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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 33 - 3/19/2001
What Is The Appropriate Response to Bigotry and Religious Hatred?
What do you do when someone attacks you for simply being a Pagan? Would this color your perception of all practitioners of that religion? Or would you see it as the act of an individual who may or may not reflect the views of the entire religion? Many Pagans are Wiccans. Does that mean that Wiccans must 'forgive and forget' in order to abide by the Rede? Must we embrace in the name of 'interfaith relations' those who follow a religion that directly or actively campaigns against Pagans? Should we all just 'go along to get along'? When it is appropriate to say "Enough!" and when should we just let it go? What about those anti-Pagan religious sites? What do YOU do when someone hates you just because you are Pagan?
| Reponses: There are 108 responses posted to this question.
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| So Long As One Faith Percieves Themselves As Better Than Another Or... ||Mar 28th. at 12:53:19 pm EST|
|Amaya Riordan (Purchase, New York US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
So long as one faith percieves themselves as better than another or all faiths, there will never be complete 'peace' between religions. However, that does not give one faith the right to spread lies and hate against another. But is trying to set them straight really such a good idea?
Christians are definately the major religion that has a problem with the existance of Pagans. They tell us and others that we work for Satan, are controlled by him, make deals with spirits, are idolaters, are going to hell because we don't follow the bible. Even Christians who are more educated on the subject of Pagans say that what we do is wrong - we worship the creation rather than the creator, that we need to be converted, etc etc.
Hearing things like this can send us all into a bit of a tizzy, and most of the time we feel the need to explain to them that what they think isn't true, and then go on to tell them what it is we really believe and so on. But is that really the right thing to do? Lets try to look at things from the Christian perspective for a moment.
In the Christian belief, anything that is not of God is of Satan. Anything that is not Christian is not of God. It is a part of thier belief that those who are not Christian are being controlled by or willingly following Satan.
As horrible as it sounds, it's as wrong for us to tell them that they can't believe we are controlled by Satan as it is for them to tell us that we are not allowed to worship the Goddess - it would be taking away thier belief.
But obviously, there is a place to draw the line - those who say that we sacrafice and kidnap children and do all sort of evil things need to be set straight. But my general advice is to only fight against the spreading of lies about what it is we do and fight against only those who want to see us removed from the world.
I don't know how much sense I really made here, but I hope I at least helped someone. If anyone needs clairification on this, or simply wants to talk to me, feel free to e-mail me.
| Bigotry Arises Out Of The Misconceptions People Hold Concerning Paganism. When Confronted... ||Mar 28th. at 4:11:31 pm EST|
|Rebecca Vazquez (San Bernardino, California US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Bigotry arises out of the misconceptions people hold concerning Paganism. When confronted and badgered by "Christians" who tell me that I am heading toward eternal damnation, I give them a short abstract of what my beliefs are; seeing the divine through nature. I also point out to them that the ability to judge a person based simply on fear or appearance is the makings of a bad Christian. Living in a college dormitory and having a mother who was a Catholic Sunday School teacher, I have been subject to much criticism but after a short explanation of my beliefs and what Wicca is, most people accept it and actually I have had many people ask me about it and how they can get into Wicca.
| Well That Is A Tough Question, So To Speak, It Is Kinda... ||Mar 29th. at 2:27:31 am EST|
|Azriel Malaki (Lake Charles, Louisiana US) ||Age: 27 |
Well That is a tough question, so to speak, it is kinda hard to answer with just a few words. Growing up and being raised a different religion while being taught another makes it difficult for someone to answer but I will give it a shot.. When someone attacks you for being a Pagan or attacks you for being Wiccan is simply just not appropriate, if someone is gonna judge you because you have a different belief, well that is a bunch of crap in my book, (excuse me), I don't feel that anyone out there has the right to judge you or anyone for that matter, for what you believe. Your beliefs are your beliefs and people should accept you for who you are, even though that is never the case. There will always be that one opposing force that tries to convince everyone that their way is the only way and that all other ways are wrong, thus the term bigotry.
Well I try my best to live by the Wiccan Rede, and sometimes it is very hard to just let things go when you lose friends of almost a decade, just because you have a different religious view than them. You are asking when does one say "Enough" well that is a hard phrase, because if you say that, it never tends to cease, the bigotry, the ignorance, fear, and hatred will always be there. I just try not to think about and just do my best to continue on my path to understanding and knowledge. I try not to let other people's religious views and opinions affect my own generally because these are my beliefs, not theirs, adnd I will not sit back and let a follower of another religion try to condemn me because I don't have the same belief structure, nor will I accept that their way is the only way. My path is my path, and noone can change that.. Everyone's religion or belief structure is their own and noone has the right to decide what is right and wrong for them. That in my opinion is wrong.. Well thanks for reading... Merry Part....
| I Have Already Been A Victim Of Hatred And I Am A... ||Mar 29th. at 12:57:28 pm EST|
|Godiva MoonChilde (covington, Kentucky US) ||Age: 17 |
I have already been a victim of hatred and I am a young witch. I see websites such as the Perilous times and the black ribbon community who are trying to have a a pathway back to the dark ages. I am healer, a writer and much more. I don't claim to be all powerful and I still have a lot of love for Jesus, Buddha, Allah and many other figure heads of mainstream church. I feel these people are into there fire and brimstone routine because they like to threaten and like to make people believe what they believe. I have alot of love peace and hope in my heart for people like them. I believe in ignoring them. They just want the attention any way. And I think that God in all it's forms believe that we should love one another. So think about it? I mean how can they say that they are followers of christ when they judge Pagans and stand on the graved of gays with signs that say "God Hates Fags!" I think they should read there own scripture : don't judge lest thee be judged.
| To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Be Silent"...** I Always Thought... ||Mar 31st. at 10:30:06 am EST|
|Lady Lygeia (Hartford, Connecticut US) ||Age: 34 |
"To know, to will, to dare, to be silent"...**
I always thought this was sage advise, and one of the basic tenets of "traditional" witchcraft. *Not that I'm traditional by any stretch.*
Through no fault of their own, even mild and tolerant Christians take the popularity of their religion for granted. They are free to wear their crosses and crucifixes, display their devotionals in the workplace etc., and have expressions of their faith as screensavers on their computers.
Pagans and wiccans will not be able to say the same in my lifetime, anyway.
There have been wonderful words of wisdom posted regarding the subject of intolerance and hatred here. Sometimes it is appropriate to "fight" to defend yourself--your person especially if you face immenent physical attack. Other times it best to simply walk away. You have, however left no impact on that other person, or people.
I do believe, however that it is not neccessary to draw attention to one's self by wearing pentacles black lipstick and eyeshadow or the like. Of course one is free to do so, but know you will be labeled quickly as a freak or "Goth" or worse. Do I believe "Goths" are in anyway satanic, or that it is bad to wear pentacles? Not at all. It is a personal choice. A choice I do not elect to exercise.
I have had people, good naturedly demand information from me as to my spiritual and personal beliefs. I simply told them that they were intensely personal and that I was not comfortable discussing them. I've never had to resort to confrontation, which I loathe. Such indulgence is extremely bad for me. I simply cannot afford the emotional cost to bring myself to that point lowers me to my worst--resulting in huge build up of negativity, anger and hatred. This cannot be good for spiritual growth or spellwork of a positive nature.
Paganism and indeed Wicca is NOT for everyone. It is a religion whose practictioners until recently have kept vehemently silent about its practices and belief systems. This, I believe is the only way to keep one's person safe, as well as the religion safe--safe from the eyes of those who would misunderstand, mislabel and malign.
While it is an immense blessing to have websites like witchvox and all the others I've seen that have tremendously impressed me, as well as the wonderful books that have cropped up as a result of the rise of Goddess religions and interest in The Craft, I feel that as individuals we need not present ourselves as potential martyrs. Let us remember that Wicca as a religion does not have the recognition that Christianity, Judaism, Islam, et. al., have. If you open yourself up to the opportunity you will be discriminated against. It is the nature, unfortunately of our path.
I re-emphasize that I do not advocate absolute complacency. If you are being harrassed on the job, at school or wherever, of course you must act accordingly. Keep yourself safe! Protect yourself and come to the aid of others who need or ask it of you, but you don't need to "pick a fight".
Blessed be to *everyone!*
Love and Light to all
**Silver RavenWolfe, "To Stir A Magick Cauldron"
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