Teenage Paganism: Us vs. School and the Public
Article ID: 14366
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: March 27th. 2011
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How many of you reading this have ever wondered: “If we in the United States have the right of ‘Freedom of Religion’, why is it that most of humanity frowns upon those who are Atheist, Pagan/Wiccan, Satanists, etc.?” As a teen, I look around the small world that I call my own and often ask myself this question once, if not many times a week. Going to a public high school, I have learn about how Jesus was called the Messiah and he was hung on the cross and resurrected because this is apart of my World History studies of the early times. People can tell you at school if their LDS/Mormon or Christian or Catholic, but let me demonstrate what really gets to me.
I go to a pretty regular high school, where any suspicious words said make a perfect rumor and secrets spilled to a friend will probably end up getting out somehow. Our school though is mostly accepting, and that’s a plus. But, the keyword there is mostly.
During the beginning of the year, around September, there was a small buzz going around our school. Paying no heed to the whispers and exclamations, I made my way through the first two weeks of the month. Then, a friend of mine and author of her own articles, Rain Faerie, came to me after school one day.
“Hey, ” Rain said, “Did you hear about the girl everyone has been talking about?”
“No, ” I said curiously, putting away my cell phone, “What’s up?”
“There’s a girl at our school who was wearing a pentacle in my class a few days ago, and someone asked her if she was a Satanist. She looked at them and answered ‘No, I’m Wiccan.’ Everyone has been making fun of her ever since. It’s not fair, I mean, she dresses different but that’s no reason to tease her. So anyways, I went to her this morning and explained that I was eclectic Wiccan and to just ignore those stupid kids teasing her. I showed her my pentacle necklace and stuff. It’s just completely rude how one person can say they’re Catholic or Mormon but as soon as someone says ‘I’m Wiccan’ people automatically assume we worship Satan or something.” Rain had the slightest bit of frustration in her voice.
“I agree.” I said nodding.
“That’s not even the biggest part, ” Rain Faerie said, continuing her daily rant. “I was in dance class with Veni* and Brie* and of course, Veni knows what religion I am, so it’s cool. But Brie came up to me and was just like, ‘You know that girl in our science class? She’s soooo freaky’ and just weird stuff like that and I just kind of stood there like ‘Uhh you haven’t even gotten the chance to know her... What if she’s a really great person?’ Ya know?”
After our conversation, I started listening closely in school. I realized everyone was so blinded. I had met the girl a few times, just crossing paths with her and every time I saw her I made sure to say hi. Her face was always smiling, like her head was held high. But her eyes have the slightest twinge of sadness to them and it made my inner demon burst out. This was a form of bullying and no teacher was catching it because as teenagers, rumors are rumors. No one knows what’s really true, but it still hurts.
Even I have had my fair share of being picked on because of my race, or my straightforward personality. But I talked to the girl who everyone had been talking about. Who were they to stand in my way? She was another student I could get along with and a really cool person.
I do remember though, people asking me questions like “Why are you talking to creepy girl?” and I just raised my eyebrow and said, “Why are you talking ABOUT her? Do you even know what she’s like?”
The usual response was “No, but she’s like.. Weird and.. She always wears that weird necklace.” Newsflash: If you people can wear a cross and shirts that show what church your from or what religion you are, we should be able to at the VERY least, be able to wear our necklaces and jewelry that show our religion.
Even today, I go to school and see the girl that everyone has dubbed “Socially awkward and weird.” I throw a smile her way, and hope maybe things will get a little bit brighter for her as she goes on throughout her high school years. I smile and say hi to all the people that have been degraded as the label “Outcasts” or “Geeks” and “Creepy”. It saddens me as a fifteen-year-old to look around our society today and see how much bullying and cliques rule the lives of teens. And as the older generation, we are passing it onto our younger siblings or cousins or whatever.
It is time to take a stand.
Schools may try and ban religion from being promoted or taught at schools, but it’s everywhere inside the hearts of many, and on their physical appearances as well. This may sound harsh, but I promise I’m not bashing any religion at all. I’m just using my voice, a voice that is tired of hearing how people who don’t worship one god directly are weird and automatically worshipers of the devil. I am a voice that’s sick and tired of being drowned out by the buzzing of the public. Everyone needs to be heard! So for all of you out there who feel lost because you can’t directly come out with your religion: Use your voice. It’s the only way anyone in our modern world is ever going to recognize any problem, and if it fails at first, keep trying. There’s always someone who will listen.
*Some names changed for protection.
Note: I promise I’m not bashing any religion. Sorry if it seems like I am!
Location: Apache Junction, Arizona
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