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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 78 - 9/22/2002
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.
|| Reverse Sort
| Certainly ||Sep 25th. at 2:29:12 pm EDT|
|Aisliing (Germany) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I'd love to be involved in a community of Pagans, including protests if needed as an American in Germany though I have yet to find any like minded people. Let me know if you are out there. I'd love to meet with others
| That Which Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Stronger ||Sep 25th. at 3:19:00 pm EDT|
|Black Squirrel (Dulles, VA) ||Age: 25 - Email |
Woah, Freudian moment there - almost typed "stranger" instead of "stronger."
Events of the last 12-month-plus have only strengthened my belief in my beliefs, and made me more open to sharing joy with those around me, whether I know them well or not. I am no less out of the broomcloset than I was at this time 13 months ago (then again, this time 13 months ago I was a beginning teacher at a public high school and now I'm suing them for ADA violations so other people besides those commonly recognised as terrorists have had an effect on that). I find myself more likely to speak out against injustice now than I was even in my radical college days (well, as radical as they could be with chronic fatigue syndrome and mobility problems).
What *does* keep me from protests and events is lack of physical accessibility to them - when you're out there in a manual wheelchair (which I frequently am if the walk will be more than the equivilant of a city block or two), it's much harder to cross non-paved areas, and we Pagans are oh-so-fond of walking on the grass. Of course, public events are more likely to be handicap accessible than private ones, so guess which ones I make it to more often? :P
| I Already Have ||Sep 25th. at 4:15:55 pm EDT|
|Starwind (Alberta, Canada) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I have attended events held in public parks in the last three years. It was funny seeing the reactions of passers by, some of whom stopped to watch.
I wanted to attend the nearby city's first Pagan Pride event this year, but my four-year-old had a Teddy Bear's Picnic on the same day.
| I'd Die For My Beliefs ||Sep 25th. at 4:20:44 pm EDT|
|Drusilla Tarott (England) ||Age: 13 - Email |
I'm very open about my religion. I'm proud to be a witch, and I think you should all be proud too. After all, what can people do to us? They can't burn us any more and they can't torture us, so why is everyone so worried about coming out of the broom closet? Ok, one of the rules in the Pyramid is Be Silent, but I don't personally see the point. I tell whoever I want, because most people will respect your opinions and beliefs. Everyone I know is very polite to me, but no-one ever acts any differently than tghey did before they knew that I was a witch. No-one asks to look in my Book of Shadows, because they know they shouldn't, some people ask me for Tarot readings, some people even ask me to cast for them. everyone I know respects me, and although I did suffer some racist remarks when I first came out, those people have grown to accept it, and some have even taken a genuine interest in what I do.
I guess I'm writing this for any other teen witches who are worried about coming out of the broom closet. Do whatever feels natural, and start by telling people you can trust. Remember to have information handy in case they ask questions, but let the Fates guide you and you'll be fine.
| Definately! ||Sep 25th. at 4:55:54 pm EDT|
|Ravyn (Lapeer, MI) ||Age: 33 - Email |
As a young witch, growing up, I was very concerned with maintaining status quo, staying invisible, and not making my opinion heard. That was 21 years ago, and life had already taught me to be proud in who and what I am, to not bend my knee to "society", or the majority. So on the morn of 9/11, when everyone felt their secure little worlds collapsing, I found a deeper understanding of inner strength. I found another reason to stand tall and wear my amulets and talismans with pride. I feel that we owe it to those who suffered before us to proclaim our birthright as children of the Goddess and not be ashamed or afraid. I, myself, have no fear of protesting, or publicly declareing my faith. I am circle-mates with a few that must keep a low profile to keep their children, and I give thanks every day to She who made me that I don't have to do that.
| You Bet. ||Sep 25th. at 5:28:53 pm EDT|
|Kimberly A. Warzelhan (Ipswich, MA) ||Age: 31 - Email |
Basically, to best answer this question in the short form: I would say "Of course!" It's that simple.
If this world has reverted to a place where people are executed for being honest about their beliefs and feelings, then aside from fighting to change it, as can only be done by speaking out, then what's the point?
Alexandrian 3* HPs
| Depends On The Situation ||Sep 25th. at 6:25:50 pm EDT|
|Magenta Griffith (Minneapolis) ||Age: 50 - Email |
I have taken part in a variety of public events as a Witch, from Pagan Pride to the Mankato Women and Spirituality conferences. However, I would be wary of participating in a non-Pagan event as a Pagan, unless a number of us were doing it, and the organizers were okay with it. I worked at Planned Parenthood a number of years ago, and was asked NOT to come out as a Witch, since that would "give the fundies ammunition". I complied, and while I don't like it, I realize that sometimes tactics have to be compromises. I admire people who do demonstrations, but I think we need to consider what the effect will be, and whether it will actually further our goals.
I have not been more wary about signing my name to letters and petitions, and I have and will vote in every election I can. If ALL Pagans would only vote, maybe we could make a difference. I think we need to do as much interfaith work as possible right now; if we all stand together, not just with other Pagans, but with other minority religions, it will be a lot harder for the fundies to hurt us. And keep an eye on your elected officials, and let them know what you think as a citizen. We elected them, we pay their salaries - don't let them forget it!
| I'm A Stand Up Gal ||Sep 25th. at 7:44:51 pm EDT|
|Rowan (Virginia) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I HAVE and will continue to participate in public events - I have yet to engage in public protest, but only because the opportunity has yet to present itself. If it does, and it is a cause I feel passionate about, then I will most certainly take part.
I am aware that every time I go out in public with my pentacle hanging from around my neck, I risk some potential negative action. When I participate in a public ritual in a crowded park, we inevitably attract curious onlookers. So far in my experience, these folks have been quiet and respectful, only ocassionally interrupting to ask simple questions. I live in what I consider to be the beginning of the "bible belt" and there are many folks out there (my own sister included) who would bonk me over the head with their bible and preach the word til they were blue in the face if they knew of my spiritual beliefs. But so what? I must be true to myself! If we as Wiccans, Witches and Pagans are not true to ourselves, how can we expect others to be true to us, and accord us the respect we so deserve? I understand some of us truly feel they cannot risk the exposure and I do respect that - they know their situation and who am I to judge? However, the more of us who come out of the proverbial broom closet and make ourselves known, the further we will move toward bringing enlightenment and (Goddess willing!) acceptance from society at large. I think we are well on our way.
| Freedom For All Pagans ||Sep 25th. at 8:10:54 pm EDT|
|Frederick G. Friedel SR. (Baltemore Md.) ||Age: 39 - Email - Web|
My thoughts are that all have the wright to Practice the way thay whant.I feel that if thay whant to watch me than the more power to tham. I have been in the army and I have been a biker and out of all that i have been this is the only thing i have not hurt peopel.I have come full circle to my youth.I have foud my self and no one can take that away from me.
| In Or Out? ||Sep 25th. at 9:15:14 pm EDT|
|Ethereal Moon (Springfield, IL) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I would like to jump up and down and say YES YES YES!! In my heart, for sure I'm saying that. However, working as a healthcare working in a religious institution, prevents me from jumping up and down about much in regards to the broom closet. My friends (supportive), my family (eventhough they don't like it) are at least in the loop. By professionally, it would be detrimental I believe. This is a case where I think I can make more of a difference IN the position than I can OUT of it.
| I Have No Problem With Making Public, That I Am Wiccan ||Sep 25th. at 9:27:33 pm EDT|
|lisa odom (valdese NC) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I have not been wiccan for very long but I have no problems with letting it be known who and what i am.
| Out? Sure. ||Sep 25th. at 11:00:05 pm EDT|
|JugglerJohn (Rochester NY USA) ||Age: 40 - Email |
I Have Driven Taxicab in Rochester NY for 14 years. On my Taxi, I always display some type of alternitive bumper sticker. (Born again Pagan; is the current one!)
Hanging from my rearview mirror is a Goddess pendent and my Ogun beads.
So I guess im out fulltime.
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