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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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
| My Broom Closet ||Sep 22nd. at 8:19:46 pm UTC|
|Storm's Feather (Russellville, Arkansas) ||Age: 16 - Email |
As a teenager in a predominately Christian high school, coming from a family of everything from Atheists to Jehovah Witnesses, and being the only Reconstructionalist Druid, to my knowledge, in the entire school, but not the only Pagan, I feel like my Broom Closet is half-way open. I'm not afraid of possible questions that could be asked about my religion, and I’m not afraid of threatening people who are unstable in their own faith (of course, being the daughter of a local Taekwondo instructor, and friends with just about every group of people heightens my sense of security..), but I don't go around yelling to everyone that I’m a Druid. I would be proud to stand up for my beliefs, whether or not I was discriminated, and even more so after 9-11. Because I’m a teenager, I doubt I would be placed on a surveillance list if I stood up for a public event with my legal name.
For the past year I’ve studied more religions, I’m more aware of other's beliefs, and that makes me cautious; I don't want to offend anyone.
Next Saturday will be my public stance on my religion, at the Paris Tournament for Debate and Drama. I plan to give an oratory speech on the Education Reform: Reform Religious Holidays, so I ask for everyone's "good luck" to me; it'll be my first time.
| I Might Come Out ||Sep 22nd. at 8:40:37 pm UTC|
|Derrick McKee (Rocky River, OH) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I think that I would come out as a Pagan, but only under certain circumstances. Being a teenager in a Brothers of the Holy Cross(Catholic) high school, I have to be careful to whom I tell. I have told my closest friends and stuff, but some of my other friends are very Christian and I think that they would deem me 'Satanic,' or something. But for religious rituals where all of the people are Pagan, I would go, if I could make some excuse to my parents for my absence. See they are also very Christian and I feel that they would not accept my religious practices. So only in certain circumstances would I go to public rituals.
| Public Paganism ||Sep 22nd. at 8:43:31 pm UTC|
|Stephanie (Chula Vista, CA) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I have attended pagan events in the past, and have no fear of doing so again. I don't think the federal government is all that concerned with the activities of pagans in general, but I could be naive on that topic. I'm relatively open about my beliefs, but the fact that I'm pagan is not necessarily the first thing I share with new people, simply because most people's exposure to it is limited, and I want them to get to know me as a person first, so that they're more likely to be open to the idea of me being a pagan. Also, I manage a sandwich shop, and I'm more circumspect about mentioning my beliefs to my staff, in case they might be uneasy about the issue...although, it might be useful if they think I'll turn them into a toad if they're late for work ;-) (I'm soooo kidding, please do not send me any poison-keyboard e-mails!)
| NO PROBLEM HERE ||Sep 22nd. at 8:49:20 pm UTC|
|Kålímã¤§†ár¤ƒíré¤§Ôtw (Eustis, Florida) ||Age: 46 - Email - Web|
I would have no problem with being involved in anything public involving Wicca, Pagan or anything else that would be for a positive cause. I grew tired of hiding in the closet a long time ago. I live in the middle of the Baptist Belt around here and would find a pleasure in representing my faith and beliefs in an honest, open, dignified manner. It was said in a previous reply and I agree that the time has come that we exercise our American Right to openly represent our Religion and we must do so to show the masses that we are unified and our numbers are far greater than ever imagined.
| Hiding Accomplishes Nothing ||Sep 22nd. at 9:52:41 pm UTC|
|Anotnio Galiagante (Mobile, Alabama) ||Age: 33 - Email - Web|
I never saw the point in hiding. I've always been very open about my views, opinions and preferences--including those of a religious nature. I've caught more than my fair share of trouble for my refusal to hide in the shadows, but to living in fear isn't actually living at all, is it? Many who have, in the past, sought to infringe upon my rights have wound up in a courtroom to explain themselves to a judge (much to the consternation of more than one right-wing religious group who simply expected my to run away and hide).
I have no problem with criticism, but those who criticize must realize it's a two-way street, and that like any other street, there are certain lines that are unwise to cross. It seems to me that it's hard to enjoy life from a broom closet, and fighting for your rights (and the rights of others) is a most noble cause. Besides, anything worth having involves risk. Aren't your own rights and sense of self-esteem worth it? Mine are...
| Six Of One... ||Sep 22nd. at 10:40:04 pm UTC|
|Destiny Rain (Lisbon, Ohio, USA) ||Age: 25 - Email - Web|
I would not be telling the complete truth if I said that I have absolutely no reservations about being totally public with my beliefs. But even with those reservations, I would rather participate in public events, and use my real name, than hide and lend credence to the idea that there is something shameful or bad about being Pagan.
As co-chair of my university's Pagan student group, I've worried about how this could affect my career (I am also employed at the college paper). But my rights as a person do not end where my professional life begins. My rights, and the first amendment rights of students that may come after me, are important enough to "risk it."
| No Point In Lying Or Hiding! ||Sep 22nd. at 10:40:11 pm UTC|
|Silverwolf (Bangor, Maine) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I've participated in pagan rights rallies and talks, I have never been afraid to tell people I am Wiccan. I am very proud of who I am and Wicca is part of who I am.
It took me a little while to warm up to telling the future in-laws but after a meditation or two, I was perfectly comfortable with discussing it with them.
Blessings and Light
| I Will Not Deny Myself Of The Truth. ||Sep 22nd. at 11:11:31 pm UTC|
|Natalie (Minnesota) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I would present myself as a Wiccan anytime anywhere. I will not deny myself of what I am.
So Mote It Be.
| Way In The Closet ||Sep 22nd. at 11:21:35 pm UTC|
I'm so far back in the broom closet, I'm in another room of the house entirely. IRL only my husband and best friend know my spiritual status. I think I would be a part of a protest with other Pagans, however, I would, if confronted probably identify myself as a supporter of religious tolerance and not necessarily as a Pagan. Unfortunately my family is VERY fundamentalist Christian and I have 2 family members who are preachers...in addition the town I live in is in the buckle of the bible belt. It just wouldn't be worth hurting my family and causing them to worry about the salvation of my soul. They would worry and pray all the time for me...and it's just not worth doing that much emotional damage to that many people just so I can be "out."
| Now More Than Ever ||Sep 22nd. at 11:32:16 pm UTC|
|RoseArien (Schoharie, NY) ||Age: 48 - Email |
Now more than ever, I feel it important for folks like me to be "public" pagans. By "folks like me" I mean regular, everyday people who live next door, vote, buy groceries, stop at the same place for coffee in the morning. In the small town I live in, people know me. They have never seen me dressed in robes - or not dressed, for that matter.
I am a secretary, and I dress like one. In my off time, I am a jeans and t-shirt type. I obey the law, including the speed limit, and I stop at stop signs. I lead a quiet, private life.
Be Quietly and Proudly Pagan. When missionaries call at the door, I tell them that I follow a different Path and wish them success on their quest. At a community gathering in a public park on September 11, 2001, one of the officiating clergy proclaimed "We are all Christians here." After a short interval, with the wife of the Baptist minister cheering me on, I got the unattended microphone and said something like "We may not all be Christians here, I am not, but that's not important. We ARE all neighbors and Americans - and that is important." Then I led the singing
of God Bless America - Proudly Pagan. (The use of the designation God in that wonderful song doesn't bother me. I know what that word means TO ME when I say it.)
The mayor knows me, the DA knows me. I have mailed postcards to all my government representatives and have signed my name. We must continue to let government officials and the media know that we are evolving into a force to be reckoned with.
Blessings to all at this magical time!
| Yes, I Would Take Part. ||Sep 22nd. at 11:34:24 pm UTC|
|junior curran (federal way, wa 98023) ||Age: 27 - Email |
If for no reason other then to get pagans out of the closet if there was ever a time to be proud of who we are it is now, so what if my name goes on a list I'm sure it's already there for some other reason.
| Participation Amd Protest ||Sep 22nd. at 11:40:10 pm UTC|
|Nateseia (Winnipeg, Manitoba) ||Age: 39 - Email |
I've been a part of both activities over the years, and have no regrets....
however, I do understand in many cases, especially concerning regional/family/occupation aspects, why some may want to avoid
any type of publicity. As for the goverment getting involved....they do.......I have experienced this.
How far they go to watch you, though is unknown to me, and frankly, I really don't care.
What concerns me more, are those who keep to themselves due to retribution and scorn from family. Something that should be
a safe place to go, and a resource of support, is not often available.
I believe that many who walk whatever path of the Craft that they choose, do the best they can in
their surrounding circumstances. I believe that every effort should be made to seekout their voices
in places that they feel they can speak safely.
It is usually when I am attending a public circle, that I often think about those I know, and how Iwish they were beside me.
On the other hand, I can wait. Their path is their own. When we do get to gether for a giggle, the sharing of information
form both sides is something we can take back to our respective lives, whether it be private or public.
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