You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one. John Lennon, Imagine
It suffers my authorial soul that I must own up to an old fashioned rant here today. However, it came to my attention this beautiful morning that a mother suffered the removal of her two children, without a trial, simply because she harbored an altar in her home. When questioned, she explained her faith and was forced to take a psyche examination because: “she thinks she’s a witch.” Seriously. Inscribed across the warrant. Sigh. Are we really back here? Again?
Sorry, y’all. Today’s post will not be about food–that is, unless the body of Christ counts . . .
I have been perfectly clear on my stance: I am related to, friends with and respectful of my Christian neighbors. As far as I can ascertain, we’re not as disparate in our worship as we would like to believe. Lesse:
First Do No Harm
Love Your Neighbor
Respect All That God Hath Made
Worship Thy God With All Thy Heart
Got it. Plug a small “ness” behind God and, well, I’m all that. Now, for a little reality check: Catholics keep altars in their homes, complete with candles, statues and incense. Check. Methodists (and most of the rest) take communion in remembrance (symbolically)–unlike Catholics, who literally assume the blood and flesh sacrifice that was meant to save their souls. Check Check. Baptists believe that, regardless of the sin, if you ask for forgiveness, it is wiped. Check Check Check. Presbyterians believe that their salvation was preordained and (pretty much) written in the stars. Sokay. Mormons . . . let’s just stop here.
It was getting a little scary for this little ol’ witch.
I’ve got a few historical memories tickling my brain, like the Children’s Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Witch Trials of Salem and the mass murder of the Aztecs. Whew. That’s a lot of blood. Not even Bounty could sop up all of that. Now, I realize that I am fundamentally pulling from the nastiest side of Christian history. I reckon I’m doing that on purpose, when you factor that, as a Pagan, I have been accused of being part of a religion that sacrifices animals, worships the Devil (silly, I would have to believe in him, first!), curses crops, dances nekkid (so?) and ultimately are attempting to corrupt family values, children and fried chicken. Humph. I guess I’m a busy bee.
Let’s have a little chat on what really goes on in a Southern witch’s life, shall we?
We are the ones who bow our heads out of respect when our Christian kin pray . . . all the while Amening as hard as we can muster. We are the ones who will help you find your dog, roust up the money to pay your light bill, wipe the tears from your child’s eyes on their first day of college, donate to the local Humane Society/Old Folk’s Home/Beaten Women’s Shelters and we are the ones who make the food that makes your eyes roll back in your head at the department party. We bite our tongues when you “bless us,” bless you back (but for real), show up on Sunday when you need help fixing your lawnmower and variously offer our time, finances, energy and love at the drop of a pope’s hat. We are also the ones who are forced into dark closets, even by a supposed friend, asked to hide our pentagrams, put away our altars and not “share” our faith with your children as it might lead them astray.
Most Christians I know promote charity, acceptance and love. My question is thus: why hast thou forsaken us? As Ghandi once said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” You remember him, yes? Groovy dude, hung out with criminals and beggars, didn’t hanker much to bigotry or hate? That guy with the beard, remember? Personally, I dig him. Find him audacious. But, the religion . . . I have to say, I think we’ve been pretty patient with y’all. After all, we’ve been around for, oh, 30,000 years while y’all have been hanging out around 2,000. We let you have our holidays, without so much as a never-you-mind, and for the most part have stayed in our “closets” so that you could feel more at peace and so that we could be assured of our jobs, our children’s safety and our own sanity. While it has become politically-correct for Christians to accept homosexuality (at least, north of the Mason Dixon Line), we are still without security or acceptance in our Christian communities. I attempt to be, at the very minimum, respectful of your systems–but this story that has come to my attention, this sweet woman who has grown up in your bosom and shares your very blood, has driven me to distraction. And like Jesus, I feel that there is a temple to clear.
We hold altars because our church is our home. We follow precepts, too, have ethics, respect our earth and all that She holds dear. We believe, many of us, in an afterlife of some sort. We tend to not force others into our faith, and as of yet, I have not met any of us who recruit–though we will be there if you knock on our door. Personally, I do not know one single witch/crafter who sacrifices live beings of any kind. Personally, I do not know of one who would knowingly hurt a child. Kharma/energy holds us in its grips–we teach this to our young, as you teach yours heaven and hell. We do not, as a whole, purport to know if our Goddess/Great Spirit/God will punish you, primarily because our relationships with the former are so intensely personal.
Can you imagine, as a Christian, having your children ripped away because they took communion? Had an image of Mother Mary over their bed? Prayed before their supper? Of course not, but as we have learned, what comes around, goes around. We are your brethren on this ground. We are your sisters, brothers, neighbors, and friends. It is my sincere hope that Pagans will unite against any travesty of justice such as the case of this Alabama mother. Yet, it is my desire that the Christians whom I have loved, fed, stood by and cried with in great times of loss will stand with us and prove that Jesus was not the only one of you with balls. And a heart.
P.S. This is, apparently, as serious problem in Alabama. The reports are harrowing and it’s time to stop the bigotry. Get off your butts.