“And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change…”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
I tried not to write this. I really did try. I didn’t want to get involved. But instead, when I tried to type my next post about energy work during a chronic illness flare up, this came out instead.
If you haven’t already heard, there’s been a lot going on back and forth. The website Gods and Radicals started it. John Beckett, Galena Krasskova and a myriad of others responded. Rhyd Wildermuth, who penned the original post on Gods and Radicals responded, and John Beckett responded to that once again.
In the meantime, the myriad of others also added their input, and while most of it was pretty interesting, the usual amount of mud went with it.
I’m late to the game, but I’m not here to keep the mud slinging going nor am I here to say who is right and who is wrong. Because I think everyone involved has the same basic perception and is saying the same thing (Ok, well, basically the same thing. Very basically…)
Let me get to that later in this post. First, I want to speak to how I feel about the entire thing.
This past weekend I haunted my local pagan store, and this topic came up. And I lamented a bit about how hard it is for everyone to get along, how we can’t even decide who does and who doesn’t belong under the ‘pagan umbrella’, and how frustrated I am by the whole thing.
The shop owner challenged me about this. “Boy, for a Lokean, you are really into unifying everyone!”
“No,” I replied. “I just want people to agree to disagree.”
In many of my posts I have talked about the differences in the Pagan community. I have talked about how our differences make us uncomfortable. I have talked about how people are using different terms and how people seem to be posting for shock value more than anything. I have posted my feelings about the deeper issues going in the Pagan Community . Finally, I talked about how labels can sometimes cause more problems than they are worth. That’s a lot of airspace already. And I believe this current issue is just the same things happening again, only this time political and right wing/left wing labels seem to be thrown into the mix.
All of it boils down to this – if people have issues toward someone else’s beliefs, it’s their issues, not the person who has the beliefs in the first place. If someone wants to get loud and obnoxious about something, they have the right to post what they want on their own site. And I have the right to not read it. If someone wants to attempt to classify me as something I know I’m not, does it really matter as long as I know what it is I am? Don’t my words and deeds tell people who I am? And if someone really wants to get to know me in the electronic pagan community, wouldn’t they post comments, like my stuff and follow me first? Then they would make up their own mind, which people are perfectly capable of doing?
It seemed to me the original post basically just drew battle lines and was a bunch of opinions about what they felt was right. The response piece did change my mind some, I’ll admit. But although it was a respected person in a pagan community that wrote the first post it’s still only their opinion, and not one that is very widely agreed upon.
So my response is this. I disagree with the original post. I do think some of the intent was to make people think, but instead things were very easily taken out of context. Further, I wonder how much of it was to really ruffle feathers. And while it has generated some nice responses afterward, I will agree to disagree with the assumptions that were made.
That being said, here is where I think everyone does and CAN agree –
Racism in all of its forms, albeit cultural, tribal, national, ethnic, right wing, left wing, whatever the hell you call it – is WRONG.
As a native without papers proving blood quantum, I have seen some segregation myself. I have also seen these issues come up in my own mixed racial family. Because of these things, I have formed my own opinion, and I think it’s a good one.
I firmly believe that if people feel called to do a certain thing or feel a certain way, they are within their full right to do or believe what they want, so long as they are not pushing this opinion onto others. However, if you are going to generalize an entire culture, an entire race or belief system because of the faults of a few, you have some serious issues.
Frankly I don’t give a shit if you think your God says only certain people can be in a certain religion. If you truly feel that way, then I don’t want to frequent your hall, your ceremonies, nor be a part of your group, and like I said above, you have issues.
Feel free to disagree with me! But overall, it just seems like in all of these posts, particularly in the first one, everyone is concerned with the main point of racism and how it is showing it’s ugly head in the world. Everyone is also trying to come up with ways to combat it. These are good things to be doing. However in the end, all that seems to be happening is we end up arguing over the labels, the generalizations, and the specific language instead.
Perhaps we should agree to disagree on these damn labels and just call out the damn racist action when we see it happening.
There, rant done. Returning to your regularly scheduled posts hopefully later this week.