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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: 23,720,597  

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Question of the Week: 95 - 1/19/2003

How Do You Feel About War?

‘Yes I'm talking about this war dance/ A patriotic romance./And I know all you poets/Have seen it all before…’ – Colin Moulding, XTC

Colin: ‘The words were originally prompted by the Falklands War in 1982. But it was too much on one piece of history. Then along came the Persian Gulf War and I put the revised lyrics to a new piece of music. It was time to bring war out of the closet again.’

And again, it would seem. How do you, from your own spiritual perspective or tradition, view and/or cope with the ideals and realities of war and armed conflict?

Do your political leanings influence how you feel?

Do you have a difficult time explaining/defending/advocating your position to other Pagans or Heathens? Non-Pagans?

 Reponses:   There are 153 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

History Jan 20th. at 1:04:02 pm EST

MOrgan Winterfrost (nova scotia) Age: 34 - Email

Angie... just a tidbit of history for you... the allies were kicking Hitler's a** before the US got involved in the war. It was only following Pearl Harbour , when the US was made to feel vulnerable, that they joined in the European theatre.

Deep Breath, Now Let It Out. Jan 20th. at 2:53:38 pm EST

The Sweeper (OK) Age: 48 - Email

I have a question. What makes peace possible or more simply put what makes people obey rule, regulations, and laws?

Okay make that two questions. What exactly is meant by the demands to “resolving the Iraq problem using diplomatic means”? “Diplomatic means” are in progress at this time and if and when they fail war is possible.

Adolph Hitler was appeased with diplomacy until diplomacy no longer served his purpose and the world had to turn and fight. Sometimes there is no choice; the bully of the block has to be faced.

Dear Jade (Canada); you may thank America for your right and ability to spout your insults and utter such inane nonsense. (As should most of the free world).

Dear Starlight Bunnybutt; The real Question is, do we have the courage to face our fears and, knowing the cost, turn and boldly face our enemies. Pacifistic philosophies looks good on paper, however, like almost thing learned in a classroom or from fiction, they take a bit of a beating in the real world. Turning the other cheek often results in just getting the other cheek slapped.

Dear Skeggi (New Zealand) the only power the UN has to protect you in your wonderful though small country is the power of America. No one is afraid of the UN, no one. Rule, regulations and laws are wonderful in print, but unless enforced, mean nothing. America is that enforcement; American money and lives are what make small countries like New Zealand possible.

Dear Allison (USA) Oh, never mind.

Dear Xius (Tampa, FL) you have restore my faith in youth.

Some one spoke of focusing our attention on education, health care, etc. Good things to work on, unfortunately, the implication seemed to be, put our head back in the sand and wait for another kick in the paints. Bad planning.

A few have spoken about propaganda, of oil, and of conspiracies. Looking at things at face value and considering the source of these wild ideas, I must conclude that politicians and the news media will say anything to get what they want. Politician comes in all shapes and sizes, from Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Green, Rainbow, the list goes on and the news media has lost its credibility years ago.

I fear war and hope it can be avoided, however, if history has taught us anything, it has taught us that violently aggressive countries generally do not go away on there own. Human monsters exist and they seek power. These monsters have no compunction what so ever against using any means possible to gain this power.

I struggle everyday to balance my Non-Violent nature with the sometimes-predatory world. My instinct is to pull back and separate myself, hide in my home and use my family as a buffer. Everyday, I challenge myself to step out into the world and face the force of humanity. It is rare that am I not rewarded by this effort.

The same is true about our country, there are bad things out there, and war is one of them, if we face the bad, we have the whole world, if we don’t our small part of it will just get smaller.

The Sweeper

War... Jan 20th. at 3:36:00 pm EST

Seeker of the Owl (Michigan) Age: 39 - Email

Only in self-defense.

Iraq has not attacked us. To me we have no legitimate grounds to invade their country. The U.S. is becoming a self-indulgent belligerant gangster. We're ready to attack Iraq with zero evidence, but tell North Korea, "We won't invade." I wouldn't believe this administration for nothing, based on their actions alone.

Why should any other country in the world be silly enough to believe the U.S. right now? The U.S. has no credibility when it demands others do disarm, and we are armed to the teeth. We demand that others do as we tell them, yet we throw a tantrum when the others try to tell us what to do. Our actions make our words nothing but lies. The rest of the world has a legitimate right to be afraid of us. We are a "Do as I say and not as I do" nation.

Propaganda Jan 20th. at 4:39:05 pm EST

Andrew (Manitoba) Age: 21 - Email

pure and simple: america wants to be the world police and control everything. the only reason bush wants to attack iraq is because of the oil. it's all about the resources.

Not Following You Sweeper. Jan 20th. at 4:42:11 pm EST

Skeggi (New Zealand) Age: 32 - Email

Im not sure why anyone needs to be afraid of someone before they respect someones right to exist. However it is interesting that in the name of freedom and the right to voice our opinions America has back several cold blooded and ruthless dictators. You dont free the rest of the world you use the rest of the world to keep yourselves free. This country has done its fair share of protecting real freedom. Where was America when troops needed to be sent into East timor? But then it wasnt Americans dieing or your interests being affected.
As for your money keeping New Zealand going well it might if you lived up to your own free trade agreements. However we have several blocked exports to your country right now and Asia provide way more in terms of tourism and trade. However we we told that if we lifted our Nuclear Free policy then this trading hurdles might be removed. America can not stand to be told what to do can it.

Case In Point Jan 20th. at 5:40:29 pm EST

Morgan Winterfrost (Nova Scotia, Canada) Age: 34 - Email

*sigh* The sound you hear is my head shaking. Jade, I echo your sentiment as a fellow proud Canadian. Funny how some people react when they're taken to task. As for Canada and NZ having the US to thank for everything we have, I really must comment. First question... who is internationally renowned as being peacekeepers... Canada. Who is the 3rd largest exporter of oil to the US... Canada. Who was involved in both world wars (and were kicking butt) before the Americans joined in... yup. Who consistently, in military exercises, without the use of fancy toys, defeats the US guessed it. Oh... and read up on your history... who is responsible for the White House being white... (hint - look under the war of 1812).
Don't get me wrong here, I have nothing wrong with "Joe American". Hell, I was born in Queens, NY, and still have a ton of family in the states. The average american citizen is like the average Canadian... hardworking, taxpaying, lawabiding. It's the "my daddy had a Gulf War and I want one too" leader and his court of jesters that I take issue with. Sure, our politicians are no great shakes either, but at least they're not sending us into a war that the majority of world leaders have already said needs UN approval first.
And my appologies to the Kiwis for not knowing more about your country... but if the scenery from Lord of the Rings is any indication... you live in paradise.

Skeggi Jan 20th. at 6:09:38 pm EST

The Sweeper (OK) Age: 48 - Email

I was simply responding to your comment “The UN is the only protection available to us as small countries, and America seems determind to throw this protection to the wolves.” America is the only significant force available to the United Nations to enforce it’s rules, regulations, and laws.

As far as trade, we has something you want, our business and market, you have something we want access to your ports. Sounds like a fair trade, however if it does not seem so, and it appears not, so be it.

Regarding the fate of the East Timorese, if we became involved in some one else’s civil war it might make you happy, but it would make some one else unhappy. Are we supposed to become involved with every Civil War a crossed the entire Planet Earth. Even our resources will stretch only so far.

I would like to respond to this, however I have know idea what it means, “Im not sure why anyone needs to be afraid of someone before they respect someones right to exist.” Anyone? Also this? ” However it is interesting that in the name of freedom and the right to voice our opinions America has back several cold blooded and ruthless dictators”?

I in no way thought or intended to disparage New Zealand it is a wonderful, beautiful country that considering its size does more then its share.

The Sweeper

Peace And Non-violent Resistance Jan 20th. at 6:32:01 pm EST

Bittersweet (New Jersey, USA) Age: 29 - Email

War is morally wrong. There are always other avenues open when you want to change the world. Human beings working together, in harmony with each other and with the Earth, will always be more powerful than guns and tanks. The war machine needs labor in order to function. It needs complacency and silence. It needs ignorance and helplessness.

When the people are empowered, when the people reach out to their neighbors as equals, then the war machine stops in its tracks. Having the power and using it are two different things. This applies to a government with the power to slaughter thousands of human beings and desecrate the sacred Earth. It also applies to the people who have the power to put an end to it: by no longer participating, by no longer conceding their will by remaining silent, by no longer feeding the fires of hate and destruction.

No matter the material difference between the wealthy and the poor, the privileged and the excluded -- all human beings are equal. That is a fundamental truth. Bullets do not change that. Power does not change that.

As a Pagan, as a Witch, I am dedicated to Goddess and to the Earth and to all who dwell here. I cannot stand silent in the face of pain and destruction. I am not helpless. None of us are helpless. War is morally wrong, whether it is the United States dropping bombs on Iraqi soldiers, or the United Nations sanctions that have driven so many Iraqi children into an early grave. It is wrong whether it is an American president calling human beings from another country "evil," or the American government curtailing the freedom of its own citizens.

Who is at war here? Who is "us" and who "them"? Or is the question itself the issue?

There are no foreigners. Goddess Bless.

War.....its Life Jan 20th. at 8:15:27 pm EST

Joshua (Van Buren, AR) Age: 14 - Email

I'm for war. maybe because I have this little black tick in me that identifies and connects with "brutal" ares. I thrive on destruction (yes, i have had proffesional help) but not all the time. but i think war is life. its going to happen plain and simple. i dont think there are many choices besides war like some people state. i htink there are three basic choices, war,peace,being lazy and having a cold war. and i think sometimes yo udont have a choice but war. i mean you dont HAVE to push the red button, but if you dont then your right hand wo/man will. so im for war. ares could be my patron god then. but i think war is good, war is "evil" either way its going to happen. and even though i dont liek the military, id join if i could.


'tis Hard To Be Patriotic And Anti-war Jan 20th. at 8:41:07 pm EST

Autumn (Greenville, NC) Age: 19 - Email

I am very much against the war for many reasons. However, what I am most concerned about are the attitudes that some Americans who support the war are taking towards those who are opposed to it. On my university's forum, a veteran, and several others began a post on anti-war demonstrations and related sites. We were greeted by an abundance of verbal abuse- I was called a tree humping hippie, and the poor veteran was told - get this - that as a veteran HE owed the military and was a traitor. He was even told by someone to stop accepting his retirement checks!! It was also said that we were not to be talking about our government. It's unpatriotic. Ha! Ever heard of the constitution?? Oh, the musings of the uneducated...

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes Jan 20th. at 9:08:00 pm EST

lilith (lost angeles) Age: 33 - Email

comes practically no wisdom at all. once again, the bible is wrong. dear me. however will i cope?

first of all, joshua, war is not life. war is death. and invoking the god of war lightly is not particularly bright. he is no respector of persons, and that would include you. you would fall into the definition of cannon fodder.

second, i dont know who said it, that the allies were "kicking hitler's a**" before the US joined the second world war, but that is patently absurd. there are several really good books on the subject of the second world war, and i would suggest you read them. the allies, by which i assume you mean britain, france, scandanavia, et al., were completely snowed under by the nazi army and/or the luftwaffe, and unfortunately it took US involvement to break that particular stranglehold.

i say unfortunately because i believe war, all war, is wrong, period. the things that happened during the second world war, our "good" war, on all sides, makes me sick and ashamed when i read about them or, more rarely these days, hear about them, since my family was involved on both fronts in all branches of the service and the stories they told from time to time sure dont do much to boost the idea that war is a good and just thing. i think from time to time, and that is very very rarely, it is necessary, but that doesnt make it good. it might be a slightly lesser wrong than another, and in circumstances such as those a case can be made for it.

the current situation re: iraq, however, cannot under any circumstances be justified. we have not been attacked by this country. the world is not in imminent danger of this country. the world is in plenty of imminent danger from other arenas. and war will undoubtedly make an already fragile situation in both the middle east in general and the so-called "war on terrorism" in particular even more complicated, dangerous, and volatile. it will cost everyone more than the trillions of dollars that could be spent better elsewhere. the people who are agitating to wage war are not doing so with trepidition and a heavy heart, which is the only way in which war should be approached.

instead we are seeing a constant pro-war jingoism emitting from CNN, from the white house, and from the united states armed forces-- those old lies, "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori", we will keep the world safe for democracy and human rights, war is the way to peace, and blah blah blah.
i dont believe that it is realistically possible to reconcile a love of nature, a love of freedom, and a love of personal responsiblity with a love or even an optimistic acceptance of war.

war should be the very last of last possible resorts. and this iraq situation simply does not even come close to being justified in that context.

The Last Possible Choice Jan 20th. at 9:43:52 pm EST

Stormwind (Canada) Age: 25 - Email

I work for the Canadian military and consider myself a Warrior as well as a Pagan.

Soldiers know that if there is war, they will be among the first to die.

Few warriors desire war.

However, I believe that sometimes, when reason and diplomacy and justice fail, and someone is bound and determined to inflict pain on me and mine, that I have the right to protect myself and mine in self defense.

I wish it were not so. I wish people would always be willing to listen and compromise. Some people, like Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, are not. To stop them from inflicting pain, we must fight.

I do not believe that there is any justification for the US declaring war on Iraq the way things stand now.

The question, however, is what do you think of war. I think war is terrible, I think war destroys innocent lives, I think the repercussions of war are felt for decades after the guns fall silent. I think wars are fought too often for the wrong reasons.

But I think that sometimes, in order to protect what is good, one must raise up arms to defend themselves. I would do so knowing that I was doing so against another human being who is probably a lot like me in many ways--and this knowledge would prevent me from ever growing too fond of war, the last resort.

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