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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 27 - 2/3/2001
Where Are The Pagan Social Programs? Do We Care?
Pagans have been put in the somewhat uncomfortable position of being asked about their own social programs. Granting that modern public Paganism is only about fifty-years-old (and the Gods know that we have had many credible reasons for keeping a low profile for most of that time), is there need in the Pagan communities for social or charitable outreach programs? Do you know of any in your area? Do you have an idea for one? What needs do you see in the communities that such programs might address (such as food pantries, Pagan baby-sitting or child-care, counseling). Do Pagans have some unique ideas that might carry over into programs to benefit the general public as well as the Pagan communities themselves? Do we even care about social programs?
| Reponses: There are 22 responses posted to this question.
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| I Think That Pagan Social Programs Are Important Whether It Be Counsling... ||Feb 8th. at 5:53:11 pm EST|
|Woman of the Wolf Dream Dance (Langley AFB, Virginia US) ||Age: 21 |
I think that Pagan Social Programs are important whether it be counsling, child care, legal, or providing a local study group. Many pagans especially moving into a new area feel that they are alone. With programs like these, it not only helps fill the needs of the pagans, but it helps pagans network and unite amongst each other. From a military pagan perspective, i feel that the more people who step out and say "We are here for you" helps because in this world of rank and "Yes Sir and No Ma'am" it eases a little bit of tension and helps full fill some spiritual needs. It is very lonely sometimes being the squadrons only pagan, but with the discussion group we have on base .. i don't feel alone. Even if most of the time we hang out and talk about everything but Wicca or paganism (ie: work, politics and debating over what beer is better) it fills an emptiness. It makes us feel that we are not alone and we can all stick together when the crap hits the fan.
| Actually, I Think Pagans Are Rather More Charitable And Socially Concerned Per-capita... ||Feb 9th. at 10:27:47 pm EST|
|Aedh Rua (Prophetstown, Illinois US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
Actually, I think Pagans are rather MORE charitable and socially concerned per-capita than non-Pagans. You have to consider, there is an entire Pagan subculture (or is that sub-subculture?) of activists. I know literally dozens of them, the most socially concerned people one would ever want to meet, even irritatingly so. This last is not meant as an insult, by the way, just an observation that saints are often too intense for their less committed friends.
How many Pagans, for example, are active in the anti-nuke movement, or in envirnmental movements, or in feminism, or rape-crisis centers, or various other movements? It would not shock me if it was more than a quarter of the entire Pagan population.
Now, when I say active, I mean that these are people who literally build their entire lives around activism. What percentage of Christians are willing to live in hippy-poverty in order to help others? Pagans care more and more intensely about their world than any other group of people of whom I am aware.
The Christians have drummed into our heads for two thousand years that they are angels of compassion and that Pagans are cold and selfish. I think on some level a lot of us really believe it, but it's simply not true.
Not only this, it has NEVER been true. The Roman emperors were a bloody minded and corrupt lot, but just how many Romans did they feed out of their own pockets? A million, perhaps? Ancient Gaulish nobles would compete to see who could be the most generous. One, a guy by the name of Ariamnes, in Galatea, fed his entire tribe, rich and poor alike, for a year. The temples of healing deities were also hospitals, in a number of cultures. The ancient Pagans of Europe left a legacy of great art, public buildings, public baths, libraries, and so on.
Throughout the entire Middle Ages, Christiandom never even came CLOSE to this level of giving, this level of caring. Life in the West only began to become humane again during and after the Enlightenment, precisely when Christianity was being jettisoned in favor of science.
In short, we have absolutely no reason to be ashamed, and every reason to be proud. We're the good guys, dammit!
| As For Charitable Outreach Programs, I Think That First We Should Reinforce... ||Feb 10th. at 2:25:13 am EST|
|Ravenwind (Shakopee, Minnesota US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
As for charitable outreach programs, I think that first we should reinforce the ones that already exist. there are already thousands of them out there. THey are programs like the make a wish foundation or meals on weals. they may not be Pagan programs but that doesn't make them less worthy. Instead of creating our own charity drives, why not work to improve the ones that exist. One of the best ways to be charitable is to ask your local catholic church how to become involved with the programs they have. Many of you may not like that idea but I've learned that it is also a great way to show people that pagan religions are not evil but infact a posative religion.
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