I have been thinking a lot about this since an incident at my wedding. For the six of you (yes, there are six now wheee!) that read this blog and don’t already know, I am pagan, and so is Mister Dessie. When we started working on our wedding, we wanted to design something that wouldn’t make the nice Christians coming to the wedding uncomfortable, but also stayed true to our beliefs. Overall, I think we did a decent job of it. The only thing that was overtly pagan there was a plate with a pentacle on the altar that was intended to hold the rings. No one was to see it but us.
Anyway, to make a long story short, a family friend saw said said pentacle, and freaked out entirely. We also had my father making cracks to friends about us sacrificing babies to Satan. Clearly, sacrificing infants to Satan is not part of my religious MO, and is not currently planned for addition. I hate crying babies, so it just wouldn’t work out! 😛
Then, I look at stories like that of Roberta Stewart, who has been fighting with the Department of Veterans Affairs to get a plaque added to a local memorial for a husband with the symbol of his religion, a pentagram. Even atheists have a symbol approved by the VA, but not the pentagram.
I can kind of understand the way of thinking that generates these attitudes. Even though I know the true meaning of the pentagram as used by American Pagans, I still get a gut reaction of dread when I see one – and I wear one! At some level, mistrust of pagan religions is instilled into us at a very young age.
Part of this I blame on TV and movies. How many TV shows have you seen about a gruesome Satanist murder where the pentagram was painted on the wall in blood or some such, even tho such things rarely ever happen? Even the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland had a pentacle on the wall in one of their “scary witch” type rooms (I am glad to say that the last time I went that said pentagram was no longer present, so they are catching on over at good ole Disney).
The whole thing made me think about what we teach our children about other schools of thought. Are we doing a good job of teaching our kids that different schools of thought are okay? Or are we teaching them to think badly of someone because of a symbol? Obviously, we are missing something if the symbol of one of the fastest growing religions in the country makes people think of Satan.
Not that I have any good answers, but it was something I was thinking.

3 thoughts on “Tolerance?”

  1. Well, it’s the current trend by the media and politicians to demonize all things Christian, and Paganism is close enough to be demonized right along with. We’ll just stick together when we go to Paradise and those other hypocrites go get a permanent sunburn…

  2. You nailed it, Des. The symbol of the pentagram has many different meanings, and it dates back to before Christianity was born. There are differing opinions to its origins, but they were distinctly pagan.
    I am a Witch — Wicca is my religion, Witchcraft is what I practice, Witch is what I am. I wear my religion on my breast as a reminder that I do have the freedom of religion that everyone in this country is granted. And I wear it to remind myself that witchcraft is an art, a science, a history, a religion, a right, and a responsibility.
    Here is a link to a good piece on the headstone issue, written by one of my NATREL compatriots. Thoughtful and well said.

  3. I agree. It sucks that the possibility of different believes is not taught to children. It’s doing more harm than anything else. It’s fine to teach your kids whatever you want but always let them know that there is room for different views and that there’s nothing wrong with that.

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