Dealing With Real Hate
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Article ID: 11331
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: February 25th. 2007
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We see it in the news everyday, read it in the papers, hear it on the radio, and witness it occurring in our day to day lives Ė hate. In one form or another, in the name of one religion or another, caused by one ideology or another, hate surrounds us. We cannot escape its presence because of how pervasive it is.
That does not mean we cannot do something about it.
As Wiccans, Pagans, and Witches, we have to deal with our own various forms of hate from time to time. Most of the time itís just due to misinformation, and once we sit down with the persons in question and explain everything, then things tend to smooth over. At worst in these circumstances, the most youíll get is someone constantly pestering you to become Christian or whatnot.
But thatís simply misunderstanding. Itís not the same as hate. Real hate has one of two faces. Either the proponents of hatred blatantly ignore the facts about your religion (or really anything about yourself), or they are informed but twist the facts for their own purposes. In both cases, this can lead to open conflict, hostility, and in the worst-case scenario, violence.
Thankfully, Iíve come to find that society has begun to understand our religious beliefs and allow us a place in the world, especially among teenagers and young adults. That being said, there are still those out there who would wish us everything from fire to brimstone.
The first ones to come to mind generally are fundamentalist Christians Ė mainly due to the media fascination with them. Notorious names such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell come to mind most often with their virulently anti-Pagan rants. These forms of Christians (though by no means the majority) still associate any religion outside Christianity as being of the devil, and even more so where witchcraft is involved.
But fundamentalist Christians are by no means the only anti-Pagans out there. Recently, Iíve discovered that Pagans are also a target for Neo-Nazis. Excluding the splinter sects of Pagan-Nazis (Neo-Nazis who disguise their ideologies with German paganism, such as Wotanism), many NNís adhere to their own twisted interpretations of the Bible, and they generally arenít shy about preaching hatred to non-Christians. Granted, Pagans arenít one of their top priorities, but they certainly arenít buddies with us.
Iíve had such hate from both of the above categories flung at me. When the fundies come to protest at my campus, I sigh in silent humor with their anti-Pagan Jack Chick comic books. Iíve had an encounter with a self-described Catholic fascist Nazi, and once he saw my pentacle, he remarked how he wished it was still medieval Europe and I could be burned at the stake. Yeah, fun times.
But getting to the point here Ė how does one deal with the hate? First of all, donít go assuming everybody who doesnít know about your path, doesnít understand it, or is Christian to be anti-Pagan. Weíre still in the minority, so itís common to encounter the uninformed. Also, donít go thinking that somebody who doesnít agree with your religion is hateful. This is just personal conviction at work. They may not agree with your path, but that doesnít mean they hate you for it.
Hate is when someone wishes true ill against you. If somebody learns of your religion and begins calling you every curse in the book, or screams that your evil and whatnot Ė that is real hate. If you encounter this, remember to keep your cool. Donít get riled up and start shouting back. Itís better to keep these sorts of conflicts to a minimum rather than fanning the flames. Once they are done ranting, try to explain your beliefs in a calm, rational manner. If they stop yelling and begin to listen, go on. But if they continue to yell and refuse to listen, then thereís little hope at this point. Let them go, and hopefully when you meet them again theyíll be more level headed and you can explain things better.
But say they wonít listen even after that. If the person in question continues to treat you with hostility, the best thing to do is to distance yourself. If you feel that your safety is now in jeopardy, work on creating a psychic shield for whenever you find yourself close to the person in question (Christopher Penczakís The Witchís Shield is a good start for protection magic). Carrying around protective herbs and/or stones is also a good idea. And employing the aid of certain protective spirits, be them guides or gods, can help deter the situation.
Now, if you find yourself actually threatened, or are met with violence, before you do any of the above, call the police. Donít even bother with magic if you start receiving death threats. Just file a report with you local police, get a restraining order, and make sure they keep your harasser as far away as possible. Remember, if you are attacked because of your religion, itís not just any crime Ė itís a hate crime, and thatís an offense, which the law takes more seriously, even for us.
As a rule of thumb, itís a wise idea to learn how to defend yourself. Even if youíre a pacifist, knowing how to effectively fend off an attacker can be an invaluable asset. I recommend learning some form of martial arts for starters. Even a minimal knowledge of how to fight can be enough to take out an assailant, and many dojos and gyms offer basic self-defense courses to get you started.
Carry around things like mace or a small staff in your backpack/purse if you feel at risk. If you feel you must, Iíd also suggest learning how to wield a weapon as a backup. Remember, we arenít learning how to fight to cause harm. The first rule of martial arts is that you never use your fighting skills to cause harm Ė only to defend yourself and those weaker than you. Donít feel that because youíre learning how to fight means you have to. It is always a plan of last resort.
My last suggestion is that you do a regular spell to quell the hate and violence in your community and/or the world. Craft a spell of your own design to help calm whatever hate lurks in your area. Ask the God and Goddess to guide your community away from harm and hate and into peace. You can even write a prayer if you want and recite it everyday to help promote peace.
Hopefully, you wonít find yourself in any of the above situations, and itís my sincerest hope that you never do. But we mustnít forget that this is still a hostile world, and nobody is immune from the devastation that hate causes. But we can do something about it.
By refusing to become victims, by refusing to get involved with hate, and by doing what we can to promote peace, magically or otherwise, we can put hate to an end, one person, one community, one world at a time.
May the gods watch over you, and blessed be.
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