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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: 25,800,828  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 181

Lurker/Post Ratio: 181 to 1

Question of the Week: 4 - 8/27/2000

The Broomcloset-In or Out?... What's YOUR View?

Some Pagans feel that it might be better if everyone Pagan was just open about their beliefs. Some, on the other hand, are sick of 'in your face' Pagans or groups. Others feel that in some areas of the country being "in" is almost a necessity. But we've also heard some background grumbling that expresses rather resentfully that those who remain hidden are simply reaping the benefits earned-while experiencing none of the backlash-by those who are openly fighting for pagan rights.

The apprehension of what the impact of openly declaring a pagan belief might be on a family or work relationship is as much a concern in the decision-making process as what the reaction of a neighborhood or community might be in other cases. So, are YOU in or out? How far out is 'too far' out? What are the pitfalls or the rewards? Why should everyone be out, in, or just make his or her own decision about the broomcloset occupancy rate.

 Reponses:   There are 181 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Being "in" Or "out" Of The Broomcloset Is, I Believe, A Matter... Aug 31st. at 4:09:30 pm EDT

savakala (Lincoln, Nebraska US) Age: 22

Being "in" or "out" of the broomcloset is, I believe, a matter of personal choice. There may be several factors influencing a person's decision. I, for one, neither hide nor announce my religious beliefs, for several reasons. I am in no way ashamed of being pagan, however I dislike being harrassed by strangers who think that I am bound for an unpleasant afterlife. Also, there can be a strong sentiment against non-judeo/christian religions in certain workplaces. This is particularly true when the pagan involved is young. Older coworkers may think that the pagan is following a religious path because they want to fit in, or to fulfil a need to identify with a group. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant. The end result is that the pagan feels belittled, or not taken seriously. In my experience, being an outspoken pagan and and peacefully and happily coexisting with others is not easy, even when the "others" are also pagan! I have had other pagans accuse me of not being "devoted" because I practice a certain way, because I am low-key about my religion, or because I declared my religious preference while, conveniently, involved with a fellow pagan. Perhaps what I am trying to say is that some pagans are niether "in" nor "out" because they are tired of being ridiculed, not taken seriously, harrassed and/or second guessed by everyone they encounter, be those people christians, atheists, friends, family or other pagans. This is similar to other minority groups--not every member of these groups is outspoken. There are those that are, and those that aren't. It is not the decibel of the voice that is noticed, in the long run. It is what is said.

My Thoughts On In Or Out Of The Broomcloset Really Depends On... Aug 31st. at 4:19:34 pm EDT

Shadowdancer (not saying., Texas US) Age: 26

My thoughts on in or out of the Broomcloset really depends on the Person.
In my situation, I have to say in.

I live in the heart of the bible belt, and work in a very chritsian oriented environment. It is much better for me to not say anything about religious beliefs, mine or otherwise. It keeps my co-workers off my back and I don't have to worry about them trying to "save" me.

When I Finally Found A Term That Suited My Beliefs ``witch`` I... Aug 31st. at 5:23:14 pm EDT

Hunter (Peterborough, Ontario CA) Age: 23

when I finally found a term that suited my beliefs ``witch`` I was so happy that I told everyone just out of my own excitement, but even if I had of though about it I believe that the broom closet would never have known me! Being a person who is always up front about who I am I felt that it was better for me to be open about my beliefs rather then to hide them, to me this would just imply that there was something wrong with them. I felt that letting people have opportunity to ask me questions and or challenge my system with the age old tales of evil witches and such would allow me to aid others in educationg them on what being a Pagan is really about. To those who are unable to speek out due to hostility I feel for you and because this is so I think that those of us that can follow the Lord and Lady with little interfearence should be out spoken in our families, and our communities, People only fear what is unknown to them, and so I see knowledge as the likeness of water as it is to the seed in the ground, add a little and who knows to what heights it will grow.

I'm A Wiccan At College, And I'm Also An Ra. For Four... Aug 31st. at 6:01:54 pm EDT

Tigerfox (Providence, Rhode Island US) Age: 20 - Email

I'm a Wiccan at college, and i'm also an RA. For four years i've worn my pentacle openly and never had a problem. for three years, i've been an RA at the largest hall on campus (500 people, 90% freshman) and have never had a problem. Every year, i help out with move in and out, encountering parents from all over the country. not once has my religous beliefs come into conversation. maybe they all think i'm jewish? Either way, i've gotten permission to do a rotating bullitan board during october called "Real Witches" which will be strictly educational. I don't think this is being pushy, because i get plenty of questions that month as it is, and there's a lot of misinformation out there. I don't think i get pushy about my being a witch at all, but i answer all questions truthfully. The only people i'm not out to are my parents. i don't lie to them, but they've never asked. they have made it clear that anyone who believes in that "stuff" is living in a fantasy land. i'll tell them one day, maybe when i'm older and more an adult in thier eyes. My sisters know, and they're both ok with it, all my friends know, and they see it hasn't changed me in a bad way. some are even wiccan themselves. wow, i've rambled... Anyway, this is all the experience of a young, semi-out witch in Rhode Island.

Merry Meet All, I Am Have Been Out Since I Began Practicing... Aug 31st. at 7:17:22 pm EDT

Jeffrey R "Jake" Robinson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa US) Age: 36 - Email

Merry Meet all,

I am have been out since I began practicing rituals, last June. But weather one comes out of the broom closet or stays in depends quite a bit on the following;

1) Age
2) Family situation
3) The local feel

I am 36 so all of those are moot because I survived this far "being differant"
there is my 65 cents...:)

Blessings and Moonlight
Jake the Wildwolf

I Would Love To Come Out Of The Broom Closet, And In... Aug 31st. at 9:32:22 pm EDT

Autunm Shadow (Webb City, Missouri US) Age: 38 - Email

I would love to come out of the broom closet, and in fact I have lately been more open about my beliefs. But I also have a boss that is very Baptist and I have already had some backlash in my job because he has heard rumors about me. Although when asked I do tell people that I am Wiccan. This does make me fell good about myself. I wish the world would be more excepting and I try any time I can to talk to people about Wicca. I hope things get better in the future.

My Thought Is That Faith Is A Personal Thing. I Am A... Aug 31st. at 11:58:40 pm EDT

Trisha Dionisi (Detroit, Michigan US) Age: 34 - Email

My thought is that faith is a personal thing. I am a Witch and have been "out " for just about two years. I have practiced for 10. I am open about it when asked , but I will not "wave banners" or try to make converts.

I have heard and seen an ugly trend of Pagans who are more into trying to disprove other's faiths than trying to find the truth in their own. Faith should be found by the individual through their own spiritual journey , not given or forced upon them.

Overzealous behavior usually shows a weak belief .

Peace and Love be with you,

Out Of And Boy Does It Feel Great! I Do Not Dress... Sep 1st. at 12:11:50 am EDT

Denise (Cordova, Alaska US) Age: 44 - Email

Out of and boy does it feel great! I do not dress "the part" nor do I talk much about my beliefs. I was born and grew up in Alabama, so I know what the Bible Belt is and it is not just in the deep south. I now live in a small town in Alaska where alot of folks are church-goers, but tolerant of other views. For example, when I started my new job a co-worker asked about my pentacle, When I told her reaction was a snort! But after awhile when she got to know me, she found that I was not anti-Christain or a devil-worshiper but a person who cares about our world, both the world in our small town all the way around our globe. The people that I know and the ones I don't (who I meet on the street) see my necklace because I won't hide what I hold dear, respect my feelings just as I respect thiers. That's what makes a difference, respect, and that comes from knowledge on all sides. Blessed Be.

I Live In A Small Town And Have An Occupation That Puts... Sep 1st. at 12:55:44 am EDT

Erynne (Ruston, Louisiana US) Age: 21

I live in a small town and have an occupation that puts me in a great amount of contact with the public. In the interest of my personal safety and job, chose to stay in the closet for the most part. That is not to say that those close to me are not aware of my beleifs. And I will not lie if asked. I am a member of CUUPS and when people ask what church I attend I simply say "The Unitarian one" not a lie, and it keeps me from feeling uncomfortable.

I Have Always Felt I Was Different. I Saw Dragons And Fairies... Sep 1st. at 1:24:22 am EDT

Mavra (Fort Worth, Texas US) Age: 26 - Email

I have always felt I was different. I saw dragons and fairies on a regular basis, but never told anyone I saw "Imaginary Creatures". When I was 18, I left the catholic church for a protestant CULT. I was stuck and miserable for seven long years as they told me everything from "you're possessed" to "it's your parents' fault" to "you are ungodly and subborn". All because I wouldn't stop praying to the Lady (Mary) and kept seeing elves in the backyard. It's not my fault if they kept teasing the cats :) . After my escape, I immediately met with the local SCA group and started researching MY beliefs. I found witchcraft was a perfect fit. After about a year later, I start practicing the Craft. Everything I had ever believed is contained within. Problem: my family, especially my sister, is EXTREMELY Catholic. I still go to church with them on Sundays, and put up a good front. My sister once asked me if I was a witch, and before I could answer, added "Because if you are, you're never allowed in my house or with my children again!"
Of course, I chickened out and denied my faith. I love my family dearly, but I lost them for 7 long, lonely years, and just got them back 2 years ago. I can't come out of the broomcloset. But, would really, really LOVE to.

One Certainly Has To Take Safety Issues Into Concern. I, Personally, Am... Sep 1st. at 1:25:27 am EDT

Erin McCoy (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US) Age: 19 - Email

One certainly has to take safety issues into concern. I, personally, am out. Though I attend a private, Catholic college, I've had very few problems with students and faculty. I am honest when questioned and proud to wear my pentagram. Unfortunately, my behavior may have to change drastically after graduation. I plan on teaching elementary school students, and the dangers are obvious to anyone who follows the news. I will have to tiptoe through each day until I learn my limitations. Do I question another educator's cross pendant when I could be fired for wearing my necklace? Will I have children that might also suffer should I lose my job? These are only a few of the bridges teachers have to cross. I think that I will have to learn when to step outside the broomcloset and when it would be best to see how the dust bunnies are faring without me.

I Am In And Out In A Sorts. My Parents Have Adopted... Sep 1st. at 1:53:52 am EDT

CKAT (Portland, Oregon US) Age: 19

I am in and out in a sorts. My parents have adopted a "don't ask - don't tell" policy when it comes to relgion. My siblings know and are excepting. I am open in my school and with my friends. I am proud of who I am and what I belive in. However, it's not that easy when it comes to family reunions. I still don't know what I would do if Grandma (strick southern baptist) found out. It would be a family issue that might never get resolved. I guess we have just found ways around the issue so that the family will stay together.

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