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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: 23,386,182  

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Reponses: 289

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Question of the Week: 60 - 10/1/2001

What About Those Pagan Leaders Again?

As we mentioned in our homepage introduction, the question of who our 'Pagan Leaders' might be has again been raised. And perhaps that is a good thing as the world situation has changed and perhaps the views of Pagans on the topic have changed as well. We would request that those who continue to support the decades old view that Pagans do not need national leaders also then address the question of what should we do to comfort/represent our own at a national level in times of crisis seeing as most folks in the Pagan community are still solitaries.

We request that those who take the position that national leaders are (or may) be needed to represent the Pagan communities in times such as this also address the question of how these 'leaders' would be supported financially in order that they might afford to work full-time for the communities and/or take emergency/diplomatic trips to seats of political power to represent you.

And finally, just where would the national election for 'Pagan Leaders' be held? Without such an election, any national 'Pagan Leader' would by necessity have to be an 'appointed' one, wouldn't he/she? (Just who does the appointing has always been interesting.) This question is one of a 'national' Pagan leadership and the benefits and/or drawbacks of such. Local and community Pagan leaders/advocates/facilitators are already in place and generally do a wonderful job where they are.

 Reponses:   There are 289 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

The Wonderful Thing About Wicca And Paganism Is That We Do Not... Sep 28th. at 12:21:03 am EDT

Tarot Temptress (Novi, Michigan US) Age: 36 - Email

The wonderful thing about wicca and paganism is that we do not have a leader. I am solitary, and that suits me fine. Those who feel the need for a leader join their fellow pagans locally. It would be very hard to have any kind of election and hard to get the word out to all us solitaries. But I do see the point that we need representation. That would surely help in our fight to bring understanding of what we truely stand for to the uninformed. I really don't see any easy way to pick such representation. I am a very traditional kind of person and am happy with the way things are. My vote would be for no leader, but maybe assign a few spokespersons who would be available in different parts of the country for when the occasion arises when we need a voice.

We Have Screamed For Years That We Do Not Need Them We... Sep 28th. at 1:16:29 am EDT

JER (Fort Wayne, Indiana US) Age: 25 - Email

We have screamed for years that we do not need them we are not like the other faiths. we are are own leaders!!! now I hear this!!!! Some one Crying that there are no Pagan leaders to be found .....this is what the Pagan community wanted!!! We got it. Now in the midst of this horrific attack you want the leaders??I wish you all would make up your mind do we as a Neo pagan community want or not want leaders?I do not want leaders. One that is why I am not xtian and two I am a faith of one. I am a leader in my faith....and I was talking to the local press as A Group of my friends and I organized a candle light vigil on the local college campus. As a leader in a faith of one I am working to heal my community. My friends are workng to heal our communtiy. I ask you what have you done??? We are all horrified and shoked and angery, and we are working to heal or working for justice. Questions like this are not needed at this time for this is the time to help your neighbors and family and friends deal with this. Let's not backpedal on the way we as Pagans have operated for the one time we as a new cultuer in this nation(relativly speaking) are put to the test. As pagans this is our time to shine, to show the world thatwe are every bit as holy, every bit a part of this nation. Stand up show the world we are not scary satan worshipers drinking blood. THis is our time, each of us to be leaders. Stop this blaming stop the finger pointing and show off the best face of Pagan to the nation help the greiving and start the healing. We are our own leaders, and we will be our own leaders as we continue this process of healing.

This Is The Simp[le Uneducated Opinion, Of A Cimple Uneducatd Man... Sep 28th. at 1:27:41 am EDT

Keir Grian (Vancouver) Age: 19 - Email

This is the simp[le uneducated opinion, of a cimple uneducatd man.
i dont think we need a leader, so much as we need a voice.
some way of saying a colective we are here.

the word leader brings about thoughts of one denomination, but has anyone here ever seen behavior among pagans that could truley segregate us into denomnations? every coven, every solitare has his own nuances, be they gardeneria, alexandrian or some other branch of wicca, being a shaman, i have never found another shaman that uses the same techniques as i, he may use some, and ocmpletlyy disregard others. it oges for every group i have ever encounered. therfore i dont think we could ever truley have a leader, one person, or groupe of people we may voice ourselvs through is another matter. that i think is a very viable option.

as for an election of some kind?
i have no idea. i dont know if it even could be done efectivley. were you tot ry and find a way of broadcasting it, would the necesary numbers of people show up to make it worthwile? i dont know. there are many closet pagans who would not. i suspect a goodly chunk of out nmbers are these closet pagans. another chunk of out numbers would be comprised by those who didnt think we neede any form of leader, so there to would be gona a good portion of votes. i dont think the few left over would be a substantial enough number to have an accurate vote.

as for payment, if i recallc orectly, most paid clergy get their pay through various tithes, donations, and religious buisness.
i dont believe we pagans have a network of that sort.
all in all i;d have to say paganasim colectivley is not structured to have a colective leader. it oculd be done with each trad having one, but then how many thousand voices would we have?

anyways, that is my opinion on teh matter, i hope it makes sence.

Not A Leader So Much As A Representative; Someone Who Is Charismatic... Sep 28th. at 2:15:41 am EDT

J. Steven Johnson (Bremerton , Washington US) Age: 28

Not a leader so much as a representative; someone who is charismatic enough to field the ignorant questions, intelligent and quick witted enough to answer the genuinely well thought inquiry.
There are simply too many diverse beliefs to unite under one roof.
The benefits of such an individual are infinite: among them, as I stated above, is someone who could answer the questions others may have. Add to that the eventual acceptance just by his or her very presence. Lack of understanding leads to distrust, thus this person would begin to allay those fears.

Unfortunately, the ignorant will rise up and, as they have with our Muslim breathren in this country, threaten those who are pagan. This representative and their family will be in danger -especially the first to stand in such a role- and that may lead to the most capable standing back from the responsibility.

What worries me most is the current state of affairs bringing so many Christians to the forefront who decry the other, less numerous religions and life paths. This is not too common an occurance I hope, but I've friends who have borne the brunt of such narrowmindedness. (And it is a far cry from the general Christian mentality, just as the terrorist mindset is nothing like the true Muslim beliefs.)

Could a representative help to alleviate this by speaking for us and bringing such things to light?

Blessings on the final decision, this is the perfect forum wherein it may begin.

I'd Like To Raise Just A Few Points That Have Most Likely... Sep 28th. at 3:35:31 am EDT

Bryan (Ft. Worth, Texas US) Age: 20

I'd like to raise just a few points that have most likely been raised already.

First, the Narrowmindedness of the ignorant. Dispite the general tolerance that is growing in the U.S. this is still a major problem... I myself have found my vehicles, houses, and friends vandalised because of my beliefs. It is important to note that many of my friends while not sharing my religion of Paganism, do not condemn it either. I have had attacks on my own person because of wearing my pendant. It is sad to say, but many people have not moved beyond the Dark Times as I call the, or in common Terms "the Inquisition" and "Salem Witch Trials" Anyone who would become an elected official would themselves be subject to this kind of treatment on an incalcuable scale. Who then would willingly put themselves in such danger?

Second, Dispite the growing movement, Pagans are still few and far apart, there are only a handful of places where the Pagan/wiccan populations have enough sway to affect even District elections, how then would we manage to have our elected official win a State election, not counting a national one?

Third, There are more Sects of Pagan beliefs than there are any other religion, this is due largely to the fact that Paganism is as old as humanity itself, and over the millenia has changed form and evolved, been translated and adapted into different cultures and so on. As far as I know there are practically as many traditions as there are Pagans. What tradition do we then deside to represent, or do we find someone who is willing to wade through novel after novel of information until they have atleast 90% of the available information out there, I myself have spent thousands on books and pagan related information and feel I only have a small fraction of what information there is on different traditions.

That all said... Let me say this. I love the thought of having a Pagan represenative in Washington. I just don't know that it would be in either Pagan, or the elected officials best intrest at this point in time. What I feel needs to happen, and mind you this may seem off the wall, is the following:

If Pagans as a whole within the U.S. could form some sort of Network, some sort of an Organization, much like the Pagan Federation which is based out of London. but focused in the states, where Pagans could either E-mail, or Snail Mail thier votes for possible canidates in to be tallied up and elect the canidate within the Organization as the Canidate for a public office. That federation then, could fund the Campaign, but at the same time the problem comes into play that this person would have to be in a state that has high consentrations of Pagan Voters... for this I'd suggest something along the lines of this.
The United States Pagan Association (for lack of a better name at the moment) would fund Pagan awareness programs and events within a state. Much like a Church, fund after school programs, literacy endeavors, and even a Habitat for Humanity of it's own. Things along these lines, that let people know that we as a religious community are here to help others, and are not the child eating, curse casting, green skinned, wart nosed, boom riding, fiends books and movies like Harry Potter make us out to be.
Then USPA has a state that is somewhat amiable towards a Pagan represenative, we now have a state where the election would come down to an election of the persons views. but that would take years of such programs.

I think what I'm trying to say more than anything, is that while it's a Great idea, and one I'd be behind 220% all the way, I think other things need to be done first. Basicly Build the foundation before you build the house.

Blessed Be

Merry Meet! "pagan Leaders", Eh? I Suppose Only Those With Experience In... Sep 28th. at 4:54:14 am EDT

Dag MacLugh (Mentone, California US) Age: 62 - Email

Merry Meet!

"Pagan leaders", eh? I suppose only those with experience in herding cats need apply. As for me and my house, we're solitary eclectics.

Since the majority of Pagans are Wiccans, and the majority of Wiccans are solitary eclectics, where are we going to find leaders? The Coven of the Universal Ego?

NOBODY speaks for me but me. And if mine is a politically inefficient attitude, so be it. I was a Mormon once, and I've had my belly full of "leadership", thank you.

If we need public representation, simply crank up the Witchvox Pagan Detector, and ask whoever's handiest to be our ad hoc mouthpiece. No need to feed and stable a pride of leaders! Or clean up after them....

First Of All, I Feel That Each Of Us Are "pagen Leaders... Sep 28th. at 6:07:44 am EDT

Kim Molitor (Lewis Center, Ohio US) Age: 38 - Email

First of all, I feel that each of us are "Pagen Leaders" in our own way. We are fortunate that our religion entitles each of us to have our own personal views and ideas. The statement I have seen many times on Pagen and Wiccan websites and in books, "There are as many different types of Pagen and Wiccan practices, as there are Pagens and Wiccans." For this I am very thankful. That said, I personally felt saddened when the media would mention the gathering of different "religious leaders" and Pagens were not mentioned. What exactly makes a "Leader"? The names mentioned in the question are well known practicioneers of our faith. Just because the name of a person is known to be associated with a religion, does not mean that the individual is a valid representative of the faith. I know Christians who where offended by Falwell's statement. I think that each of us individual and as a family can make our beliefs known without electing a representative. As an individual, share your feelings, beliefs, etc. as much as you can (without forcing your religion on others), be proud and follow your heart. We are all leaders in our own way.

I Think That Its High Time Pagans Were Represented On A National... Sep 28th. at 7:33:45 am EDT

Sebria (Oxford,England, England UK) Age: 18 - Email

I think that its high time Pagans were represented on a national and international level as are other religions... we should come out of the broom cupboard as hiding away etc has done us no good and only added to the 'warts and frogs' images of witches... we should be loud proud and pagan.... come on guys.. we are part of the world and have nothing to hide.. time to take away the prejudice and preconceptions and show the world just how many of us there are!!

I Have Posted Previously, But After Reading Through Many Of The Replies... Sep 28th. at 8:58:38 am EDT

Rev. Phoenix Solariswind (South Charleston, West Virginia US) Age: 26 - Email

I have posted previously, but after reading through many of the replies since I posted, I feel I again need to make a point.

The point being of course, that we are making this more difficult than it really is. Typical human nature, perhaps, but one thing we all learn as Pagans is to not overcomplicate things. This is one of the things being overcomplicated.

There is no need for a "leader". No self-respecting Pagan would agree to follow a national leader. A spokesperson/representative, or a group of spokespeople/representatives would suffice. Until that occurs, however, we individually as Pagans need to make something happen. Write letters, organize prayer times, etc. You all have that capability, and I would advise you start using it, as opposed to just complaining about the lack thereof. Sitting there on the computer, simply reading and posting replies, is not all that could be done about this. Again I say, as I did in my previous post, just get off your butt and DO SOMETHING. As for my titles, I left them out previously, thinking perhaps flashing them about wouldn't make a difference. Perhaps people will listen more if they know I'm "accredited" and an Elder and all that (which I personally think is silly, but hey, it's the world we live in).

Rev. Phoenix Solariswind, Elder
President, Sunhaven Temple, Inc.

Pagan Leader's? Not A Good Idea. Think Of The Other Relgious Leaders... Sep 28th. at 9:38:09 am EDT

MerRua (Ireland, Ireland) Age: 19

Pagan leader's? Not a good idea. Think of the other relgious leaders. The danger of electing a leader is that you have to listen to them. They make decisions for you and who really wants that in a religion?
A cuple of pagan national spokesperson's maybe, might be better.

I Think The Idea Of An Elected Pagan Office Is Very Misleading... Sep 28th. at 10:07:01 am EDT

Vince Conaway (Cincinnati, Ohio US) Age: 24 - Email

I think the idea of an elected pagan office is very misleading. Other religions and groups (except for the Episcopalian Christian traditions, of course) don't hold such elections, yet there are few who have not heard the views of Jesse Jackson or Jerry Falwell. These people represent their groups (African-Americans and Fundamentalist Christians, respectively) because they stepped into a void.

Perhaps we should take a page from the feminist movement on this one. Set up a national pagan influence group (along the lines of NOW), set a membership fee, and have this group serve as our political wing. It can act as a lobbying group in Washington, with elected officers bearing the spotlight.

The problem, of course, is that pagans are impossibly incoherent as a movement, and would probably schism into six different groups within the first five years. But I don't see any other way to do it, and I think that such an organization would be beneficial to have (unless, of course, they say that this country's Christian heritage is responsible for terrorist attacks...).

As Mentioned Before In A Few Postings, I Feel We Could Use... Sep 28th. at 10:35:24 am EDT

Nicole Clemen (Lansing, Michigan US) Age: 22 - Email

As mentioned before in a few postings, I feel we could use a few representatives of the pagan community... not a leader so to speak. I think it would be a good idea to have a few representatives in each capital (trying not to exclude other countries here). Our community is rarely seen by the eyes of many as real or valid. Our practices are seen broadly as evil and wrong. How else can we set about changing our image? What exactly should we represent. Obviously there are a quite a few pagan beliefs. My point is we need to be heard. Why do we feel that since we are not a main stream religion that we need to hide it from the world? I hope that someday we, pagans, can be ourselves in our respective communities without the fear of being persecuted.

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