The Truth Is Nero
Article ID: 10210
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,360
Times Read: 4,901
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Author: Carissa Stormbringer
Posted: November 13th. 2005
Times Viewed: 4,901
“I see you have a cross displayed here, so I want to be honest with you before I bring in my other alterations.” I said calmly to the smiling woman behind the counter. “I’m Pagan, and one of the items I need altered is a robe that I wear in ritual. Would you feel comfortable altering it?”
Suddenly, you could have heard a pin drop in the small seamstress shop. The woman’s smile faded, and after a minute of awkward silence, she shook her head and replied, “No.” While this moment was certainly as uncomfortable for me as it was for her, I smiled, as broadly as I could and said, “That’s fine. I’m just an honest gal, and I wanted to tell you.” Relieved at my understanding reaction, the woman smiled back and said, “Honest is definitely the way to be.”
We chatted for a minute more and discovered that we lived in the same little town about a half hour away. I told her that I really enjoyed living there, and added jokingly, “I haven’t complained about how the town council prays, and no one has tried to burn me at the stake.” To this, she laughed and replied, “Most people will respect your beliefs if you respect theirs.”
I left the woman’s store hoping to find a new seamstress who would handle all my needs, but with love and respect for the one I had just spoken to. Not a situation I’d ever care to be in again, but I felt like I did the right thing by being upfront with her. In my opinion, to bring in my robe and deceive her into doing something that violated her own moral code was just unthinkable. That’s just not me.
I would like to say that I always handle interfaith relations so well, but I’m just a human being. Recently I noticed a coworker of mine coming out of a local store as I was walking in. This coworker is a very strong Baptist and outside of work I wear my pentacle out. I didn’t intend to not greet her, but as she walked passed she chuckled and said my name out loud. I looked at her, embarrassed of course, and greeted her warmly.
I am an introspective person, due to my Shamanic nature most likely. I couldn’t help but ask myself what had just happened after it was over. The truth was, I didn’t greet her because I was wearing my pentacle out, and was afraid that she wouldn’t want to be associated with me. Boy was I wrong!
In my studies I have delved into more than just how spells work and what attributes my Gods have. I’ve also studied history, and particularly the history of the animosity between the Pagan and Christian communities. When I discovered the Pagan faith, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, this religion is NOTHING like it is made out to be. Why do so many Christians seem to hate it?” Well, the results of my study can be summed up in two words…Nero Caesar.
First of all, it is important for us to understand that many of the values of the Pagans of the past are not values the modern community endorses. The ancient Romans were known for their cruelty. If you messed with them, they’d be likely to not only burn your entire city, but they would probably till salt into the soil so that nothing would ever grow there again. Emperor Nero was NOT a good man. When early Christianity began to spread, he felt threatened, and he not only threw innocent Christians to the lions, he even was known to use their corpses as lanterns! It is also said that he deflowered a Vestal virgin by force, which ended in her being buried alive, which he knew was the punishment and it mattered not why or how the Vestal lost her virginity! I am in no way saying that we deserve the junk we get from the Christian right, but if we want to end this religious war, we have to understand how it started. Others may know more, but this is what I found in my research.
It’s very hard to read stories like Darla Wynn’s and not feel angry, but the fact is that not all Christians are the same. Every community, every church, is different. I walk around my town, pentacle in full sight, and I’ve only had one, mildly rude comment ever made about it (and that was from a really old guy who thought I was out of earshot). I rarely meet a Christian I don’t like, so I’m afraid that I have no interest in hassling the Christian community. I want this religious war over, not by defeating the other side, but by healing the wounds between us. Hatred breeds more hatred, and I’m not about to abandon all the wonderful, tolerant Christians that I know. Heck, even the Roman Catholic Church has now come out to say that fundamentalism is dangerous. We DO have Christians that are on our side. I, for one, would like to keep them as our friends.
What Nero Caesar did was unspeakable, as also are the attacks that Darla Wynn has had to face. This is not how we treat people. I think all of us can agree that the world would be a lot better off if there was a lot more love and a lot less hate. Let’s join forces with the liberal and moderate Christians. Then maybe we’ll finally see some of the changes in the world that we talk about so much. I would never downplay Darla Wynn’s ordeal, and I hope the sick people responsible go to jail for their crimes, but I hope we can be big enough to not hold this against all Christians. Everyone deserves to be judged as an individual. The more we get to know others, and the more they get to know us, the better chance we have of making a world of peace. It’s our choice. I would like to think that we would all take the higher path.
Walk in beauty and blessed be,
Location: Georgetown, Kentucky
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