Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 17,409,146


October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

A Microcosmic View of Ma'at


October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots


September 28th. 2014 ...

Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials

Creating a Healing Temple


September 20th. 2014 ...

GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)


September 7th. 2014 ...

Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery

Web Oh-oh

The All


August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

A Strange Waking Dream

Faith


August 24th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation

The Pagan Cleric

A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)


August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows

The Darkness


August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

The Power of the Gorgon


August 3rd. 2014 ...

Are You a Natural Witch?

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...


July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle

The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys


July 20th. 2014 ...

Being an Underage Wiccan

Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition

Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches

Thoughts on Ghost Hunting


July 13th. 2014 ...

A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...

From Christian to Pagan (Part III)

Being Wiccan

My Wiccan Ways...


July 6th. 2014 ...

Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds

The Lore of the Door

Leaves of Love


June 29th. 2014 ...

What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?

Are You My Familiar ?

Invocations of the God and Goddess

Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene

Results Magic and the Moral Compass


June 22nd. 2014 ...

Witchcraft vs. Religion

Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?

Norse Mythology


June 15th. 2014 ...

Becoming Your Own Wise One

Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha


June 8th. 2014 ...

Moral Relativism and Wicca

Paganism in Cebu, Philippines

Color Infusion

Soul Strings


June 1st. 2014 ...

Rediscovering My Pagan Faith

13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah


May 25th. 2014 ...

Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials

Awakening to our Celestial Nature (A Free 8-Day Course)

How to Work With Your Muse

10 Things I Love about my Sacred Work as a Public Witch


May 18th. 2014 ...

Finding the God (From Christian to Pagan -Part II)

The Medea Within Us All

Visits from the Departed


May 11th. 2014 ...

Breaking the Law of Return

Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!

Karma and Sin

The Sin Concept


May 4th. 2014 ...

Embracing my Inner Goddess through Belly Dance

When to Let Go...When to Hold On

Goddessy: Sorceress Speaks On Beauty


April 27th. 2014 ...

Mental Illness in the Pagan Community

Being Pagan, Being Bipolar

World Crisis: Awaken Witches and Take Action

"Earth Day" Is A Pagan Conspiracy!


April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 10847

VoxAcct: 163711

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 3,082

Times Read: 4,663

RSS Views: 72,062
Hate Crimes And Hate Incidents: Shedding New Light On Pagan Persecution

Author: Morgan Ravenwood
Posted: June 18th. 2006
Times Viewed: 4,663

As I was reading yet another report of a Pagan group being evicted from a meeting hall because an intolerant Christian group decided to stage a protest outside the building, I tried to understand why, in many quarters, such behavior is considered acceptable because it’s done under the guise of “free speech.” Since this activity was clearly performed with the intention of intimidating and humiliating the Pagans and reviling their religion, a question raised itself in my mind: was the “protest” in actuality a hate crime? I then proceeded to do a little Internet research and came up with the following:

The International Association of Chiefs of Police defines “Hate Crimes” and “Hate Incidents” thusly:

“Hate incidents involve behaviors that, though motivated by bias against a victim's race, religion, ethnic/national origin, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation, are not criminal acts. Hostile or hateful speech, or other disrespectful/discriminatory behavior may be motivated by bias but is not illegal. They become crimes only when they directly incite perpetrators to commit violence against persons or property, or if they place a potential victim in reasonable fear of physical injury. Officers should thoroughly document evidence in all bias-motivated incidents. Law enforcement can help to defuse potentially dangerous situations and prevent bias-motivated criminal behavior by responding to and documenting bias-motivated speech or behavior even if it does not rise to the level of a criminal offense.”

So, from a legal perspective, while not quite meriting the definition of “Hate Crime,” the protest WAS a “Hate Incident,” which is still a serious matter that could easily lead into criminal behavior. With that in mind, it’s time to consider what this means for the Pagan community (and, indeed, every other “minority” religious group). This could well give us the impetus we need to push for the establishment of a policy of “zero tolerance” of religious persecution of any kind.

The fuss being made by Fundamentalists about the “Harry Potter” books has been a landmark event, bringing Witchcraft---both as a religion and as a practice---into the public eye. Though there isn’t a single mention of Wicca or even Paganism in any of the “Potter” books, the Religious Right has been using the books as weapons to justify their attacks upon these religions. A lot of school and public libraries have caved in under their pressure and removed the “Potter” books from their shelves. However, there are still some logical thinkers out there--in one instance, a federal judge ordered “Harry Potter” books back onto an Arkansas school district's library shelves, rejecting a school board's claim that tales of wizards and spells could harm school children. While I applaud this judge’s decision, I have a different slant on the “Potter” issue. A lot of the “Right”-ers have attempted to get the books removed from schools via the church/state separation argument that they endorse a religion (presumably Wicca). I say if that’s the way they want to play, that’s fine---therefore, in the event of any future “Potter” incidents, including book burnings, demonstrations, etc., somebody---AREN or even an ordinary citizen backed by the ACLU---should file Hate Incident complaints against the offenders, and insist that they be prosecuted under their state’s hate crime laws. No doubt this would cool the religious fervor a bit.

Another area where a lot of religious discrimination still abounds is in the public schools. In Knoxville, Tenn., a Pagan schoolgirl was taken out of school by her parents after the school sponsored a “Christian Crusade” campaign and required students to attend religious revivals during school time. Before she left the school, the girl was harassed, threatened and injured by classmates because of her religion and for her refusal to participate in the “crusade” activities, with no attempted intervention by school staff. With the help of the ACLU, the girl filed a lawsuit against the school district.

According to the Hate Crime description I cited earlier, since physical injury was involved, the girl was the victim of a hate crime. The offending students should have been arrested and charged with such, but unfortunately, this was not done. Still, this may be the “landmark” case that changes such inept law enforcement procedures.

From what I’ve read and heard, there is a lot of hate crime legislation pending in both state and federal courts. It’s time for the Pagan community to jump on this bandwagon and go along for the ride. Since two other areas where intolerance and hatred seems to proliferate are race and sexual orientation, we have a lot of allies in our battle for equality. Since the murder of Matthew Shepard, the gay rights issue has received a lot of international attention and publicity. Though racism will never completely die, it is increasingly being beaten into submission by those who refuse to continue to suffer prejudice and persecution at the hands of ignorant, intolerant fools. Now we, as a thriving and growing but still persecuted religious community, need to follow in the footsteps of these likewise persecuted groups and work hard to make religious tolerance a reality.

Despite the efforts of our own government to slowly erode our civil rights into extinction, we still have a lot of them left. These must be the tools we use to assert our right to peaceably assemble, whether in a park, public building or even in our back yard, and practice our religion without fear of persecution, condemnation or molestation by anyone. These fundamental rights must also extend to those members of minority religions who own and run businesses. With so many “protesters” claiming they are simply exercising their right of free speech when they harass members of minority religions, obviously, the laws must be changed to prohibit ANY persecution that conforms to the hate incident description above, whether or not it is on private property. Megaphones and microphones know no boundaries.

As our current government has taught us only too well, “Free Speech” isn’t completely “free.” People have been jailed for speaking out and protesting against the war in Iraq, even though they harmed nobody in doing so. Surely those who harass, belittle and humiliate other people because of their race, sexual orientation or religion deserve no less.

Interestingly enough, I am finding that the people who are having the hardest time with pushing for religious equality are Pagans themselves. I actually got flak from some of them when I suggested that the earlier mentioned protest at the meeting hall distinctly bordered on being a hate crime. I think that this is due in large part by their being used to the “status quo.” The persecution of Pagans is by no means a new concept, as we all know. It was the reason for the coining of the term “in the broom closet” and is the way of life for the majority of Pagans. Unfortunately, the secrecy that surrounds Paganism only contributes to its tarnished reputation among mainstream religions. If more of us conducted some open, public rituals and gatherings, pretty soon the word would spread that there was nothing Satanic, dangerous or evil going on. We need to continue to work to dispel all the misconceptions about our religion and, most importantly, we need to stay in the public eye rather than furtively sneak around to Circles and meetings.

When we are harassed and reviled for what we believe, we need to stand up for ourselves and fight back with all the resources at our disposal. Firstly, we must make law enforcement work for us, instead of allowing them to sink to the same level of mentality as those doing the persecuting. On a higher level, we must push for better and more clearly worded laws protecting anyone from being harassed at home or work because of what they believe and/or practice. When such things DO happen, we must remain vigilant in our pursuit of justice. One organization that actively works toward this end is the ACLU, which is full of caring, energetic and helpful people, as well as AREN (Alternative Religions Educational Network).

Another thought suggested by some Pagans is to print up and distribute “tracts” similar to those constantly strewn about by Christians. There are a lot of pro and con opinions on this, but I personally don’t have a problem with it if the tracts are only of an educational nature and don’t appear to proselytize.

Another valuable resource is the local police department. It is advisable for at least one local Pagan clergy member to introduce him- or herself to the police chief (especially if you’re going to conduct outdoor and/or public rituals of any kind) and offer to assist in any matters pertaining to occult-related crime. This can work wonders just in case some local teens decide to play a prank in the cemetery or some similar incident arises, because the police department is a direct link to the media, who are usually all too willing to label such shenanigans as “Satanic” or “Witchcraft” or, even worse, lay them at the door of the local Pagan group.

These suggestions are, of course, only those of one person. I’m sure there are many more of you with great ideas of your own. However, the only way we’re going to effect any positive change is to work together. There’s strength in numbers, as the mainstream religions have discovered. We just need to learn it for ourselves and use it to best advantage.

Blessed Be,




ABOUT...

Morgan Ravenwood


Location: Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Website: http://www.geocities.com/morgan_313/desert_moon_circle.html

Author's Profile: To learn more about Morgan Ravenwood - Click HERE

Bio: Morgan Ravenwood has been an Eclectic Wiccan and writer for over 30 years and was the facilitator of the first Pagan group in her area, Desert Moon Circle. She is also a dedicated equal-rights activist and has conducted extensive research on hate crimes and persecution against Pagans.




Other Articles: Morgan Ravenwood has posted 7 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email Morgan Ravenwood... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Morgan Ravenwood ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 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 G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
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.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).