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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: 20,018,828  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 268

Lurker/Post Ratio: 122 to 1

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 

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

Cat (Akron, Ohio) Age: 43 - Email - Web

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?
uh, no.
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 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 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 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...

Why Should I Hide My Beliefs, They're Not Evil. Sep 24th. at 2:36:59 pm EDT

tracey cade (Brantford, Ontario, Canada) Age: 44 - Email

Yes i would participate or protest as a wiccan. my beliefs are just as valid as those of christians or muslims or jewish. my beliefs are good, wholesome and honorable. i am proud of what i believe. if others don't understand or respect this, it's their problem, not mine.

Been There, Done That, Paid For It, And I Would Do It Again. Sep 24th. at 3:08:42 pm EDT

Luke S. Dunlap (San Diego CA) Age: 38 - Email

On board the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), the wiccan group on board needed assistance in obtaining the use of the ship's chapel... the command chaplin stayed fast to his answer of "NO".. after several attempts and written request the wiccan group came to me... being a solitary practioner myself and a member of the commands equal opportunity team... you would not belive the battle that ensued.. it began when I was already the middle of a racial segregation battle with a Department Head that had his E-5 and above segregated by race into different divisions... heck when your on deployment for six months it makes the time go by faster when you bite off more then you can chew..

in an attempt to make a long story short, the group is now afforded the opportunity to utilize the ship's chapel... after several letters and gestures and the assistance of the known legal community ... the Navy is slowly but surley opening its doors of it's Chapels.. I think the big turn around was after i wrote several dozen individuals that understand the concepts of "freedom of" that if the navy does not make a wise choice in the matter,.. I will use every effort and legal application to remove the "10 PM Evening Prayer" (Cath/Prot) from every Navy ship's intercom system.. the navy did not desire to test the waters..

what did it cost me by embarking on a venture of putting my "neck" on the line?... when it is all added up, the total would be about $122,000.00, a misplaced navy career, and the inability to regain a loss of the previous 17 yrs initiatives. removed from any position that would enable me to embark on any E.O. issue or other intended goals in the navy, the high year tenure requirements to retire at 20.. so on and so on.. allot

Not long after the battle was won and while still in the trenches of the segregation battle... I was reduced in rank from an E-6 to an E-5. The charges for reduction were "Disorderly Conduct" and "Disrespect to Five Superior Commissioned Officers"... (Art.134 & 89) another battle ensued.. trails of enormous amounts of documentation all the way up to the Chief of Naval Operations that they were reprisals for the actions I took in the venture ... that was two years ago... i will retire from the navy in February 2003.. a legal wall has been fortified.. i will not regain the loss

the reduction takes about $1000.00 from by Pay and Allowances each month plus other things... i was gathering a savings to open my own metaphysical/spiritual shop.. would I be able to do that with half my pay of 20 years in the navy being vanquished?... who knows?... YET....

Really... what did I loose?.... I didnt loose anything people... I didn't loose my integrety, I didn't loose my pride... i didn't loose my tounge and my ability to think... i didnt loose my perspective or my dreams and desires... However i did gain much more abundance of those that are mentioned.. there is alot that i didn't loose..

if I live today, in the fear of my yestarday, my fear of tommorow will be my future. If I embrace my yestarday with the love of my future, what I do today with love ... my future will have no sorrow..

Sign your name on the line or step out of your circle?... lets not be so harsh. its not a revolution. most people keep tabs on there own paranoia and feel that someone is keeping tabs on who signed there name.. The current events should not have any sway on your own convictions.. did the events of Tianaman Square or the Berlin Wall alter your convictions.. did the exilation of the Dali Lama sway them? it shouldn't.. but if it does step back into the circle and gain some strenght.. I have been placed under surveillance, (albiet Navy).. phone and email monotoring... removing my children off of medical and dental entitlements..... you name it... been there.. done that... big deal..

AND I WOULD DO IT AGAIN... why?.. not because of freedom... not because of right and wrong... but because of what i did not loose and what i have gained... of what i belive in and what others belive in.. and the only way that could be lost.. is death... those that are there in the circle with you & the solitary need you, they need your energy, they need your strength... I need you..

just a signature... just a voice.. yet when the multitudes scribble and chant in succession the sound is deafing... the power of sound, the power of word, the power of many in one ... at the time of the Stennis coven battle I was not aware of this circle "Witch Vox"... a culmination of one "voice"...

the battle that enveloped my navy career to reduction... was a battle taken on by one... myself.

With bright blessings and love

Luke S. Dunlap

Yes Sep 24th. at 4:02:32 pm EDT

Rose aka Maia (Ocoee, FL) Age: 22 - Email - Web

It also depends on the specifics of the protest, I'd only do it if I believed 100% in the topic that was presented.

Events Sep 24th. at 4:10:56 pm EDT

Peg Mularz (Orlando, Florida) Age: 40 - Email

If there any events in the Orlando Area (I'm closest to Kissimmee) sure, I'd like to be invited toget more familiar with those who know more of the Pagan religion than I do. It's always good to learn and be social!

Never As A Christian Was I So Proud As I Am As A Pagan Sep 24th. at 4:27:05 pm EDT

April Patterson (Reno, Nevada) Age: 36 - Email

Brought up in an Evangelical Christian household by a very loving mother and father, religion was always very much a part of my life. But, it was religion always. It was someone else's agenda, their views, their propoganda, and it was always someone else telling me how, what and when to think or have an opinion. I walked away in my late teens.

Why? That path was a bad fit for me. It lacked balance and did not fulfill my spiritual needs. I needed something that encouraged my to find that answers that would only make sense for me, a path that didn't resort to some very distasteful methods of keeping me going, a spirituality that I had an active role in maintaining for myself.

As a practicing Witch I am proud. Proud of myself, my chosen path, and my brothers and sisters in other neo pagan belief systems. I am proud of this country and the fact that we have the right to worship as we see fit. No, we are not all perfect, but I am the only one responsible for my mess ups now, and not of the group that can say, "The Devil made me do it." I am accountable and proud of that. Accountable for the good that I do as well as when I make a human mistake.

Gladly, and with great pride, do I chose to stand with my brothers and sisters, to openly tell the teachers of my children what I believe in. This country makes me proud, and the Constitutional right to be free of religious persectution it just one of the things that makes me proud.

Blessed be!

April Patterson
aka Flowering Desert

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