There are a couple of very eloquent and talented writers in the Pagan community who I see regularly on a particular online forum. Learned gentlemen whose writings are reputed to be some of the sharpest and most intellectually convincing and heartfelt explorations of Pagan thought and polytheology. Unfortunately my heart and mind tend to slam shut at the sight of their noms-de-Pagan.
This is because the very first place I encountered them is in the comment stream of a popular Pagan blog, where they are both frequently found pouring out their anger and bitterness and venom towards Monotheism in general and Christianity in particular. Although in light of recent event over the last few months they have been throwing dog dirt upon Islam as well. Anyone who disagrees with them, no matter how gently or politely, is subjected to their ridicule and scorn; if the objector is Pagan then the legitimacy of their particular religious path and their basic intelligence are called into question. In their ongoing campaigns of vitriol they will cherry pick their examples from the worst of human behavior in whatever form of Christianity or Islam or Monotheism they are currently attacking; or the particular form of religion/Paganism of those who dare disagree with either of these theoretically august personages. When they are not insulting the intelligence or character of their detractors they will be found busily and casually ignoring any evidence or examples that counter their examples or might contradict their passionately proselytized prejudices.
They have given me a lot to think about and I am once again contemplating why it is that I have such a powerful emotional response when the two of them start writing about other religions, mainly but not limited to monotheistic ones. My reaction is often one of not just no, but a sometimes very angry “Oh Hell to the No!”
In my anger and outrage I have sometimes gotten rude and petty and pissy, again I apologize to them.
The more I think about it the more I have realized that when one of the two of them starts to vent their, admittedly well written, spleen on the topics of monotheism the two of them remind me of nothing so much as Jerry Fallwell or Fred Phelps or Anita Bryant or any of the many others who have tried to tell me all my life that as a Gay man I am evil and vile and worthless and without worth and value and values and that I don’t deserve the same basic legal rights as others. There is the exact same sort of righteous anger, and venom. The same willingness to deeply research matters as long as the facts they find match their preconcieved notions, and to casually sweep aside anything that is counter to their set opinions. There is the exact same cruelty and condescension to any and all who disagrees with them, and the same willingness to comdemn them as wrong or suspect of representing “the enemy’. There is the same eagerness to force their opinions onto others no matter what it takes. The same willingness to play the martyr card the second that the system or popular opinion isn’t playing in their favor. The same sort of tactics, the same sort of fanatic zeal, the same sort of hatefullness, and the same sort of bigotry.
Then again the two of them aren’t all that much like any of the fanatics I’ve named, after all neither of them has ever showed the courage of your convictions to attach their legal names to their little opinion pieces, either int heir comments on other blogs or on their own. They are content to cower behind pseudonyms while spraying their negative opinions about like a cat marking its territory.
I do take comfort in the fact that for many, although admittedly not all, of the readers of the forums they comment in they represent the same sort of place within Paganism, that Fred Phelps or the Church of Christ Aryan occupies in Christianity. So I shall let them spout their hatred and vent their spleens.
I shall pray for them. I shall strive to resist the urge to give in to my own shock and outrage at their slings and arrows with the shaking of fists or giving them the attention and reaction they so desperately crave. I remain content in the knowledge that for most Pagans the kind of bigotry, pettyness, and anger that they represent are absolutely NOT what the many Paths of Pagans Movement are about.
Still praying the prayers of Peace,
Pax / Geoffrey Stewart