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
| You Have To Stand Up To Be Seen... ||Sep 24th. at 6:45:37 am EDT|
|Mark S. Schlachter (Cincinnati, Ohio) ||Age: 55 - Email |
I have no choice but to join public demonstrations. One can not be seen without standing, nor can one be heard without speaking. Outcry in our own community, press and web pages only serves to annoy those who already think as we. To effect change we must confront those who march to the beat of the other drummer.
| Pagan Pride And Protest Events Are What We Need. ||Sep 24th. at 7:59:44 am EDT|
|Brighid (Florida) ||Age: 46 - Email |
I would most definitely participate in public events. The only thing that has stopped me is time conflict and work schedules. I am selectively out of the broom closet with co workers, and open with my family. We need to be seen and heard, so much of the misunderstanding and sterotypes are corrected.We don't need to be "In your face" about it, but we can be heard without being overbearing and pushing our own beliefs as so many of our christian acquaintances do.
| Public But Cautious ||Sep 24th. at 8:43:22 am EDT|
|Winterhawk (Tabernacle, New Jersey) ||Age: 44 - Email |
My friends, family and most of my clients know I am a pagan, and I do participate in public events but I am careful. I have two early teen age children and I worry that they will be teased, harmed or removed from my home because of my beliefs. I don't like secrecy, I think it fosters fear and hatred but it would be irresponsible to possibly expose them to harm. When they are older, look out. I'll be everywhere, it is after all - America land of the free, it just takes a little work to keep it that way.
| Response To Questions ||Sep 24th. at 10:30:02 am EDT|
|Allison (Florida USA) ||Age: 40 - Email |
"Would You Take Part in a Public Event or Protest AS a Pagan?"
No I would NOT. And for good reason too. I really believe that there are people who thrive on things like this and will create something to protest over and that is why I would never get out in public and protest at a rally UNLESS it is to do with animals. I think people just need to handle themselves differently and then will find that Christians have no problem with us really. We CAN co-exist in this world quite peacefully. It's Pagans who have the problem with an ego. And I have seen that time and time again. In 24 years of life as a Pagan I can count on one hand the number of times it has caused a wave with someone and 3 of those are family members. It's all in how one handles oneself.
I don't think the way to bring Paganism to the attention of others in a POSITIVE light is by public protests. People then look at us as just a bunch of nutters. And nothing comes of it anyway, a few people stnding outside a government building - it's more a nuisance than anything. And I think it degrades Pagans everywhere.
"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?"
9/11 did not make the slightest bit of difference to me with regards to my religious beliefs. I am just as open and secure about them now as I was before. One thing that 9/11 did bring to my attention was just how ignorant and intolerant USA is as a nation about religions and cultures outside of the mainstream. For me, that is the saddest thing of all.
"Are you more fearful of reprisals or discrimination?"
Certainly not and I never have been. I live in the thick of the evangelist bible belt for 12 years now and get along just fine with the Christians. I find that more so than looking at me as something evil, many are intrigued by my belief system and are very surprised to find that we DO believe in the God - AND Goddess. They know me as a person and they don't judge me by my religion.
"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?"
LOL!!! As IF!
"Are you more cautious than you may have been before? Or have the events emboldened you to take a more public stance?"
I have no reason to be. I've nothing to hide.
"What’s the current status of YOUR broom closet?"
Fine - I haven't been in it in many many years. ;)
| Yes I Would ||Sep 24th. at 10:31:00 am EDT|
|Asheba (Colorado) ||Age: 50 - Email |
When I had a high powered job I was very sensitive about keeping my spiritual beliefs cloaked. Now that I have quit my job and rejoined the ranks of civilization I wouldn't care who knows!
I believe we need to come out of the closet more.
| No Fear ||Sep 24th. at 10:48:30 am EDT|
|maggie (madison, WI) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I have been a pagan for as long as i can remember. i grew up with a mother who was very attuned to nature and a devout non-practicing catholic father. My Engthish teacher in high school taught me what wicca and paganism really was and that my fasination for salem and true witches was more a window of who i truely was not just a rebelion. My mother, not knowing much about paganism was recently told she was a witch by her therapist. He is wiccan also and told her she lived by the same laws and believed in the same things. I have just entered a new job where i found out that my boss believes all pagans, and anything mystical is devil worship. i find this more as a challange to teach then a hinderance to work. she now knows what i am and that i don't sacrifice little puppies on full moons. each small step is a step towards a freer and safer life for all pagens, i hope.
| Closet Door Open ||Sep 24th. at 12:02:33 pm EDT|
I would definitely protest or speak out publicly as a pagan.
It is most important to stand up for rights and publicly decry injustice.
Without the voices and actions of civil rights crusaders of the past, we would not enjoy the current level of freedom and tolerance. For me, this means speaking out and suffering the consequences.
I do not speak of this lightly.
Protesting the Viet Nam war, the Gulf War and demanding US leave both Nicaragua and now Afghanistan have brought unpleasant and dangerous repercussions.
Speaking out for the rights of Bisexual, Homosexual, and Transgendered has cost me also. But my integrity and spirit are intact and unashamed.
The two passions for which I am sometimes pro-active are the two I dread my birth family discovering.
These are the legalization of marijuana (and the discontinuation of work place drug testing)
and the rights of pagans to worship and celibrate and exist!
Although my picture has been in the paper and so have letters to editors, my birth family has missed them thus far.
It is not that I am ashamed, as I am not ashamed. My parents, in-laws, and sister are fundamentalist southern Baptists and they cause trouble for me when I do these things and they get wind of it.
They will not stop me, however, and I stand proudly as a pagan.
| Who Wouldn't? ||Sep 24th. at 12:27:17 pm EDT|
|Whitney (Richmond) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I have (WTO/IMF, VA Republican Conventions, WCOTC Chesterfield) and would again. If we do not stand up for our selves, our beliefs, our rights, and our families, who will? Get out there and use your words and your non-violent actions to make the world a better place for all people! Goddess Bless!
| Yes ||Sep 24th. at 12:33:13 pm EDT|
|Eglinloft (Dunn,NC) ||Age: 37 - Email |
Of course, Who wouldn't
| Not Afraid ||Sep 24th. at 1:00:24 pm EDT|
|Skye Silverstar (Granisle, BC) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I may only have been wiccan for a year, but I am not afraid to let everyone know it. I think it may be important to talk to people about it, actually. There are so many misconceptions out there that we can stop just by telling people what we are really like. If we act secretive and embarrassed then people will assume we think what we're doing is wrong.
| Time To Walk The Talk ||Sep 24th. at 1:49:27 pm EDT|
|David Aquarius (Renton, WA) ||Age: 44 - Email |
As much as I feel for those who stay in the shadows because of family or community concerns, there comes a time when we must grit our teeth, face the wind and cry out for the Goddess that dwells within us. Christians have no problem professing theirs, we shouldn't either. In our case, we should be especially industrious given the stigma we fight every day. Regardless of the risk, we must face down every obstacle we encounter. John Ashcroft be damned, only our own fears stand in our way. By participating in public events and by protesting those conditions that keep us down, we will climb up from the 'dungeon' we reside in. Either we stand together for our faith or we will fall apart in spite of it.
| To Be Or Not To Be ||Sep 24th. at 2:28:58 pm EDT|
|Sabrina (FT Polk, LA) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Would you take part in a public event or protest AS a pagan?
Well, it truly depends on what the event were. Would I go to a 4th of July parade and march down the street as a pagan...dozens of pentacles hanging from my body....singing "we shall overcome" and holding a "BURNING TIMES: NEVER AGAIN!: banner...uh, no.
Do I, when asked, participate in indian cultural affairs. Do I exhibit crafts and dance and beat a drum....assuredly.
Would I pronounce in midnight mass that my granny taught me the right hand of Mary?
I think what is important to point out to anyone is that when you participate in group events, especially if you are known and respected in your community, you have to be very careful exactly "what" you are lending your name to.
There is a bizarre movement throughout the US that is not at all what I wish the term pagan to become synonymous with...and I would not under any circumstances participate with any of these groups. I also do not participate in any "Wiccan" groups or rallys..if their sole purpose is "goddes" worship or promoting Wicca. I also am among a small all be we vocal group that does not approve of the term witch becoming synonymous with Wicca...but that is another rant. I have nothing against Wicca as a faith mind you...but I have a severe bias against the over Llewelynizing of craft.
As for a broom closet..I've never been given a choice...the birthname kind of opened me wide up to every joke and inquisition from kindergarten on...to that end...I don't think I was ever lucky enough to have a broom closet...though I will admit now there have been times I wish I had one.
As for 9/11...I already threw in my two cents on that...it made things worse here in the bible belt, from where I sit.
The quandary is age old...what do you do..when the vocal minority overtakes....do you become vocal yourself? Or do you allow them to create the public perception of the mute majority? It's very hard to know the true answer to that...
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