This week I had someone I like fairly well private post me about the dangers of the Islamic faith and allowing Muslims into the United States. It started with the horrible story posted in the Wild Hunt in 2013 about an online pagan who had allegedly been beaten, raped and killed by a mob in Syria for being pagan and continued with information about how the Middle Eastern World deals with gays, lesbians and transgender persons. Then the poster suggested that people who are “left leaning” need to wake up and realize the danger Muslims present here in the United States and how we must be vigilant and work against Shari Law in the United States. The poster sent links from the Wild Hunt, to the Pew Research Institute and more reputable media agencies to prove their point.
If you are doing nothing wrong – BE OPEN
If you really believe this way and you find within your heart and consciousness nothing wrong with what you are saying – then publically post your opinions. Don’t private message me in some misguided attempt to sway my opinion. I will not respond to you personally. You have an opinion and you obviously suspect I will not agree or you wouldn’t have bothered to send me the post in the first place.
I am public about what I think and feel and believe because I want to be challenged. I want someone to further my personal knowledge and give me links and help me flesh out what I feel and think. Those who hide in the shadows to stir discontent against a group of people based upon the actions of a few remind me of what Christians and Politicians have done for ages. Try to stir up feeling to override common sense. Pick a group to ostracize in righteousness so that you can personally feel better about yourself and the groups you belong to. Use information as a weapon, bending it and forging it until it fits your personal narrative.
Stop with the Western Superiority
It is Western Superiority that has destroyed most tribal cultures throughout the world. I don’t agree with the laws or beliefs of most Muslim countries. However, when I come in as a white former Christian and start saying to them how things should be all I do is fuel hatred for the Western World within the Muslim community. I am not Muslim. It is not my place to fight for equality there. It is the place and right of those in the Muslim community to do this. I couldn’t possibly understand the steep history of tribal culture and Islamic belief that runs in that community and to suppose that I did is beyond arrogant.
Point the Finger Back on Paganism
When people go on and on about Muslims or even the Transgender People in paganism, I think about the eldest member of Willow Dragonstone Community & Coven (WDSC). She and her mate have been together for 40 years. Her original high priestess back when they first got together told her that it wasn’t “good and right” for the energies of two women to mate for life and refused to handfast them. This High Priestess refused to recognize the sacredness of their love before the gods and their community because it wasn’t “good and right.”
Pagans today can’t imagine that there would ever be a coven who would do this. We think of ourselves as being on the cutting edge of acceptance. Start suggesting that transgender women be allowed in a red tent – now that isn’t “right and good.” Does anyone see history repeating itself?
The fact is that paganism is dealing with the same prejudices that the greater community does and we keep coming up short. In dealing with race, in dealing with cultural appropriation, in dealing with patriarchy, in dealing with gender, in dealing with the acceptance of other religious beliefs, Pagans come up short all the time.
Why do Pagans Come Up Short?
Because most pagans haven’t dealt with their own issues yet. The fear you feel in your heart around Muslims is rooted in some past fear that you haven’t dealt with. Your feelings of disgust around transgender people is a feeling rooted in your own hatred of men or women and the issues you have around gender definition. When pagans Christian bash at events, this is rooted in your unresolved feelings around your own past in Christianity.
Paganism isn’t a sudden get out of your issues path. Those issues you had before paganism will haunt you in paganism unless you deal with them. Whatever problems you had when you were Christian are the problems you are going to have as a Pagan. No doubt the manifestation of that problem is going to be slightly different but the root issues will ultimately be the same. There is no escape from your racism, your sexism, your problems with organized religion. You are going to deal with those issues until you DEAL with those issues.
And just because most pagans have learned to be quiet about their issues by private posting or by only associating with pagans who agree with them or by being careful to not demonstrate bigoted behavior in public does not mean pagans have dealt with their issues. It simply means pagans have gotten better at putting on the face of civility to hide the hatred that really drives them.
We Need Someone To Hate
I recently watched a horrendous video on the “Laws of Pagan Leadership.” It was so psychologically unsound and the suggestions potentially harmful, I refuse to reference the link.
One of the laws was, “Cultivate an Us versus THEM mentality, preferably against Christians. Only bad pagan groups choose another pagan group to do this with.”
Other than being completely and utterly applaud and knowing that this is not a good way to create group mind, I knew that this is rooted in a western mentality that has haunted western culture since the first gunshots of the revolution in America against the British.
After fighting the British we turned the THEM into American Indians. Then the THEM was chattel slaves and eventually in the Southern US it was all Blacks. In my lifetime the THEM has been blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, Jews, Non-Christians, Pagans, Satanists, Gays, Lesbians, Transgender people, and Muslims.
In absolutely truth, I was taught to play this game called Underground Church where the world was trying kill off all Christians and we had to hide and pray in groups and not get caught for an entire day at Bible Camp. The last group who didn’t get caught was the winner.
Sounds absurd right? So what about that is any different that an attitude about Islam taking over the Western World? I have enough faith in the United States and the laws here, especially when more right-leaning conservatives control congress, that Muslims are not going to pass Sharia Law in the US. Mostly because Jews weren’t able to pass Kosher law and implement it against unsuspecting Christian people and that was exactly what I was taught would happen as a child. If I am going to fight for something, it is going to be a continued push to keep the separation of church and state. That keeps me safe from any religious group – even paganism – that thinks their religious laws should trump a society built upon a law that benefits all not one group over another based upon religious views.
Here is the thing, when someone says, “Look over there and hate and fear them,” what they are really doing is making sure you are distracted. In this way they can do whatever they want, in the name of protecting you from the very thing they have taught you to hate and fear. Look at the civil liberties that have been lost in the name of fighting terrorists, specifically Islamic Terrorists. That is the real end game.
A house divided cannot stand, Abraham Lincoln said, and yet the government, politicians, and religious leaders want us to be divided because division keeps us occupied and focused on something other than what our government, politicians, and religious leaders are doing.
Do some Muslims do horrible things in the name of their religion? Yes. So do some pagans, Christians, Jews, Buddhist, Catholic Priests, High Priests, High Priestesses, Hindus. There are radical elements in every micro group you can think of and they do not define that group. When you buy into the idea that the outlier defines the mean and allow fear to grow, hate always follows.
As a pagan and Wiccan who is open, I suffer whenever someone does something stupid and violent and wrong in the name of paganism. I suffer whenever someone leaves a pentacle at a crime scene. I have to fight for equality that much harder when someone is killed because of some misguided belief that magick and the death of a person equals power. I have to fight today all the misinformation published in 1486 in the Malleus Maleficarum.
Is it so hard to believe that some Muslim woman watches the news with this same type of fear and trepidation that I do?
Stop private posting me. You can’t make me hate. I have and continue to deal with my issues around racism and fear, sexism and fear, religiosity and fear. You can’t hold up to me some sacrificial Muslim in the name of creating group mind in Paganism or in the left leaning political sphere. That is not the way to create group mind and move society forward.
I wouldn’t allow society to use paganism and Wicca as that lamb, and I can’t allow anyone to use Islam as the new lamb any more than I can allow pagans to use the transgender people in that way.
Fear. Anger. Hate. These are the paths to the dark side. – Yoda