Thoughts on recent events
I originally posted this to my own LJ (http://owlsforodin.livejournal.com), and after some self-debate, decided to crossposted them here as well.
What does the PPD protest, the California Prop 8 referendum, and the fact that Sarah Palin was a VP nominee mean for pagans?
If you think that religious freedom in this country isn’t threatened, consider this. John McCain won the Republican nomination because many party rank-and-file (like me!) were wanting someone who wasn’t head-stuck-in-Bible. However, the Religious Right still held sufficient clout to get one of their darlings, Sarah Palin, onto the Republican Presidential ticket. For the record, I voted for Obama as much to keep her away from high political station as for any other reason, and maintaining religious freedom was my primary motivation.
For me, these events mean that being publicly pagan is more important than ever. That doesn’t mean we have to shout it from highest hilltops and tallest buildings, but it does mean that we shouldn’t have to avoid mentioning it either. In my office, it’s well-known that I’m Asatru. Two years ago, for Halloween, the office decided to do a religious theme, and they asked me to play God. I asked them, “Which one?” I did come to work that Halloween dressed as the one-eyed Norse god that most associate me with. If anyone asks about my choice of calendars (owls and turtles), I tell them about my totem spirits. I’ve also had rune signs and phrases in runes displayed on or around my desk in an appropriate fashion. Yes, my coworkers think I’m a bit weird, but I accept that. Many don’t even know that paganism exists, much less what it’s truly about. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that I’m the only pagan they know personally.
And that’s the important part, they know SOMEONE who’s pagan. Pagans should not allow themselves to be reduced to a faceless mass that hides away and doesn’t show itself. Pagans need to be someone that an everyday person knows and respects. That makes it harder for those everyday people to be a silent majority when zealots and fearmongerers are attempting to pass legislation and constitutional amendments against us. Or worse, use us as hate-symbols for tyrants wanting power. We need to not allow ourselves to be seen as a wacky cult a la Jonestown, Heaven’s Gate, or the Branch Davidians. We need to be seen for what we are: responsible people trying to get through the world the best way we know how, just like many nonpagans are.