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
| Wiccan Pride ||Sep 23rd. at 9:42:58 am EDT|
|Bob Hobz (Atlanta) ||Age: 46 - Email |
I'm still an initiate in training but before I chose the wiccan path, I was a gothic. So I sort of mix the two together. I wore black alot to work, celtic rings and a small pentacle around my neck. People just thought I was odd but being an artist, it was overlooked. At first these were just trappings of being a gothic, but now there's a deeper meaning to them. At first I had no problem at work but for the past three months I've been a victim of harassment by one or more people who have a problem with my being Wiccan. The problem is that I don't think the authorities here care. And I do have a problem with that. I work in a government installation and I'm pretty sure most of the people here are Christian so I'm not surprised that my situation is not being taken seriuosly. My wife, an elder and practicing wiccan for over 25 years, warned me about being out of the broom closet. I guess she was right, but still, I've never been one to hide so I'm fighting for my right to display my wiccan pride. So yeah, I'd take part in a public event, sure!
| Out Of The Closet ||Sep 23rd. at 10:12:37 am EDT|
|Phoenix Willowedancer (Martinsville Indiana) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I don't believe my thoughts have changed sense 9/11. I have always been "OUT". My spiritual path has not changed a bit.
I would happily join a protest if I believe the cause is a good one. Pagan or otherwise. And When I sign a petition I do use my "Hidden" name, but that is because I am doing it for something that is pagan based. But if it asks for both my given name and hidden or has a mailing address, I am not hesitant to sign it. Come what may. So far there have been no repercussions.
We live in the Bible belt. We are known for what we are. We are accepted/tolerated as Pagan and Witches. There is very little discrimination against us. And what we have had I do believe has been taken care of adequately. There will always be someone who disagrees with us, but as long as we can live together and accept our differences things are pretty smooth.
I am not ashamed of my path, nor for the way I raise my children. My children are bright well balanced and well behaved. I am proud of them. They have good morals and for the most part good judgement in most situations. They are of course children....we all make mistakes. But they are not violent the do not litter, they celebrate nature and try to help others. They strive for knowledge and they get good marks.
We have a good relationship and even my 16 YO daughter talks to me and asks me for advise. (I must be doing something right.) I believe our religion plays a great role in keeping us together, and the lines of communication open.
I would rally with other pagans for a good cause. I would involve my children if I thought it were appropriate for their ages. We are not frightened. We are not ashamed of our religion. Although we pity those who can not accept our differences and love us as brothers and sisters.
"I pledge allegiance to the earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe
in which we spin-- interconnected, interwoven, full of harmony, with love and
balance for all."
Brightest Blessings to all!!!
Phoenix Willowedancer AKA Angela Jacobi
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Of Course ||Sep 23rd. at 10:20:32 am EDT|
|Becka Barnard (Agawam, MA) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I want to help create tolerance and understanding between Pagans and the "Big Three" and the only way that I can see that effectively working, is for me to show them what kind of a person I am before I tell them what my religion is.
But, I will never overtly hide who I am or what I believe. I display my pent proudly and will talk to anyone who is interested in finding out more about my beliefs.
Am I worried about being put on some gov't list? No, because many a revolutionary mind before me who made a grand difference had his/her name on some list branding them as trouble. If we all hid behind pseudonyms then we are showing those we are opposing that we are scared of them and making them think that we are doing things that really are unlawful or wrong thus losing any respect they might have for us as opponents.
| Being "out" Is More Important Than Ever ||Sep 23rd. at 11:14:15 am EDT|
|StarDancer (Brighton, TN) ||Age: 21 - Email |
My thinking on this is that what people don't know or understand will automatically be something that they will fear, or in some cases, attack. I am a Pagan who is known around my community (a small one at that) and in my workplace as such, and I have encountered some persons who will simply refuse to associate with me. This, however, was AFTER, we had sat down and had a discussion, which did usually involve me heavily defending myself. These people are few and far between, and on the whole people who do know me either don't think about my religious path or accept me for it. If I were to conceal my way of life, I would not be true either to myself or the Goddess. I believe that this hold true for our entire community. We must not be afraid that by being seen for what we are that we will be condemed for it. It is more frightening that ever before, if we feel that we are different, to express those differences, but what we must remember is that we are NOT different. Not from each other or from most of the people in this country. All Americans share the same rights as all others, and most of us share the same dreams, we just have to bring that message to people outside of our circles, and we can't do that if we are afraid to walk outside. I, for one, would proudly demonstrate as a pagan in any gathering that has a worthy goal.
| I Agree With Becka Barnard .... ||Sep 23rd. at 11:32:30 am EDT|
|Shelley (Humble, Tx) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I totally agree with Becka Barnard. I think that it is more important for me to show who I am with someone for a while and then when the time is right or they question something about me I will explain my beliefs. I feel that if I just go up to someone and say, hey Im a pagan and I practice ceremonial magick, they might freak out thinking about all the myths they have gathered about pagans, it is better to teach by example.
Also I dont know if I would nessasarily protest or anything, because I feel that is what I was trying to get away from. I really hate having people trying to force their beliefs on me. I dont mind them educating me about what they believe but I dont like them trying to convert me, and I dont think I can stand their and try to do the same to them...
| We Have To Fight ||Sep 23rd. at 11:46:50 am EDT|
|Gary Wiseman (Sarasota, Fl) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I am a wiccan,and I would gladly stand with any members of the pagan community and fight for our rights.
| As If There Is Any Question. ||Sep 23rd. at 12:40:12 pm EDT|
|Aravan Windwalker (Saco Maine) ||Age: 37 - Email |
Of course I would. I know, that sounds like an easy answer. I am not concerned about being "out"
as a pagan, I get questioned all the time about the licence plate on my vehicle, "ruleof3".
If there were something that needed to be brought to community attention, and it involved pagan faith,
then you can count me in.
| Pagan And Proud! ||Sep 23rd. at 12:49:57 pm EDT|
|Erin Cutlip (camp lejeune) ||Age: 22 - Email |
For so long I was afraid to come out and say "here I am! I'm pagan and i'm proud! proud of my gods, proud of my goddesses , and proud of the rich and divers culture that comes with that" I was afraid because I knew very few pagans and felt alone. well because people decided to stand up and show that they were proud (Triangle pagan Pride day,crystal coast). I now know im not alone. I think it is important that pagans step out of the closet not only for themselves but for those who need to see they are not alone. also because a big part of prejudices toward pagans come from people not knowing what we are, what we worship, and stand for. the only way that we can overcome that is to go public with it and educate as we go.
Erin Grey Wolf.
| Knowledge Is Power ||Sep 23rd. at 12:59:56 pm EDT|
|David Jones (North Carolina) ||Age: 44 - Email |
I sincerely believe the only way to reduce the fear/distrust of pagans/Wiccans is by being open about who we are, by INVITING questions and being prepared to answer them rationally (even if the questioner is IRrational!). Our beliefs are (or at least should be) based on openness; can we do any less than live our beliefs, and still say we hold them?
| ABSOLUTELY!! ||Sep 23rd. at 1:13:12 pm EDT|
|Moonfire (Montague, Massachusetts) ||Age: 40 - Email - Web|
In this day and age when personal freedom is in serious question and the Constitution is little better than a tourist attraction, we need to do something to make our selves be seen and heard, and if protests (peaceful ones) and petition signing is the only way to do that—then count me in. I have been out of the "broom closet" since the mid-80's, I am proud to be a witch. I love my religion and I would have no problem signing my name to anything or take part in a "peaceful rally" to preserve my Gods given right to practice my beliefs.
Remember: Freedom of Religion means ALL Religions
| Broom Closet? Isn't That For Brooms? ||Sep 23rd. at 1:15:31 pm EDT|
|Randy Weiser (Ypsilanti, MI) ||Age: 45 - Email |
I've been a Witch for almost 30 years now, and during that time, have only had to be in the closet a little bit. I'm intensely proud of our religion, and have always tried to show people who are not of the Craft that find out I'm a Witch that I'm also a relatively normal person...or at least not a threat!
If I'm at an event that protests something I believe is wrong, and it's an opportunity to educate the public, why not wear my pentagram proudly? After all, Christians wear THEIR symbols of their religion - why not us?
| What Closet!?!? ||Sep 23rd. at 1:19:18 pm EDT|
|Dy (St Paul) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I am out of the closet (happily lesbian) and out of the broom closet! I have been respected and loved by the people in my life that are important to me both before and after they knew I was gay and/or pagan. I've shared some of my beliefs with folks who have asked, and it's been a positive experience for them and me. I have not faced much criticism for either path, but even if attacked (verbally or otherwise) I would not hide. That's what some folks want and I'm not stepping away from the light. Now don't get me wrong - I don't have woman-loving-goddess-worshipper tattooed to my forehead; I am in a professional IT environment and behave appropriately, I'm just not a shrinking violet on most topics.
A previous poster was correct - as long as you are a good person (to yourself and others), the little details like religion or ethnicity or who you love shouldn't matter.
I hope that those who haven't opened the closet door yet find the strength within and without to do so.
Thanks for the space to editorialize!
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