Monday, October 28, 2013

Persecuting witches

This time of year, fluff pieces about Wiccans and articles designed to malign witches make the news.  It's happened every year that I have been involved in any sort of paganism and it will continue for a good many more.  I think the Pagan community needs to adopt a new attitude in regards to these annual spotlights.

First,  we need to drop the persecution complex.  It's getting old, tattered and really, it's just borrowing old tactic from the "Religious Right".  Being victimized is a choice, and it's a one that can move us from the defensive low ground to powerful high ground.  It's the difference between whining and speaking with authority and clarity- two major components in effective communication. Second, we need to stop letting Wiccans be the spokespeople for the community.  They do not have the authority to speak for all of us and it paints an inaccurate picture that does not reflect the vast majority of Pagans' experiences.  Third, we need a collective sense of humor about this topic.  Laughter is an excellent shield against oppression and discrimination, because it paints absurdities in bright colors that highlights the lack of understanding and compassion that fuels it.  This year, the best response I saw to uneducated twaddle about pagans and Halloween was this, "Hey, I like Supernatural, too, and can you tell me where to get a job cursing Halloween candy?"  It not only pointed out that the author of the article did no research, but it took away her major talking point.

The less fuel we add to the fire of those who are out to illuminate their names as saviors who will save the world from evils like witchcraft and Satan, the better off we all are.  It's a lot like ignoring the school bully, eventually, they go away, bored and confused. If people want to have real conversations about the lives and worship of Pagans, point them to a variety of sources, show them that we are individuals with compassion, logic, humor and a desire to live our lives in peace beside them.  Don't be a spectacle, don't be a victim, and don't feed the trolls.

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