How to talk about the Radical Right
Article ID: 2041
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,906
Times Read: 20,333
Posted: October 3rd. 1997
Times Viewed: 20,333
Introduction: You will notice that this document is titled talking "ABOUT" the Religious Right. You can not talk "TO" those who do not want to listen. Their bible says it, they believe it and that is all you will get in response to your well thought out approach.
However, there are some people that you CAN reach. Those who are open minded, curious or who represent the media ARE interested in your response to the Radical Rights attacks.
Here are some Sample Responses to the "Religious Right Rhetoric":
| 1. "Minority religions like Witchcraft are already covered under the Constitution just like the rest of us. What they want are SPECIAL RIGHTS. We oppose SPECIAL RIGHTS."|
RESPONSE: The right wing rhetoric of "SPECIAL RIGHTS" skews the issue. The right to get and keep a job based on merit is not a special right. Equal access to housing is not a special right. The right to have and raise children without the state seizing them is not a special right. The right to walk down a street and not get attacked because of who you are is not a special right. Witches and Pagans want the same rights guaranteed to all American citizens. However, without civil rights laws which specifically ban discrimination based on religious belief, Pagans can lose their jobs, their homes, and their families simply because they are Pagan--with no legal recourse. Right wing zealots who speak of special rights want the very special right to discriminate against those they hate. They want "special righteousness."
2. "Special Rights for Witches and Pagans force the rest of us to live against our religious beliefs. We can't have prayer in schools because they may be offended. We're entitled to our rights too."
RESPONSE: Extending civil rights to one sector of society does not withdraw rights from another. Most civil rights ordinances provide exemptions for religious institutions. In addition, many Witch/Wiccan and Pagan members of various religious Paths are organizing within their belief systems so that religious institutions may become more accepting of the diversity of their following. We don't want our own forms of prayer in schools either.
3. "Earth based religions want to be treated like a minority, like an ethnic minority. The Supreme Court says they're not. There were no confirmed large scale incidents against minority religions advanced to allow the RFRA to stand. That was main reason that the RFRA was declared invalid."
RESPONSE: Witches and Pagans are a numerical minority in American society. Like ethnic minorities, we do face job loss, eviction and the loss of our children simply because of who we are. And like other minorities, Pagans face harassment, physical assault, and murder based on an assailant's hatred against us as a group. "Minority status" affords no benefits to anyone; rather it provides guidelines to attempt to redress the inequalities that impair the exercise of constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms, including equal protection under the law. Our constitution says that all people are created equal--that must include Witches and Pagans as well.
4. "Witches and Pagans, according to the Bible, lead an "ungodly" and immoral lifestyle. People who care about traditional family values must not encourage the open expression of this type of behavior"
RESPONSE: Discrimination is what is immoral, not Witches or Pagans. The family values we uphold are support, love, understanding and respect between family members. Discrimination and bigotry are not traditional family values.
5. "You can't let Witches or Pagans teach or have access to children. They recruit and turn children against god. "
RESPONSE: Lies perpetuate stereotypes that are then used to deny rights. It is wrong to deny us our rights based on these myths. Pagans neither recruit members nor are they "against god". They are simply FOR the right to their own religious belief.
6. "Pagans and Witches and the like want to force their lifestyle on us and take away our rights.
RESPONSE: Civil rights laws that include minority religions do not limit the rights of others. Instead, they extend to Witches and Pagans the same rights already enjoyed by most Americans--the right to obtain and keep employment based on ability to do the job; the right to equal access to housing; the right to raise their children; and the right to live free of violence. There is no so-called "Pagan lifestyle." Witches and Pagans are members of every social class; ethnic group; occupation; and political affiliation. Pagans are not interested in forcing anything on anyone, just the opposite. We demand the freedom to live our lives with the same freedoms and rights that are accorded to all citizens, without fear that our liberty will be usurped by far right bigots and religious intolerance.
7. It's within our First Amendment rights- and our Biblical duty- to say what we think of Witches and Pagans."
RESPONSE: Right wing organizations hide their bigotry behind the First Amendment. While the right wing demands the right to speak out against Witchcraft and Paganism, they are simultaneously running well-financed campaigns to censor and squelch positive images of non-Christians on television, in schools, and in the arts. The hatred and lies that right wing organizations spew create a hostile environment all non-Christians. Their rhetoric bolsters the hatred expressed by the bigots who verbally or physically attack Witches and others.
Blessed Be & happy Samhain!
(Chairperson - Witches' Voice)
Location: Tampa, Florida
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