn a pentacle necklace to a (high traffic, high irritation level) job, I felt by being less than perfectly accomodating and friendly I'm reinforcing the 'evil' stereotypes--it's definitely about time I gave it another shot though. My best will just have to be good enough. We're here, we're human, I daresay pretty decent ones at that. As far as being vocal goes, I've made it a point not to shy away from questions or from inputting my two cents into any religious/philosophical discussions that may arise around me; the biggest predictor of how many will actually hear you (as opposed to hear what they want to hear) seems to be how respected the person is in some other capacity (coworker, employee, classmate, friend, you name it.) Surprise! :)

I'm Just Trying To Be Myself May 7th. at 10:50:21 am EDT

Witch of the Woods (Wisconsin) Age: 28 - Email

Am I out of the broom closet? I guess you could say that. I wear my pentacle proudly, have bumper stickers and my license plate is also obviously Wiccan. I have had no problems with this. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I get more people just asking me questions about my faith. I am your ordinary, average citizen that just happens to have found this faith. I can understand why we may be freaked at the idea of displaying our beliefs, but I find this to be either the perfect time to do it....or the worst.
My husband and I had a lengthy conversation about this issue and he feels it may be a dangerous time to be 'out', while I feel the timing might never be better. With the attacks in this country and others around the world, we in America find ourselves in a very sticky situation. Either we will revert to a puritan state where it will be unthinkable to be ourselves out in the world, or it is the perfect time to show ourselves for the kind, reasonable, devoted people we are. I wish we had some sort of public person who could be out there dispelling rumor and false ideas. So, until we do, I feel it is important that those of us who feel safe enough to be out there are out there, just being ourselves.

Stereotyped May 7th. at 11:06:54 am EDT

Drewsilla (Woodstock) Age: 14 - Email

More and more i am feeling trapped by what others beleive my religion is "all about".
My mother does not know thw whole story, but with the little she does know she dissapeoves of.
My parents would never accept the way i want to live my life so i have never told them the whole story.
I have a few friends who understand, but still back away slowly when we talk if i get into my beleifs too much.
When i am asked about my jewelry (and i constantly am) i tell people outright what it is and why i wear it.
I pine for the day where people of our community will accept all religions, even those of them that they do not fully understand.

Im going back to my corner now:)

If They're Coming Bring It On! May 7th. at 12:21:45 pm EDT

Ran (Deep South) Age: 23 - Email

I have been "out" of the closet for years and will not hide again. We lost the greatest part of our history because of our fear of the xian. The threat of religious genocide will not make me hide. Somewhen, somebody has to draw the line. I understand that they are many as we are few, and that is a cause for caution. Ask India!

The best thing we can do is try to allevate what they fear; the unknown.

Yes! May 7th. at 12:33:16 pm EDT

Laura McCorkle (Atlanta, Georgia) Age: 17 - Email

I have found myself hiding my jewelry more, and not being
as willing to tell people my religion. In the past, I have
always been open about being a witch, but recent prejudices
have made me less sure about being vocal. More people seem
to be returning to the christian church in hopes of not
going to hell if they die, and I am afraid that more people
will become brainwashed by the church and will look at my
friends and I as evil.

Not Back In, But Not Advertising Either May 7th. at 12:57:54 pm EDT

Kate (Iowa) Age: 27 - Email

Are you living more or less in the broom closet since last year?

No, not really, but I have stopped telling people that I am a pagan. Never in my life have I had such a large amount of religious "nuisance mail" sent to me as when I was completely open about not being a Christian. I even got a few really nice sets of the Christian Bible and the Book of Mormon from the Church of the Latter Day Saints! I dropped them off at a library once and got a note in the mail a week later that said "Thank you for your kind donation, but we don't allow religious poselytising at our public libraries." from the City of Des Moines!

Does the current political climate make you more or less open about your beliefs with strangers or casual acquaintances than you used to be?

No, I had pretty much stopped mentioning anything even remotely religious before it got this bad. I've been much more open about my political views though.

Are you worried or have you ever seriously considered that a modern day ‘witch hunt’ might target Pagans in the next few months/years?

No. The current Administration isn't going to last forever, and there are enough people in the United States who have some idea of the kind of cultural mores it takes to keep everyone safe that there will not be any type of serious persecution taking place any time soon. The citizens of the United States are not stupid people, and with all the "information legislation" that has been passed in recent years, they know that if we and other groups like us go, they could very well be next.

Have you taken extra precautions to protect your private information or Pagan identity on the internet? At work? In your neighborhood?

No. If someone wants to get me, being wacky about my name isn't going to help at all.

Are you more or less inclined to speak up and/or identify yourself as a Pagan when discussing or writing about political, religious or social issues these days?

Neither, I always have preferred to keep such discussions seperate in the interests of not clouding the issue. If I'm going to speak about my political opinions, why should it matter whether I'm a pagan or a Buddhist, or a Christian, or a follower of Falun Gong? If I'm discussing religion, is my opinion more of less valid because I'm a Libertarian than it would be if I was a Socialist? What does my opinion on social issues have to do with either? There's no real reason to always have to bring my or anyone else's religious status into every single conversation. In fact, I can't stand people who do that. They may be very nice intelligent individuals, but I do not want to hear them call on thier god (s) , argue thier point in their goddess' name or otherwise inflict thier religious opinion on me as a way to shore up a weak agrument, which it often is. Religiousity should not be used as a crutch when you're fighitng a losing battle will ill-concieved and badly thought-out arguments that lack the proper logic and rhetoric it takes to get your point across effectively.

More Out Than Ever May 7th. at 1:11:18 pm EDT

X Ray Witch (Staten Island, NYC) Age: 48 - Email

I have been "out" for about 4 years now. Lately, I have become even more open about my faith. I have worn am pentacle for years, but now I also wear a goddess symbol and they are both always exposed. I think it is important for people to see that "normal" people can have different beliefs from them. I sometimes get questioned_ "Do you know that's a devil's symbol?" etc, but most people are okay with it, even surprised to find a witch in a mundane place.
I believe we need to be more open in order to prevent another "witch hunt". I do agree that if there is another "witch hunt" it will target ALL non-Christians. The Fundamentalist christians (not too common around here) really scare me!

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