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
| Sick Of Haters.. ||Sep 26th. at 7:37:03 am EDT|
|Akira Tenshi (England) ||Age: 13 - Email |
Im sick of people dissing me. My face my hair, my music prefereces, and most sadly, my religion. I have lost count of the number of times my (well-meaning) Christian friend has tried to convert me, and the number of times my *very* strictly Catholic enemy has made high brow comments about my so-called low-brow religion.
Now, im not anti Christian, Muslim, or in fact any other religion on the whole damn planet; however, im growing heartily sick of people going on, and on, and on some more about
"Magick doesnt exist, ha, so stupid, worship rocks do you, oh go on, dance naked for us"etc..
BO-RING. Im only 13 and already, iv encountered pretty bad prejudice over my religion. I am going to stay Wiccan, though, because it is what i believe, whole-heartedly, that the Goddess take care of me and loves me and that i have a power over the world around me.
Im coming up to my first Wiccan birthday..
So, after that totally off the point reparte, Yes, i would. Just to kick some Catholic ass.
| YES! ||Sep 26th. at 1:10:55 am EDT|
|Amy Farnsworth (Glouster, Ohio) ||Age: 36 - Email |
I have been openly Pagan everywhere from Beaufort, S.C. to Asheville, N.C. to my current location in a small(pop.1500) town in S.E. Ohio.I have taken part in public rituals in courthouse square, and volunteered for public service as part of an openly Pagan group. In all of these things, I have seen the best and worst in people. I loved doing these things because not only did they need done( ie public service) , but they also let a lot of people see who and what we really are and are not. Much of the persecution that we are subject to is caused by ignorance. If people see that we dont sacrifice children or whatever they have been told we do)some of them will begin to accept us as people just like anyone else. But as long as we act as though we have something to hide then there will always be misconceptions about what we are hiding. I grant that there are some things in any tradition that should not be publicly displayed, but hiding is something which is often misunderstood. A devotion to Deity is something which should not be hidden but should be a source of pride. In all of the events in which I have participated, there have been those whom nothing would convince that we are anything other than satan spawn , but there have also been those who asked intelligent, sensitive questions and began to reach some basic understanding of us. To all of those who are hesitant to come out publicly, I ask you to try it once. Please dont get into yelling matches, dont presume to know everything or to speak for every Pagan. Be calm and mature in answering questions and realize that nothing will change some minds but how you present yourself reflects (for good or ill) on all of us. Thank You and Blessed Be.
| In A Heartbeat - Again ||Sep 26th. at 12:41:36 am EDT|
|Lorre Nickelson (Brunswick, OH) ||Age: 45 - Email |
Would I get involved in a protest as a pagan? Yes. I've been there, and I've learned that you do what it takes to make a difference, regardless of the circumstances.
I used to live in a little town in Arizona and had my children removed from my custody because I am a witch. The CPS people used false and trumped up charges of child molestation (their personal favorite)to commit the crime. I fought back, every minute, every hour, every day, until my children were returned home to me. I was never afraid of reprisals, never afraid of a backlash, because I knew I was the one who was right in the whole affair and they (the state) was dead wrong. I fought back in print when the Tucson Weekly got wind of what was going on. They ran a feature article on the story which embarassed the state to no end and, I believe, speeded up the return process. I also fought back in a passive/aggressive manner - I went to the hardware store and bought 2" tall, self stick letters, and on the back of my car spelled out "CPS STOLE MY KIDS, ARE YOURS NEXT?" Let me tell you, that car generated a LOT of interest.
Since 9/11 we CANNOT stay in the closet. It behooves each and every one of us to become a warrior in our own individual way to fight for our rights - that's something I learned through the mess in Arizona. Nobody is going to fight for YOUR rights if you're not willing to do it for yourself. I sign petitions using both my magickal name and my mundane name. I write letters to my congressmen telling them what I think they need to do to protect our environment, our children, our lifestyle. We cannot afford, any of us in this current day and age, to sit back and think somebody else will fight our battles for us. That's delusional thinking, and it's the first step to losing our precious right of freedom to be who we are.
| Definitely ||Sep 25th. at 11:51:55 pm EDT|
|Nightcloud (Minneapolis, USA) ||Age: 48 - Email |
Growing up in the US as a person of color, I learned early that there are people who will object to me no matter what I do. Therefore the only options are to either hide and hope that I remain unnoticed, (which means never expressing myself, my ideas, beliefs or opinions). Or to honor the memory of the many ancestors who stood up for their rights as free Americans, and live openly, standing up for my rights and beliefs.
To that end I have been open about being a pagan for twenty-five years, my family, friends and employers have always known. In the 60s and 70s I joined many protests and public gatherings, I signed many petitions using my legal name, no reason to stop at this point in my life. These are my rights, I am a voter, a tax payer and law abiding. The constitution guarantees each and every one of us the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to peaceably gather. The only way to protect these rights is to exercise them.
Since the events of last Sept. 11th, I have become more active again. I feel that this is a critical time, and that each and every person who can stand up for who they are, should do so.
I happen to believe that paganism in all it's forms is beautiful, none of us should let anyone force us into hiding as if we have something to be ashamed of, we do not. Many years ago I pledged myself to Apollon and Dionysus, it would be dishonorable and cowardly to deny them now. If some agency wants to place my name on some list let them.
| Half Dozen In One 6 In The Other ||Sep 25th. at 11:49:23 pm EDT|
|Moon and Stars (West Virigina) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I am out to those who will be able to not only accept it but will show respect for it. I agree with those that have wrote that if it will have an adverse effect on those in the family for knowing the only thing that would come is harm. I do believe that those I have told,(My mother, father, step-Mom, and many friends) respect me and accept the way I believe. I am Pagan and not by choice...now wait...we all have choices I know...but its what is in my heart that makes me Pagan.
I was Pagan before I even knew what the lable was.
It isn't the most sought after religion to be understood here in the hills of WV, and I have tons of christain friends but even they are die hard xtains....so I am in the closet with those who I know would be deeply confused and those that are cool with it I openly talk about it....The Gods are the ones that lead me to this choice, and it works. I would love to be around those of like minds....but no one wants to move here...LOL.. Take care and Be Blessed in all your paths.
| Why Not? ||Sep 25th. at 11:36:22 pm EDT|
|Matt (MI) ||Age: 25 - Email |
Yeah, why hide? Even if the "Burning Times" returned I would let them know they missed one and step up to the noose! I realy don't understand why some of us are still afraid to come out, maybe it's just the area that I live in but I haven't had any negative reactions to my being Wiccan nor to me being a homo. People just don't give a crap around Detroit! :)
| It Could Be Because I'm A Young College Student ||Sep 25th. at 11:15:29 pm EDT|
|Rebecca Keyel (Wellesley MA) ||Age: 18 - Email |
Personally, I'm not ashamed of my beliefs. I've been at school for about a month and my friends alreadyy know me as "the pagan girl". I will gladly sign my name to a cause that I firmly believe in and just took part in the Pagan Pride Day in the area. In light of 9/11 I think it's even more important now to make people aware that religious tolerance and acceptance is crucial to prevent us blowing up our earth. While my campus (Wellesley College) is fairly liberal, the town I am from is not. It is hard to convince those who have always been told that people who are different than them is bad, so the conversations I have had about religion with various people have become quite heated. I refuse to believe that anything I believe is wrong just because it isn't JudeoChristian. If the FBI wants to waste its time on tracking me they can go ahead, but they really should be focusing on the underlying problems of mistrust and hatred in the world as a whole.
Wellesley College, class of 2006
| Out? Sure. ||Sep 25th. at 11:00:05 pm EDT|
|JugglerJohn (Rochester NY USA) ||Age: 40 - Email |
I Have Driven Taxicab in Rochester NY for 14 years. On my Taxi, I always display some type of alternitive bumper sticker. (Born again Pagan; is the current one!)
Hanging from my rearview mirror is a Goddess pendent and my Ogun beads.
So I guess im out fulltime.
| I Have No Problem With Making Public, That I Am Wiccan ||Sep 25th. at 9:27:33 pm EDT|
|lisa odom (valdese NC) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I have not been wiccan for very long but I have no problems with letting it be known who and what i am.
| In Or Out? ||Sep 25th. at 9:15:14 pm EDT|
|Ethereal Moon (Springfield, IL) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I would like to jump up and down and say YES YES YES!! In my heart, for sure I'm saying that. However, working as a healthcare working in a religious institution, prevents me from jumping up and down about much in regards to the broom closet. My friends (supportive), my family (eventhough they don't like it) are at least in the loop. By professionally, it would be detrimental I believe. This is a case where I think I can make more of a difference IN the position than I can OUT of it.
| Freedom For All Pagans ||Sep 25th. at 8:10:54 pm EDT|
|Frederick G. Friedel SR. (Baltemore Md.) ||Age: 39 - Email - Web|
My thoughts are that all have the wright to Practice the way thay whant.I feel that if thay whant to watch me than the more power to tham. I have been in the army and I have been a biker and out of all that i have been this is the only thing i have not hurt peopel.I have come full circle to my youth.I have foud my self and no one can take that away from me.
| I'm A Stand Up Gal ||Sep 25th. at 7:44:51 pm EDT|
|Rowan (Virginia) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I HAVE and will continue to participate in public events - I have yet to engage in public protest, but only because the opportunity has yet to present itself. If it does, and it is a cause I feel passionate about, then I will most certainly take part.
I am aware that every time I go out in public with my pentacle hanging from around my neck, I risk some potential negative action. When I participate in a public ritual in a crowded park, we inevitably attract curious onlookers. So far in my experience, these folks have been quiet and respectful, only ocassionally interrupting to ask simple questions. I live in what I consider to be the beginning of the "bible belt" and there are many folks out there (my own sister included) who would bonk me over the head with their bible and preach the word til they were blue in the face if they knew of my spiritual beliefs. But so what? I must be true to myself! If we as Wiccans, Witches and Pagans are not true to ourselves, how can we expect others to be true to us, and accord us the respect we so deserve? I understand some of us truly feel they cannot risk the exposure and I do respect that - they know their situation and who am I to judge? However, the more of us who come out of the proverbial broom closet and make ourselves known, the further we will move toward bringing enlightenment and (Goddess willing!) acceptance from society at large. I think we are well on our way.
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