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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: 24,664,800  

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Reponses: 129

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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 

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

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 EDT

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


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

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 EDT

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" 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 EDT

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 EDT

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

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

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.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell May 12th. at 2:51:58 pm EDT

Tina Horn (Washington, DC/Columbia, MD) Age: 35 - Email

I'm "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at work, but then it's not really professional to flaunt religion at work no matter what flavor you are. It doesn't come up... and I'm ok with that.

Friends and family know my religious practice. How do you think I got this way?

Neither In Nor Out, Just Both May 12th. at 4:14:45 pm EDT

Lauren Wednesday (Long Island, NY) Age: 33 - Email

My biggest concern was my mother (she did go into a bit of a tizzy) but she's going her best. Other than that I work with my in-laws in a family business. So there's really nothing to "come out" to. If people are that interested and ask, I'll tell. If they don't like the answer- Bugger them.
At the same time I dont walk around in robes looking like a character out of Harry Potter. I is, what I is, they am what they am, and hopefully the twain shall meet. ;^)


In Between May 12th. at 5:07:43 pm EDT

Talenyn (Pensacola, Florida) Age: 15 - Email

I do tend to be nervous when telling others that i'm Pagan. Its difficult being in high school alone, and i've heard how people talk about those who are 'out of the closet.' It's not pretty. I tend to keep it to myself, but if someone asks me, i'll tell them the truth. I have had bad experiences with people who have really disapproved of me practicing Paganism, and I very nearly lost my long time best friend over it. But am i worried there will be another witch hunt in the near future? WHat really worries me is that i'm unsure. I'd like to have faith in people and say no, but with todays civilization, i'm not so sure. But for now, i'm happy. I have some Pagan, Catholic, Christian, and even Jewish friends. I stand up for them, so if my day ever comes, i can only hope they do the same for me.

In Between May 12th. at 5:13:56 pm EDT

Talenyn (Pensacola, Florida) Age: 15 - Email

I do tend to be nervous when telling others that i'm Pagan. Its difficult being in high school alone, and i've heard how people talk about those who are 'out of the closet.' It's not pretty. I tend to keep it to myself, but if someone asks me, i'll tell them the truth. I have had bad experiences with people who have really disapproved of me practicing Paganism, and I very nearly lost my long time best friend over it. But am i worried there will be another witch hunt in the near future? WHat really worries me is that i'm unsure. I'd like to have faith in people and say no, but with todays civilization, i'm not so sure. But for now, i'm happy. I have some Pagan, Catholic, Christian, and even Jewish friends. I stand up for them, so if my day ever comes, i can only hope they do the same for me.

I Come Out When It Feels Right May 12th. at 6:13:44 pm EDT

Mark Pemburn (Glen Arm, MD) Age: 51 - Email

I find that I've actually come out *more* within the last year. This is due in part to the fact that I'm self-employed and hence have not fear of an employer looking askance at me for not fitting the 'norm'. The other factor is my spouse and my recent association with a coven and tradition that is more active in the mundane world the we had been encouraged to be in our former coven.

As for the possibility of a witch hunt: I don't consider it outside the realm of possibility but they would probably be restricted to "Bible Belt" areas and would doubtless invite the censure of the rest of the country. I think the poor Muslims have a lot more to worry about, unfortunately.

Private information: No extra precautions but then, the only things I do in this regard are to browse pagan or Qabala related websites and communicate with people via email or lists.

I seldom express my political opinions because they are too progressive for most forums and quickly invite flames. I have come out as a pagan on hobby and other special interest site and invites little comment.

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