I gave a keynote talk at the Conference of Current Pagan Studies January 23 on viewing social justice from a Pagan perspective. It went well and while the paper it was based on is much too long for a normal blog post, I have made it available as an article on my web page. After a discussion of social justice at a more abstract level, I end with exploring issues of Nature and race.
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In her 2002 editorial on incarcerated Pagans Anne Newkirk Niven writes about the value of ministering to that population. She sensibly points out that such folks will not be confined forever and will at some point exit the system. Cherry Hill Seminary offers literature for incarcerated Pagans at a very nominal fee. *
Niven tells us that not all Pagans feel such ministry is worth the effort. But it is worth noting that the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Since the 80s, incarceration in federal prisons has soared 800%. A great many of those who are confined were committing nothing that Pagans would view as an ethical violation: they were taking some form of illegal drug. And such policies are inherently racist. People of color are locked up in far greater numbers than those with fair skin....
A while back, I read a book by a contemporary theologian whose initial premise was: The story of the struggle between Good and Evil is a human universal.
And that's quite simply not true.
One certainly seems to see this story everywhere. Go to a Hollywood movie, pick up a popular novel: good guys vs. bad guys. Worse: we see it in our own heads. Matriarchy good, patriarchy bad. Abrahamics bad, paganisms good.