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
||This Page Viewed: 16,728,085
Vox Q Stats|
Times Viewed: 32,767
Lurker/Post Ratio: 303 to 1
Question of the Week: 33 - 3/19/2001
What Is The Appropriate Response to Bigotry and Religious Hatred?
What do you do when someone attacks you for simply being a Pagan? Would this color your perception of all practitioners of that religion? Or would you see it as the act of an individual who may or may not reflect the views of the entire religion? Many Pagans are Wiccans. Does that mean that Wiccans must 'forgive and forget' in order to abide by the Rede? Must we embrace in the name of 'interfaith relations' those who follow a religion that directly or actively campaigns against Pagans? Should we all just 'go along to get along'? When it is appropriate to say "Enough!" and when should we just let it go? What about those anti-Pagan religious sites? What do YOU do when someone hates you just because you are Pagan?
| Reponses: There are 108 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| I Believe That No Single Method Works With Everyone. I Just Try... ||Mar 22nd. at 4:16:01 am EST|
|War Cry (29 Palms, California US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
I believe that no single method works with everyone. I just try to respond positively and then figure out what the other parties motivation is. In the few negative encouters that I have actually had kind of reminded me of a playground encounter. The agressor either wants to attract attention to himself, embarrass you, or cause you to loose your temper. Don't fall into it, as hard as it may be. Some of these people genuinely think they are doing good by calling you out in public and don't realize that being too evangelical actually turns people off to their opinion. Stay positive, maintain a cool head, and educate the individuall if at all possible. Just my two cents. By the way I am in the military and I have found more openmindedness and inteligent conversation on the subject in the service than in the surrounding comunities. Service members seem to realize the inportance of individual rights more than some others (not all).
| An Ye Harm None, Do As Ye Will." That Is The Abiding... ||Mar 22nd. at 3:49:35 am EST|
|Synergaia (Topeka, Kansas US) ||Age: 41 - Email |
"An ye harm none, do as ye will." That is the abiding rede in my life. I have come to realize that the none DOES include one very important person. Me. Every situation is different, as is every tormentor. I live in a town in the heart of the nation. Our great embarrassment is that a rabid, ex-lawyer, defrocked Southern Baptist preacher, Fred Phelps has chosen our town to make it a bastion of hatred and filth. He has his 5 year old grandson on the street corners carrying signs that say "Sodomy is sin punishable by death". When I encounter him I find myself unable to shake off the desire to get in his face and argue with him until I remember an old adage. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. The truly ironic thing is that his main leutenant's daughter-in-law happens to be my best friend! She is Christian, I am Wiccan, and we have an excellent friendship.
I have studied their bible and a few quotations come to mind when I see him, quotations that I must apply to myself as well. "Judge not lest ye be judged" works for both sides. I truly do consider the man to be spiritually dying, if not dead, and cannot help but think of the karma he will have to overcome the next time around. I would not be even a bit like him, no matter how satisfying it would be in the short term.
I don't have a solution for this problem, but I know what I can do is ask the Goddess' blessing on all those who persecute me, and ask that their eyes and minds be opened, as mine have been.
| I'm Of The Opinion That Hate Only Breeds More Hate. So When... ||Mar 22nd. at 2:25:49 am EST|
|Ryan (Vancouver, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I'm of the opinion that hate only breeds more hate. So when someone comes up to me and judges me, I usually give them a quick glance and walk away peacefully. I do not stop, nor do I talk to them. Only once have I stopped, an all I got out of the person was unprecidented personal attacks. All I can do is feel sorry for these people. I've almost wanted to cry over them. Not because of what they're saying to me, but because of the pain they must feel inside. The anger that drives their lives. Hate only breeds inner tormoil. I can walk by them and feel how empty they must feel inside. How they must almost float through life. I don't want to be like that. I don't want to feel so empty. So I choose to simply walk away. If they cannot take the time to understand who I am, or how I feel, then they are no more then ghosts to me. Wisps in my life, and no more then wisps in the journey of life.
| I Haven't Encountered Many Attacks In My Time As A Pagan. Most... ||Mar 21st. at 11:52:10 pm EST|
|Kat (Buffalo, New York US) ||Age: 21 |
I haven't encountered many attacks in my time as a pagan. Most of the attacks came from my mother, who still deson't like my religion, but accepts it because it's my choice, not hers. However, as far as being attacked because you are pagan, I believe that we should fight the hatred, but not promote it and not forget. It isn't our responsibility to inform the whole world by ourselves, we can only do so much as people and if people refuse to open their minds, then no good will come from us turning blue in the face explaining. I don't hate all Christians, I have a few friends that are Christian, who know that I'm pagan and are fine with it. With Tempest's story I think 2 lessons are to be learned, both are very old, but still very much involved with everyone. One is the idea of religious freedom and tolerance. You don't have to believe in every system, but understand that what works for you doesn't always works for all. This argument is mostly aimed towards pagans and I think it must be stopped. Another lesson is flat out bigotry, the basic experience of being teased. Putting people down, verbally, physically, whatever the medium, needs to stop. Tempest is the not the first, and unfortunately will not be the last until oppressors can stop opressing and the opressed can take a stand. Until everyone can be equal. It's an issue we all have to get involved in, both with words and actions.
| I Have Been Extremely Blessed To Have Grown Up With No Direct... ||Mar 21st. at 9:42:11 pm EST|
|Margaret Quin Lyons (Albquqerque, New Mexico US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I have been extremely blessed to have grown up with no direct experiences of religious persecution. I hear of it all the time, but I have only experienced anyone who hated me or even disliked me for my beliefs once. Of course I have had encounters with the occasional person who wanted to push their religious beliefs onto me, however all I ever needed to say was "no" and they would back off. Because of this, I cannot really relate to any of the experiences others have had with this kind of thing. One of my close friends used to be a devout Christian, and it was with her that I had my one experience. She attended a very open-minded Church and I sometimes went with her, as I wanted to experience all paths before I chose the "right" one for me. One day at this church there was a guest priest and he took to ripping apart the very person I am- everything he said was almost like he was speaking right to me. This caused me to run out of the church crying (keep in mind I was still pretty young) and not only caused me never to return but also caused my friend to rethink who she was letting to tell her what to think. I dont think, however, that most people are weak-minded enough to let someone else's opinion influence them too much. I think that everyone thinks exactly what they want to, and while outside factors have plenty to do with it, I know many Christians who are as accepting of me as one of their God's creatures that just sees him in another mask, as do many Mormans, Bhuddists, athiests, etc. that I know. When a person makes a choice to be a part of a community that condemns others, that, too is his choice. If we, as pagans are to continually condemn those who condemn us in such the same way, then we are just as bad as those that we are "fighting". Not to say that we should just sit back and take it, we all should make known when we are hurt, but on a personal level rather than a stereotypical level. And as for the anti-pagan sites, I found the ones listed to be rather comedic, we should all rest easy knowing how foolish they sound. Someday, perhaps they will realize it too.
| Hatred Breeds More Hate, Intolerance Is Contagious And Fear Feeds On Itself... ||Mar 21st. at 5:31:43 pm EST|
|David Aquarius (Renton, Washington US) ||Age: 42 - Email |
Hatred breeds more hate, intolerance is contagious and fear feeds on itself. This fact is great power to those that use these dark weapons and they are very good at it. When we encounter these folks our first response is to strike out at them, lash out in defense. But in the end, we merely play into their hands. There will always be anti-Pagan groups. It is a fact of life that some folks thrive on conflict and corruption. Their lives are so consumed by fear, hatred and intolerance that they are like nutrition to them. Life wouldn't be worth living if there wasn't a scapegoat for them to despise.
Our best defense is, as the saying goes, a good offense. Speaking out against the hatred isn't enough. We must live by our words, enjoy our faith and let the world know just who we really are. Let the hate groups show themselves for what they are. Their leaders will reveal their true colors eventually, as long as we don't prove them right.
| The Only People Who Have "attacked" Me About Being A Pagan Are... ||Mar 21st. at 5:31:18 pm EST|
|Iris (Quito, Ecuador) ||Age: 18 - Email |
The only people who have "attacked" me about being a Pagan are Christians, very fervent Christians at that. People of other religions, such as Judaism, Hinduism and especially Buddism, don't look at me any differently. I have been approached and told to find my way back to Jesus... and my mother, who is in the process of reading Book of Shadows was greeted with the very common deer-in-headlights look. I have recieved that look many times. It doesn't change my opinion about people of that religion because I study religion and know that the core of all religion is the journey to goodness. Note: I am not even going to touch on Satanism. Furthermore, I haven't been confronted with HORRIBLE reactions, except those trying to convert me. It is only the act of one individual and perhaps family that is the case, not the population of that religion.
I do forgive, but I do not forget. I remember when I was in my early teens and got "attacked", it almost turned me off Wicca, but in the end, the memories are what make me stronger and allowed me to greet the next 'anti-Pagan' with a more experienced and ready mind. I know that this world is full of many different kinds of people and I will live with them, and try to dispel any myths that come up. Though I haven't been hurt, I do have friends that have been caught in painful situations because someone out there pulled them out of the broom closet. I believe that when the opposition becomes violent, that is the time to do something other than talk. But when it is only talk (or shouting), just talking back and possibly starting a theological conversation (this happened to me once! Very moving!), it helps.
I have never gone to an anti-Pagan site... though I think I must have a look some day, because I have been on news sites and of course, this site, which present the views of all the people that respond.
I have been taught throughout my life to respect the opinions of others, no matter how much I disagree. When someone hates me because I am Pagan (and a Wiccan), I accept it, even though I really do not like it. If it is how they truely feel, then it is deep within them, and only they, with a little outside help, can change it.
| Honestly, Just Because A Christian May Verbally Attack Me For Being Wiccan... ||Mar 21st. at 3:31:23 pm EST|
|Sara (Mexico, Maine US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
Honestly, just because a Christian may verbally attack me for being Wiccan, I don't think it means that all Christians think that way. It's unfair to judge an entire religion based on the actions of a few.
I think it's just as wrong to judge all Christians negatively, as it is for them to judge all Pagans negatively. I think that most people are afraid of what they don't understand. Alot of non Pagan individuals don't really know what we do.
It's easy to believe negative sterotypes if you are not aware of the reality behind them. It has been a long standing tradition in some Pagan groups to be secret about their practices. Although this is understandable, for fear or prejudice. I think it has also had a somewhat negative effect on the Pagan community at large. In order to make people aware of the fact that we aren't evil, and we don't sacrifice babies or drink blood, or have anything to do with Satanism, we need to get out there and educate people as to what we really believe. I understand that there is still going to be some people out there who are still going to believe the lies about us, even if we do try to educate them. But you can't force someone to change their beliefs overnight.
I know that it hurts when someone doesn't like you simply for what religion you practice, what color you are, or what sexual orientation you are, but I honestly think we need to get out there and show the world that we stand for good. Even if is it doesn't work, at lease we will have tried.
I especially commend websites like this one, for spreading a positive and educational viewpoint of Pagans. There are many out there that do the same, and I tip my hat to all of you.
I have only been Wiccan for 3 years, but it is something that has changed my life for the better. I feel more at peace with all things natural. Yes, it's hard when people don't understand us, but through positive education and getting out there in the communities, I think that we can definately make things better.
Do I think it violates the Rede to stand up for yourself? No, I don't. Trying to tell someone who believes negatively about us, that we are not evil, is not violating the "An Ye harm None Do as Thou Will". I think that the Goddess would want us to stand up for our beliefs, as long as we don't hurt anyone, physically or emotionally.
In conclusion, if someone is going to mistreat us simply because of differening religious beliefs, and all attempts at educating them to the truth fail, then it's probably just better to leave it alone. Because there are other people out there who will understand you, and won't judge you, but will accept you for who you are and what you believe.
| It's Hard Being Pagan In This Day And Age. Unfortunately, Most Of... ||Mar 21st. at 1:23:27 pm EST|
|Lady Vala (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
It's hard being pagan in this day and age. Unfortunately, most of the population(saddly even pagans included) is so close minded. Right now...as a senior in North Hills High School, me and my fellow pagans are having trouble getting along in school because of our religious choice. The prinicpals explanation is "even if a christian would write a cross on a paper he or she shall be turned in". We did some research...i have christian friends who often write religious phrases and/or pictures on papers and have never gotten turned in. They also say that we're not allowed to wear our pentagrams...they're threating(supposedly). Plus once again said by the principal"No religious symbol is allowed in school" If that is true why are there tons of people wearing crusifixes!!! We as a group have had enough and are taking a stand. Not only for pagans...but if they get away with discriminating against us...who's next? Mormons? Jews? Buddists? It's an issue that needs addressing, wether you're pagan or not. The US was founded on religious freedom...not the religious freedom of everyone except the minorites. I think that either a school should let all religions in or no religions. But of course this is just my oppinion. Love and Light!
| I Grew Up Feeling Different,i Was Expected To Go To Church... ||Mar 21st. at 1:13:17 pm EST|
|Johna Delano (Springvale, Maine US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I grew up feeling different, I was expected to go to church and found that I have a knack for memorizing verses to the point that the teacher ignored me when I raised my hand.Then at home my grandparents followed a more Native American tradition and told me I could choose, I chose to stay home and enjoy nature in all seaons, to develope a connection to my world and I was happy ...until my cousins told people that I talked to animals and plants and seemed to be able to know/see things they couldn't(they weren't paying attention).Then I found a book on witchcraft and began reading, this only lit my peers up more and I was a target for every bad thing that happened to my tormentors(I was a witch and ALL witches cast spells to hurt others)was my fault.I ran the full gamut of responses, I beat up people when they insulted me and was beat up by others who didn't even know me, I ran away, I ignored them.I finally started to simply TALK to them, some listened, some threw things but nobody hit anyone any more.
Not eveybody will listen but those who do will know the truth and that will set them and Pagans free.
I was very unimpressed with the negative responses I saw on the main site, most of those folks have terrible spelling : ) if they want to "appear" better/right/more educated than Pagans they need first to learn how to spell or get a computer with spell check.
| What Would I Do When Someone Hates Me Because I'm Pagan. Well... ||Mar 21st. at 11:33:09 am EST|
|Lanny Morrison (Durham, Ontario CA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
What would I do when someone hates me because i'm Pagan. Well seeing as i've been hated, teased, beaten up, segragated, having my house egged and treated like i'm worthless all my life, being hated because i'm Pagan is just another excuse. Now that i'm an adult, well i just ignore the stupidity of others. I've been confronted twice about being wiccan, and both times i listened to what they had to say then simply told them that i'm happy being what i am. There was no point fighting with them, and i realized that once they knew that they couldn't get a rise out of me they gave up trying. I don't advertise my beliefs because its no one elses business and thats kept the harrassment down. When i was younger i let what others said and did control me. I got depressed and suicidal but didn't totally give up hope that one day i'd find where i belonged. Being Wiccan is where i am at peace. I finally found a place in myself and within the world that i belong. No one can take what is in my heart away with words. I try to accept all people for what they believe and know that theres good AND bad in all beliefs. Acceptance is hard to come by, but it doesn't mean I should return hatred with hatred. Being hated for one reason or another is not going to change anytime soon.
| Merry Meet, When I Was 17, I Was Accosted In My Favorite... ||Mar 21st. at 10:49:52 am EST|
|Artemis CrystalMoon (Baylis, Illinois US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
When I was 17, I was accosted in my favorite bookstore by a fundamentalist Christian. I was reading the cover for one of Silver RavenWolf's books when the lady approached me and asked me "Do you believe in that?" I said "Yes, I do." Then she started telling me that I was going to Hell and that I was selling my soul to Satan. About that time, my older sister came up behind me and asked he lady if she had a problem. The lady told my sister that she was just trying to save my soul. My sister then said that my soul was none of the lady's business and that she had no place harassing me in this manner. The lady then turned away and left. After the incident, I was very defensive towards Christians. Now I am 21 years old. I am more mature in my views toward religion. My mother and aunt are both Mormon and we have very differing views on religion. I am more tolerant of other religions and their followers. Recently, I was confronted by another woman in department store. I was wearing my pentacle and she said that she "would pray for my soul." I just smiled at the woman and said that I needed all the help I could get and walked away. She just stared at me. I think that these two examples are reflections of the individual's perceptions, not the entire religion. I have had very intelligent and enlightening conversations with people of all religions and they did not judge. I think that we, as Pagans and humans, should not directly start fights with other people. However, I do believe that we have the right to defend ourselves on the mundane and spiritual levels. I think that we have the right to say "Enough!", but we, as individuals, have to come to the point when we cannot take anymore. I also think that we, as Pagans, cannot take the abuse that we are handed by others. I am not sure how to fix the problems between the religions. The best thing for me to do is to educate people around me who are questioning what Paganism, Wicca, and Witchcraft are all about.
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2019 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections
(including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.)
are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc.
TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.