The Pagan Church Responds

We Pagans are well aware that fundamentalists and religious extremists tend to dominate the theological and political landscape in the United States, often to such an extent that, for us, any affiliation with organized religion becomes undesirable; to be avoided at all costs on principal alone. We still worship our God(s) in private and hope for a more tolerant future, one of respect and cooperation where our children can safely explore their own spirituality without fear of reprisal.

Individuals following the religious traditions of indigenous cultures and solitary adherents of contemporary paganism have always been easy targets for the unmitigated hatred of the zealot, for they do not have a centralized organization to protect them from persecution. More recently, even free thinking theists from traditional churches have been ostracized and demoralized, forced to assume the label of spiritual but not religious, or worse, categorized as ‘irreligious’ because they refuse to conform to an archaic and stifling tradition that no longer has any personal relevance to the modern spiritualist.

The loss of religious affiliation and our continued lack of political organization allows extreme fundamentalist groups to dictate administrative policy on a broad scale, deeply integrating their strict religious morality into every facet of secular law. It also clears the way for groups such as the so called Tea Party here in America and the Taliban in the Middle East to conduct campaigns of such malicious hatred that they become virtually unopposed in their verbal and often violent aggression toward anyone who disagrees with their oppressive point of view. The negative consequences of fundamentalist rule are heinous indeed.

The Contemporary Pagan Alliance works tirelessly toward ending fundamentalist tyranny; by standing together, unified by the very spiritual freedom that our opponents so despise, we ensure that the ideals of individual equality and religious liberty are never discarded. With one voice we affirm our support for the freedom of religion on a global scale and we hereby give extremists fair warning. Their days are truly numbered for we are the silent majority no longer and we will accept nothing less than absolute equality.

We peacefully worship our Gods however we choose. We demand the right to legally marry those we love, before our Gods and without prejudice, in a ceremony of our own faith. We freely educate ourselves, seeking enlightenment through knowledge, and we will no longer allow ourselves to be legally or physically victimized by ignorant zealots. We proudly take our place as free and equal members of our communities and will no longer tolerate discrimination in our laws or our lives. Our worldwide membership provides for a strong, unified and democratic Pagan Church. Together, we will prevail.

7 Responses to The Pagan Church Responds

  1. Dr. Mike says:

    William, and here’s the irony that I’ve always found In thIs issue. The ancient Pagans had walked the earth long before the first christians ever stepped for on it. I look forward to checking out Contemporary Pagan Alliance.

    • William Knox says:

      Both ironic and historically accurate 🙂 What truly bothers me, however, is the common misconception that Contemporary Paganism shares the same basic structure as the Greco-Roman Pagan cults when, theologically speaking, we actually have much more in common with Hinduism and indigenous spiritual philosophy.

      • Dr. Mike says:

        Indeed, very good point. If memory serves me, I believe the ancIent Celtic ‘People of the Heather’ got the name ‘ heathens’. ImagIne turnIng a beautIful word heather Into heathen. But then un-learned zealots have always been fear based.

    • William Knox says:

      Yes, heathen derives from the Old English word Hǣthen, which roughly translates into modern English as ‘one who inhabits open country’ and was first used by Christians as a derogatory term for non-Christians during the first translation of the Bible into the Germanic language. Of course, in the modern era the word has been reclaimed by followers of Contemporary Norse Paganism, or Heathenism as many of its adherents prefer. Interestingly enough, the word pagan itself has the same basic meaning – the Latin word paganus translates as ‘one who dwells in the country’. I find it hilarious that so many Christians believe that calling someone a pagan is somehow insulting. Truly, most of us like the term – we are, after all, rather fond of nature as a rule 😉

  2. Hando says:

    Hi William. I can understand your frustration and anger. May I just say that it is my experience that allowing anyone to steal your peace and draw you into conflict is not the way. Stay true to yourself. The celts described the druids as “having peace in the heart and truth in the mouth” and that is all we can do.
    Jesus embraced his persecution and turned the very empire that crucified him on his head. We are going to do the same, all of us walking different paths to the same mountain. The ego knows this and will try everything to stop us, but it will fail. As long as we refuse to operate out of our own ego and embrace the light that we have received.. The apostle Paul said that the work that God started in you, me and millions of others, God will complete. Trust the light given to you, you have already won.

    • William Knox says:

      I admit that the practice of religious bigotry frustrates me; the freedom of religion enshrined in the American Constitution protects all religions equally. I find the common fundamentalist assumption that such freedom only applies to the different denominations of Christianity to be utterly ignorant. Such belief does not anger me, however, and I am certainly not a slave to my ego as you imply.

      Do not mistake my advocacy for direct confrontation and substantive change as being indicative of internal conflict; my spiritual peace is in no danger of being disrupted, I assure you. I believe that the only way to end religious inequality is by socially active, non-violent opposition against prejudicial religious persecution. I mean no disrespect to you personally when I say this, but trusting that positive change will eventually happen on its own is an extraordinarily naïve position to adopt.

      I find it interesting that you mention the Druids, for living peacefully was certainly a central tenet of that ancient philosophy although some of their practices were indeed controversial from a modern perspective. The Druids believed that their faith alone would protect them and in the end they were exterminated, their wisdom erased from the world. Why? They refused to convert to a religion that made no sense to them and they paid the ultimate price.

      As long as individuals insist on proselytizing it is the Pagan responsibility to continue to oppose such practices, as we have for thousands of years. Equality must by necessity be absolute – we reserve the right to live our lives without interference from our oppressors. I will not stand idly by while my Pagan brethren continue to be openly persecuted by judgmental sycophants who claim to speak from the pulpit of righteousness. I refuse to be silent when the so called ‘moral majority’ insists on treating members of the LGBT community as second class citizens

      The strength of my commitment flows from tolerance and understanding, not hatred. I respect Christian values and I believe it reasonable to expect that my Pagan values will be honored in return. To anyone who firmly believes I will be condemned to suffer the flames of perdition because of my perspective I have only one piece of advice – kindly read Matthew 10:14 and follow the direction of your own scripture. I will not apologize for loving my Goddess to the very depths of my being and refusing to abandon my faith.

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