We were very excited to be asked to do the invocation," Childers told the Patch. "A lot of people think pagans go out and kill goats; they don't even understand what paganism really is. Although contemporary society is taught to believe it's a bad thing, we're just like everyone else."
"I don't know why the city chose to go with pagans, but we're honored," she told the Patch,
"We have also had Native American 'Medicine Men,' Islamic Imams, Buddhist Monks, Falong Gong, Rabbi's, Hindu's and a couple of religious persons that I couldn't even figure out what they were," Santee Mayor Randy Voepel told the Patch in an email. He said the city council invocations are about half-and-half Christian and non-Christian, according to the Patch.
Here's a nice story about a Pagan being asked to give the invocation to open the meeting of the Santee City, California City Council. (I'd rather see government functions not open with a prayer, but if they're going to do so, having a Pagan give the invocation is nice.) It's even nice to see the local Catholic priest be welcoming, although we'll see how happy Father Casey is once the Goddess, vs. his god, is invoked.
"I think religious values should be everywhere," Jesuit Fr. Kevin Casey, associate pastor at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Santee, told the Patch, noting that he performed an invocation in November 2009. "I always welcome the opportunity for there to be a mention of God at the beginning of a City Council meeting."
But it's the same old problem. Don't use your 15 minutes of fame to say say that Pagans (with a capital "P" please) don't "go out and kill goats." First, by trying to negate a frame, you invoke it. Second, some Pagans do sacrifice animals. So why lie? Much better to use the real estate in the paper to say that you're honored, especially this close to a major Pagan holiday, to be asked to offer the invocation and that you'll be, for example, asking the beloved Ancestors to guide and give wisdom to the members of the City Council, as this is a time of year when Pagans give special honor to the Ancestors.
Come on, Pagans. Stop it.
One of my hopes is that, by highlighting how often this happens, we can convince people that they don't need to keep doing it. Hasn't the stereotype received enough reinforcement?
Picture found here.