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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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
| Time To Walk The Talk ||Sep 24th. at 1:49:27 pm UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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...
| Why Should I Hide My Beliefs, They're Not Evil. ||Sep 24th. at 2:36:59 pm UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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.
aka Flowering Desert
| Certainly...as Long As It Is Peaceful... ||Sep 24th. at 4:32:57 pm UTC|
|C. Ryder (Las Cruces, NM) ||Age: 50 - Email |
I've always been one to go my own way, express my opinions and beliefs should anyone ask. And the older I get the bolder I get. I have a pentacle windchime hanging from my front porch, wear pentacle (post) earrings all the time and frequently wear a t-shirt, of which I have two, that has stonehenge with people dancing around it and the legend, "give me that old time religion"....there are various pagan/wiccan articles throughout my home as well as mini altars here and there...
Worried about legal reprisals...I signed petitions more than 20 years ago, very legibly, with my full legal name, to legalize marijuana, though I don't use it myself (alcohol is legal and much more destructive/deadly)...also volunteered as an escort at an abortion clinic...even though I doubt I would go that route, (was on local TV & newspapers at the time due to the "religious" protesters getting physical with us in front of said clinic)...The point is, the right to personal choice/freedom as per 1st ammendment...I have held both federal and state jobs, currently working state, had extensive background checks done on me...apparently nothing there..though it does help to have letters after your name (college degrees). When talk at work starts getting on religion, mostly people spouting thier particular brand (mainly "christian") of why things are happening in the world, as per God slapping us down...I leave them to their discussion...when any of them have come at me directly I have told them they are entitled to their opinion...if they persist I quote the 1st ammendment at them and tell them they are violating my rights...If people ask me about my beliefs I tell them what I believe, though most of them don't understand...and don't ask for further info. I have been called everything from a "free spirit" to "eccentric", to "nuts", by co-workers, but as I do my job and do it fairly well, I haven't had any problems at work or in public due to my beliefs...and I frequently check out books at the local library, also donate books so others can have access, on paganism, witchcraft, etc. (Everything goes on computer...and I have read court transcripts where the prosecution had gotten a list of all the books checked out by the defendant to prove his intent in the crime). I don't push my beliefs in anyone's face but I don't hide it either. 9/11 hasn't changed my behavior...I will continue on my path and fight for my right to do so, if it comes to that...
| Proud To Be Pagan ||Sep 24th. at 5:16:36 pm UTC|
|Priscila Rhodes (South Carolina) ||Age: 39 - Email |
I am a nurse and display my pent while I work. Those that ask I inform them of what it means to me. I have worked with many people of diffrent religious groups, some that accept me and some that will not. Yes I am propd to be pagan and to be so labled.
| I Always Do ||Sep 24th. at 5:28:09 pm UTC|
|Violet (Columus ohio) ||Age: 17 - Email |
i take alot of guff but i always show pride in my religion. ill even protest.
| Hoka Hey!!! ||Sep 24th. at 5:47:30 pm UTC|
|Rev. Carolyne Kleinman (Round Rock, TX) ||Age: 44 - Email - Web|
Or...."Today is a GOOD day to die!" I believe that it would be treasonous as an American NOT to stand up and be WHO I am, using my REAL name, and publically stating that I have the right as a VOTING AMERICAN CITIZEN to worship any Deity I so choose in any way I feel is correct as long as, in pursuit of my spiritual communion I do not harm nor allow harm to come to any living being. I would stand up in front of Dan Rather, Barbara Walters, even the Moron-Elect and not only state the tenets of my faith, but detail as much as my memory will allow me to recount of those narrow-minded individuals whom in the name of religion, committed horrific atrocities in broad daylight with witnesses.
I fully understand those people who wish to stay in the "broom closet" - and it is for you that I stand up and paint a target on my backside. Perhaps one day you can be truly free to express your heart.
In Service to Danu.......
| Afraid But Not Hesitant ||Sep 24th. at 5:52:44 pm UTC|
|Golda Summers (somtimes Maine, sometimes Maryland) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I avidly stand behind that which I am passionate about. One way I do this is by being open about what I believe in. I do not like the idea of feeling like I need to be secretive about something so beautiful and so much a part of me, and so I refuse to do so. I would be honored to be in public events, I have signed petitions with my real name, and I felt quite fulfilled in doing those things. In standing behind what I believe in.
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