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Pagans are Human too.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Pagans are human too.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of this.  The latest kerfuffle in the wider Pagan community leaves me surprised and yet not surprised all at the same time.  I like to think that Pagans, as a group, are better than this but obviously we are not.

When a person, prominent in another religion, leaves that religion to become Pagan, do you cheer?  Do you proclaim it loudly from your blog, twitter or other social media outlets?  Do you feel satisfaction? Do you cheer them on because obviously they made the right choice? Do you discuss it continually, stewing over it, celebrating it, etc?  I don’t and I hope you don’t either.  Such changes are hard enough without the hype of unknown others.

So why do the opposite it when a prominent Pagan leaves the community? Why vilify them?  Is your belief in yourself and your path so weak, so small that their choice leaves you hurt or angry?  I've been surprised over some of the comments I've seen over the recent departure from the Pagan community.  Hence the reminder, Pagans are human too.  But what I want to ask is:  where is the famed Pagan tolerance? Why is the following of one’s heart good in one situation and bad in the other?  How can you expect others to be tolerant of us, when we do not do the same?  If all paths have the same destination in the end, then why strike out?  We've all known those in other religions that still fall in the “good people” column, so why the belly aching?

How does this differ from someone coming out as gay?   The reactions of some Pagans I’ve seen remind me of those who are vehemently against being gay.  Pagans often trip over themselves trying to offer support for these people.  Coming out as other-than-Pagan certainly shouldn't be any different.  It is a matter of following one’s heart, of becoming who they are, of finding whatever it is that makes them whole or that makes them want to be better.  If converting to another religion gives them a sense of peace, then they should receive support for doing what is right for them.  It is a personal choice...the key word here is personal.

If anyone’s conversion leaves you hurt or angry, then you need to take a closer look at yourself and your path.  If you need someone of prominence to validate your belief system, then maybe, just maybe you too are on the wrong path.

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I am a Hellenic Pagan, dedicated to Zeus, living in the Colorado mountains with my husband, our son, two cats and a yellow lab.  In the little bit of free time that I have, I enjoy reading and crafting.
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Comments

  • Jamie
    Jamie Wednesday, 06 November 2013

    Ms. Brokaw,

    Whilst I don't feel that a website devoted to Pagan community issues is necessarily an appropriate venue for a de facto ex-Pagan to share their Christian conversion narrative, I also don't harbor any negative feelings towards that person for their beliefs.

    I would rather every Pagan be honest about their deeply-held spiritual convictions, even if it means leaving the fold (a 'bigger tent' than ours never existed!), than have a situation which promotes naked, self-interested religious hypocrisy. I've seen so much of that in my life, having been involved in the executive boards of a small-town church, that it makes me shake my head. We won't even go into the American evangelical Christian divorce rate, or how Pakistan leads the world in hard-core lesbian porn Google searches.

    More power to the man of the hour. The Galileans love a prodigal son.

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