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: 33 - 3/19/2001
What Is The Appropriate Response to Bigotry and Religious Hatred?
What do you do when someone attacks you for simply being a Pagan? Would this color your perception of all practitioners of that religion? Or would you see it as the act of an individual who may or may not reflect the views of the entire religion? Many Pagans are Wiccans. Does that mean that Wiccans must 'forgive and forget' in order to abide by the Rede? Must we embrace in the name of 'interfaith relations' those who follow a religion that directly or actively campaigns against Pagans? Should we all just 'go along to get along'? When it is appropriate to say "Enough!" and when should we just let it go? What about those anti-Pagan religious sites? What do YOU do when someone hates you just because you are Pagan?
| Reponses: There are 108 responses posted to this question.
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| When Someone Attacks Me For Being Pagan, I Generally Ignore It Unless... ||Mar 19th. at 2:20:37 pm EST|
|Blue (Citrus Heights, California US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
When someone attacks me for being Pagan, I generally ignore it unless it is a legal issue, such as discrimination at the workplace. These are small-minded people with small opinions we are talking about here. People who actually THINK have the capacity to understand that some people choose Paganism because it works for them. It does not color my perception of another person's religion, nor do I see it as a reflection of the religion itself when a person shows such prejudice. There are many Christians and practitioners of other religions who accept Paganism as a valid religion. I think the key to finding kinship between ourselves as Pagans with peoples of other religions is to understand that there are small-minded people everywhere, sadly even in our own community, and those of us who know better must strive to be better brothers and sisters, not only with our "siblings" in the Pagan community, but in our human community as well. When people won't relent, walk away. Ugly dark fear consumes these people, and there is nothing we can do to stop it but pray.
| I Am Not A Wiccan, But A Celtic Reconstructionist. My Ethics Are... ||Mar 19th. at 3:05:41 pm EST|
|Aedh Rua (Prophetstown, Illinois US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I am not a Wiccan, but a Celtic Reconstructionist. My ethics are in consequence somewhat different from those of Wiccans, being more concerned with the righting of wrongs, and the doing of good, than with avoiding harm. My comments must be seen in this light.
I have noticed that the fundies are very good at bullying little girls, abusing those who will not fight back, and "fag bashing", when they outnumber the "fags" ten to one. When faced with aggressive resistance, however, they tend to fold up and run home to Jesus. They seem singularly unable to take what they dish out.
Three examples come to mind: In the mid 1990s, Operation Rescue came to Minneapolis. A very great fear went through the pro-choice community based on the way they had shut down Topeka, KS, a couple years earlier. Counter demonstrations were organized, which the mainstream pro-choice groups made certain to keep entirely legal and non-violent.
About 200 Anarchists, however, had a different idea. They found out where operation Rescue was holding its training. They showed up in force, and pounded on the hoods of the Operation Rescue members' cars with hammers chanting "die, die, die". They keyed cars and slashed tires. They put up posters saying "Operation Rescue, you come to our town, we'll lock you in a church and we'll burn the f****er down."
Irresponasible tactics, you say? Probably. But Operation Rescue left the Minneapolis/St. Paul area within days, utterly humiliated and terrified. The next year, their funding had dropped by 90%, and they were never again a national political force. Whatever one may think of brutal tactics, in this case they worked, spectacularly well.
Another, less violent, example is the recent "faith based initiative". Here, rapid and insightful leadership by the Witchvox team, and by Americans United led to the complete collapse of the Bush initiative within a few weeks. Again, an aggressive response, with clear-eyed and insightful leadership led to complete fundie defeat.
A third example is the case of the Seabrook, NH Public Library, which scheduled a pair of workshops on "occult" topics, and then cancelled them after fundie protests. An effort was organized to donate used occult books to the library, and given national publicity. As a result, the Seabrook Library received several thousand books in the mail from all over the country. They quickly relented and allowed the workshops to go on.
As the second and third examples prove, aggression need not be physical. It may involve lots of propaganda, and the assurance of prompt legal action. It is, however, essential to defeating the fundies. For too long, Pagans and other progressives have been seduced by a non-violent ideal which, while fine in theory, has left the field to those who would destroy us. It is only by threatening to do physical or legal harm that any group has ever gotten civil rights. If Martin Luther King was important to the Black Civil Rights Movement, so, too, were Malcom X and the riots of the mid 1960s. Is it a coincidence that the left has been almost entirely non-violent since 1980, and, at the same time, the right has dominated the country. I think not.
In the case of recent harassment, I wonder if very aggressive tactics would not be appropriate. Anti-Pagan websites could be crippled by viruses or flame wars. Churches which lead attacks against us could be deluged with cards and letters bearing stories of persecution, and NEVER embraced in the name of interfaith relations or treated as legitimate religions.
Active efforts to harm us physically could be met with massive, if hopefully nonlethal, force. In the Walker, LA case, a multi-million dollar discrimination case may be in order, designed to make an example of the mall owner, by destroying his/her life whether by the settlement or through court costs.
At the same time, we need a set of "mainstream" leaders more palatable to the mundane world. These leaders could preach the tolerance and peace which we really do believe in, while saying, in effect, "if you don't cooperate with us, you may end up having to deal with those embittered radicals over there". It is a tactic which has worked for centuries.
As to my own opinion of the fundies, I don't like 'em. Is it right to judge an entire group? No. Do I care? Only slightly. These people have hurt me and mine, and will not stop doing so when asked nicely.
From what I have seen, their deity is a form of Crom Dubh, the ancient Irish devil, and their cause is Fomorian, which is to say, based in oppression, impoverishment, and the poisoning of the land. They preach love and virtue, but do not live it. There are plenty of good Xians out there, and probably even some decent fundies, so I refuse to hate them completely. I do not wish to hurt them except when they hurt us, and then only enough to make them stop. But, by and large, their movement is a disease.
| I've Been Confronted Only A Handful Of Times. My Friends Find This... ||Mar 19th. at 3:10:01 pm EST|
|Sam-I-Am (Lawrencville, Georgia US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I've been confronted only a handful of times. My friends find this unusual because I'm very comfortably out of the broom closet living in an area of religious predjustice. I'm not a flaming pagan, rubbing it in everyones face, I'm just happy with who I am.
I think that attitude has brought me to the philosophy that any confrontation is a learning experience. Weather I'm the student, the other person is the student, or we both are students, someone will walk away with new knowledge.
One incident with one person from one religion would not taint my feelings toward the whole group. Nor would thousands of incidents with thousands of people. A spoiled apple does not rot the bunch! I just have to learn to make hard cider out of that spoiled apple!
I watch my words and actions carefully when replying or defending myself because I'm being watched! My children look to me to learn how to handle these situations. Unfortunatley I have been confronted more often in front of the children than by myself.
Trying to use Christian scripture to debate will usually backfire. I don't try to use that advantage! I just smile and politely inform the person that they are misinformed. I tell them where they can get information from an unbiased source(the library!). I thank them for their concern and wish them a beautiful day/evening. Once or twice I've been told that the person's church will pray for me. I do consider that an honor so I reply "Thank you! My coven will meditate for you!"
| I Find Myself Very Alarmed By The Number Of Posts I Have... ||Mar 19th. at 5:12:24 pm EST|
|Tamara K Winfrey Bennett (Indianapolis, Indiana US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I find myself very alarmed by the number of posts I have seen saying that we should just ignore the hate. Ignoring those kids at school didn’t make them stop torturing me. Ignoring the homeless doesn’t prevent people from being cold and hungry. Ignoring the Nazis didn’t stop them from murdering millions of innocent people.
Would anti-pagans ever return to the burning times? Probably not, but before you say no, look at the religious persecution going on around the world. Even Christians, who seem to give us the most grief, are being persecuted, mutilated and murdered for their beliefs in many countries.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a free nation you may think that ignoring the hate will make it go away and that “it will never happen here.” You have your laws, your government and your constitution to protect you. But what are YOU doing to protect YOURSELF? Will you ignore the problem until it shows up on your doorstep with a rifle to escort you to bible study?
My husband is a Roman Catholic. He fully supports my choice of faith, and even exhibits interest in the craft. He himself is not an extremist, but as an architect specializing in church design, he is in direct contact with extremists every day. He says that most of them probably do not have the stomach to burn or hang us. However if they ever managed to slip into power most likely pagans(and all non Xtians for that matter) would be rounded up into camps so that we could be “deprogrammed” and get “saved.” Sounds disturbingly familiar doesn’t it? Who says that on our way to be “saved” we wouldn’t be killed in the process?
Sure, it’s highly unlikely. But anyone who has been face to face with a fundie, or even watched Christian television on a regular basis, knows the zealousness and sometimes blind hatred we face. What is any one of us doing to stop it? And how much can one person alone accomplish?
Many of us are solitary by nature, and even more are secretive by necessity. Our religion does not require us to gather together like Christianity for example, which promotes fellowship, and that may ultimately be what keeps us from ever being able to live openly and freely. Most other minorities or groups that have suffered discrimination have some national organization to look out for their interests… a group that educates, lobbies in congress, has lawyers to help protect constitutional rights, and most importantly unites. NOW, the NAACP, League of Women Voters, GLAD, PFLAG, even the NRA or the big three religions all have or are national organizations. Sure, there are a few small pagan groups, but nothing on the level of a NOW or a Christian Coalition. Where is the National Pagan Association?
I’m not talking about wearing a ribbon to show you “care, ” or sending anonymous postcards en masse. I’m talking about something big and bold enough to make a real difference… not a group out to harm or hate, but one that would educate and defend.
How many of you would be bold enough to carry a National Pagan Association card, or to be active in such a group? I can't honestly say that I would. Thankfully I probably wouldn't be burned at the stake but the consequences at work could be very bad for me. A fundie might decide for fire me on trumped up charges and I would lose my income and my health insurance. I guess I could sue, but who wants to go through all that? As things are I have adopted a don't ask don't tell policy. I'm not willing to lose my health insurance... what are YOU not willing to lose standing up for your religious freedom?
Do you wear your pentagram proudly, or do you tuck underneath your collar?
Respect and tolerance will only come if we stand together and demand it. A nationally united, politically active group demanding tolerance and educating the public is the only thing that will be successful. Otherwise we are doomed to forever be solitary practitioners, shifting the contents of our broom closets to make room for the altars we can't even keep in our living rooms anymore.
| I Am A University Student Who Is Fortunate Enough To Be A... ||Mar 19th. at 6:29:52 pm EST|
|Antigone (NYC, New York US) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I am a university student who is fortunate enough to be a part of a very liberal and accepting school. I have yet to encounter open religious bigotry. My father is aware of my beliefs, my mother is not. She is a very devout Xtian and I am afraid of her response to my choice. If I was put in the position of having to defend my faith, my tactics would be depend on the nature of the attack. If someone was only half-heartedly chiding me I would simply say "you don't know what you're missing". If it was more serious, I would mention the fact that I have seen both sides of the coin. I was christened a catholic, baptised a baptist, I was a Sunday school teacher and a member of the Billy Graham crusade choir and I STILL became a Wiccan. No one "led" me to it. The Goddess found me and I found my true home. Those who know me, know that I am an intelligent, compassionate person (not too modest, though) they know deep down that I could never follow anything that was "evil". I think the church maintains ignorance of its followers because it is afraid they might LIKE WHAT THEY HEAR.
| This Is A Hard Question To Answer Because To A Degree, All... ||Mar 19th. at 6:32:26 pm EST|
|Rianna Gwen (Reno, Nevada US) ||Age: 29 |
This is a hard question to answer because to a degree, all of the hatred and bigotry may come from one place, but each situation provides a new and different answer.
There are many forms of hatred and bigotry... we see them everyday... violence unfortunately seems to be the "thing" of today. Last weekend 2 muslims in my community were beaten with bats. One is in critical condition, and the other has a broken arm. They did nothing other than being Muslim. So another "good" Witch has decided to write a letter to them, letting them know that we are sorry for their pain, and stand behind them in fighting the bigotry, ignorance, and hatred that manifested these beatings (from our Pagan community).
So this is one response, which is banning together. The ironic thing of this, as although I support what she is doing, and intend on signing the letter with all my heart, I feared sending it because I was wondering if their faith would be offended by us because we are Pagans...
I have faced and face bigotry before, to include my children facing it too. Our weapon of choice: Education... Although I was prideful and vocal, I did everything I knew of that would show what I believe a Pagan is and isn't. I used the strength that the Goddess and God put in my community (AREN & WARD reps) and had a meeting with the Principal, teacher's and whoever would listen. I got through to some, and they got through to me. I think another important tool that we as Pagans have is silence and listening... which is hard to use in times of emotional distress.
However, I am very aware, that there are other ways in which bigotry and hatred can be fought... However, I am hopeing that I never have to resort to haveing to physically defend myself from violence.
We have our Magick too... It isn't ok in my beliefs to take over someone else's free will, but the Goddess also gave me my knowledge of magick to defend myself if need be... Which is of course, my last resort and one that i have never employed at this time (other than a protection bubble every now and again *grin*).
Well, I don't know if I know what the answers are to this... However, this is my take on it... We must pull together, support each other, stop look and listen, defend our faith with educated actions and loving ways whenever possible, and always always put it in the hands of our Mother.
| I Think It Comes Down To Having To Play It By Ear... ||Mar 19th. at 6:42:12 pm EST|
|Gypsy (Marietta, Ohio US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I think it comes down to having to play it by ear.....Networking and finding folks who are friendly to pagans is important. As is finding other pagans to socialize with and hold ritual with.
It is a bit harder in places like school and work to be open with our emotions and thoughts and our Religious beliefs. In social groups with true friends it is easier. I wear my pentacle outside of my shirt....with no problems every single place I go.....
Oh I am not saying I have never had a few chick tracts deposited on the counter anonymously. I am not saying that I have never had folks ask if I would attend church with them etc.....I am also not saying that in certain circles that I do not tuck my pentacle in because I do......
I have not had alot of trouble with folks, but in this area it is still clear to me that it could cause me a great deal of trouble if I were out in the open and in your face.....
Our Circle is growing......and I know that there are alot more of us out there to find, to be friends with and support.....We have to find a way to network on a local level....there are still many of us who have not found witchvox....so we must work more on the local level. Unfortunate though it is we must also for the most part...network carefully.
The only way to do away with hate is to sow the seeds of love and support.....Who better to sow that with than with each other?
| As A Wiccan Teen In A Highly Christian Community, I've Seen Discrimination... ||Mar 19th. at 7:05:13 pm EST|
|Zephyr Nightmoon (n/a, Oregon US) ||Age: 14 - Email |
As a Wiccan teen in a highly Christian community, I've seen discrimination. Most people here who are slightly different are alienated.
I remember one case of an impromptu religious "debate" on the bus where one kid yelled at everyone who wasn't Christian. Except me, that is. He'd heard about Wicca from a friend, so he simply said, "That's cool, " and went on to berate a poor athiest. I think this goes to show how much education can help those who are willing to listen. This should be our first defense against hate.
Sadly, many people aren't willing to listen to it. We then have two choices: to ignore them, or to fight them. Ignoring hate, against any group of people, works sometimes. But when the hate is severe, you have to actively fight it.
Remember to stand up against hate in all its forms, even if it doesn't involve you. If you cry about being persecuted as a Wiccan, then go bash some gays, you're sending a mixed message. You're saying, "Don't hate me, but I can hate you." Don't be a hypocrite. Fight for everyone, and perhaps they'll fight for you.
Almost everyone on the bus, even Christians, ended up silencing this kid. Almost everyone was willing to stand up for others. If we band together like this, we can stop hate forever.
| Merry Meet All, Some Time Ago I Was Alerted By Some Pagan... ||Mar 19th. at 7:25:34 pm EST|
|Heathwitch RunningWolf (Manchester, England UK) ||Age: 21 - Email |
Merry Meet All,
Some time ago I was alerted by some Pagan friends to an online club on Yahoo! called "Wicca Is Fake". For some reason someone hated Wiccans - anyone who was Pagan, really - enough to damn us all online. Unfortunately this is not unusual in this prejudiced world. There were emails and posts a-plenty from the online Pagan community, and I was astonished at the hatred our 'side' was showing to the creator of this club. Being Founder of one of the UK's Pagan-friendly organisations, I decided to add a post myself. I'd like to re-publish it here for you to read, so you can see how I handled this religious intolerance:
"Merry Meet -
Firstly let me say that I am a Witch, something I am damn proud of. I am also Founder of an organisation dedicated to promoting religious tolerance for Pagans. So, I have something to say about this 'club' - but please understand that this is not based in anger, or fear.
If this club's Founder felt the need to create this club, then that's fine and up to them. They have their own reasons for doing so. But it is interesting, isn't it, that they create the club and then once Witches start to join the club and post their messages, how the Founder disappears off and doesn't come back? They haven't posted any more messages, haven't risen to the occasions we have presented to them, those occasions for them to speak their mind. Interesting that.
I, for one, would like to know why this club has been started. Not because I am angry, more like I am intrigued. You, the Founder, must hate us very much. Or misunderstand us (which often leads to fear, and hate, anyway). Why? Have you ever met a Witch? Known any? Has one done you wrong in the past, for there are so-called "Witches" out there who do not adhere to our Rede ("An it harm none, do as you will"). Have you simply been raised in another religion, and have been taught Witches are evil, arrogant, stupid or whatever? Or have you taken too much notice of the Hollywood stereotype?
Your mind must be very closed to ideas to feel so strongly about Witches and our religion - for that *is* what it is. A religion. My father, for instance, is a Christian and he doesn't like Witches - yet when he found out I was a Witch, he took the time to learn more about our religion and what we do. Although he didn't like to do so, his mind and his *heart* were open enough to do this. Perhaps you attack our religion because of some need to connect with your own. Can your not find peace? Are you adrift, insecure with your pathway? Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to convert you - far from it! - I am just trying to understand you a little better, to understand the reasons why you hate us, misunderstand us, maybe even fear us, so much.
Perhaps you are jealous of us, of the love in our hearts for ourselves and what we stand for, and for others - even though they may walk a path different to our own. Perhaps you need someone to understand you, to work with to acheive a better understanding of your inner self and those around you. Or perhaps you really have no reason to hate us, and just do so freely without fear of recourse.
Whatever your reasons I do not hate you for them. I do not hate you for setting up this club. I do not hate you for speaking your feelings openly, for sharing them, for it is only what I am doing here. I am not angry with you, or upset. Yes, I am concerned why you set this club up, why you react so against us, but I do not want to rise up and throw emotion after emotion at you, to fuel your ego and your hatred. I do not ask that you hate us any more or any less - only begin to open your heart and mind to if not accept then at least understand the ways of others.
And so I send you Blessings. Love. Compassion. Peace. All for you, and only you, in the hope that you will connect with yourself and your pathway and become calm and secure in your ways."
Soon after this post, the club's Founder fell silent. There were no more angry posts, no more hateful or hurting comments. Nothing. A month later and Yahoo! deleted the club for religious intolerance.
I hope this gives someone out there some hope - for we can win; not all the time, but each battle makes us stronger. I myself deal with religious hatred daily, mainly from lecturers at the University I attend. However I am always willing to discuss with them, in adult fashion, why they feel so negative towards us. I find that taking the time to be open to their needs and feelings enables them to open up to our own.
APRIS - http://www.paganreligion.co.uk
| It Was A Horrifying Moment For Me: The Moment When A Colleague... ||Mar 19th. at 8:46:24 pm EST|
|Sunfell (Little Rock, Arkansas US) ||Age: 40 |
It was a horrifying moment for me: the moment when a colleague- who had acted like a perfectly normal and sane adult human being- suddenly showed his true face, flaring black and red in his aura, and told me point blank that he hated every particle of my being, and would pray daily for my downfall, pain, hurt, and humiliation. “This will turn you to Christ, ” he smugly assured me. “You will crawl to the feet of Jesus, and beg for forgiveness, and He will kick you into the lake of fire. And I will be there to watch…”
Ah, such a sweet, positive, loving example of Christian brotherly love at work. I could imagine Christ cringing at this usually gentlemanly fellow’s words, but the sheer hate and loathing I saw in his face made me want to wash my eyes. The hate was palpable- I genuinely thought he was going to harm me.
And what, pray tell, was the offense I’d committed to incite such nastiness and condemnation? I’d simply wished him Happy Summer Solstice. The nights at my base in Europe didn’t darken until well after 9:30, and the sun was up at 0430. We were discussing that, and I had wished him Happy Solstice, and just like that- he turned on me. My Paganism was an open secret, but in my shop were a quartet of Evangelicals, who- I was soon going to find out- were actively engineering my demotion and exit from the US Air Force. This man’s vitriol was the first hint that all was not right with things, and other things began to happen: misaligned systems after I’d aligned them, mysteriously broken mirrors on vehicles I’d inspected and driven, and reported as “overlooked”, high-cost replacement parts I’d ordered going missing, missing log pages, mis-tuned test equipment…
Since I was the NCO in charge on the shift, I was responsible, and these reports built up, to the point that I was brought up and demoted. Only later, too late to save my career, did these four “Loving Christians” come clean. They’d sabotaged my shift, and the missing gear had turned up in an obscure storage closet, along with missing tech manual pages, and the original log pages. In the meantime, I thought I was going insane, suffered devastating panic attacks, and nearly committed suicide.
Fellow Pagans, I tell you this story to warn you that there are certain sorts of “Christians” who think that it is OK to ruin your career, your reputation, even your life, if they think it’ll get you to sell your soul to their god. I agree with an earlier poster that these sorts do not serve the Creator at all, but an evil shadow of the Creator, a wretched demigod of craven greed, lust, and hate. These sorts care nothing for the welfare of the planet or its people, because they believe that they will be snatched away to some far paradise by this god, and this precious jewel of a world will be turned into a cinder.
Turning the other cheek isn’t the answer, nor is matching their ugliness with ugliness of our own. We must be as Warriors, ever vigilant and watchful of the creeping darkness. We must be counter-active. We must counter that darkness with Light and Love, and the respect for the Life on this planet. Even theirs. If they bulldoze, we must plant. If they are intolerant, we must be accepting. If they hate, we should use our own capabilities to bottle their hate and let them enjoy the ‘fruits’ of its action on their own souls- not ours. If their symbol is a “road narrows” sign, let ours read “two lane highway ahead”. The darker they get, the brighter we must become. We must- or we will suffocate on a dying world right alongside them.
We are a growing demographic on the landscape. We are much more vocal and powerful than we were even 5 years ago. We are literate, intelligent, and very capable of making our voices heard. If we can put a monkey wrench in cockeyed ideas like “Faith-based” initiative, just think of the other great good we can do. And the Internet is our tool, and we must use it well.
Hate, when it is personal, like it was for me, can be horrifying to deal with. But hate can also be a great motivator. It can light a fire under our collective bottoms and make us stronger than we ever believed. But don’t get caught in its tentacles: It isn’t “Us vs. Them”- it’s simply “Us”. If we have to thwack them on the head with Christ’s own command to “love one another”, then let's get thwacking. I think that Christ would be right there with us, flailing away.
| My First Instinct, Having Been Raised In A Rationalistic Militaristic Western Society... ||Mar 19th. at 9:39:57 pm EST|
|Gnothi Seauton (Largo, Florida US) ||Age: 39 |
My first instinct, having been raised in a rationalistic militaristic western society, is to respond to attack with equal vigor. My impulse is to enter into debate, or to consider my attackers enemies, or otherwise take on an "us against them" mentality.
When I stop and think, however, I know better. I've lived this life long enough to know the principles of "like attracts like" and "what you feed will grow". I won't use the same methods as my attackers. I want an objective outside observer to be able to tell the difference. After a few volleys no one can tell who's attacking and who's defending anyway.
I choose to feed the part in all of us that knows humanity is one big family.
I'll lead by example and show tolerance for people who believe differently than I on topics of religion, politics, nutrition, whatever.
I'm into what works. If someone wants to exercise their free speech to put down what I believe that's OK with me. An' it harm none, let them do as they will. If they start to violate my rights, there's legal recourse. In this day and age I don't have great confidence in that recourse so I choose to avoid trouble rather than try to remedy it. As I've said, I don't think contention is the best way to connect with others anyway.
I'll carefully choose opportunities to discuss my beliefs. I'll do it where I see an open mind, or where I think I may plant a seed that's heard later.
I certainly won't do it where it will add friction to peoples' relations or where it will only further alienate someone who already hates me. I won't do it where it might damage my professional reputation and I won't put a friend in the uncomfortable position of choosing between my friendship and his dogma.
I'm not evangelical in my beliefs. I don't necessarily think my beliefs are better than yours such that I want to go change you. I think that's how intolerance starts. If wiccan beliefs become more widespread on their own merits, and I think they will, that's fine with me. If they don't, that's fine with me too. Either way the only people I'm responsible for are my children and myself.
| I've Been Studing Witchcraft And Basic Pagan Beliefs For Awhile Now. I... ||Mar 19th. at 10:36:55 pm EST|
|Jessica (Kansas City, Kansas US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I've been studing Witchcraft and basic Pagan beliefs for awhile now. I started because I was looking for a spiritual path that not only made me feel happier but also made sense. Yet in every book I read they all contain a chapter or section that deals with "coming out". And every one says not to say anything till we feel we are ready to take the onslaught of comments and questions...and that makes sense, but it also makes me feel that there seems to be this need to hide. I can totally understand the viewpoint of not wanting to cause an uproar, it is the human way to try to avoid conflict, but the less we stand up for the right to believe how we choose and to stand against hatred the harder it is for us to openly have our beliefs and the stronger the bigotry becomes. Even if I felt Christianity or any other main stream religion for that matter, was what I needed to be complete I would still understand others needs even if they weren't the same as mine. When I was younger I had gay friends who needed me and I was there for them and I stood up with them even though I was straight. I listened to them and the reasons they thought they felt the way they did. I didn't condemn them for not being like me. I was an ally. And I feel with this issue the same...if we don't stand up and fight the injustice we'll never feel safe.
The person who sent the email in response to the story about Tempest sarcastically suggesting we outlaw the 'offending hymn' missed the point. The point was that these children were harassing a girl who held different beliefs than them and the only place they could have learned it was from their parents and adults in their lives. It wasn't the methods or 'weapons' used. You don't blame the gun when someone is shot, you blame the shooter. What needs to be taught to these youngsters is that people are different in beliefs and thought, just as they are in skin, eye and hair color. You don't mock the only kid in class with blonde hair.
THIS is the time when we say ENOUGH! When a bright young girl is submitted to the persecution of her peers based upon her beliefs, and it's not as if her beliefs were that of a killer or someone methodically hurting others, then THAT is the time to put our collective foot down. I'm young yet, so maybe I'm a bit idealistic in thinking that things can change, but I'm sure our numbers our enough that if we come together we can bring about the change that is so desperately needed in our communities.
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