The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Would You Take Part in a Public Event or Protest AS a Pagan?
Many Pagans or Heathens have always been a little leery about taking part in public events, protests or in signing their real names to letters or petitions. Given the current climate in the United States and across the world since 9/11, are you more or less inclined to be open about your spiritual beliefs or religion than you once were? Are you more fearful of reprisals or discrimination? Do you think that you would be placed on a surveillance list if you participated in public events or signed petitions with your legal name? Are you more cautious than you may have been before? Or have the events emboldened you to take a more public stance?
What’s the current status of YOUR broom closet?
| Reponses: There are 268 responses posted to this question.
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| Now Is The Time When Voices Like Ours Are Needed The Most ||Sep 24th. at 9:57:45 pm UTC|
|Feline (Virginia) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I live in the bowles of the Bible belt and after 9-11 things did go from bad to worse, but I have never hid my religion and don't intend to do so now. I believe that now is the time we must be the most adamant in our demand for equal rights and not just for ourselves. Our government is exploiting the fears of the people to erode our civil rights. I believe it is my duty, not just as a witch, but as a person to protest these unconstitutional actions and stand up for my fellow creatures.
I am no more fearful of discrimination or reprisals than I already have been (and I have had some altercations before). As far as survaillence lists go, I'd be suprised if I wasn't on one already. Though I cherish my civil rights I have always been wary of "Big Brother". I am not afraid to use my real name. I will not compromise the honor I have given myself by giving in to fear.
| Wisdom, Life, Honor ||Sep 24th. at 10:13:24 pm UTC|
|Phil Brucato (Atlanta, GA) ||Age: 37 - Email |
I can and do stand up as a Pagan - even more so since 9/11. Before that, I never wore a pentacle - too much of a fashion statement for my tastes. When everyone else hauled out their crosses, crucifixes and David stars, however, I felt it was not only my duty but my pleasure to show that we "alternative spirituality" types have pride and presence, too.
We are here, we are Americans, and our beliefs are as legitimate, as protected, and as significant as those of other "mainstream" religions. And, given the track records and body counts the "big three" have racked up as of late, I'm proud to say that my spirtual path does not hold the rest of the world hostage to its beliefs. Sad that so many other people of faith insist that the path to Divinity is littered with the corpses of unbelievers. May we never be so deluded.
Wisdom, life and honor to you all, and gods help the world. Given the behavior of some of their followers, the world *needs* that help!
- Phil Brucato
| Half In Half Out ||Sep 24th. at 10:32:29 pm UTC|
|medusa (seattle, wa) ||Age: 54 - Email |
My children and their friends know that I am pagan and a few of them are too. which was a surprise. But I do not dare tell many of the people of my own age. I don't have a lot of friends and relatives and don't want to lose the ones I have. They are all right wing republican.
I would like to see more pagan gatherings rather than protests. If we had regular gatherings, peaceful and friendly, to raise money for a good cause, it would help people to be aware of us and our values.
| My Thoughts ||Sep 24th. at 11:26:02 pm UTC|
|Thunder Mouse (Saint Joseph Missouri) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I currently am a bit in the broom closet so to speek when it comes to my religious belifs. I fear for somehow loosing my job and more importantly, loosing my family. They are conservative christian for the most part and the others im not shure about. Im not too thrilled with the idea of a large croud eather.......but if I felt strong enough about an issue, Yes. I would go to a protest or sighn a patittion openly as a pagan. I go with my feelings. Thats how Iv always lived my life. By following my feelings and my heart. If the protest is a peacefull protest, and its a cause that I felt was worth the risk to myself and possibly others, (say anyone I would be living with at the time of the protest)Yes. It took me a while to think up an answer to this question. It is my honest answer.
| Express Yourself! ||Sep 24th. at 11:31:59 pm UTC|
|Joseph Beltran (Ohio) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I live in Mid-Ohio and have always been rather open about my beliefs. Finding that few were even phazed by the disclosures. It has even been a point for sparking inteligent conversations. So I would have no problem, at least in my area, in taking part in a Public Even, protest, etc. as a Pegan, or Wiccan.
| Out Of The Broom Closet And In The Public Eye ||Sep 24th. at 11:40:03 pm UTC|
|Jeff Loudermilk (Duluth, MN) ||Age: 35 - Email |
In the past few years, I've been fortunate that the Gods have granted me the courage to come forth to show my pride and happiness in choosing to become a witch. It began with "coming out" with my parents... I think that was tougher than anything. Since I moved to Duluth, I founded the Duluth Pagan Alliance (my apologies at our lack of a current listing here at Witchvox, we will have a new listing once a few details are worked out)... the purpose was originally to simply allow Pagans to get together, meet one another and discuss issues that are important to the Pagan/Wiccan/Heathen community. Since then, we have taken on some community issues... several of us came before the Duluth City Council to speak against the development of a golf course on land sacred to the local Ojibwe. I personally introduced myself as the founder of my organization at one council meeting, and at the other, I was taped for a local news broadcast as I said my piece against the development.
My personal feeling is that hiding does nothing to contribute to our acceptance... we must speak, because we give up so much in silence. Tyranny is only held in check when people of good conscience stand proudly with the knowledge that what they do is right. Whether others agree with our view of deity is one thing, but we must at least stay true to the fact that our religious choice was the right call for each of us as individuals. We know that the paths we follow are not for all, but to simply shrink away from speaking with joy at finding our ideal path is self-denial. Silence in the face of uninformed criticism allows ignorance to win out over truth... the Burning Times proved how disastrous that can be. I ask that those who read this consider choosing pride over fear... the Gods offer love and protection to each of us, and each person gains great strength in taking the courageous step forward when they say "I am a Witch (Pagan, Heathen, etc.) and happy with MY choice!"
| All But A Foot Outta The Closet... ||Sep 24th. at 11:55:21 pm UTC|
|Manda (Memphis, TN) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I do take part in as many events as I can here in Memphis (not that there are that many), and would gladly take part in any protest/awareness/pride events, were they to happen here. I'd get up on TV or on the radio and talk at length about whatever they asked me to. I answer questions honestly, and I'll tell anyone who is brave enough to ask that, yes, I really am a Witch.
But. I can't say that I'm completely out of the closet. My family and my husband's family either don't know or pretend to be ignorant. Either way, it's not worth the damage it might do to the familial structure for me to go around screaming "I'm Pagan!"
So, if they happen to wander by Overton Park on Earth Day and find me dancing the maypole with a bunch of people wearing pentacles, I guess they'll know. Otherwise, I'll let them live in the current blissfully ignorant state.
| A Pagan Through And Through ||Sep 25th. at 12:42:59 am UTC|
|Brandy Williamson (Tuscaloosa, AL) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I have been witness to a few Pagan events in my nine years as a witch, and I would definitely take part in a protest or an event expressing my views as a Pagan. I believe I was very blessed to grow up with open parents who allowed me to be who I am and who loved me no matter what. They have given me the confidence I need to own my identity as a Pagan and to love every minute of it, even though others might not have been that open. I have no fear of my beliefs and my name being known to others. Through me, it might be possible to enlighten others with my knowledge of the craft. That is a wonderful thought.
| But Of Course!!! ||Sep 25th. at 1:25:08 am UTC|
|MegLyn (Kansas) ||Age: 50 - Email |
i did... i do... i will.... we were doing 'open-air', public witchery events 30 yrs ago when i was but a lass.... even managed to get the cops called a couple of times for cooking chili in the cauldron ;-)
| Yes I Would Protest As A Pagan. ||Sep 25th. at 1:42:49 am UTC|
|Sati Caldwell (Maryland) ||Age: 24 - Email |
Given the current climate in the United States and across the world since 9/11, are you more or less inclined to be open about your spiritual beliefs or religion than you once were?
I will continue to be outspoken about my beliefs despite the politcal climate. IMO, if we hide and don't get our true numbers out there we are setting ourselves up for more descrimination, for harsher laws and we are short changing the nation of diversity that has made it strong.
Are you more fearful of reprisals or discrimination?
Yes, but it doesn't matter. I don't want to have to worry about today's pagan kids fighting these battles 30 years from now. We owe it to ourselves and to our kids to accomplish as much as we can in our lifetimes.
Do you think that you would be placed on a surveillance list if you participated in public events or signed petitions with your legal name?
Maybe, but I really dislike our government. We're only a few steps away from wearing stars on our clothes. That's an extremist opinion, but the politics don't favor us. I'd rather be paranoid now than regretful later. I'd still participate and I'd still sign my name, but I'd be waiting... and waiting.. for something to happen.
Are you more cautious than you may have been before? Or have the events emboldened you to take a more public stance?
Neither really. I'm no more or less outspoken or cautious. I'm completely disgusted by the fact that we're being encouraged to spy on our neighbors, but my neighbors all know about me. (The nation's crisis level thing... you can find it on redcross.org)
What’s the current status of YOUR broom closet?
| Yes I Would Publicly Protest As A Heathen ||Sep 25th. at 2:19:37 am UTC|
|TSTipton "awwen" (Utah.USA) ||Age: 34 - Email - Web|
Yes, I do believe the possiblity of government surveilance is much higher under the current "Homeland Defense" legislation. And I believe history shows that sacrificing liberty for safety is always a bad choice.
But I'm inspired by Albert Einstein. Upon becoming an american citizen, Hoover's FBI easedropped every phone call, read every piece of mail in and out of Einstein's household for over 30years (recently became public record). Why? Because he lent his name to over a hundred human rights activist groups, such as the american anti-lynching campaign (Pres.Truman told him 'Americans are not ready to abandon lynching as a form of Death penalty'). 30 years of censorship, and being deprived of personal privacy and liberty. He knew they where watching and listening yet he did not stop standing up, speaking out, and publicly discussing the legitimacy of human rights, free worship, and right to education. Yes, like Einstein I believe it is only fitting to speak out publicly, be proud, be strong, stand up for the weak and fearful, Do what is right and don't coward away because YOUR government is watching and taking note. Let em' take note of how many of THE PEOPLE, care and are ready to speak out for what is right! Take note America, take note, add it up and be aware we are many.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| I Have And Would Again! ||Sep 25th. at 2:21:36 am UTC|
I have protested openly as a Witch, have marched in parades commemorating the Women's vote under my coven's banner, wearing pentagram shirts, and protested in writing using my real name many times. I am aware that it could come back to haunt me by having someone show up at my door to haul me off to a Pagan internment camp- but ya know, I already have decided that if it comes to that, I owuld rather be on the INSIDE where it is most likely that all the best people will be, anyway. Not to make light of that notion, but if it truly comes down to having all of us who speak up when we see injustice, locked up- why would I want to be on the outside with the ones who are the jailers?
It is vital to speak up, to be seen and to be a voice for those who are not able to speak for themselves, for whatever reason. I am a Mom, a wife and a magickal activist, doing what I can here on my rock in the ocean. I think another aspect of protesting openly is for people to see that Witches and Pagans are PEOPLE, too! The world is not a safe place, but I hope that in being an activist in my small way, that I can help to somehow make it a little safer for us all.
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