US citizens are probably familiar with the expression "come to Jesus". For example, if you know a young person who is acting up, you might say "Come here, you and I need to have a come to Jesus". As Pagans, I think we need to have a come to the Goddess chat.
As many of you know, I am both the High Priestess of a shamanistic witchcraft tradition, as well as an interfaith priestess with an interfaith and secular spiritual community. This week, I'm mad as Hades. Not into rants? Don't want to hear a truth? Leave now.
I see the USA becoming a battleground for large corporations, many of whom who are using religion as a polarizing force in their ongoing mission to strip the world of resources and crush the masses beneath their gilded heels.
I see our government, which began in response to religious and political tyranny, teetering between positive cultural change and regressive faith-based policy. We were specifically chartered as a secular government, yet we are still seeing debates about religious laws.
As a nation, we are actively fighting Islamic extremists, and supporters of this war decry their sharia law. Yet they want to institute the same thing here. Legislators and judges are trying to pass laws that say they don't have to do their job if it contradicts their religious beliefs. Their job is to serve the public - ALL OF THE PUBLIC. Any legislation that interferes with this mission is directly and starkly unconstitutional.
Iowa recently did a brave thing in having in having a Wiccan priestess give the invocation to begin a day of legislative work. Rep. Liz Bennett invited the speaker, and she has this to say about religious freedom and our government:
"When we say we believe in religious freedom and we believe in religious liberty, that means that we don't endorse one religion over another as a government," Bennett said. "And in fact, when you look at other countries who do show preference or endorsement for one religion over another, you can see it's not a very good situation. That's something the founders of our nation knew."
The fact that this occurred is a beautiful step forward. It was received respectfully by some, but others chose to turn their back or absent themselves from the proceedings. Others even organized prayer protests at the Capitol building in response. As if the very hearing of words from another faith would somehow besmirch them. As if their religion, which happens to be the majority religion in this case, holds the only truth in the world, and only they have the right to speak in public. I have so many problems with this, but that is truly another post unto itself.
So you're in the tent? Congratulations. That makes you part of a controversial minority faith, which honestly, is a dangerous place to be in some parts of the world, including mine. It should not be dangerous to you within the community. I myself have experienced the exclusion, the lack of welcome, the cliques, the judgments, the back-door deals. I've heard stories from so many Pagans over the years, both from newbies and experienced practitioners alike.
It has to stop. Right here, right now, with each of us. I wrote a blog post last year about suggestions for good Pagan citizenship. Check it out. Have suggestions of your own? Comment on this post. I truly welcome your feedback and input.