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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: 19,681,049  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 289

Lurker/Post Ratio: 113 to 1

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 

O.k One More Thing. I Know I Have Said Alot But I... Sep 28th. at 2:26:20 pm EDT

Brittany Meyer (Suffolk, England UK) Age: 16

O.k One more thing.
I know I have said alot but I thought maybe if I say enough someone will listen.
Do you think in this time of need that we should be concentrating on ourselves?
We should be thinking about the people who this has affected granted it HAS affected all of us but people lost their lives, all the religions should be pulling together and putting aside our differences to get America back on it's feet.
Perhapes we should put the whole matter aside until things have calmed down and we have a chance to think about things properly. I know it is just pushing things out of the way but everyone is very emotional right now and not hinking of the full picture.
Paganism does not only have now to think of but what about the past?
Should we change?
And can we? Would we really know that we have picked the right person? We wouldn't not until they had their first triumoh of downfall and then it is too late.
At least with no leader we are responsible for our own actions.
Crimson Dragon...

Just Wanted To Comment On The Subject. Pagan Leaders Are Important. Witchvox... Sep 28th. at 2:38:18 pm EDT

Rob (Eglin AFB, Florida US) Age: 29 - Email

Just wanted to comment on the subject. Pagan leaders are important. Witchvox does a wonderful job of bringing a community together, whether they ask for the honor or not, they are leaders of the community.

Just want to inteject though for reflection. Not all readers of Witchvox are Wiccan. Not all pagans are Wiccan. Any leader that was willing to step up and take those reins for the entire pagan community would have to respect that.

Additionally, peace loving as we may be. We must understand that sometimes people have to defend the ones they love and the land that they love. Soldiers kill because they are told to, warriors do so because they have no other choice. Someone wrote a while ago:

"Anti-war protesters enjoy that freedom to protest, savor that freedom. But that Freedom wasn't won by protest. It was won through fighting."

My point being. I am pagan. I am a warrior. I am proud of being both.

I Think That It Would Be Very Important If Someone Was Chosen... Sep 28th. at 5:45:47 pm EDT

Morgana (Vancouver, British Columbia CA) Age: 30 - Email

I think that it would be very important if someone was chosen or appointed as a
leader -- that it be remembered that they would only be a representative. Paganism as a whole represents peoples needs to worship as they will, creating their own dogma, rites etc as they go. I think what most of us crave - particularly at this time is someone to speak out, on an international level, to voice the feelings of pagans all over the world. Perhaps a council would be the best idea, with an elected leader to do the public speaking.

Money would have to come by donation - no money no council. If you wanted to vote for a council - you would have to pay for the privilege? There are obviously no easy answers.

I, for one, would like to see Fritz and Wren on this sort of council. Whether they realize it or want it, they have become the voice for many of us. Witchvox has become the meeting place of pagans. A place to share stories and enjoy the company of our peers, be it on a computer screen.

Let's not forget, however, just because someone has written a book or is famous, does not mean that they are the best choice as a representative of the pagan community.

Merry Meet All, I Did Post, But Then I Did Get To... Sep 28th. at 6:04:01 pm EDT

Silver Oak (Hays, Kansas US) Age: 23 - Email

Merry Meet All,

I did post, but then I did get to thinking, a "leader" would possibly not be something of value, what we do need is Organization, in a way, but even that would not be an easy task. We all have our own unique paths and ways and beliefs, maybe like a council, with representatives from the different traditions, from Wicca to Celtic even to Solitaries. Instead of one, that way it can be discussed for all, that way it wouldn't just turn into something that wouldnt well, benenficial to everyone. Since everyone is unique and as is their path. It would be better, there would be more environmental issues brought up and like I said before there would be a tougher fight against discrimination of any kind. But one person to represent everyone and all paths I dont see would work very well, a council would be more beneficial.

Merry Part

God and Goddess Bless

Silver Oak

For Pagans As Well As Any Other Group In This Country It... Sep 28th. at 7:28:43 pm EDT

Gonzo (Pacific Grove, California US) Age: 53

For Pagans as well as any other group in this country it almost doesn't matter who is selected, the ones that count are the ones who step forth to speak. They will have to not only stand up against the views of the nation but other Pagans as well who will claim the speaker do not represent them or their own views. Not that this is unusual; everybody else has had to go through this. The Great Leaders of the past were vilified by their friends as well as their enemies why not our group as well?

Merry Met. This Question Is A Tough One, With Tough Answers. To... Sep 28th. at 8:24:17 pm EDT

Aezrael Auraelus (Bartlesville/Tulsa, Oklahoma US) Age: 32 - Email

Merry met. This question is a tough one, with tough answers. To 'elect' a single National leader would be next to impossible. I suggest that Pagans consider the idea of a National Council. This would be a group of diverse Pagan leaders, preferably made up of local Pagan leaders. However this is a tough job too. Some states have no such leaders, and most don't have an established set of leaders. This is my suggestion. Let each state establish a State Council, from these councils, members of the National Council would be elected. Membership dues to these Councils would be used to pay for any expenses incurred by these leaders. Membership cards could be issued, just like a voter's registration, and these cards would allow each member a chance to vote. I like the idea of a secure server, which would allow members in smaller towns to vote. Keep in mind, this solution is just off the top of my head. If given some serious thought, this could work.

I Was Really Shocked By The Tone Of The Email That Sparked... Sep 28th. at 10:22:42 pm EDT

Dianne Maythorne (Anchorage, Alaska US) Age: 30 - Email

I was really shocked by the tone of the email that sparked this question. I don't think someone should be held up as a "National Pagan Leader" simply because he or she has written a handful of successful books or because he or she hosts a popular Pagan site (thanks to Fritz and Wren for the wonderful job!)--National Pagan Leadership is not what these folks signed up for when they chose to share themselves as authors or webcrafters.

Pagan Leadership is really a "damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't" kind of situation--Paganism is so broadly defined and so decentralized that anyone who chooses to put him/herself forward as a leader is often immediately chastized by someone who feels poorly represented. On the other hand, you have folks like the author of the originating email who criticize because "no one is out there leading." It has been my experience that the folks who grump about the lack of leadership are often the first ones to throw stones when a leader does something with which they don't agree.

My opinion is this: be greatful that these wonderful, creative Pagans have chosen to share themselves and their knowledge in their chosen form of media, but do not push them into roles that they did not choose. Many Pagans have come to this path because they do not want leaders dictating to them.

Bright blessings--Lunaphoenix (Anchorage, Alaska)

I Do Not Think Word National Leader Should Apply To One Knowledgeable... Sep 28th. at 11:19:05 pm EDT

althea turtledreamer (tishomingo, Mississippi US) Age: 45 - Email

i do not think word national leader should apply to one knowledgeable in paganism or wicca, i believe the word should be spokesperson. we solitaries do not need/have need of/nor want a National Leader, this sounds a little too off center in the pagan lifestyle. Why not find a very knowlegeable, personable and fair pagan/wiccan to represent our majority and voice our willingingness to help and give any support we can. Let us all submit a suggestion or have a say in some type forum.
just thoughts,
brightest blessings,
althea turtledreamer

Greetings All, Yes Perhaps It Would Be Nice To See A Pagan... Sep 29th. at 2:15:31 am EDT

Terri (Hudson, North Carolina US) Age: 23 - Email

Greetings All,
Yes perhaps it would be nice to see a pagan leadership that supports us all as a voice that is part of congress, or part of some important washington based organization, or branch of Goverment. On the other hand through the years when our beliefs have been put to the test. Amazingly enough we always seem to come together to defend our Ideas, and customs. For centuries in the past and to come. People will always be myistified by us, confused by our Ideas, and generally be mislead by popular culture. What remains steady and unshaken is our quiet influence and power over the way things happen. If we didn't have this, then Hello! we wouldn't still be here going strong and worshipping freely. Our intrest are best served by solving our problems in front of our altars. This doesn't mean don't give, don't be active by lending your support in times of trouble. It means do all of that, and more if you can, but don't forget where your real power is. Don't forget the very magick that makes us who we are. Because in the end, it not the pagan Goverment officials, or all the positive things we have done in the community. Its the gift of magick from our Lord and Lady that will keep us free. In times of trouble, yes look at the tragedy, morn, help, but more than anything lets use our gifts and insights to guide the eyes of the public to the lesson to be learned in all of this. Those who have passed are safe and happy, looking down apon us hoping that we get it, so that they will not have died in vain. The lesson is love, instead of war, attack the ignorance the lies, the misunderstanding, that drive these people to dance in the street after something like this happened. If we correct the lies and teach the truth. Then the hatred will die with the knowledge gained from the truth.

The Questions Asked - How Do We 'elect Or Appoint' Our Spokepersons Are... Sep 29th. at 3:18:02 am EDT

LadyBlueWolf (Alameda, California US) Age: 53

The questions asked - how do we 'elect or appoint' our spokepersons are relevant. That being said folks, we need to do something now. We are now and will continue to be the scapegoats for fundementists who are trying to scare people into their religion or their church.

There is a real need, especially now, to ensure that Wicca and Pagans are afforded their right to freedom of worship. There is also a real need, especially now, to ensure that our personal civil rights are not limited or destroyed because of the way we worship.

I believe that our leaders, temporarily, should be the ones who have spoken out before, in print and in person. Our relationship with Universal/Unitarian Church should be strength and that the Church, along with the Church of All Worlds and other Wicca/Pagans organizations, should act as spokespersons until our community can agree on a permanent solution. Solitaries can be connected to those churches/organizations for social or for both social/worship reasons

The permanent solution should involve leaders on the local levels meeting nationally and internationally to develop and release a statement or treatise on our beliefs and values. They can also develop a way to deal with the mundane aspects of having to have an "official" structure. Wicca/Pagans can support the efforts through locals levels by voluntary contributions. Our spokespersons (they are not really leaders because of the solitary worship of most of our community)probably will have to maintain some kind of "day job" for several years until we can find the balance and structure of solitary and community worship. Not a complete thought, but it is a beginning.

My Feeling Is Not So Much That We Need A "leader", But... Sep 29th. at 11:17:55 am EDT

Dragons Tear (Albuquerque, New Mexico US) Age: 40

My feeling is not so much that we need a "Leader", but that maybe it would be nice to see "one of my own" so to say in the midst of all this. I wish that I could just drop all I have and go and help, yet my children need me as well. So I have done the next best thing I could and donated whatever I can, as in money and such. I respect and enjoy your site so much, I would be overjoyed if any of the people on that particular list (e-mail sent to site) would represent me there.

Why Do We Not Have A "national Spokesperson"? One Reason Is That... Sep 29th. at 12:32:55 pm EDT

Ann White (Laurel, Maryland US) Age: 36 - Email

Why do we not have a "national spokesperson"? One reason is that we tend to eat our own. We criticize Lori Cabot for wearing too much makeup, Starhawk for her politics, Silver Ravenwolf for selling a "teen witch kit", etc. Although most of us hate to admit it, we need some kind of paid clergy, or at least a part-time spokesperson. Personally, I was surprised that Phyllis Curott, a very articulate and professional woman who happens to be a Witch and an NYC resident, stepping forward in the aftermath of the NYC/Pentagon disasters. She probably had her own reasons for not doing so, and I respect that. However, fame comes with responsibility. I would like to see the "big-name Witches" doing more than writing books and protesting the IMF and World Bank.

Pagans naturally resist any type of leadership from "above". We also have this dynamic where the people who will be taken seriously by the press are, for the most part, the ones who are at least partially in the broom closet. Perhaps the time has come for some kind of Pagan Political Action Committee, or at least some kind of national presence that can speak for our issues on a professional level with the media. We're not going to be taken seriously as a religious group in this country if we don't have a national presence. Perhaps a non-profit group similar to the (ugh!) Christian Coalition, Jewish Anti-Defamation League, Greenpeace, etc. Contributions would be on a voluntary basis, and go to support a Pagan voice in the media and in Congress.

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