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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: 20,276,070  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 69

Lurker/Post Ratio: 474 to 1

Question of the Week: 61 - 10/8/2001

Are You Willing To Give Up Some Civil Liberties To Be Safe?

Increased domestic security is on everyone's minds these days and the U.S. government has already begun implementing more restrictive security screenings than most Americans can ever remember seeing before. As the news continues to report on the likelihood of more terrorist attacks including chemical and/or biological agents, how safe do YOU feel? Would you be willing to undergo searches of your person and/or belongings at airports? How about personal searches at sporting events or when entering a mall? Are you willing to allow the government to read your email, listen in on your telephone conversations, track your web surfing habits, inquire into your membership affiliations or restrict your ability to meet in groups (say at a large Pagan festival or open circle) in order to feel more safe? Is there a point where you would draw the line at surrendering your civil rights? (Did you notice that the media when referring to the idea usually use the word 'liberties' instead of 'rights'?) Are you a little more nervous about being known as a Pagan these days?

 Reponses:   There are 69 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

I Think There Is An Objective Fact To Recall: The Rights Truly... Oct 5th. at 3:01:14 am EDT

Raven Prince (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida US) Age: 19

I think there is an objective fact to recall: the rights truly guaranteed us in this nation are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and so only a thing which violates one of those three can be taken as a violation of liberty. In WWII no one thought of rationing, and black outs, and things like that to be a violation of their 'liberties', after all, if the bombers had come to the US back then, I have no doubt that people would prefer to have turned their lights out to keep the bombers from easily hitting any target, and what good would it have been to drive one's car if our machines of warefare had had no fuel? So we have a clear and present difference between 'liberties' and 'conveniences'. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence say nothing about inconvenient airport security procedures or anything of the like, those things are 'conveniences', not 'liberties', because going through stringent airport security and not being allowed to fly with certain types of objects in your luggage or carry-on does not interfere with your ability to live, laugh, love, learn, and achieve. Would I be willing to give up a Civil Liberty? Heck no, but a thing does not violate my liberty simply because it is 'inconvenient', so I think we need to be careful about where we draw the lines on those things in our minds.

I Think That More Restrictive Security Measures At Airports Are Acceptable And... Oct 5th. at 10:37:05 am EDT

Sara (San Angelo, Texas US) Age: 21 - Email

I think that more restrictive security measures at airports are acceptable and necessary-- I mean, obviously the ones that were in place weren't enough, and we DO need to make flying safe. Beyond that, giving up one's civil liberties for increased security is a horrible and un-American idea. The whole POINT of the United States is that we are a free nation, that we are able to excersize our rights, and if that changes, then we have preserved our security and lost everything else. What's that quote from Benjamin Franklin, something about how if you're willing to give up your liberty for safety, you don't deserve to be free OR safe? He was right.

It All Depends On What Liberties You're Talking About. I Don't Mind... Oct 5th. at 10:49:04 am EDT

Sunfell (Little Rock, Arkansas US) Age: 41 - Email

It all depends on WHAT liberties you're talking about. I don't mind being grilled at airports- flying is a risky thing even on good days. But I would mind it at the mall, the arena, or the park.

I see it like this: any surrender of civil rights/liberties beyond common sense security is a victory for the terrorists. Our country is unique because of these internal and eternal acknowledgements of human freedoms. But at gateways like borders, airports, and docks, yes, put the squeeze on people. Most terrorism is opportunistic, done after close observation of laxes in security and studies of habits. We should never become complacent.

But if the tightening of security begins to silence voices that should be heard, or increases the pressure of 'political correctness' (like not protesting public Christian prayer and the assumption of a 'christian nation'), then that is wrong. If my right to write, think, associate, speak, or have a dissenting opinion gets restricted, then we are no longer Americans, but just a ghost of what we once were. And the terrorists will win- both the foriegn and the domestic ones.

I am not nervous about being known as a Pagan. In fact, I see my Paganism as the Voice and Mind of Reason, since I don't have a stake in these religious bromides that are being lobbed back and forth. I am not one of the Book People, so I am not spiritually or culturally entangled in the unholy messes the Christians, Muslims, and to a lesser extent, the Jews have created. As a Pagan, I see an opportunity to be a neutral voice of reason- a conduit of Ancient Wisdom- a third party not involved in the biblical hair splitting and dogmatic fundamentalism that ravages both sides. I am not beholden to any mad desert gods- or their mouthpieces- Christian or otherwise. Perhaps we Pagans, instead of hiding in our broom closets, can emerge and take our places as true spiritual stewards of both the planet and our way of life as Americans, since America permitted us to flourish.

As American Pagans, we can begin to usher in a new time of peace and prosperity, unfettered by religious dogma and political correctness. We can become students of all faiths, proctors of peace, and mentors of mature civilization. This is our big chance, people- think about this- this is our opportunity to be the Light Anchors that we were called to be, and show the world that freedom is a force of creation and good.

I dare you to act. Listen to your Guidance- they're daring you, too. In this month of reflection, attention and power, we need to make ourselves heard. Get out of that closet and be a real citizen.


Civl Liberties In Order To Be Safe? How Safe Are We Anyways... Oct 5th. at 11:10:13 am EDT

Drakon (Ruckersville, Virginia US) Age: 18 - Email

civl liberties in order to be safe? how safe are we anyways. simply walking outside your hose can get you killed. and what about carbon monoxide poisening? we are a frail people humans are easily killed and death of any kind is a reason to morn. We have created an illusion of being safe and it was only a matter of time before that illusion was shattered. The only thing left to do is to get up dust ourselves off and keep going. if we give up of freedom just to get back an illusion what kind of a trade is that? horrible things happen they always will. we have it pretty good compaired to some other couintries who are less free than we are. freedom isn't free we pay for it by opening ourselves up to some horrible things but closing down woln't change anything people would find a way to get past the safety checks.

I Have No Problem With Searches At Airports And Such Places. I... Oct 5th. at 5:04:26 pm EDT

David (Forest Grove, Oregon US) Age: 52

I have no problem with searches at airports and such places. I do have problems with ID checks (a terrorist can get false ID almost as easily as a normal person can get valid ID). I am scared to death at the formation of an Office of Homeland Safety, or whatever the President wants to call it. It brings to mind images of internal passports required for travel, restrictions on travel more than a certain distance from home, police checking emails, tapping telephones, knocks on the door in the middle of the night - all in the name of National Security. Maybe I am paranoid, but that does not mean that someone isn't out to get me *smile*. Besides, Government has a habit of expanding itself as much as it can, and where power is given, it will eventually be abused.

I Believe That Increased Security At Airports Is Needed, But I Don't... Oct 5th. at 9:03:05 pm EDT

Mythrannia (Erie, Pennsylvania US) Age: 47 - Email

I believe that increased security at airports is needed, but I don't believe that we should give up any of our freedoms to be safe. Our ancesters sacrifices have allowed us to enjoy our freedom, can we do any less to preserve our freedom.

Since I Was A Kid, I Assumed That The Goverment Could And... Oct 6th. at 9:18:32 am EDT

Irebera (none, California US) Age: 47

Since I was a kid, I assumed that the goverment could and did tap into private lives.
When I started using the internet, I assumed that everything I said or did on the web could be tapped into by the goverment.
There may be laws protecting a person's right to a private life.
But the goverment will across the line, if they feel there is a reason.
Weither we like it or not, all the laws we make are used only when it suits a propose.
As for myself, it would be nice if we really did have a private life that was truely our own. In reality, everything we say and do is on file somewhere in a goverment department.
Hopefully gathering dust and never to be used.

I Am Very Nervous Around My Community To Be Known As Pagan... Oct 6th. at 10:13:41 am EDT

Kimberlina (Rochester, New York US) Age: 26

I am very nervous around my community to be known as Pagan after the September 11 tragedy. Although lip service is given to "tolerance" in the community and on the television, people still ridicule and even beat up those who are different. Many people feed off emotion, rather than reason.

I Got 2 Words On If I'll Give Up My Rights Hell... Oct 6th. at 3:51:08 pm EDT

james bryan (hiram, Georgia US) Age: 27 - Email

i got 2 words on if i'll give up my rights HELL NO!!!!!!!the media uses "liberties" to try to get people to for get that they are rights that we fought hard to win. we can never forget that or our names shall join "the ten thousand"

With Respect To Having Belongings Searched Etc. At The Airports. I Think... Oct 6th. at 4:40:36 pm EDT

Spectre (Los Angeles, California US) Age: 45 - Email

With respect to having belongings searched etc. at the airports. I think that is necessary. However, tapping phones, reading email, tracking web usage, and restricting group attendance. That is facism. Our civil rights are being trampled. These things generally begin with good intentions and then are exploited by government and law enforcement. Look at the thousands of illegal wiretaps the LAPD has done under the specific amendment the Federal government allowed to curb drug trafficking (if you're not aware of that you should look into it). And although such exploitation is against the law, those who do it are never called to account for their actions, or it is swept under the rug. Recall the atrocities done in the past under the name of "law" and "protection of the community" and "the moral right". Some things are obviously necessary yes, but draw the line sharply when they start asking for a "key" to your private life. I will add that I firmly believe that a solid educated representatives for the witch/pagan community must be placed in a grass roots organization to represent the diverse beliefs we hold. We should have conservitavely dressed well spoken individuals holding their own with reps from the catholic, protestant, jewish and other mainstream religions. They should be on radio, tv, and paricipating in all situations these other reps would be involved in. They will get opposition at first yes, but remember it was not too long ago that the black community, the gay/lesbian community, and others were in the same position. Society at large must see us giving to the poor, aiding the sick, and contributing in all times of need in numbers. Witch/Pagan pride. Witch/Pagans are beautiful people. Launch a campaign that will be felt everywhere. We have to get rid of the image that we are confused freaks that dress weird and worship satan. We should have Witch/Pagan community centers, meeting centers, aid centers, etc. Where's your "Feel good about yourself - Hug a Wiccan today." bumper stickers? As a recognized American religion we have rights. Stand up for them or they will find a way to take them away from us. Every right that we have now had to be fought for. Numbers and special interest groups is what kept the gay/lesbian community from being beaten to death by police and community in obscurity. Few dare oppress a person of black descent now. Take that cue and move forward in strength and in number in a positive direction. Stand up for our rights! - Blessed be to you all.

I Don't Mind Searches At The Airport, I've Travelled Out Of The... Oct 7th. at 12:14:36 am EDT

Sageeyes (Jacksonville, Arkansas US) Age: 46 - Email

I don't mind searches at the airport, I've travelled out of the country before and this is fairly common every where else. If everyone is searched, it doesn't feel personal.
But, I'm totally against increased surveilance based upon suspicion of terrorist affiliation. What constitutes suspicion? Someone saying you seem suspicious? Not going along with or speaking out against current political agendas? Maybe just someone not liking the way you stand out in a crowd.
Historically, when an authoritarian power was given permission to persecute based upon suspicion, thousands if not millions of people have ended up dead or have just disappeared.

I Don't Feel Threatened Or Violated When/if The Government And Security... Oct 7th. at 3:03:02 am EDT

Emma (Gold Coast, Australia, Queensland AU) Age: 19 - Email

I don't feel threatened or violated when/if the government and security people ask to search my bags at airports, or personal searches at events. I know I have nothing to hide that would upset authorities, and I know that it is only in our best interests that we allow these searches to happen - I mean, they're only trying to find people that could potentially harm those around them, its not going to do us any harm. I have not heard of any instances (or been involoved) where authorities have restricted meetings of groups of people. The government can read my email for all I care, I'm sure they arent going to arrest me for asking my friends what theyre doing on the weekend. When authorities are potentially listening into conversations of mine on the phone, they give a warning and an option to refuse to let them listen. Any other phone conversations I have aren't really 'incriminating' stuff, so who cares? I have absolutely no hesitation to announce my beliefs in public, people are usually interested to hear my side of things, as I am with their beliefs. Those that object to it do so quietly and it doesnt bother me. Lighten up, security checks are just about trying to keep the country safe.

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