It’s easy to forget sometimes that we as Neo-Pagans are still on the outskirts of societal understanding and acceptance. When you don’t encounter any resistance to your ideas, any negative blowback from your actions, you become comfortable and unafraid. Which in actuality is the way one would ideally practice any form of spirituality.
At least in the United States, the vocal Christian right likes to talk a lot about how there’s a war on Christianity. I’ve always found this to be very frustrating for a number of reasons, not least of which is that as the in-power majority, today’s Christians do not understand what oppression of religion is.
Of course, oppression today is rarely cut-and-dry black and white. It’s subtle, subversive, erosive and complicated. Unless it’s a beheading. That’s not subtle at all. And just happens to be deadly. Here’s the article I read originally: http://tinyurl.com/kb9ema4. This guy attacked and mostly beheaded his roommate because as a Christian with supposedly strongly held Christian beliefs, he felt it was his duty to prevent anyone from practicing magic. Let the gruesome and disturbed nature of this sink in for a minute (though I don’t know why I continue to be surprised by these things. It’s not like religion hasn’t almost always been used to justify murder.) Now take note of the way both the article’s writer and the commenters speak about witchcraft – that typical assumption that witchcraft is not real and/or that it’s only something teenagers “go through.” This reaction is disheartening, if predictable, and reinforces the reality that we as actual, real, living and breathing practitioners of witchcraft face: the world at large thinks we are not real. Which is further disrespectful to the victim of this murder, who died for this supposedly non-real practice.
Then you’ve got articles like this one, which also showed up over the past weekend, titled Why Witches on TV Show Spell Trouble in Real Life. If you’re hoping for an outside recap of how Hollywood misrepresents witches you’re going to be disappointed as I was. No, this one is all about how witches being sensationally portrayed in the media is an indicator of trouble because witchcraft scares people. Here’s my favorite part:
Witches, like terrorists, “threaten to wipe out everything you believe in. If they could, they would overthrow your government, overturn your faith, and destroy your society,” Baker writes. The difference, of course, is that terrorists are real, while witches are not.
Both of these mentalities are sad and disappointing, even for someone who doesn’t expect much from the world around her. What do you think of these two articles? Surprised, disappointed, angered, unfazed?