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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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Responses: [2,666]

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112. Elders: Who Are They and Do We Really Need Them? - [74]

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 19,986,863  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 129

Lurker/Post Ratio: 254 to 1

Question of the Week: 109 - 5/7/2003

The Broom Closet Revisited: What’s Your Current Occupancy Rate?

Are you living more or less in the broom closet since last year? Does the current political climate make you more or less open about your beliefs with strangers or casual acquaintances than you used to be?

Are you worried or have you ever seriously considered that a modern day ‘witch hunt’ might target Pagans in the next few months/years?

Have you taken extra precautions to protect your private information or Pagan identity on the internet? At work? In your neighborhood?

Are you more or less inclined to speak up and/or identify yourself as a Pagan when discussing or writing about political, religious or social issues these days?

 Reponses:   There are 129 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Stereotyped May 7th. at 11:06:54 am EDT

Drewsilla (Woodstock) Age: 14 - Email

More and more i am feeling trapped by what others beleive my religion is "all about".
My mother does not know thw whole story, but with the little she does know she dissapeoves of.
My parents would never accept the way i want to live my life so i have never told them the whole story.
I have a few friends who understand, but still back away slowly when we talk if i get into my beleifs too much.
When i am asked about my jewelry (and i constantly am) i tell people outright what it is and why i wear it.
I pine for the day where people of our community will accept all religions, even those of them that they do not fully understand.

Im going back to my corner now:)

If They're Coming Bring It On! May 7th. at 12:21:45 pm EDT

Ran (Deep South) Age: 23 - Email

I have been "out" of the closet for years and will not hide again. We lost the greatest part of our history because of our fear of the xian. The threat of religious genocide will not make me hide. Somewhen, somebody has to draw the line. I understand that they are many as we are few, and that is a cause for caution. Ask India!

The best thing we can do is try to allevate what they fear; the unknown.

Yes! May 7th. at 12:33:16 pm EDT

Laura McCorkle (Atlanta, Georgia) Age: 17 - Email

I have found myself hiding my jewelry more, and not being
as willing to tell people my religion. In the past, I have
always been open about being a witch, but recent prejudices
have made me less sure about being vocal. More people seem
to be returning to the christian church in hopes of not
going to hell if they die, and I am afraid that more people
will become brainwashed by the church and will look at my
friends and I as evil.

Not Back In, But Not Advertising Either May 7th. at 12:57:54 pm EDT

Kate (Iowa) Age: 27 - Email

Are you living more or less in the broom closet since last year?

No, not really, but I have stopped telling people that I am a pagan. Never in my life have I had such a large amount of religious "nuisance mail" sent to me as when I was completely open about not being a Christian. I even got a few really nice sets of the Christian Bible and the Book of Mormon from the Church of the Latter Day Saints! I dropped them off at a library once and got a note in the mail a week later that said "Thank you for your kind donation, but we don't allow religious poselytising at our public libraries." from the City of Des Moines!

Does the current political climate make you more or less open about your beliefs with strangers or casual acquaintances than you used to be?

No, I had pretty much stopped mentioning anything even remotely religious before it got this bad. I've been much more open about my political views though.

Are you worried or have you ever seriously considered that a modern day ‘witch hunt’ might target Pagans in the next few months/years?

No. The current Administration isn't going to last forever, and there are enough people in the United States who have some idea of the kind of cultural mores it takes to keep everyone safe that there will not be any type of serious persecution taking place any time soon. The citizens of the United States are not stupid people, and with all the "information legislation" that has been passed in recent years, they know that if we and other groups like us go, they could very well be next.

Have you taken extra precautions to protect your private information or Pagan identity on the internet? At work? In your neighborhood?

No. If someone wants to get me, being wacky about my name isn't going to help at all.

Are you more or less inclined to speak up and/or identify yourself as a Pagan when discussing or writing about political, religious or social issues these days?

Neither, I always have preferred to keep such discussions seperate in the interests of not clouding the issue. If I'm going to speak about my political opinions, why should it matter whether I'm a pagan or a Buddhist, or a Christian, or a follower of Falun Gong? If I'm discussing religion, is my opinion more of less valid because I'm a Libertarian than it would be if I was a Socialist? What does my opinion on social issues have to do with either? There's no real reason to always have to bring my or anyone else's religious status into every single conversation. In fact, I can't stand people who do that. They may be very nice intelligent individuals, but I do not want to hear them call on thier god (s) , argue thier point in their goddess' name or otherwise inflict thier religious opinion on me as a way to shore up a weak agrument, which it often is. Religiousity should not be used as a crutch when you're fighitng a losing battle will ill-concieved and badly thought-out arguments that lack the proper logic and rhetoric it takes to get your point across effectively.

More Out Than Ever May 7th. at 1:11:18 pm EDT

X Ray Witch (Staten Island, NYC) Age: 48 - Email

I have been "out" for about 4 years now. Lately, I have become even more open about my faith. I have worn am pentacle for years, but now I also wear a goddess symbol and they are both always exposed. I think it is important for people to see that "normal" people can have different beliefs from them. I sometimes get questioned_ "Do you know that's a devil's symbol?" etc, but most people are okay with it, even surprised to find a witch in a mundane place.
I believe we need to be more open in order to prevent another "witch hunt". I do agree that if there is another "witch hunt" it will target ALL non-Christians. The Fundamentalist christians (not too common around here) really scare me!

The Broom Closet... May 7th. at 1:16:05 pm EDT

Debra (MA) Age: 41 - Email

I have always considered spirituality to be a highly personal matter. I don't discuss my religion with co-workers or strangers period. Nor I have ever introduced myself to someone by telling them I am a Witch. I don't even do that at Pagan gatherings that I attend.

I don't share my sexual preference, political beliefs or income either. Until someone becomes a close friend, I just don't feel that it is any of their business. For the most part, I don't want to know what another's religion is either. If we all treat each other in a respectful and polite manner, these more personal bits of information don't matter anyway.

Sometimes I just have to wonder, whatever happened to the concept of having an "intimate" circle of family and friends. Everyone just seems to be so "in your face" about everything these days. It can be really intrusive.

Just my thoughts.


The Closet May 7th. at 1:42:13 pm EDT

Rick (St. Peters, Missouri) Age: 28 - Email

From day one I have never hid my faith from anyone. Even while I was in the military I did not hide it and that was during the times when certain government officals were rising a big stink about it. Yes, I've been confronted by family, aquaintances, and complete strangers, but I never denied who I was and to this day I don't. Yes, some of my family does not associate with me, but that's their problem, not mine.
I realize that not everyone has the mind set to do this and I don't view that as a fault or weakness. I guess some people have more to lose.
What I have lost in one place, I have made up for in other ways. To each their own.

Closets Vs. Discretion May 7th. at 2:43:57 pm EDT

Ananke (NYC) Age: 35 - Email

I have never exactly hidden my beliefs since I first began formally stumbling down the path 7 years ago. I'm not exactly so out that I announce it to everyone I meet.....that wouldn't be prudent or even realistic.

If someone asks me directly, I usually tell them some version of the truth. HOW much I tell them depends completely on context of the conversation and how close with the person I am.

As far as the political climate in our great country, I am worried in general about all Americans' rights. I am not specifically concerned about a new "witch hunt" as far as neo-pagans are concerned. I honestly feel that mainstream consciousness has become more aware of just how non-dangerous and non-threatening the pagan paths are. But I do write to my representatives in Congress and other elected offices to let them know how I feel about certain issues. When I do this, I only identify myself as a pagan if the issue relates to religion directly, which often it doesn't. I'm a person......I don't feel my government necessarily needs to know my religious affiliation of stance.

I don't think Americans are so jaded that they will stand by without speaking out for much longer with much of what has been going on.

I am out to my main family members and they have handled the situation extremely well I feel. I am not yet out to my in-laws as we are newly married and haven't felt it very necessary just yet..but I think they suspect we're not exactly Catholics. My birthmother's family (who I am just getting to know an live in a different part of the country from us) , I am NOT out to....they are Russian Orthodox Catholics and lean towards fundamentalists, so I keep quiet around them and just don't talk religion at all. Thankfully, my birthmother herself is more of a free-spirit like myself and knows and thinks it's great.

I do understand and sympathize with those who just cannot be out of the proverbial broom closet because of the climate in the part of the country they may live in for fear of losing custody of their children or being shunned by family. It's a hard line to walk for some still.

In And Out May 7th. at 3:13:36 pm EDT

MargGarg (Delaware) Age: 20 - Email

I'm in an interesting situation. I'm a bit more out to some people like my close friends but not to my family. However, I have started to become more active in the local Pagan community and plan on countinuing to do so. The local student group I'm apart of was recently interviewed for a book and I gave my real name for it. I figure that if my parents read it, then I shouldn't be too concerned about their finding out. It's sort of an interesting mix of not telling my parents and yet leaving hints around like being out in my online journal of which I have a link to in my aim profile. My father knows this screen name and he's the one I'm most concerned about since he's fairly "uberconservative." I almost want them to find out just to get it over with since I'm not sure when I'm going to get the guts to tell them.

As for the political environment, I am a little concerned. I'm paranoid any way. If I stick with my current boyfriend, we may end up moving to Canada and then maybe to Europe. I may need to brush up on my German. :)

Undecided May 7th. at 3:36:01 pm EDT

Jamie (Sullivan, Missouri) Age: 16 - Email

I don't deny that i am wiccan, but being at school is harder. Teens are more blunt and cruel.Many are even scared of me, for fear I'll turn them into rats. There aren't that many open minds.
I also live in a small town which is a harder blow. it is a very religous town and i find myself in more debates, with pastors, deacons, ect. I'm not ashamed of who i am or what religion I am but I am scared of religiously ignorant people taking harassment to the next level.
I have also have recieved 7 bibles among christian books given by Jehovah whitness's, and other people. I've been stopped in WalMart by people who want to pray for me. But I just smaile, politely say no, and offer to clear up some things about wiccans. but am I in a broom closet? No not really------Jamie

What Is A Headline? May 7th. at 4:11:11 pm EDT

rowan o'wild vine (pine plains, NY) Age: 61 - Email

Wow! I hadnt even thought to be worried because i am a witch. Of course i live in the north east which may mean that i am not hasseled as much as some others. I have always been quite out in the open, since the 80's. I dont wear my pentacle out at work because i dont want to look at other folks crosses etc in a scene where i cant get away. Since 9/11/01 what with the patriot act and all we are all more likely to be persecuted for opposing war, championing persecuted foreign born people, defending the bill of rights, supporting planned parenthood, etc, it seems to me. Not to say that the self righteous junta that is running the country may not decide at some point to have a real witch hunt to please their xtian right support base, just that we shouldnt wait for that to be brave and outspoken about all our beliefs. Civil liberties: use 'em or lose 'em. ---green blessings----rowan o' wild vine

I'm Now Only What I Choose To Be . May 7th. at 4:38:17 pm EDT

Ravensilverwolf (Sin City) Age: 0 - Email

I'm a Pagan.This is my path towards higher Spiritual understanding .If someone opposes that then they need to take a look at who they are and why they feel the way they do.
I've studied many Spiritual paths only to return me home and know that I'm a Pagan/Druid .I feel more comfortable within then I ever have.I no longer choose to be fed to the lions anymore.
I can only laugh at those that get so upset because I don't have there Spiritual belief.There beliefs are what they are and thats really OK w/ me.Thats where they need to be at this time of this life.
If someone asks me what religion I am , I tell them and see where it goes from there.Most people end up agreeing w/ me on certain points.Because I hold them in a high place even if I don't agree w/ them .I've learned that from the Amer. Indians and the talking stick .
There are good points in most all belief systems.And most of them came from the old beliefs of the Pagans.Most
people don't even know that.
Blessed Be,
I'm no longer who I thought I was , I'm now who I know I am to be .

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