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The Persecution of Pagans: Cause and Effect

Author: Tess Knightlie
Posted: July 8th. 2012
Times Viewed: 2,431

Paganism is a blend of Celtic, Norse, and Greek traditions, stemming mostly from Europe. These faiths are reflected in almost all mainstream religions today, from Native American Shamanism to Orthodox Christians. All religions have roots in Paganism, although many of these faiths do not realize it and hold Paganism in an evil view. Religious intolerance has caused persecution and hostility toward Paganism and the people who practice it, but it has also preserved Paganism and its true nature.

Since the rise of the world's 'mainstream' religions, paganism has suffered from religious intolerance, and this continues even in current day America. Pagans do not believe in the devil; it is as simple as that. Christianity and Judaism created the icon of Satan, and although Pagans have never believed in an evil deity, they are almost always paralleled with Satanism and devil worship. The word “witchcraft” is often tossed around to denote women worshipping and doing sexual favors for the devil in exchange for magic and this also is often used to describe Pagans. This is one of the main misconceptions that lead to such vicious intolerance toward the Pagan faiths.

Paganism is in no way an exact replica of the religions it is based on, but it is one of the only links people today have to the ancient roots of all faiths, which have, in so many other religions, been lost and buried. Yet even with the social advances in today’s world, people hold hostility towards ‘unfamiliar’ religions such as Paganism.

The hunting and bullying of Pagans have left strong emotional effects on everybody involved. In the past, people who were persecuted because of being involved in Paganism were called witches and demons. They would be interrogated, and often tortured in brutal and sadistic ways to extract a confession of magic or evil. Great physical traumas were inflicted upon people, many of whom were innocent and had nothing to do with magic at all, and had done no harm to anybody. Whether they confessed or not, people were often killed by burning, hanging, stoning to death, crushing a person’s body, starving, or drowning.

Today, people are still persecuted for believing in magic and in Paganism, and people today still confuse Pagans with Satanists. People persecuted for magic in present times are often bullied, teased, harassed, and beaten. People are emotionally and mentally scarred more than physically injured, although some people are indeed harmed by others because of religious differences. Many adolescents and innocent adults have been tormented to the point of committing suicide because of religious intolerance.

Religious intolerance and bullying in modern day civilization leaves strong and lasting effects, and it has ended lives and has destroyed relationships. Many people in America today are working toward helping the growing tolerance of minority religions, but many other people still cling to the belief that Pagans walk a path of evil and should be eliminated. Just recently, a group of Orthodox Christians attacked a place of worship that would be established as the Church of Jupiter. The church was still in construction and was going to be a beautiful place for people to practice what they believe in, but a group of people with strong bias against Pagan denominations attacked the people working on it, wounding them and hospitalizing the Priest who tried to protect his altar. They spray painted words like “die”, “evil”, and “devil worshippers” on the temple walls and carved an inverted cross, the symbol of Satanism, into the front of the altar.

Although people hope for a world where people of all different faiths can coexist, acts like the destruction of the Church of Jupiter show that people may never get past their seemingly instinctual mistrust of any religion other than their own. There is hope for the future, but the past will never be changed. Religious clashes such as The Burning Times in England, the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, and the unnecessary deaths of many innocent people all over the world will never be forgotten or erased from history. People affected by these events will be forever scarred and changed.

Religious intolerance is unnecessary, and it leads to wars and horrible events. So many humans hope for world peace and a good place to start towards attaining this goal would be to end all wars in any ‘God’s name’ and let each person walk his or her own path in life. Every person’s belief or non-belief is held sincerely in his/her individual heart and no two people believe the exact same thing. People will always be biased and every generation will have its tragedies caused by religious dispute, but many benevolent humans hope for a day where everybody can exist in peace. Maybe one day that dream will become possible if enough people can look past stereotypes and judgments to see the good in every person’s heart.

Every living being wants to be love and to be loved, and that is the source of all belief. May the day come in which every person can live a truly free life… free from prejudice and torment for his/her beliefs… and may the people who so bravely suffered and struggled to make that day a reality never be forgotten.





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