Monday, February 21, 2011

People Keep Doing It; I'm Going to Keep Complaining About It

Here's an article about the opening of what sounds like a lovely store and community center, Crone’s Hollow, in Salt Lake City. Clearly a lot of work has gone into its opening and it looks as if it will be a great resource for the local Pagan community.

And, yet.

The word "Pagan" goes uncapitalized throughout the article. The word "Pagan" is an umbrella term that describes a group of related religions such as Wicca, Druidism, Asatru, etc. It's precisely similar to, for example, "Christianity," which is an umbrella term for related religions such as Catholicism, Methodism, Baptists, etc. Or "Judaism," which is an umbrella term for related religions such as Hassidic, Orthodox, Reform, etc. Or "Islam," which is an umbrella term for related religions such as Suffi, Sunni, Shia, etc. We capitalize Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and we should capitalize Pagan, as well. Not to do so implies that some religions groups are "more" than others. Dear ERIN ALBERTY at The Salt Lake Tribune, please take notice.

Similarly, Paganism is not a "faith." While some religions -- Christianity, for example -- are built upon faith, Paganism is not. No Pagan religion of which I am aware requires its members to have "faith" in the Goddesses/Gods. Rather, most Pagans have what they consider to be direct experience, not faith. Paganism is, rather, a religion and should be described as such. To use the term "faith" (or, even more gag-inducing, "faith community") as a substitute for "religion" implies that all "real" religions include an element of standardized faith. That's not helpful and has, in fact, been used against Unitarians to dispute their tax-exempt status as a religion.

And, finally, there's this:
“We have a fun place, and we are hoping to encourage all denominations to come hang out with us. We are your neighbors, and we aren’t scary,” Morgan said. “It’s not about sacrificing children and animals. It’s about people coming together and finding the way in which they can, using the experience of ritual, worship in their own way.”

For the love of the Goddess, can we please quit doing this to ourselves? It's as if no Pagan can get within 20 feet of a reporter without reflexively repeating this guilty-sounding denial. I've blogged extensively about why this practice is so unhelpful. Ask yourself what you remember about Christine O'Donnell or Richard Nixon and then Do.Not.Do.This.


Picture found here.

1 comment:

Greenconsciousness said...

I don't think Paganism is a religion. The Craft is not a religion, it is a skill. My family practiced the Craft but not as a religion. In fact, there is a lot of ridicule of those who have a need to turn The Way into a religion based on a lot of superficial, hierarchal and whatever, probably a need for community and increased effectiveness.

All those other things you mentioned are religions but Paganism is a way of being which is connected to creation, the cosmos, and the earth in ways that the civilized and the rational sadists of the universities reject.

As above so it is below. That and, harm none for good reason, along with the way to manifest is The Craft. The fifth perception and synchronicity is the Craft. Much more is the Craft. Connecting with the energy of stones and birds is the Craft. Talking with cats is the Craft.

Paganism is a spirit filled way of being with the earth and its manifestations in all of its forms and energies but Paganism is not a religion. It is a Craft. I don't care if they capitalize it. I capitalize everything here out of respect for you.