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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
| Yes ||Sep 23rd. at 1:11:25 am EDT|
|Stella (Pasadena, CA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I would come out. The only family member I have officially come out to is my sister and her husband , but I am pretty sure everyone else has figured it out. I suspect my sister might have told them. I live in a pretty liberal area of the country, so I doubt I would have to contend with any violence, maybe just some misunderstanding. I have never been afraid to make waves.
Like some other people here I do not feel comfortable coming out at work. I work almost exclusively with Catholics, and while I don't think they would care, I don't want to take the chance.
| Sure--why Not? ||Sep 23rd. at 1:24:59 am EDT|
|Danielle (TX) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I have no problem with it.. if they don't like it, too bad. They will just have to adjust. Anyone who messes with me get's blasted anyway.
People in this nothing town shiver at me anyway.."Oh look, there goes that witch girl who lives with those other witches...Der der der, who's going to the mud wrestling contest tonight?"
| I'd Break Too Many Hearts ||Sep 23rd. at 1:45:15 am EDT|
|FluidMotion (Canada) ||Age: 16 - Email |
Considering I have been a well known member of a local Penticostal Christian church, and they have been extreamly kind to me and my family since and before my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I couldn't bear stand up for a faith (though it is MY FAITH) that is against theres. I would hurt too many people; especially my grand mother. I still put on the big show of praying, getting the "holy ghost" (ecstatic dance) but to different gods (although obviously they don't know that) so I can falsly asure them of my christian faith. Sure, its a bit harsh, but what else am I supposto do?
| Fear Is The Mind Killer ||Sep 23rd. at 2:35:03 am EDT|
|Breed BearWolf (Missouri) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I won't let fear rule my life. If there is a cause that need my John Handcock and I beleive in the cause I'll sign. And it there is a protest that I think is a good cause I'll join it. I beleive that if you are willing to do what is right no matter was is agaist you, you making a differance. I am not afraid of being who I am. I wont let people tell me that because Im a Pagan I don't know what right is, I Do! Yes I will protest in a Pagan Group if I beleive in the cause, it is my right to do so and I won't let anyone take it away from me.
I guess Im Pagan And Proud and 9/11 has nothing to do with it.
| Why Should One Be Ashamed ||Sep 23rd. at 3:00:37 am EDT|
|Lady Moon (Colorado) ||Age: 21 - Email |
Merry Meet. I have never truly been ashamed of what i beleived even when i attended a Catholic school in Michagan Back than i would argue with the sister on god and what was correct and not correct and point out where the Christian Bible conterdicted itself and it does so many times from one verse to the next. It is not even funny how it does.
I have never really hidden the factor that i am not a christian and that i pratice some form of what society has condemned whitchcraft in my life. I found myself with great pride more than i ever had before after 9/11 because i knew that my upbringing was a good one and that i was lucky to be born in a country in which premits to some degree the pratice of other religions. It made me respect and cherish life more and that it was alright to cry and be different.
I dont really care if they watched me because they feared me. It is not correct to accuse people that are different that they are wrong or suspect that they will harm you. I felt bad for the ones that had nothing to do with 9/11 and were shunned and chased out because of their religion and origin. Christians say love thy neighbor and yet they went off and shunned those that came here looking for a better life because they were not christians but that of the islam world. That is a sad thought.
I stand up for people of differnt countries and religions at times unless the person is one that is wrong and wants to harms others. If they can condom the Islam religion than what is stopping them from condoming me for not being Christian and i have lost friends because i refuse to be a Christian. I stand up for what i believe in and am not ashamed that i am considered a witch for reading tarrot cards and healling and using little spells.
| Mostly Out... ||Sep 23rd. at 3:39:41 am EDT|
|Two Crows (Ohio) ||Age: 37 - Email |
I came out of the broom closet to my family nearly seven years ago when my mother and sister broadsided me over the issue of christening (baptizing) my newborn daughter. They were insistent that it was necessary, and tried every argument to convince me that it was somehow immoral not to do it. After telling them that I believed in no gods that would send innocent children to hell for not having a little water splashed on their heads, my mother asked me agape what religion I was “now.” When I told her Pagan she lost it, and left. I’ve not ceased in shocking her even to this day, particularly when she induces me to discussions on the topics of religion, politics, or morality. She finds it absolutely unbelievable that I don’t consider Jesus to have ever been a real person in history, but rather a myth of the Gnostics hijacked by literalists. There is a karmic lesson here though, that being the fact that I helped her to conversion during my four year hiatus from magick in the Baptist Temple. (I was a little confused when I was seventeen, and now wear that experience proudly as badge of courage, for indeed it took a great deal of courage to stand up for what was really in my heart in the red faces of all those Christians that were content to feed me reality without any compunction as to what I thought about the whole thing.)
I’m still not openly out at work, though everyone that works with me is convinced that I’m somehow different, and quite vocal about it. If any of them knew anything at all about modern Paganism it would be an easy leap from my stances on religious and political topics to what I believe in. I’ve been known to stand up for the weird “crystal people,” and I wear a pent ring, but not one of them lately has asked me what religion I belong to. A few years ago it leaked that I was at a Pagan event, a girl was talking about witches as if in the know, and I offered to help her network. Two people later asked me about it directly, and I lied to them, partly because of the way they phrased the question, and partially due to the fact that they were both centerpieces in the nasty rumor mill. Both of them have since left the company, as have the rare few who were also Pagans and readily able to distinguish me from the crowd.
I’m a little older, and a little wiser now, but I don’t make it a habit to describe myself by my religious beliefs right off the bat. If new acquaintances like me for who I am, and decide they don’t after they learn that I’m a Pagan, then I’m comfortable with that. I allow them the right to dislike what I believe in, or to disagree with me. Perhaps that’s why I have so many Christian friends who don’t mind stepping into heated debates with me on the nature of religion. Some of them even think now as a result.
As for petitions and protests, I’ve signed a few petitions, but haven’t been overly interested in massing up to picket anything. If I thought it necessary I would. What did you have in mind?
| You're Kidding, Right? ||Sep 23rd. at 6:32:51 am EDT|
|Alumenios (Ocala, FL) ||Age: 27 - Email |
Of course I would. Some things are just not to be messed with. I was just doing some research on the guy that Kerr Cuhulain was writing about, this Jack Roper guy. I went to his website and was reading what was there. Most of his information was correct, sounding as if he was directly referencing Buckland or RavenWolf. His zeal, and his personal spin on information is what makes him dangerous. This is the type of person that started the Inquisition, and we all know that no one expects (or really wants to meet) the Inquisition. It is people like Mr. Roper that lead my parents, good European Catholic Republicans that they are, to rethink their opinion on their own son after almost 15 years of being out of the broom closet with otherwise complete acceptance.
Am I willing to protest? Hells yes. If one guy can make my parents doubt who they raised me to be (they wanted me to be able to think and believe how I wanted to, rather than endure the way things were where they grew up) by writing some slanderous and twisted words, then I'll fight that war of words as far as I can. If you want your children to have the same right then you should, too.
PS: Look at this guy's website. It will aid you in combating the negative perceptions of those around you.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| A Delicate Balance ||Sep 23rd. at 8:22:20 am EDT|
|Trish Telesco (New York) ||Age: 42 - Email - Web|
I have travelled on approximately 52 planes since 9/11, I have been fully checked at least four times during that period. Is that profiling? Perhaps somewhat. And can my political or religious stances put me on "someone's" list... certainly. It happens. Will I live fearfully or silently because of such things? Absolutely NOT.
While I would hope that Paganism never turns toward Book of Shadow thumping, I do believe that each of us has a duty to our family, our towns, our community and to the Earth in terms of being willing to stand up and be counted. There are things worth fighting for... and the neopagan community has had enough time of having to sneak off in the darkness to simply BE who and what we are. It's time to claim our share of the "light" and let it shine to the world in any way possible.
Now, I don't go hanging a "Witch Within" sign on my home - but if someone asks, I answer honestly and respectfully. Similiarly when I travel I feel no great need to tell everyone I encounter that I'm a folk witch, because religion is a private matter. Yet, when those private issues become public - it's another matter. We can't just let the media misrepresent our bliefs and practices. Similarly, when there are important societal issues being protested, we should stand proudly with those who fight for the Good of All.
Do we take risks when we stand up? Certainly! But IMO those risks are well worth it. Never underestimate the power of a determined soul -- be it one or hundreds, they can make a difference.
| Out Doesn't Mean You Have To Flaunt It ||Sep 23rd. at 8:42:22 am EDT|
|Starwalker (NC) ||Age: 54 - Email |
Yes, I would... and yes, I have. But as always, I believe it's important to pick your battles and your battle ground. As a Pagan who runs a (secular) business in a very conservative area, it would be shooting myself in the foot to be flagrant about my beliefs at times.
That said, I was responsible for starting our local PNO, and am "out" enough at my 9-5 job that I sent my bosses an equinox card this past week. When anyone asks, I readily admit to "not being Christian" and then let the conversation progress from there. If they are just trying to convert me (as in the Laundromat last week) telling them I am a Witch is not going to do any good, IMO. Instead I talked about the things the proseliting Christian and I had in COMMON... an abhorrance of hate... etc. It was enough of a stretch for this particular woman to grasp that someone who "had not accepted Jesus" could believe ANYTHING good...
Protests... well, I went through the 60s... been there, done that... and would again for the right cause/situation.
Am I afraid? no! Concerned... a bit...
| I Couldn't If I Tried.... ||Sep 23rd. at 8:54:11 am EDT|
|Ciarrai (Piscataway, NJ) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I try to avoid negativity at all costs, even for the best causes. I'd be more prone to write letters to our government, support Pagan Pride, donate money, spend some "positive" quality time on issues. I don't mix well w/ negativity, and in my opinion, Karma has a sneaky way of coming along and biting you on the butt, so I always bear that in mind too. I know it's a weak statement but I've gotta admit -- we all have our strengths and weaknesses -- and protesting publicly isn't one of my strong points! Peace Out, Ciarrai
| Free Thought ||Sep 23rd. at 9:24:30 am EDT|
|Michelle (New Hampshire) ||Age: 41 - Email |
I believe in "Free Speech" , and was born in a country where it was possible...."Freedom of Religion" is also one of my rights .... I would protest as a Pagan , for those who have gone before me . Spellheart
| No Skeletons In My Broom Closet... ||Sep 23rd. at 9:28:28 am EDT|
|Sahroe Night (Duluth, MN) ||Age: 18 - Email - Web|
I'm more open about being pagan. It's my way of fighting back against a country that's getting too oppressive. People are giving their rights up too readily and it hurts me to watch it. It has made me realize that I need to be who I am in this time of self-inflicted chaos. Besides, I don't look Middle Eastern so why should anyone have to worry about lil me? (Sorry for my governmental bitterness this morning but I found out some things about the gov this morning that make me terribly upset.)
It's almost as if I'm seeing the gaps and taking advantage of the chaos to slowly come out of hiding. I'm a person of love and compassion (though I may fall to anger as illustrated above.) The world needs people who are open-minded and accepting, especially right now. So, despite those who may persecute me, I feel like I can't go wrong. It's true, however, that I'm still selective of who I tell my beliefs to, just not nearly as much as I use to be. =)
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