Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 2nd. 2014 ...
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Paganism, Atheism and Humanism: Finding Common Ground
Article ID: 13144
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,833
Times Read: 2,197
RSS Views: 69,680
Author: Morgan Ravenwood
Posted: March 1st. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,197
Having spent a great deal of time communicating on the Internet with many different people from all walks of life, over the years I've found myself becoming quite a Pagan "activist." I've also learned that this seems to be a road that many other longtime Pagans often take, and with good reason: the more educating we do, and the more we stand up for equal rights for all members of all religions, the more our own faith will continue to gain acceptance.
In my many travels along the "information superhighway, " I've encountered people who ranged from mildly curious to downright hostile. However, the majority of them have been polite, and some have even thanked me for clearing up a few misconceptions that they had held for years about Paganism.
Some of the other Pagan activists I've met were able to offer some really great input and advice. However, I've also encountered people who, though not Pagan, appeared to share many of the same beliefs and ideas as myself. Some have claimed to be Atheists, others Humanists or Agnostics, but it didn't matter. What DID matter, and what has often surprised me, was that we all managed to find a great deal of common ground, especially concerning the never-ending battle on the issue of separation between church and state.
It is this issue that has become very dear to my heart, and in joining the fray concerning it I have followed a tradition begun by my own mother, who was strongly opposed to any attempt to interject religion into our government and the public schools in particular. She would tell people, "if you want your kids to pray in the classroom, then send 'em to a parochial school!"
While she wasn't strictly Pagan, she wasn't a Christian any more than I am, and her reasons for supporting the separation of religion and government were basically the same as my own. Chief among these is the fact that due to the diversity of religious beliefs in this country (which is made possible by the fact that we all have the freedom to worship as we choose) , there is no ethical way for government to become impartially involved in promoting or teaching religion in any way, shape or form.
Unfortunately, there are many people in this country who do not agree with this view. In fact, in almost all polls on the subject, the results are that of those polled, a large majority expressed a desire for more religion in public schools. I think this is because many people believe that morality cannot exist without religion to reinforce it. Apparently, they also don't believe that children receive enough religious education from their parents and churches.
I happen to believe quite the opposite; in my opinion, (which owes a great deal of its formation to many years of working in public education) , placing the responsibility of religious education into the hands of schoolteachers, some of who are barely qualified to teach the 3 "R's" let alone religious theology, would be disastrous. Also, the inclusion of yet another required subject into an already full school day would mean even longer hours spent in the classroom for students and teachers.
Another consideration is the fact that the basic dogma of mainstream faiths may clash with the values and beliefs being taught by parents who are not members of those religions. Some parents may even feel that this dogma can be potentially harmful to impressionable school children.
For example, both Christianity and Islam teach that an evil entity known as "Satan" (or just "the devil") is responsible for all the "sinful" deeds we commit. Some of them don't even place a great deal of emphasis on individual accountability for one's thoughts or deeds; instead, they teach that you can always excuse your sinful actions by saying, as the late comedian Flip Wilson was wont to do in his guise as "Geraldine, " "the devil made me do it!" (Of course, you may have less success with getting a jury to believe that claim in a courtroom...!!)
And how about those poisonous snake-handlers of the Appalachians? They teach that neither snake venom nor strychnine will harm you if you are pure at heart and if you are a "true" believer. Not exactly something most of us would want our kids trying at home!
As the population of the United States increasingly continues to become a mixture of varied ethnicities due to the continued influx of immigrants from all over the world, the stereotype of the average American as a Caucasian Christian simply doesn't hold true in this day and age. With so many children of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds in our schools, it would be virtually impossible to teach religious studies without causing offence to those whose beliefs would inevitably be omitted.
Pagans as well as members of other minority faiths have a particularly hard row to hoe in attaining religious equality with those of mainstream faiths, and the constant attempts by some (including our new president!) to circumvent the First Amendment and inject (mainstream) religion into government entities and schools make it even more difficult. However, it's also important to remember that Atheists and Humanists not only share this problem, but in a way, theirs is an even more difficult one: they're striving not for freedom of religion, but freedom from religion.
Another (and probably the most important) vital issue on which Pagans, Atheists and Humanists tend to agree is that of basic human rights. Whether it's more humane treatment for those who find themselves incarcerated in foreign prisons, the deplorable abuse of female children and women in the Middle East, or the struggle to keep abortion safe and legal, chances are that we all feel the same desire to see such things changed for the better. There is surely strength in numbers and I think that we are all perhaps scattering our energies fighting these issues as a minority unit rather than as a unified force.
I believe that a dialogue should be opened between Pagans, Atheists and Humanists to find ways to work together against those who continue to attempt to overturn the First Amendment and degrade basic human rights.
During the recently-passed administration in Washington D.C., I as well as many other Pagans believed that never would we have had to work harder to maintain the separation of church and state. Time will tell how the new administration will handle religion-in-government issues, but for the first time in eight years, I think we can at least anticipate a little more balance.
From the high school student who decides to make a stand by wearing a pentacle necklace to school to the most fervently crusading Pagan activist, the more we continue to emerge from the "broom closet" and make our voices heard, the more it will become obvious to the rest of the world that we aren't going to simply give up and go away.
We, as well as Humanists, Atheists and other minority religions, must remain vigilant in our campaign against domination and oppression lest our voices be drowned in the sea of religious fervor that consumes those who work tirelessly to downgrade or eradicate our cherished freedoms.
Copyright: This article appeared in a slightly modified form at the Wiccan-Pagan Times website a few years ago.
Location: Lake Havasu City, Arizona
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)
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