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: Nov. 17, 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
| Depends On The Situation ||Sep 25th. at 6:25:50 pm EDT|
|Magenta Griffith (Minneapolis) ||Age: 50 - Email |
I have taken part in a variety of public events as a Witch, from Pagan Pride to the Mankato Women and Spirituality conferences. However, I would be wary of participating in a non-Pagan event as a Pagan, unless a number of us were doing it, and the organizers were okay with it. I worked at Planned Parenthood a number of years ago, and was asked NOT to come out as a Witch, since that would "give the fundies ammunition". I complied, and while I don't like it, I realize that sometimes tactics have to be compromises. I admire people who do demonstrations, but I think we need to consider what the effect will be, and whether it will actually further our goals.
I have not been more wary about signing my name to letters and petitions, and I have and will vote in every election I can. If ALL Pagans would only vote, maybe we could make a difference. I think we need to do as much interfaith work as possible right now; if we all stand together, not just with other Pagans, but with other minority religions, it will be a lot harder for the fundies to hurt us. And keep an eye on your elected officials, and let them know what you think as a citizen. We elected them, we pay their salaries - don't let them forget it!
| You Bet. ||Sep 25th. at 5:28:53 pm EDT|
|Kimberly A. Warzelhan (Ipswich, MA) ||Age: 31 - Email |
Basically, to best answer this question in the short form: I would say "Of course!" It's that simple.
If this world has reverted to a place where people are executed for being honest about their beliefs and feelings, then aside from fighting to change it, as can only be done by speaking out, then what's the point?
Alexandrian 3* HPs
| Definately! ||Sep 25th. at 4:55:54 pm EDT|
|Ravyn (Lapeer, MI) ||Age: 33 - Email |
As a young witch, growing up, I was very concerned with maintaining status quo, staying invisible, and not making my opinion heard. That was 21 years ago, and life had already taught me to be proud in who and what I am, to not bend my knee to "society", or the majority. So on the morn of 9/11, when everyone felt their secure little worlds collapsing, I found a deeper understanding of inner strength. I found another reason to stand tall and wear my amulets and talismans with pride. I feel that we owe it to those who suffered before us to proclaim our birthright as children of the Goddess and not be ashamed or afraid. I, myself, have no fear of protesting, or publicly declareing my faith. I am circle-mates with a few that must keep a low profile to keep their children, and I give thanks every day to She who made me that I don't have to do that.
| I'd Die For My Beliefs ||Sep 25th. at 4:20:44 pm EDT|
|Drusilla Tarott (England) ||Age: 13 - Email |
I'm very open about my religion. I'm proud to be a witch, and I think you should all be proud too. After all, what can people do to us? They can't burn us any more and they can't torture us, so why is everyone so worried about coming out of the broom closet? Ok, one of the rules in the Pyramid is Be Silent, but I don't personally see the point. I tell whoever I want, because most people will respect your opinions and beliefs. Everyone I know is very polite to me, but no-one ever acts any differently than tghey did before they knew that I was a witch. No-one asks to look in my Book of Shadows, because they know they shouldn't, some people ask me for Tarot readings, some people even ask me to cast for them. everyone I know respects me, and although I did suffer some racist remarks when I first came out, those people have grown to accept it, and some have even taken a genuine interest in what I do.
I guess I'm writing this for any other teen witches who are worried about coming out of the broom closet. Do whatever feels natural, and start by telling people you can trust. Remember to have information handy in case they ask questions, but let the Fates guide you and you'll be fine.
| I Already Have ||Sep 25th. at 4:15:55 pm EDT|
|Starwind (Alberta, Canada) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I have attended events held in public parks in the last three years. It was funny seeing the reactions of passers by, some of whom stopped to watch.
I wanted to attend the nearby city's first Pagan Pride event this year, but my four-year-old had a Teddy Bear's Picnic on the same day.
| That Which Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Stronger ||Sep 25th. at 3:19:00 pm EDT|
|Black Squirrel (Dulles, VA) ||Age: 25 - Email |
Woah, Freudian moment there - almost typed "stranger" instead of "stronger."
Events of the last 12-month-plus have only strengthened my belief in my beliefs, and made me more open to sharing joy with those around me, whether I know them well or not. I am no less out of the broomcloset than I was at this time 13 months ago (then again, this time 13 months ago I was a beginning teacher at a public high school and now I'm suing them for ADA violations so other people besides those commonly recognised as terrorists have had an effect on that). I find myself more likely to speak out against injustice now than I was even in my radical college days (well, as radical as they could be with chronic fatigue syndrome and mobility problems).
What *does* keep me from protests and events is lack of physical accessibility to them - when you're out there in a manual wheelchair (which I frequently am if the walk will be more than the equivilant of a city block or two), it's much harder to cross non-paved areas, and we Pagans are oh-so-fond of walking on the grass. Of course, public events are more likely to be handicap accessible than private ones, so guess which ones I make it to more often? :P
| Certainly ||Sep 25th. at 2:29:12 pm EDT|
|Aisliing (Germany) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I'd love to be involved in a community of Pagans, including protests if needed as an American in Germany though I have yet to find any like minded people. Let me know if you are out there. I'd love to meet with others
| YES! ||Sep 25th. at 1:47:11 pm EDT|
|~Coventina~ (Boynton Beach, FL) ||Age: 36 - Email |
I would certainly protest as a Pagan. We cannot be afraid of our others as the blacks and gays also once were. We owe it to our children and our future.
| I Wish... ||Sep 25th. at 1:23:30 pm EDT|
|Hazel Casper (Regina SK) ||Age: 27 - Email |
I live in a very small city compared to most on this continent. We are a government town being the capitol of Saskatchewan. According to one of the few pagan gathering places (a wonderful shop on 13th Avenue which specialises in any kind of spiritualality) there are no covens or open groups in the entire southern half of our province. I have never heard of any public festivals or protests going on in the eleven years that I have been a practising witch.
Perhaps I am not as tuned in to the scene as some are, but I do know a few other pagans and they all agree. Any covens that do exist are private affairs and that's fine by me. My daughter and I very comfortable developing our family tradition. However, it would be nice to talk to other pagans in person and discuss the state of the world's affairs with others who have a similar outlook. Not necessarily that we would agree on everything, it would just be nice to know how the other pagans in my area view the world.
I would happily attend any pagan social gathering, festival or even a protest (so long as understood exactly what was being protested.) I have a very strong belief in community and I bemoan the coccooning of our society both in Canada and in the United States. In light of the recent events on the world scene, it is even more important for us all to unite in a common goal of peace, tolerance and understanding of all religions and cultures while still fighting for human rights.
I have never hidden my beliefs. I admit that for a long time I stopped talking about them simply because of the negativity I received, but my views have shifted and I am more confident in myself. I know that I need to present a good role model for my daughter and if I were to hide our beliefs, she would learn to doubt herself. She faces a lot of pressure from trusted relatives to attend church and be a christian and I need to show that our path is just as valid. If there were more public and social events, we could become part of a greater community together and she could see that it isn't us against the world, it is us with the world.
| Proud To Be A Pagan... ||Sep 25th. at 1:17:06 pm EDT|
|Kimberleigh (Michigan, USA) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I would not take part in the social protests because I am aware people are
uncomfortable with what we beleive. I would say H3ll with it, it's my life
and I am not going to protest about my religion. But i overhear some
christians saying that the Celtic religion caused this along time ago and i
was furious when i heard that.
I would sign anything depending on how far it went, im not for the pldge of
allegience but who cares. Since 9/11 i think the people who are outside of our
religion have just basically ignored it like it's not going to happen again.
Sometimes i think it will and i have probelms copeing with people who are
just going to sit back and ignore it. Some times i dont see how they can sleep
at night. i know it's been a year but its still no reason to ignore it.
Im bolder but i wouldnt take public stances because i was just get shot down
and maybe they would hang me for it just like they did back then during
the salem witch trials..
To the Goddess
| Show Up-speek Up ||Sep 25th. at 12:49:28 pm EDT|
|Debbi (Memphis, Tn) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I was out of the broom closet long before 9/11. Since 9/11 I've been even more open about my beliefs. The Christian right took advantage of 9/11 even suggesting that Goddess relegions got us into trouble to begin with.
It's time that we all leap out of our broom closets and be who we are. Thousands of American's have died for our religious freedom. If we only persue our religious freedom in hiding, then they've died in vain.
I don't suggest we wear our beliefs like badges, but we can quit hiding our books when people come over. We can announce that we're Pagan when asked; instead of using a clever out. We can show the world that our religion is valuable and deserves respect.
The Christian right depends on us being ashamed and keeping quiet. I'm not going to play on their team. Are you?
| Proud ||Sep 25th. at 12:45:38 pm EDT|
|Mothrae (Pennsy USA) ||Age: 37 - Email |
I've been "out" for almost 20 years. My family, my friends, and my town know what I am. My oldest brother is the one who gave me my first book on Wicca. He's among the Phamily too. And we're all proud of what we are.
I have participated in many festivals and events and wish I could attend more. I have never been involved in a protest. My feelings on that are simple: No one takes protests seriously (except those who are protesting, of course). The media has a ball with this, no matter who is marching and carrying signs. When Rev Al Sharpton leads a parade he is seen as a joke, no matter how serious the issue he's protesting for or against. Union strikers are seen as troublemakers rather than trying to insure their own jobs and survival. The list goes on...
I've never been worried about my jobs. The Blessed Be stickers are proudly displayed. I work in TV and movie production and we have a few people that aren't exactly mainstream.
I don't push what I am but am always ready to talk if someone asks. And if you give me trouble, expect problems from an Irish Celtic Witch with a short temper. I will fight for who and what I am and we are, but I don't think I'll carry a sign in a protest march.
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