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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: 10,068,697  

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 


Very Out May 11th. at 5:52:32 pm UTC

willow (Ottawa) Age: 41 - Email


It took me a while to decide whether or not to tell my family about my destined path. So i started with close friends... wanted to see what the level of acceptance would be... they asked intelligent well-thought-out questions and i provided answers in the same light. I decided then not to hide what i was, altho did not broadcast it... then i chose to wear my pentacle.. it was not until someone saw a book i was reading at work that i had to deal with harrassement... it was one person.. he was dealt with accordingly by management... this gave me a great deal of confidence and have since come out to my parents... they understand, and in fact.. if they were not elderly and having lived 70-80 years in fear of the wrath of God and eternal damnation, they have said they would likely choose to follow with me... (those old fears have been FIRMLY engraved in their hearts)

My license plate on my car, is BRUMSTIK.. LOL.. now if that's not out of the closet.. i dunno what is... (altho the guy at the motorvehicle office asked if it had religious connotations.. and i had to stretch it a bit and say i liked broomball..hehehehehe... which is true!!)

I am who i am.. if that's a problem for someone..that would be THEIR problem, not mine... :o)

Namaste


Grudging Acceptance May 11th. at 10:03:07 pm UTC

Wind Chapman (West Virginia) Age: 36 - Email - Web


I have experienced an atmosphere here towards pagans that I have not yet heard voiced by other pagans. When people find out that I am a pagan/druid type they begin to bombard me with questions. These inquiries have not been acusational in tone, rather "openly curious."

To a person, they are amazed that I know the Christian religion very well, and the Christian bible, I can often quote and discuss the metaphores of the text with almost anyone.
Soon after, I am asked for a "cure" for belly, head, heart, ect... aches. I am often amused by the simple childlike requests and acceptance most people show me, and I am always flattered.

Wind Runner (Yes, it is my real name)


Out Of The Broomcloset!!! May 11th. at 10:10:38 pm UTC

jeannette (San Diego, CA) Age: 25 - Email


I have been out of the broom-closet for the last 10 years. I have always been open with my friends and family. This is the first time that I have worked for a big corperation though and that has changed things a bit. At work it really depends who I am speaking with. The gentelman that I share my cubical with is a devout Catholic and all that I tell people such as him that I am "not Christian, yet very spiritual" as I prefer to be judged on the performance of my work and not my religius beliefs. All in all though I am really open and out of the closet.


Half In Half Out May 11th. at 11:33:16 pm UTC

Gabriel (Memphis, TN) Age: 21 - Email


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?
When it comes to whether or not I'm more in or more out of the broom closet since last year, I'm pretty much exactly where I was. I am 21 and living at home, my older brother (who also lives here) had told dad that he would be going to Mass, well, he didn't go. Dad was having a fit and I asked him, what would you do if he came down here and said he wasn't ever going to church again because he's an athiest. Dad's replay: then he's not living here anymore. (I was raised Catholic, my father converted when I was 8 and apparently he believes that I (and my siblings) should be a stronger Catholic than him, since I was raised to believe this, apparently he doesn't remember that at my baptisim I cried so hard I kicked my booties off.) I have nowhere to go, so basically, only my friends know. I'm very open and honest about what I think and believe w/ everyone except my family.

Are you worried or have you ever seriously considered that a modern day ‘witch hunt’ might target Pagans in the next few months/years?
I am not all that concerned about a modern day witch hunt in the next year. Maybe in a couple but I like to believe that the citizens of this wonderful country would stop any legislature that would make any religion illegal, as in the First Amedment. People may have protested what the Dixie Chicks after what she said, but the government didn't haul them in for questioning. And hopefully they never will.

Have you taken extra precautions to protect your private information or Pagan identity on the internet? At work? In your neighborhood?
The only extra precautions I have is an extra email address, one I really use regualarly and one that I give to my family and those friends that I know whould not approve of my beliefs.

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?
Generally, I don't bring my own religion into the discussion. If someone actually asks, yes, I will tell them that I am a pagan, but I find it interesting when someone assumes that I believe one thing simply because I play "devil's advocate" regularly.


Out But Not Aggressive About It. May 12th. at 2:23:15 am UTC

John the Irish Journeyer (San Antonio, Texas) Age: 54 - Email


My spiritual path is my way of living - I neither conceal it nor promote it. While I am unafraid to share my 'take' on conventional morality and spirituality I have found that I am kindest when I am considerate of my audience. Folks who have rigid traditions, i.e., fundamentalists of any religious background, tend to be, as one friend described them, 'all rules and no mercy', so enlighted conversation or questioning of beliefs is uncomfortable for them. Another friend, who works at a corporation that is wantonly Christian, told me that, "Oh, no, they couldn't find out that she had a drinking problem, she would get fired, they were such a Christian group..." - so there are practical limits. To me being 'Out' means being honest, but also pragmatic. I really don't care what the religious background is of the clerk at the grocery store, nor should I. Equally, I don't feel a need to argue with anyone who simply reacts out of fear at any questioning of their belief system. My behavior speaks more eloquently about my ethical and spiritual beliefs anyway, so being Out to me means living consistently with my professed moral standards, not an easy task!


Get It Out There May 12th. at 2:34:29 am UTC

NH (The Netherlands) Age: 26 - Email


For me this is the time to get my message out there... by protesting against the war or writing atricles on the net. I never told about my pagan religion to my non believing parents because it's my personal choice..... when they are ready they will figure out what I do now, believe now. When they are interested they can ask me...

The complete disturbt way of thinking that is considerd normal now of "the one right way or beeing doomed" is scary, unhealthy and is a lack of reguard to someones individuality. There has been a whole political conflict here about the diffrence off beeing for the war or beeing for the americans. It's like when you don't like football you can't support your hometown team. A tendency that started with the words If you arn't with us you are against us.

It's time that the world learns that diffrent isn't better or worse..... It's just diffrent.


If You Want To Know, Just Ask... May 12th. at 4:37:18 am UTC

Annwyn (Christchurch, New Zealand) Age: 32 - Email


In the last year, I've taken the repeated advice of a dear friend's Goddess Amulets (I am SO tired of seeing The Frog come out of that baggie!) and have sidled from the broomcloset to my Mum, my late brother, all my friends, and to at least 4 people at work who've asked. If people aren't going to like the answer, they shouldn't ask the question.

Luckily for we Kiwis, the current political climate here is tolerant of all religions, creeds and colours, so that makes this small nation Blessed in my opinion. But, saying that, I do worry for ANY person - Pagan, Moslem, Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist (to name a few) - that may be 'targeted' as a result of their religious belief. I do worry that a modern day 'witch-hunt' is occuring and will occur - there are so many wars being fought and so many nations in turmoil over beliefs, oil or dictatorships, that to deny that it's happening/will happen is to keep my head nicely in that patch of Kiwi Earth in my yard, and to paint a target on my butt-end. (for anyone looking, it's that BIG neon one on the left side of the South Island...)

Protecting myself in public arenas? Well, the internet allows a certain level of anonymity - I used my "still searching to see if it's my craft name" name to post this, and left my email address for those of you who might want to contact me, for fair or foul. I have a delete key and a block option on there, and I'm not afraid to use 'em! :) I talked about my process at work - if they ask, I say honestly. In my neighbourhood - I tend to the same as for work - they ask, I tell. It has gotten me and mine in trouble on at least one occasion, but a dinner invitation to prove that we didn't drink blood or sacrifice animals solved that.

As for speaking up in various social/political/religious situations - the key rule comes to mind - don't mix politics with religion in a social setting, and all will be well! I also write for a local Pagan/Wiccan/New Age newsletter/magazine that is put out by a friend and local shopowner, and in it try to I stay as inoffensive and neutral as possible, but I also know that it's only being targeted at and bought by a niche market, so that works out well. Again, I run with the concept of "If you ask, I'll tell you."

So, anyone out there, feel free to ask me!

May there always be stars in your skies, and sunshine in your lives

Annwyn


Never Be Afraid May 12th. at 5:56:23 am UTC

Ravencroft (Hammond, LA, USA) Age: 26 - Email


I have never had a problem about speaking up for what I believe. These are ancient traditions that many of us follow, we should have just as much pride in our belief systems as many "Chirstians" do. They persecute and ridicule what they find offensive from lack of knowledge or misknowledge. The many myths created about Earth-based faiths were to scare the heathren/faithful into a "Godly" religion. If one is told repeatedly that something/someone is bad they begin to associate everyone connected with them as bad.

Well, we're not evil. We are people following a path to enlightenment; we all believe in a power greater than ourselves, no matter the name of the diety or worship practice. All of us pray at some time or another to someone/thing somewhere for divine inspiration and help.

I have no problem telling people I'm a Wiccan. I worship at the feet of the Great Mother/Father. I revear Nature in all Her glory and moods. I have always felt that being honest was the best way to go. I'm the only non-Christian in a sociology of religion class at school, I voice my opinion quiet reguarly, I provide a balanced view to a one sided class. I'm proud to carry forth my family traditions. The only way anyone is ever accepted is to be up front and honest. Say it loud, say it proud!!!!


My Religion Is As Valid As Anyone Else's May 12th. at 7:35:47 am UTC

Qylyndru (Sanford, FL) Age: 28 - Email


I guess it was my time spent working for equal rights that pushed me out of the broom closet. That year I came out to my parents, my best friend (the poster child of the Southern Baptists) , and anyone else who happened by. Now, I don't necessarily walk around with a huge pentacle and wear all black all the time. But I don't hide who I am either.

In my last job a friend of mine would always talk about this other guy who used to work with us. I would always tell him he needed to watch what he said because I was Pagan as well. His response? "But you look so...so...normal." I told him that not everyone wears their religion on their shirts.

I strive in my life now to live a magical life all the time. I work hard at being aware of the energies around me, the moon phases, etc. When stressed, I remember to ground and center (most of the time) . I believe this helps me "walk my talk" on a daily basis. When the Sabbats and Esbats roll around, people around me know because not only because I carry that energy but because I educate those I come in contact with.

I will admit there are those who I work with whoare unhappy about my religious choice. My response? The same freedom of religion that you enjoy is my right as well. I think more Pagans, Heathens, and Witches need to remember that.


Better To Be Counted May 12th. at 10:26:06 am UTC

Gillian (Tampa, Florida) Age: 31 - Email - Web


I really, really get angry at the current climate in this country that wants to force people into a "patriotic" state of mind, and "patriotic" equals blindly flag-waving in support of Bush&Co. without question. It also means a preference for "traditional" family life which of course means you are a nice, quiet, do-as-you're-told, God-fearing Christian. Hmph. I'd say what I think about that, but I'd end up using words not fit for this website. :)

This is America (at least for now) and that means we have a duty and a right to question and challenge, and above all else, practice what religion we choose. So I feel that it is now more important than ever to let people know that I'm Pagan (and proud!) . Too many people are doing that blind patriotic thing, and their eyes need to be slapped open to the fact that there are others out there who do not think as they do and have a RIGHT to be different and to question and to challenge, which is what we are doing as Pagans admitting we are Pagan right now. I am amazed at how so many Americans have forgotten what it means to Be American; the intolerance level keeps rising, and I admit, it's a bit scary. But if there was ever a cause I believed in fighting for, it would be this--our right to be who we are.

Blessed be! :)


Hide And Seek May 12th. at 12:17:52 pm UTC

Anjie (ND) Age: 21 - Email


I'm very much in the broom closet. maybe a dozen people know that I'm wiccan. My parents don't know, and I'm very sure it would realy upset them. they're very devout Lutherans. I mentioned attending a meeting promoting awareness of the Hindu religion, and my mother very nearly tried to tell me I couldn't go.
About %60 of my friends are Catholic, and the rest are a mix of different Lutherans, pagans, and athiests. It's realy hard to explain to them that, no, I don't worship the devil, how can I worship something I don't believe in? They don't quite grasp it. I blame it on what they've been taught. "do not suffer a witch to live" and all that crud.
I've been tempted to talk about it in class, even to write a "letter to the editor" on a couple topics, but I'm rather nervous that my family will hear about it, and that's not how i want them to find out.
I get very worried about talking about my beliefs in regard to the political climate. I made a comment annonymously on a board in my dorm after Sept 11th that was not at all well recieved. I mentioned that I thought the USA is on it's way out of being the "biggest kid on the block". I got called MANY names that I won't repeat here. Thank goodness I had the sence not to sign my name. And right now, I'm sure I'd have several people breathing down my neck to make sure I'm not a terrorist. (I hate guns! how in heavens could I be a terrorist?!)
I don't use my real name or my more public e-mail address for wiccan e-mails either. Anjie isn't my real name. and my e-mail is totally separate from the one my family and friends know.
Yea, I'm about 98% in the broom-closet. hope that changes within a reasonable ammount of time.

Bright Blessings
Anjie


The Closet May 12th. at 12:31:22 pm UTC

Ambermoone (New York) Age: 23 - Email


i am in the closet at work... i work for a public service in a childrens library and i love my job. id like to be abgle to say if my co workers or the parents of my "children" knew theyd all be "alright" with it.. but sadly intollerance runs deep when the words witch..pagan or such arise. in my personal life my friends and most of my family know. i do my best to promote open mindedness.. but im not sure being "out" at work is a great idea since teachers are still being fired over such. i do not feel like in order to be a "good" pagan i have to run around telling everyone my religious beliefs...those who love me will love me regardless... but i must admit i feel bad that i cover it up for certain social reasons... its not shameful to be a pagan.. but its sad that for all we talk about tolerance and acceptance of others' beliefs people still choose to fear something a little different than what they know.


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