Pagans and “Fair Game”

I haven’t been blogging much lately for a variety of reasons, but I want to get up on my soapbox for a minute.

I want to talk about how we, as Pagans (or Druids, Wiccans, Heathens, insert category of choice here), deal with other religions, specifically Christians. To do this, I’m going to share a little personal anecdote.

A couple of weeks ago, at a grove ritual-planning meeting, there was discussion of an image of Jesus Christ that a grove member had received with a letter in the mail. We all made a lot of jokes about the weird invasiveness of receiving a “prayer rug” in the mail, unsolicited, with a DEMAND to return the rug and your personal requests for prayer… and if a donation was included, why the “church” in question certainly would not say no.

The jokes escalated pretty quickly, leading eventually to a joke about Jesus being one-eyed, like Balor. Someone suggested we use the “prayer rug” as the Balor target in our Lunasagh games. We all laughed, partly just at the audacity of the suggestion, then someone said, “Nah, that’d be mean.”

I thought about it for moment and said, “Yeah. I’d be upset if I knew they were using one of our images for a target.”

Another grove member looked at me and said, “But you know they are.”

It’s true. Christians are, I’m sure, mocking us pretty regularly. They think we’re going to their Hell, they think we need to be saved, they mock us and worry about us and blame us and condemn us.

But that doesn’t make it okay for us to do the same.

If we want to be taken seriously as a religion, shouldn’t we do the same to others? Yes, I admit, I’ve mocked Scientologists and Mormons and even Wiccans… Shame on me. Everyone has the right to practice what they believe. And call me crazy, but I think the Golden Rule holds for all of us, regardless of religion. We should all treat others as we wish to be treated.

I don’t want to be mocked or judged by my Christian friends. I, therefore, should not mock their practices. That means cutting out the “zombie Jesus” jokes, the judging of their “weird” practices, like confession and communion, and the general bitterness toward them as a group.

Yes, they’ve been and will continue to be horrible to us. Yes, I will stand up for myself and my community if they attack me. But I will not throw the first stone.

No one is fair game. No one.

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6 thoughts on “Pagans and “Fair Game”

  1. First off, I received that exact mailing! It was very strange…

    Second, kudos to you for taking this stand. Many of us who grew up Christian left for a reason or two, but that doesn’t mean we should belittle the people who are fulfilled by it. I am continually annoyed by Pagans who do nothing but badmouth Christianity and Christians. After awhile, it gets really old and seems so hypocritical.

    • Thanks for the comment and the support! I agree that it’s quite hypocritical. Many of us have been on the receiving end of the Christian mockery, but it seems like most of us are–or should be–smart enough and gracious enough to rise above petty jokes in revenge.

      And that mailing was wild… what did you do with yours? Toss it?

  2. I don’t intentionally badmouth individuals or their personal faith. On the other hand, I don’t want to be one of those pagans who shuts down other people who are hurting and damaged from their encounters with toxic versions of Christianity (or any other religion). Should we remain silent when organizations do heinous things, like when the Catholic Church covers for child-molesting priests? Should we say, “Too bad for you, little kids that got raped, I’m a tolerant pagan and I can’t take a stand against that corruption because I don’t criticize other people’s religions?” For me, none of our religions are sacred cows. None are above criticism, critique, mocking, or straight up condemnation if they’re doing Bad Things.

    • No, we absolutely should not remain silent in those cases, and I certainly didn’t mean to say that we should! There’s a difference between mocking someone for being different and condemning an organization for doing Bad Things.

      What I’m trying to get at is that we should stop the petty attacks on them if we want them to stop the petty attacks on us.

      Further, there’s often discussion of pagan-on-pagan attacks, which are horrible, but even in these discussions, there are attacks on people of other faiths, and that’s just not okay. We can’t ask for equal treatment of some people and not equal treatment of others.

  3. Good on you!

    Mind, I don’t agree with you on the inclusion of Scientology as a viable religion. It is a cult, and not in the old meaning as in “the Cult of the Dead Emperor”, but rather in the new meaning, as in “an organization that actively recruits members and then employs an elaborate system of internal controls carefully designed to keep them in thrall”.

    That doesn’t mean that it is okay to mock individual members, but I do firmly believe that mocking Scientology as an organization is a good thing if it helps keep people out of its clutches.

    • Actually, I totally agree with you. Scientology IS a cult, with all the negative connotations the name cult carries these days. Sometimes I get carried away on the soapbox… that’s why I try to stay off. It’s very slippery.

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