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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: 24,930,024  

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 

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.

Ah, It's Complicated. I'm A Dedicant In An Eclectic Coven, And Am... Sep 1st. at 2:27:18 am EDT

Coyote Rae (Phoenix, Arizona US) Age: 0 - Email

Ah, it's complicated. I'm a dedicant in an eclectic coven, and am going to undergo my initiation in December, hopefully on or before Yule. My friends at college and at work know of my religion for the most part, as does one of my cousins, who dabbled in Witchcraft but sadly, found it to be a phase. The rest of my family doesn't know...I wish I could share with them, but unfortunately they are the kind of Conservative Republican Christians who would disown me.

Being out is an individual thing of course. While I agree that the best way to be Wiccan or Pagan would be to be out about it, I would only say that were the best way if all the people around you accepted it, and embraced it as your chosen life path. For those of us who are ah...burdened? with far-right families, it can be hard to be in the closet about it, but it's undoubtedly often much harder to lose family and friends, as was the case with my High Priestess. God/dess/Spirit wants you to live life for the most fulfillment and truth that you can find in it, and if it means you being "in" then so be it.

It's A Question That's Been Bothering Me Lately... Am I In Or... Sep 1st. at 9:22:41 am EDT

Jaiyla (Punta Gorda, Florida US) Age: 19 - Email

It's a question that's been bothering me lately... Am I in or out? Should I be in or out? I was recently pulled over by a police officer at 2:30 AM, and after I got my warning for a cracked tail light, I was harassed and questioned about my religion because of my bumper stickers for about fifteen to twenty minutes... (they say "Eve was framed", "I was not created in YOUR image of God" and here's the kicker... I got it because I was really mad... "Doing my part to piss off the religious right") So I've been debating... I live in a small town in Florida, but many of the people around me, adults and people I used to go to school with, are also pagan. I've known the "in-your-face" type (which bother me as much as the schoolyard televangelists)and those so quiet that they would allow their rights to be taken from them. I think it's worth the harassment that I get to be truthful to myself and the world around me. I wear my pentagram openly, and on a chain that my sister had gotten me for it, even though she herself is a Christian. My mother thinks I'm under the influence of satan... she didn't start thinking that way until recently, and her sudden conversion (not related to my study and practice of Witchcraft) disturbs me. My father, and atheist, thinks all religion is nonsense. One thing I will tell you, being pagan, whether in or out of the broom closet, makes it hard to share your spirituality with those around you, unless you have close friends who also practice. Fortunately, I am blessed with one of those!

Goddess bless :)

I, Myself, Am, And Have Always Been "out" Of The Broomcloset. I... Sep 1st. at 9:48:25 am EDT

Melissa Carsey (Tampa, Florida US) Age: 25 - Email

I, myself, am, and have always been "out" of the broomcloset. I just feel better being able to express my whole self to the world... it makes me more comfortable with me, and with others (because I don't feel i'm "putting on" others by hiding myself).

I do, however, understand the necessity for those who choose to stay "in" the broomcloset. Wicca, witchcraft, paganism all have had "secrecy" as a safeguard and as a lifeboat in history. Secrecy is the reason why this path is still around today, for us and others to choose to follow. Granted, today isn't like the days of the Inquisition, or the Salem witch trials.. but, secrecy nonetheless, has it's roots in our path.

So, although I am out of the broomcloset, I have no resentment towards those who are not.

Well... I Am Very Open And Most Of The Time The First... Sep 1st. at 11:42:17 am EDT

KT Schulze (woodstock, Georgia US) Age: 18 - Email

well... i am very open and most of the time the first person to tell someone that i am wiccan...
but i just ended up hanging out with the wrong people and went to jail for 4 weeks...

while i was in jail i felt the need to pretend that i was christian because i was affraid of what the other inmates might do to me if they found out that i wasnt christian and then to think of what they would have done if they knew i was wiccan...

so in mu opinion i guess there are times when its ok to be in the "broomcloset" and times not to be..
i guess its just what u feel is right ....

An Age Old Question...... Until 1951 It Seemed Being In The Broomcloset... Sep 1st. at 12:16:14 pm EDT

Raymond (Boston (now), Massachusetts US) Age: 25 - Email

An age old question......

Until 1951 it seemed being in the broomcloset was a matter of necessity. Now, it would seem, an open expression of your faith should not even be in question. I mean after all this is the beginning of the 21st century and even the Catholic church has "apologized" for its role in religious persecution. Well, in a perfect world, everyone could live as they chose. We are not in a perfect world. So when it comes to outwardly expressing your beliefs it is ultimately a matter of personal choice. There is not a right choice or a wrong choice, there is only choice. My personal opinion is live the best life you can in accordance with Wiccan laws, if you profess to practice Witchcraft. Living your life as a Witch out in the open does not necessarily mean being aggressive and "in your face." I know it is very frustrating to not be recognized by society as a valid member because you just happen to believe in the Lord AND Lady, BUT (and this is very important) these kinds of tactics are not our way. Witches (at least this is my understanding) were not and should not now be known for the confrontational tactics most often adopted by (forgive me for this...) fervent religious right groups.

There are enough Jerry Farwells in the world now, we don't need the Wiccan version. I believe we should live as Witches and be mindful of who we are and what we believe. When we are questioned about our beliefs, we should be honest about them and try to educate the ignorant. We don't have to go around waving the pentacle flag and shouting "We're here, we're Witches, get used to it..." We have to remember those who followed the old ways of Magick were the teachers and community leaders. We need to reclaim this status. I personally feel many of us have succumbed to the pressure of responding in kind to many persecuting groups. The reason the Craft has survived for so long is because those who knew, knew how to not respond. How many religions have been stamped out because its followers went to war for what they believed? This is not the answer. Allowing people to see you as a Witch and as an upstanding moral, functioning member of society may serve to ease some if not all of their uneducated concerns. So when the question of "in" or "out" is posed, I answer out, but use your head and your heart. I am originally from the Southern U.S., the heart of the bible belt. My mother does not know about my beliefs because she has not asked. She is VERY religious and I'm sure would not take well my chosen faith. I would, however, tell her the truth if she asked. This would undoubtedly cause me to lose my mom (my closest relative) and I would be devastated. If this happened, I don't really know what I would do, but I do know this, I would recall the stories of the many Witches who were tortured and killed for what they believed and the many Witches who lost so much more besides family because they didn't believe in the religion of the day. I would recall this and kling to this, because this would get me through that very tough time. I know my mother, she would eventually come around, 'cause she loves me, not because she's a bible-toting christian, but because she's mom...the Goddess on Earth. Don't fear....have faith. I do......
Blessed Be!

I Think That Each Person Should Make Their Own Choice To Be... Sep 1st. at 12:30:59 pm EDT

Kaylara Nightshade (Ocean Twp, New Jersey US) Age: 19 - Email

I think that each person should make their own choice to be either in or out of the broom closet. Personally, I am out of the broom closet and very open about it, but I understand the reasons why some people are uncomfortable with coming forward. I will fight for pagan rights even if some people don't like that "in your face" attitude and/or don't support me. It's their decision and their life. I can only live my own... Blessed be!

I Think You Can Be Both In And Out Of The Broomcloset... Sep 1st. at 1:11:05 pm EDT

Correne (Waterloo, Ontario CA) Age: 20 - Email

I think you can be both in and out of the broomcloset. I am very careful of who I tell about my religious preferences. My close friends and family are aware of my choices, but other than that, very few know that I'm Pagan. I have never been a fan of 'in your face' religions and it's my goal to never promote Wiccan or Paganism as being one of them. I simply follow the rule of "if I trust them enough to tell them, and it could possibly affect them" I'll say something. In most other situations I keep quiet. If someone asks me, I'll be open, and I'm not afraid to wear my pentacle... but you will never catch me screaming out "I'm Pagan and proud of it."

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