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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 4,723,518  

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 


Do What Feels Right For You. Sep 27th. at 7:47:45 pm EDT

Aurora (Beaufort, SC) Age: 22 - Email


I for one have no problem being public about what I believe. I don't shout it from the roof tops but I wear my pentacle with pride. I also participate in local pagan celebrations and goings on. I like to feel as though I am involed and make a difference. However I understand the feelings of those who don't want to be public. I live in a very religious town in South Carolina but so far have had no problems. I know of others who have and are having problems though. I suppose it helps that I live on a military base and there fore have some extra protection. I do get a lot of questions from people here though and I answer them the best that I can and try to clear up the misconceptions. As far a how I have done things since 9/11, if anything I have become more open and more willing to be public. It is more important than ever to set the record straight. Yes I suppose I am a little more worried about hostile people but that is all the more reason to be out there telling the truth about what I believe. I know that those who are not out have their own good reasons for it and I wish them the best of luck and hope that they will someday be able to come out and feel safe about it. Blessed Be.
Love and Light.


Proud To Be A Pagan! Sep 27th. at 7:44:25 pm EDT

Hazel Sackville-Bagg (NY) Age: 15 - Email


Of course I would voice my opinions, the reason people are frightened of us is because they are uneducated. If we could spread the word about Paganism, people wouldn't hate us! A few years ago in Global History, we covered the beliefs of Islam, Judaism, and a bunch of other religions. (I go to a public school) This has prevented much of my generation from hating Muslims now because we better understand them and that not all of them are extremists. If we added Paganism to the list of religions that kids learn about, then they would understand us more and not be so horrible. As for those who still oppress us, (which by the way, I have noticed anyone who is not Christian is a lot of the time hated and said to be led by the devil which is totally ridiculous) we should protest against them and be proud of our religion. Here in the U.S., we have religious freedom, so why shouldn't it feel that way? Let the people be educated!!!


Pagan Proud Sep 27th. at 4:43:03 pm EDT

Patricia Jones (Iowa) Age: 0 - Email - Web


I am a Pagan and a solitary practitioner and I will never deny my faith or my true path. I will be dragged kicking and screaming(in ancient latin)back to hide in a closet of fear or shame.That will be the only way I will be stopped from voiceing my opinions and beliefs.Havent we had enough of the hate and fear mongers? My broom is hanging over my front door with a pentagram and a sign that says "blessed be"...i dont think you could hide less than that. Merry Part and Merry Meet again. Pat Jones (real name),a.k.a...coldNovemberRain and d.j.


Closets Are For Coats Sep 27th. at 3:54:03 pm EDT

Amber Heathen (Cornelius Oregon) Age: 22 - Email


I've never seen the point in "hiding". I don't go around introducing myself as "Hi, I'm Amber, I'm a witch!" but yes, people know. If they ask what I believe I tell them. I wear a pentacle at work and only one person out of hundreds has had a problem with it.

Would I go to Pagan gatherings and festivals? Actually, no. I don't like crowds and most gatherings seem to be primarily aimed at Wiccans and I have absolutely no interest in Wicca. I'm an eclectic panenthiestic dark pagan witchy something or other, if we have to label ourselves :) The "dark pagan" part seems to irritate a lot of white-lighters anyway, as a lot of them still associate "dark" with "evil"...carry-overs from a Judeo-Christian upbringing I suppose.

There's only one protest I would have participated in if I could have. When Bush came to Portland I *so* wanted to go to that protest, but I was sick that day. And even if I weren't sick I would have had to go to work anyways. Gotta keep a roof over my head and food on the table. Other than that I'm not very interested in protests. There are always some there who ruin the "peaceful" part of it all. There are people who protest for a living and their "job" is to cause as much trouble as possible to get media attention. They think it will draw even more attention to their "cause" although it really doesn't. All it does is annoy the hell out of people. A while back a group called Earth First! protested at an office building right next door to the one I work in and made a lot of noise. *No one* cared what they were protesting. Everyone just wanted them to shut up and go away so we could get back to work. (The joke around here was that they were actually protesting bathing, some of those people STUNK horribly). When people block others from going to work and doing their job and cause destruction of property (I was told some of the fire alarms were broken during the "protest"), no one cares what the people are protesting. They just see a bunch of rowdy, stinky, jobless wannabe-hippies making jackasses out of themselves.

I'm not trying to be mean or heartless, but thats how I feel.

Amber Heathen


Of Course! Sep 27th. at 3:06:00 pm EDT

Hope Tway (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) Age: 18 - Email


Well, I have been known to foolishly get myself into bad situations (I'm an aries- 'nough said), but there was only a very small length of time when I was afriad to be public about my beliefs and stand up for them. Now, as the founder and unofficial leader of the campus Pagan group here in the Druid City, and having my name published in the local paper as a Pagan, even if I wanted to, I can hardly back out now! I don't run around, screaming my name and beliefs from the rooftops, but I make no effort to hide them, and when they are challenged, I will stand my ground and not back down. I have just as much right as anyone else to hold my beliefs, and live my life according to them. Also, I will fight for anyone else's right to believe what they wish to (not just Pagans, but in the context of my group, that is my current stance, I guess). Can anyone tell that I want to go into law after undergrad? ;-} Ok, I'm done now. *steps off soapbox*


What's To Hide? Sep 27th. at 2:23:21 pm EDT

Craig Stehr (Berkeley, CA) Age: 52 - Email - Web


I present myself in public exactly the way I am. There is a large number of "earth spiritual" practitioners in the San Francisco bay area, and nobody's hiding. Local revolutionary ecology and peace & justice groups are filled with neo-pagans, witches, druids, shamans, eclectics, etc. Nobody here cares about what our confused critics think. We rock!!


What?! Sep 27th. at 2:21:10 pm EDT

Amanda (Houston,TX) Age: 17 - Email


I certaintly would take part in protests, public events, and sign my legal name to a petition. I am
more open about my beleifs now than ever. Uninformed people are ignorant people, and ignorant
people are dangerous. Status of MY broom closet: I am OUT! :) Blessed Be to you all!

~Amanda


It Shook The World Sep 27th. at 1:35:28 pm EDT

DiaTima Vacheresse (Savannah, GA) Age: 17 - Email


9/11 Shook the world when the two towers fell. And even though it was a select group of people of the Islamic belief I believe that their are certain people who are looking for anyone of a different faith. I do not however believe that their are many of these kinds of people out there. Wicca/ Paganism has taken the world by storm these last 50 years and whether we ment to or not we has stirred up a "normAL SOCIETIES" COOKING POT. But while I am rightened, often for my life that doesnt mean that I will say I'm not a Wiccan anymore. And if anyone wants to ask me and I tell them and they get angry about it....... That is their lose. Just because we are in a different faith doesn't mean we are evil. In the Goddesses eyes we are one and the same. But just the same I do believe we are still in a time where we must tread carefully, and be cautious.


I Am Open In My Beliefs Sep 27th. at 1:25:37 pm EDT

Don Dundas (Michigan) Age: 34 - Email


I am very open about myself as being a pagan. I think each person's religion is their own business and people should be respectful for each other and their beliefs. I am proud to call myself a pagan and feel much more at home spiritually being a pagan then in my past when I followed the Christian path.


LET YOUR VOICE RING OUT Sep 27th. at 12:50:45 pm EDT

David Nelson (JOHNSON CITY TN) Age: 25 - Email


HELLO EVERYONE
I BEKIEVE WE ALL HAVE A RIGHT TO VOICE OUR OPINION IF WE DONT THEN EVERYONE ELSE WILL MAKE OUR DESICIONS FOR US
WE SHOULD TAKE A STAND AND SHOW OUR GOVERNMENT THAT WE ARE A TRUE RELIGION AND WE DESERVE A RIGHT TO
VOICE OUR OPINION IF WE LET EVERYONE ELSE MAKE THE DESICIONS THEN TOMORROW OUR FREEDOM MAY BE TAKEN AWAY AND WE MAY HAVE TO HIDE IN SECRECY AND FEAR THOSE IN POWER
SO LIFT YOUR VOICE TO THE GODS AND GODDESSES AND LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT YES WE ARAE A TRUE RELIGION
MERRY MEET AND BLESSEED BE
DAVID NELSON


Sure Did! Sep 27th. at 10:00:26 am EDT

Gí Forestchilde (Western MA) Age: 29 - Email


I am one of the local co-coordinators for the Western MA Pagan Pride Day event. This year is the first year that I used my real name in the local papers and did an on camera interview for the local NBC affiliate. I feel that because of 9/11 and current White House and Congressional tendencies toward religious discrimination it is *MOST* important to stand up and let them know who we are ... and that we vote! They need to *see* their constituency and be reminded that we are not going to keep our heads in the sand while they legislate us right back into the broom closet.

Of course, I also live in an area of the country where it is easy to make these statements. Paganism is fairly accepted in my neck of the woods (or at least there are so many of us that it isn't made an issue). That means that I have to work extra hard for the people who *DO* fear for their safety ... and it is a responsibility that I willingly accept, if not for this generation, then for the next.

Lady Bless



Sure I Would! Sep 27th. at 8:20:19 am EDT

Monita (Sweden) Age: 21 - Email


Since I live in Sweden I don't have any opportunities to protest as a pagan or something like that, but if I got the chance I would be there and be proud of my faith!


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