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Author Topic: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?  (Read 16703 times)

RedHawk

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Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« on: March 25, 2013, 12:15:15 am »
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan? I must admit that I've never suffered any form of discrimination out there as a pagan. I've been attacked on-line by people that believe that I have to be black to worship the Egyptian gods but that was a couple of years ago and every once in a while someone will find my video's and make comments that are stupid but out there, no.

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 12:49:34 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan? I must admit that I've never suffered any form of discrimination out there as a pagan. I've been attacked on-line by people that believe that I have to be black to worship the Egyptian gods but that was a couple of years ago and every once in a while someone will find my video's and make comments that are stupid but out there, no.

 
I've never been physically assaulted, but when I was in college, a pair of conservative Christian girls down the hall started a rumor campaign in my dorm about how I worshipped Satan and was evil and crazy and such, and a couple of times I found nasty shit written on my whiteboard.

And there was the time I was out with a Heathen group in Phoenix, at a public park, and the Christian group in the next spot over started calling us names and threatening us. Since the Heathen group included several very large Thor-types and some period weaponry, they didn't get past the threats phase.

Those are the major ones that come to mind - shit like coworkers telling me I need to find Jesus or the like were pretty common. I see it less since moving to the PNW though.
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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 01:14:34 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan? I must admit that I've never suffered any form of discrimination out there as a pagan. I've been attacked on-line by people that believe that I have to be black to worship the Egyptian gods but that was a couple of years ago and every once in a while someone will find my video's and make comments that are stupid but out there, no.


A few years ago I had a boss talk sternly down to me regarding my very visible pentacle pendant.  Apparently a customer had a problem with it.  A few minutes prior to that 'talk' a customer spotted and asked if I was Jewish.  It was probably the same person; I wasn't shocked so much at the customer's lack of knowledge but in the fact that she didn't have the spine to object to me directly.

Another time some loon left a Jack Chick tract under my windshield wiper, but that had more to do with the Masonic emblems on my car than anything, although the loon probably probably thought that Freemasonry = paganism.  It doesn't.
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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 02:39:54 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan? I must admit that I've never suffered any form of discrimination out there as a pagan. I've been attacked on-line by people that believe that I have to be black to worship the Egyptian gods but that was a couple of years ago and every once in a while someone will find my video's and make comments that are stupid but out there, no.

 
No. But I live in the UK.

I should clarify that I consider 'discrimination' to be an institutional thing, and 'prejudice' to be a personal thing - though I understand that there can be a lot of crossover. I've never experienced institutional discrimination for religious reasons. I've asked for Samhain off work (in a Biblical Studies department at a university) and had no problems, for example. I have met a little bit of personal prejudice, but only from practicing Christians (who are a small minority in the UK). Most of the people I encounter are atheists or agnostics, and the worst response I'm going to get from them is amusement and potential mockery at the thought that I honour pre-Christian gods and believe in magic.

There was research here last year, out of one of the universities that I teach at (in my department, in fact), that suggested that Pagans meet some discrimination in the UK. At the UK Pagan forum I post at, everyone basically fell about laughing. I ended up having to defend their sampling strategy and funding sources - though I was incredulous at their findings myself.
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Dark Midnight

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 02:46:03 am »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;102766
No. But I live in the UK.

I should clarify that I consider 'discrimination' to be an institutional thing, and 'prejudice' to be a personal thing - though I understand that there can be a lot of crossover. I've never experienced institutional discrimination for religious reasons. I've asked for Samhain off work (in a Biblical Studies department at a university) and had no problems, for example. I have met a little bit of personal prejudice, but only from practicing Christians (who are a small minority in the UK). Most of the people I encounter are atheists or agnostics, and the worst response I'm going to get from them is amusement and potential mockery at the thought that I honour pre-Christian gods and believe in magic.

There was research here last year, out of one of the universities that I teach at (in my department, in fact), that suggested that Pagans meet some discrimination in the UK. At the UK Pagan forum I post at, everyone basically fell about laughing. I ended up having to defend their sampling strategy and funding sources - though I was incredulous at their findings myself.

 
Sophia is right. Here in the UK, you are far more likely to be descriminated against for being a Goth than a Pagan. In fact, that is much more often the case.
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RedHawk

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 05:02:09 am »
Quote from: Jack;102753
I've never been physically assaulted, but when I was in college, a pair of conservative Christian girls down the hall started a rumor campaign in my dorm about how I worshipped Satan and was evil and crazy and such, and a couple of times I found nasty shit written on my whiteboard.

And there was the time I was out with a Heathen group in Phoenix, at a public park, and the Christian group in the next spot over started calling us names and threatening us. Since the Heathen group included several very large Thor-types and some period weaponry, they didn't get past the threats phase.

Those are the major ones that come to mind - shit like coworkers telling me I need to find Jesus or the like were pretty common. I see it less since moving to the PNW though.


Yeah, I think that the large thor-like men really scared them. They would scare me if I saw them with period weaponry. Glad that they had enough sense to leave it at threats and not do anything else to you and the group.

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 08:04:58 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;102757
Another time some loon left a Jack Chick tract under my windshield wiper, but that had more to do with the Masonic emblems on my car than anything, although the loon probably probably thought that Freemasonry = paganism.  It doesn't.

Have you read any of the Freemasonry Chick Tracts? Freemasonry is demon worship, a form of Islam, etc. depending on the tract. I could only find three on the Chick site, but I believe they used to have more.

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 08:59:03 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan?

 
I'm lucky that I've never received any particularly nasty discrimination for being pagan in Ireland, although I do know one or two who had problems with their kids in schools here.

The most I've gotten is the odd confused look but other than that nothing really. I think Ireland doesn't really tend to mind us that much, I mean I sometimes wear an old pentacle and have never had anything bar one or two interested questions about what it was around my neck (it's got Celtic-style knotwork around it).
I wore that necklace in school openly for years (in a Catholic fairly religiously strict school) and never once did a teacher say a word to me about it.
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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 09:04:11 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan?

 
Yes.

I worked at a place that had a "strict" (read: not enforced at all) policy against religious icons of any type in the workplace. No religious discussions, no religious flyers, etc.  I am not a buddhist, but sometimes people seem to think I am because I talk about the Tao a lot and read it a lot (and no matter how many times I tell them they're unrelated, it never ceases).  Someone gave me a wee little buddha statue. It was maybe 2 inches tall (5 cm). I had it behind my monitor and up on a little box of extra post-it notes (the desk was strewn with post-it packs, so it was surplus and then some).

The woman 5 cubicles down from me was a rabid christian. Her cubicle was plastered in crosses, jesus pictures, christian poetry and pictures... and sometime she "accidentally" played her christian music too loudly.

The big boss brought me into the office one day and told me that my buddha statue was offensive to "others" and had to be removed. I asked who had complained, and he squirmed and said that it didn't matter, such 'paraphernalia' was forbidden.

So I agreed to remove it, and as I'm leaving his office, I see the cubicle woman smirking at me. She actually followed me (not very) discreetly to see if I'd remove the "offensive" statuette from behind my monitor. Then she swept towards her cubicle with a big smile on her face.

I put in a formal complaint about her cubicle. Nothing changed. She put up a plethora of flyers on people's cars. I heard our big boss arguing with building management over it, and he knew who did it and openly defended her actions and stood up for her.

Following that, she would put tracts of all sorts on my car almost every day, until I caught her doing it on video. At that point, I openly threatened my big boss that I would sue for a threatening workplace and discrimination if he didn't tell her to stop (after I'd asked him something like 8 times to ask her to stop).

Within a week, I was fired for supposed incompetence. I admit that I milked that unemployment, and I considered suing. But I feel that our country is rather sue-happy, so I didn't do it.

I've experience other stuff, too, but that's the most noteworthy and the 'biggest'. I've been told to remove or take off jewelry that was supposedly offensive while christians aren't asked to remove their crosses and other jewelry in many workplaces... and I don't even wear pentacles or anything. I have worn ankhs and celtic symbols (I most identify with celtic, but also somewhat with egyptian). Ankhs, apparently, are all about mocking christianity and have nothing at all to do with ancient egyptian religions... hmmm. Color me surprised!

Catherine

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 09:36:54 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan?

 
Sure have. Bigotry and hate, too.

I was fired from the only 9-5 job I've ever had because one of the people in the office saw my (very small) pentacle.

She went to the boss and told him it made her uncomfortable. He told me I had to stop wearing it to work. I told him that if he wanted to make it company policy and part of the dress code that no visible, religious jewelry could be worn by anyone I would comply with that. Otherwise, as long as she could wear her cross, I'd be wearing my pentacle. He fired me the next day.

I went to the local human rights commission, filed a formal complaint, and heard nothing from them for over a year. By then, he'd lost his business and filed for bankruptcy.

I've been harassed. When I worked at a witchy store we were constantly getting threats, people coming into the store and causing trouble, people following us around...

I was threatened and harassed by my upstairs neighbor, too. But instead of setting me on fire, like he threatened, he decided to vandalize my garden. I suppose I should feel lucky...

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 10:50:34 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan? I must admit that I've never suffered any form of discrimination out there as a pagan. I've been attacked on-line by people that believe that I have to be black to worship the Egyptian gods but that was a couple of years ago and every once in a while someone will find my video's and make comments that are stupid but out there, no.

 
I do think that religious discrimination was a piece of why I lost my job (more technically 'my contract wasn't renewed') from my job previous to this one. (There were other things going on as well, including major health issues, and them not handling that optimally, and me struggling to handle that through the health stuff.)

But something clearly changed in the dynamic when my then-boss learned I was Pagan, and it wasn't just me who noticed it.  (And that was in a liberal, diversity-aware school.)

I had more active, overt discrimination and bias when I was Catholic - but part of that is that I was a lot more *visibly* Catholic in some ways (ashes on the forehead at Ash Wednesday, needing to adjust my schedule for some holy days, etc.)

I don't wear obviously Pagan jewelry (though I do wear stuff that has personal meaning - it's just not a pentagram or whatever) and when I do take time off for religious stuff (generally only Samhain or stuff that isn't calendar linked, like an initiation) I would be non-specific about why.
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Laveth

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 11:15:10 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan? I must admit that I've never suffered any form of discrimination out there as a pagan. I've been attacked on-line by people that believe that I have to be black to worship the Egyptian gods but that was a couple of years ago and every once in a while someone will find my video's and make comments that are stupid but out there, no.

I wouldn't say discrimination. I've come across a few individuals who really didn't understand, and didn't want to, and would subsequently make blanket statements lumping all pagans together as being a part of the charmed cult. But ignorance doesn't bother me, and I haven't been the at the receiving end of any real hostility regarding my religion (or many other things actually) in a few years. I think it's more of an attitude thing, at least where I've been residing. If people see that you're a bouncy, light-hearted, fun-loving person then they're more likely to just join in with that positivity.

In the past, the worst I ever received regarding my beliefs were the people who thought I was going to hell and try to convince me of my wicked ways. The thing is... since I grew older than my mid-teens, I started keeping those things mostly to myself unless people specifically asked. And if I thought that they were only interested in starting a conflict, I'd tell them that I wasn't comfortable talking to them about my beliefs. In the end, it really isn't anyone's business but my own. I don't hide it, I don't flaunt it either.

Maybe I'm just blessed in living in places that are generally more tolerable. :)

But I have found that a lot of people who I have witnessed go through some kind of verbal assault tend to carry certain attitudes around with them as well. The egotistical, self-centered, semi-aggressive stances don't do anyone any good (I'm not saying they're asking for it, and I'm not saying that this is a factor in the majority of the cases of religious discrimination). All I'm saying is that this is the only kind I've ever witnessed first-hand. I only ever see the young teens who go out with the intent to bring up their "religion" to a stranger who seems as if they would take offense to it, and then try to start a conflict. It's a pretty sheltered area here I suppose, you're more likely to get beat up for looking at the wrong person in the wrong way than you are for having a pentacle around your neck.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 11:15:33 am by Laveth »

Micheál

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 11:17:39 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan? I must admit that I've never suffered any form of discrimination out there as a pagan. I've been attacked on-line by people that believe that I have to be black to worship the Egyptian gods but that was a couple of years ago and every once in a while someone will find my video's and make comments that are stupid but out there, no.

Nah, luckily I grew up in a big city Oberon Ravenheart already broke in with the pagan thing.

I moved to a small town not long ago where everyone knows everyone's business(honestly the last person to find out what you're at is you!), and they all know. Considering I somehow ended up with the nickname 'Mad Marine Mike' in the town started by the rugby dudes from some of my drunken antics I seriously doubt anyone would say anything to me about it.

You have a better chance of being discriminated against in regards to whether or not you're a Catholic or Protestant from the small few in Northern Ireland than being a pagan. Diversity is welcomed, and religion isn't mentioned much.

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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2013, 02:54:03 pm »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan?

 
I live in the Bible Belt, so there have been several instances of large scale discrimination for the pagan community here.

The largest one I can think of is a neighboring community had a Pagan Pride Day festival at a local park. It was a very nice outing - lots of good workshops. I had gone to support my friend who was from that area. They had about 50 people show up. About halfway through the event (2pm) a horde of church vans show up. About 200 people gather on the other side of the park and start praying - loudly. Then they descended on the gathering, forcing tracts onto people, and telling them they were going to hell.

I asked the minister involved how he would feel if we showed up at his church picnic trying to convert folks to various pagan beliefs, and he said this was different because we were going to hell.

The only other really big problem with bigotry I have faced is trying to book a dining room for meetups. A lot of places will suddenly be "full" when we need space.
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Re: Have You Ever Suffered Discrimination As A Pagan?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2013, 03:05:16 pm »
Quote from: RedHawk;102750
Have any of you suffered discrimination as a pagan? I must admit that I've never suffered any form of discrimination out there as a pagan. I've been attacked on-line by people that believe that I have to be black to worship the Egyptian gods but that was a couple of years ago and every once in a while someone will find my video's and make comments that are stupid but out there, no.

 
In this respect, I'm pretty lucky.Why? Because people don't recognize hammers. I can wear one openly at work and have no problems. A rather amusing incident was when I was at work, a little old lady walked up to me to say that my necklace was pretty and ask what it was. When I told her it was a Hammer of Thor, she said "Oh, well I don't know who that is, but it's pretty!" and then walked away.

I live in North Texas, where as long as you're a good neighbour, and not worshipping purple crystals in a pink tutu at the town square, people don't really care about your religion. Plus it helps that I'm never involved in any kind of pagan gathering, nor am I inclined to be.
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