Well folks, it’s time to get personal again and to ask a very serious question. Why do people assume that if you are not Christian, then you must automatically have no morals or values? Call me crazy, but that seems to be a overwhelming assumption, especially in the Bible Belt.
“Those pagan behaviors,” people keep talking about. What does that even mean? First, what does the term “pagan” even mean? That’s something that is widely disputed, but according to my Brit Lit professor, it used to just mean “other.” That explains a lot with the modern mindset. There’s also the definition of “country dweller.” However, to many, Pagan is an umbrella term used to describe earth-based religions. It is also said to mean any non-Abrahamic religion, not just those who are earth-based. I find that it is one of those things that it just depends on who you’re talking to as to what the “right answer” is. For the purpose of this blog, let’s assume that Pagan means non-Abrahamic and/or earth-based religion.
“It’s pretty simple: marriage is between a man and a woman. This is a historic doctrine driven deep into the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and it’s a perfect example of what I mean by the rise of paganism. The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors, but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization.”
The above is a comment made by Newt Gingrich before the Florida primaries and I think it cost him dearly in the polls. Not only did he tick off the homosexual community, but the Pagan community took one look at that and you can figure out the rest. Many people have no idea what it means to identify as Pagan today and they certainly do not understand that we do come with our own set of morals and values that are not so different from the Christian set.
I get so frustrated every time I see someone post on Facebook saying that there would be less bullying and school shootings if the Ten Commandments were posted in schools. Or when people complain about prayer not being allowed in public schools. I’m going to state my opinion on that last thing right now. When I was in high school, every morning before the morning announcements, there would be a moment of silence. This was a time when you could pray if you wanted to, but if you didn’t, it was no big deal. That was the way to go. Oh, and by the way, prayer is not just for Christians either. Just so we’re clear. I pray more now on my Pagan path than I ever did growing up as a Christian.
There can be prayer in public schools, but it can’t be led by administration. As for the Ten Commandments? They do not belong in a space that is not one hundred percent of that faith. I’m sorry, but that is how it is. I think a lot of people either forget that when they comment on it, or they just do not recognize any faith that is not Christianity, which is silly. Whether or not you recognize, we’re here. And contrary to popular belief, I do not sacrifice goats in the backyard. I do not worship Satan either. My ideas of good and evil are structured differently than in Christianity, but they’re still there. I still believe in being a good person, treating people with respect, and helping others. I also believe that if you do ill towards others, it will come back to haunt you. It’s called karma and a lot of Pagans believe in it. Not to mention the Wiccan Reed, which goes a little something like “and it harm none, do what thou will.”
Another thing that irritates me is when I hear Christians cry out that they are being persecuted because of their faith. I cannot dispute this entirely because I’m sure it does happen, but often it seems that if my side of the fence demands our equal rights, they take it as an attack on their faith. Huh. Really now. I read somewhere that about eighty percent of the American population identifies as Christian in some way. That is way over the majority. And they are persecuted? I believe it takes more courage to identify as Pagan and actually mean it (at least in my community) than it does to say you’re Christian. Again, this is not necessarily true everywhere with everyone, but you get my point.
Back to the Facebook issue, think about how many people you see posting about Jesus and God on your newsfeed. Go through your friends list and see how many people are listed as Christian. Of course, this brings up the issue of “Facebook Christians,” which can be defined as people who proclaim to be of faith, but if you meet them in the street, you won’t see any proof of it. I’m sure there are also some “Facebook Pagans” and “Facebook Atheists.” There is a growing culture for “Fakebook” but that’s another blog altogether.
Just because I am not Christian does not mean I am of the devil. It does not mean I do not want to be a good person. It does not mean that I am out to corrupt you and your children. It means that I walk a different path, that I view the world a little differently. It means that my way of looking at good and evil, and the rewards and punishment for both, is a little different. But I am still human like you. If I bleed, it will be red. If I cry, they will be wet tears. If I laugh, it is because I am blessed. If I want the same rights and privileges as a Pagan that you have as a Christian, in the legal sense, I should have them.
I have recently come to believe that as people we might never grow past our initial rejection to others who are a little different. However, I believe that it is fully within our power to STOP and THINK about that reaction, to look beyond what we see in front of us and realize that no matter how their outward appearance, they are still human like us. Even if they do not believe as I do, I can still see them as children of my Goddess, just like I am. If you are Christian, then I am still a child of God in your eyes, right? Treat me as such. Realize there is more to me than the triquetra I wear around my neck. There is more to me than the Pagan/Wicca/Witchcraft books that are in my room. I am a person, just like you.