Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Misappropriated Shade of Pagan

Certain, very well-read, pagan blogs out there have been committing the same fallacy that many folks in many minority movements out there commit: hitching their cause to a more famous minority struggle. It is a fallacy, a falsehood, because there are never two minority/civil rights issues that are exactly the same.

Quick example: Somewhere over the past ten years, people started saying the phrase, "Gay is the new Black." Meaning that the GLBT rights struggle is the new version of the civil rights struggle for black Americans. This is not true. At all. Under any circumstances. Black men and women had to fight and overcome centuries of slavery. They were not even thought of as human, by some, and by many more as less than human or partly human. (3/5 compromise) They had to fight and fight to gain the right to vote, to live where they want, to send their children to the same schools, and the list goes on.

Gay people, too, have their own struggles. They are not allowed to marry the partner of their choosing. Many don't want them to have children - either naturally or by adoption. They are kicked out of their families for being gay or their churches or their jobs. Unlike with a racial minority, when two straight people have a child it is not guaranteed to be straight.

The two struggles are different, though they are both under the umbrella of "Civil Rights Issues."

It seems that the latest trend in "reporting pagan news" is to hitch our idea to the rising star of marriage equality. This is also a fallacy. The two issues could not be more different if they tried. I have read some of those blogs that nearly every other pagan blogger and podcaster out there puts up that "THE BLOG TO READ" that say bald-faced lies like "modern pagan faiths...have been on the front lines of these battles [for marriage equality."

There is not, and never has been, a concerted effort by the entire pagan community to get equal marriage rights for the gay and lesbian community. Never.

That is not to say that there are not GLBT individuals in the pagan community, or pagans who have fought for GLBT rights, but this concerted effort by the pagan community that keeps getting written about is not real.

Also, there seems to be this idea that we are living in something that some call "post-Christianity." That Christianity is on the decline, the way out, so we should all rejoice. And, oh by the way, NOW IS THE TIME to start getting out there and marrying the gays and making sure that we publicize how open and accepting we are of all sexual orientations, because then those questioning Christians who are jumping the Jesus ship will come leaping and hopping to our groves and covens and circles and Starbucks meet-ups and knitting circles and candle-lightings.

I have said it before, and I'll continue to say it as long as there are "pagan news blogs" out there saying the opposite.

NOT EVERY NEWS STORY HAS A PAGAN SLANT!

Continuing the idea that repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, or gaining marriage equality has something to do, largely and mostly, with the pagan community is just grasping at ghost straws. They're not there to grab, and nobody else can see them but you. Nearly the entire news cycle has little to nothing to do with the pagan community, and us continuing to try and make up a daily pagan news cycle is, again, a bit ludicrous. Not every little thing that comes on CNN or your network of choice has to do with the pagan community. 

What we have as a rich, full community is enough. We do not need to hitch our pentacle to the rainbow flag of gay rights. Gay is not the new Black, unless you're just meaning that it is the newest headline grabbing civil rights struggle. Pagans and their attempt to get governmental acceptance for various institutions, such as the military or prisons, is not the same thing as Gay rights. Just because Christianity is on a decline doesn't mean it's going anywhere as the number one religion in the world any time soon, and it doesn't mean with should delight in its downfall, and it also doesn't mean that now is the time of the great pagan upswell in America. 

We are enough. As is. We do not need misappropriation of other civil rights struggles to make us more legitimate or more real than we already are. We do not need to shoulder another groups' struggles, because we already have enough problems trying to stop fighting with one another long enough to get our own problems taken care of. 

What do you, the Rioters, think? Are you tired of hearing about how pagans are on the front lines of the GLBT struggle? Am I barking up a ghost tree, that nobody can see but me? Is the truth somewhere in the middle?

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

6 comments:

  1. It actually frustrates me because I've come into contact with MANY homophobic pagans. And the fertility slant of some traditions of paganism definitely leaves most LGBT folks out which many people who aren't LGBT don't seem to care about in the slightest. Paganism isn't anymore of a "shelter" for LGBT people than most other religions.

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  2. Agreed, Nick. While the pagan community at large has taken great strides in welcoming people of all colors, creeds, and sexual orientations, it has not always been that way. Indeed, just as we've seen this year with the Pantheacon/transgender situation, there are many prominent members under the umbrella of Pagan that have a long way to go before recognizing GLBT rights. It is an issue that takes some understanding by all of society, and it's again a conundrum as to why we thought our community was different and special when it comes to these issues.

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  3. I said it on twitter, but I thought it was worth repeating here: if there is great rejoicing in the advent of a post-Christian world, then we more esoteric spiritual types should perhaps be thinking more carefully. Evidence from Europe can be used to suggest that it's not just a post-Christian world we're going into, but a *post-religious* world. Here in the UK, where there are far fewer Christians than in the US, I get more abuse from atheists than Christians for my beliefs. I'm not at all sure that the post-Christian world is necessarily going to be a happy shiny place full of rainbows for all the free-thinking Pagans and Hindus and Buddhists.

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  4. Replying to Sophia:

    Indeed, a post-Christian world is hardly any guarantee of success - certainly we'll continue to take fire from outspoken atheists and perhaps also the skeptic community will use us for target practice, but I think also we'll encounter the broader problem of discrimination against pagans from within the pagan community. Last year I attended a Pagan Pride Day event and joined a Facebook group for the local "Pagan Association" (that's what they called themselves.) An email went out asking for suggestions how to broaden membership and get more people (and more non-pagans) involved, and when I responded with suggestions for meditation circles and other events that didn't include a Wiccan ritual or spellwork I got a very chilly reception. In short, the answer was, "We're open to any suggestion, as long as it's Wiccan." Certainly we saw some of that at the last Pantheacon, but I think the community as a whole is going to see much more of this in the future as we overcome old obstacles and encounter the ones we've ignored or been blind to in the past.

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  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Fire Lyte! I am so sick of seeing any and everything being surreptitiously attached to Paganism...I simply cannot say it enough. Folks, it really isn't all about us all the time.We aren't in solidarity with every other repressed group in the world. Not every governmental agency is out to fire us from our jobs, not every Christian is searching for kindling to lay at our feet, and most of the nasty things being said about us is being said by our own brethren. Pagans are doing more harm to one another ( and our public image) than any external entity we know. We shy away from becoming an organized religion, yet we attend huge religious conventions disguised as festivals, then balk when something doesn't suit us...We can't even agree on what to call ourselves anymore and if anyone dares to come forward with a suggestion, we have to fly up in outrage. Then we exclude one group or another from a ritual because they aren't deemed worthy,then everyone runs to take sides, like selecting a softball team in junior high school.Our political agenda seems to be our political agenda...let's just go to our neutral corners and keep our hands off of everyone else, shall we? This isn't Kindergarten! And excuse me, but since when did being Wiccan become the new bad taste in everyone's mouth? It seems to be the current new thing to do to flog Wiccans. I am Wiccan and Pagan enough through working my path my way and frankly I don't have time to criticize and condemn what others are doing.I am too busy working on growing my own spirit and that doesn't mean I get to analyze and rip other traditions in the community to shreds just to validate, or justify or whatever is needed to stroke my ego and make myself feel better about being Pagan.

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  6. trào ngược dạ dày thực quản nên ăn gìNhững ai từng bị trào ngược thực quản hẳn đã hiểu cảm giác khó chịu từ những triệu chứng đi kèm của nó.
    hôi miệng chữa như thế nàoHầu hết, tất cả mọi người đều gặp khó khăn trong bệnh này. Bởi mùi hôi khó chịu thường phát ra khi nói, khi thở, chính vì thế làm ảnh hưởng đến các cuộc giao tiếp làm ăn,
    trào ngược dạ dày thực quản có nguy hiểm khôngBệnh trào ngược dạ dày thực quản có thể xem là căn bệnh của xã hội hiện đại. Theo các tài liệu cổ trong y học thì trước đây bệnh này vốn không phổ biến.
    trào ngược dạ dày uống thuốc gìTheo tây y, trào ngược dạ dày thực quản là một tình trạng bệnh lý trong đó acid dạ dày hoặc đôi khi là dịch mật chảy ngược vào thực quản, gây kích ứng niêm mạc thực quản và gây viêm.
    nguyên nhân bệnh trào ngược dạ dàyTrước đây đông y định nghĩa khá mơ hồ về bệnh này và do đó cách điều trị cũng không hiệu quả do thường bị nhập nhằng với nhiều bệnh khác.
    hở van dạ dày gây hôi miệngThức ăn thừa các bám sót lại trong kẻ răng, chân răng
    trị hỡ van dạ dày đơn giảnHở van dạ dày được biết là bệnh không quá nguy hiểm nhưng nếu để tình trạng kéo dài trong thời gian có thể dẫn đến nguy cơ nặng và phải dùng tới phẩu thuật
    điều trị hở van dạ dàyHở van dạ dày thường gây ra mùi khó chịu, chính vì thế mà đây là nguyên nhân hàng đầu gây ra bệnh hôi miệng ở một số người.
    nguyên nhân gây hôi miệngHãy cùng chúng tôi tìm hiểu kĩ hơn qua bài viết

    thuốc chữa bệnh trào ngược dạ dày thực quảnCác dịch vị có tính axít này kích thích niêm mạc thực quản, gây ra các dấu hiệu và triệu chứng trào ngược.

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