persecution

How?

…as I walked away I wondered how it had become so easy? The smoke didn’t really bother me. It was just a step away from who I used to be…I’ll miss Aj but, she was just another witch…

*****

I wondered how I got to this place? I always thought I was a nice guy.  I don’t suppose that matters anymore…I always knew Aj was my friend. We were from the very start. Some people just become friends. They are destined to be. We started off a bit rough but, after a bit, things smoothed out. It’s like we’ve been friends all our lives. I mean, she told me she was a witch but that didn’t really matter.

It wasn’t really her fault that she was one. Besides, who really cared? I mean, sure, some people treated her like s**t but, she really didn’t complain. She just took it and went on because that was what happens to witches, right? Just keep your mouth shut and accept it, right? Anyway, she KNEW she wasn’t quite good enough but, I didn’t hold that against her.

That’s what we were told and, after awhile, we believed it. They ARE different…other…

After that, it was easy. We got along as long while she stayed in her place. I had to remind her of that a few times but she learned. As time went on, she got used to the idea that those things “just happened” and that I would never do anything worse. I didn’t expect to and besides, how much worse can it get for someone who’s future is Hell?

The first steps were the hardest for me. We had eaten together. I had cooked dinner and let her into my house and told her that she was my best friend.

That’s ok. I was wrong. How could a Christian be best friends with a heathen? Once I figured out that answer, I couldn’t, lying to her was easy. All I had to do was keep going on like things were still the same. Act like the subtle insults and slights were accidents. Just play the fool and keep her trust? It isn’t really lying or wrong if it’s to a witch because she’s not Christian, is it?

I’ll miss her…of course, I miss me, too…

*****

*wipes eyes*

When you read that section, do not believe that I believe those words about her.

I had to go back and try to figure out how an “ordinary person”, like me.could do what Burning Aj did. I really don’t want to ever revisit that post.

I have often thought I could not be a criminal profiler, these posts are why. To do that job you have to understand the madness. You have to visit a dark place and look back.

Leaders teach hate to gain power. They say, “see them” to distract from their own evils. Ordinary people follow along because it’s always easier to be an “us” than “one of them”. We find safety in the herd. We just gradually wander into evil, never realizing we’re doing it. We smell the smoke and are glad it’s someone else…

*****

This is the last of 3. In order, the other two are Burning Aj and Why?. This one does not make sense without the other two. If you read this one, please read or have read, the first. It doesn’t make sense without it. The second two explain the first.

Also, please, please understand. I HATE the first one. In my mind’s eye, it happened in my own yard and it hurts. I set it there and made myself see it that way so this would not be some casual exercise with words. I hope that my grief over what didn’t really happen comes through. I hope you never have to put your mind in the place I went. I did it that way because if I am going to put Aj into these three, it is only fair that there is some real cost to me for doing it…

Aj, I love you. Period.

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Aj Is Going to Hell

My best friend is an immoral Pagan witch. She’s rejected Christian Morality. She outright refuses to accept the concepts of Christian repressed sexuality. She makes her own rules and worships her own gods, plural. She has her own rituals and practices divination. Yeah, she’s going to Hell and there’s nothing I can do about it. Not only that, she doesn’t even believe Hell exists…

So, if she’s going there, why do Christians, not all of us but, enough, feel a need to persecute her during this life. I mean, if you believe someone is going to Eternal Damnation, isn’t that enough? You think the condition of her soul means you have the right to be a jerk to one of God’s Creations, even if you think that she’s an “offense against God” and that, when He created her he made a mistake. That somehow, you’re showing her what True Christian Values are by letting her know you think she has no value? That God will praise you for showing His love to her by treating her like she has no worth?

This is what you have taught her by your examples… “I wish for true religious freedom every day but I know that as long as it is a christian based society there never will be…I have learned to walk quietly so that I am not persecuted for my belief. I do not hide who I am or deny my personal truths.” You have taught that you only believe in religious freedom for yourself. You have taught that she WILL be persecuted for her belief. You have taught her this, “If you are such a damn good christian then follow your own commandments and guidelines. Love your neighbor, do not judge and do unto others as you would have done unto you” and that you will not. You have taught her that my “heresy” in treating her as a human, a loved and cherished human that happens to not be Christian, is vanishingly rare among Christians.

You realize that you failed? If you value the souls of unbelievers, then there is one that you will never be able to save because YOU have driven it away. Your actions. Your failure to show, by the example you set, that your path is worth emulating, means that her soul is beyond reach. Once, you might have had a chance, now it is too late for her… The question does remain, what will you do now? How will you reach out to the next person you would send to Hell? What love will you reach out with? Will you invite them into the warmth of your home and life? Will you teach them, without words, of the depth of your faith? By the love for them you express, will you show them that their souls have worth and their lives matter or will you reject them and send another worthless Pagan to Hell? Will you cause them to find community away from yours and take away any chance you might have had to “save” them? What will you do to the next chance you have?

*****

My best friend is a Pagan. I am not. This is what I believe. I believe that God is able to do anything. I believe He shows himself in the form He best thinks will be received.  I believe that, to Christians, He appeared in a form we can accept. I believe that it is possible that he presents Himself to others in a way that they might accept.

I am not trying to “Christianize” Pagans or Aj. I know she doesn’t even allow for the Christian Hell to exist. I know that she will never be a Christian and yet, I also don’t think she’s going to Hell. Her soul may be a bit banged up around the edges but, the core of it is as solid as any I know. That soul, that person that lights candles for me, that shows concern for my life and my fears, has nothing to worry about. That human, that soul that animates the shell that lives on this earth, is valuable to me. I believe that soul will not go to Hell just because she’s not Christian.

 

I’m Not Your Ally

I was reading an article about allies. I’ll give it this, I write, mostly, in favor of LBGT Rights and Religious Freedom for Pagans…and everyone else. The article was saying how allies are not needed because they do it to feel better about themselves or from some feeling of sharing “the struggle”…

So, I’m not an ally. I’m self-serving. I don’t want to “share the struggle”. I like not being a target. I don’t want to know what it’s like to be persecuted. The names and degradation cast do not appeal to me. I have no martyr complex. I am, though, a subversive working from within the system trying to change it. I am trying to change the attitudes of my demographic by showing it that there’s nothing to fear. I am also selfish and non-altruistic. My reasons for writing are specific people. Humans that I know. Yeah, like sometimes happens, I find that there are more people I know that are in one or the other of the groups I write about and have to add them to the “write for” part but, that’s rare. I’ll also admit that I am realistic. To change the world for specific people, I have to help the greater body of strangers.

I hope this doesn’t sound harsh. I can be a bit of a jerk but, I don’t see anything wrong with being protective of the people I think of as mine. I don’t really see a difficulty with my view. I expect people to be not altruistic. I expect that there is gain for the person doing the “activism” or “giving” or what ever you want to call it. I have reasons. Mine are that people, specific people, I care about should be treated as humans…Mine are also that I fear that what is applied to one group, be it religious or sexual orientation, could be one day applied to me. I see people muttering about a “war on Christianity” while looking to repress another group. Those mutterers fail to realize that the tools they use to limit a group could be used against them. They ignore that the Equal Protection clause means that the same laws have to be applied evenly. If we limit religious freedom for one group, it must needs be applied across the board.

I will also admit that I am predisposed to like people because they belong to one of a couple specific minorities. To be clear, though, this bias comes about, again, because of individuals I know. *editorial, 50.8% of the US population, based on 2008 data, is female and not a minority* Anyway, if someone tells me they are Pagan, because of Aj, I am more inclined to want to like them. I know, I should prefer my own group but, we have enough advocates and I really love Aj so, I expect, perhaps falsely, that I will find the same qualities in them I find in her. When I meet a Lady and find out she is gay, the Z Bias comes in to play. Z is one of my very favorite people on the planet and I, because of her, expect to like them. *other editorial, the people I am closest to are women and so, I tend to favor them, over men, as people I am potentially going to like. Men tend to be sissies and whiners* I also get that I am a Romantic, using the old meaning. Because of the biases I’ve shown, I tend to have an idealized view of the people within those groups that I care about. I can be blind, willingly, to faults. *sigh* It happens…

I know I’ve tracked down this path before this post. *sigh* Maybe I’m just a cynical old b*****d. I don’t expect that people become passionate about an issue without selfishness as the root. If I don’t have personal emotional loading as a basis, no matter how much logic I apply to my conclusions, I tend not to care. An example of that lack of loading is gun control. I have no emotional loading one way or the other and so, tend to let others have a strong view and vocal opinions.

I hope this is making sense.

So, *inhale* I want y’all to take this the way it’s meant. It isn’t that I don’t want people at large to be treated equally, it’s that I don’t know you. I know who I write for. I love some of them and merely like others of them. *editorial, there are more that I know and love/like than just Aj and Z* I try to be protective of those that I know *see comment about being “Romantic”* because that’s the way I’m wired. My passion for the subjects I write about comes from the people involved. I want safety and acceptance for them. The only way to get there from here is to try to convince people, all people, to be accepted for what they are. My heart and mind are not big enough to wrap around the numbers of unknowns. They are big enough to cherish those I DO know. I want the Ladies I know to be treated with respect, not because they are women but, because they are humans I love. I want them to be given dignity and safety not because they are Pagan or gay or both, but because they as individuals deserve it. To that end, it has to happen for everyone that fits one of those groups. I want to be able to sleep well knowing that some jerk isn’t going to do something to them out of xenophobia, religious bias, or fear. *editorial, I get that life is not “safe. We all will die*

In the end, I’m really not an ally. I am a person that is protective of people he cares about. I do gain from this effort. My gain is that my friends lives might be made easier. That they might be less concerned for what could happen to them. That they may have more time to spend on more important things than worrying about random violence or persecution. I am also self-centered in that I worry that the same tools to persecute may someday be used against me.

I really hope this made sense…

Poor Poor Me

Some days are more effective than others. Some posts get responses and for a sec I think that someone might be reading them. Other days, there is zero response. It happens. I know that a blog is a selfish act. It presumes that someone thinks that what I think has worth to someone else. It strokes the ego. Some days, I write one of these and think “this one is great, it might REALLY make a difference” and it falls flat.

Aj would tell me to shut up, quit whining, and drive on. She would also remind me that other people have lives and that it isn’t all about me. She would be correct.

If the worst things that happen in my day are that no one reads these or some idiot tells me I’m going to Hell, my life isn’t that rough. It’s not like states are trying to pass laws that limit my rights. It isn’t like I’m being told that I’m “un-American” because I’m not a Christian. It isn’t like me looking at the news and seeing people of my gender being treated like chattel, raped and murdered for being women, or being threatened and killed for being gay. All that happens to me is that I don’t get my ego stroked.

My three closest friends are women. My wife is a woman. Most of my other friends are women. That’s a good thing. I’m not a “girly man”. I don’t really have a feminine side. I am merely smart enough to recognize the value in the people I cherish. It happens that they are women. It does skew my perspective, though. It makes me realize that “my demographic” is much more of a threat to them than we are willing to admit. We, men, both overtly and covertly, treat women like objects. We use religion to marginalize and disparage them. We demand our “rights” and say they are exaggerating the issues. I do not understand the psychology of that.

My friends are capable, loving, tough, smart, wise, and talented. They have words worth hearing. They have faith that is stronger than mine. They have courage beyond what I think I am capable of. They face, daily, things that would make me hide.

My friends have paths that are not mine. That doesn’t matter to me as much as that I try to protect their rights to those paths. If you happen to read this and are Pagan, gay, female, or some combination, please understand that not all white, male, Christians are out to get you. At least one of us, when he’s not feeling sorry for himself, thinks the World would be a much less worthy place without you in it. Some of us, me at least, think that you were not created to be a lesser being or a weaker sex. Some of us recognize your toughness, wisdom, wit, brains, and capacity for love and are in awe of it. You don’t have to be a feminist to see that, all you have to do is deflate your ego a tiny bit and see the treasures around you.