Wednesday, February 20, 2013

That thing that happened with Fox 2

So, here's a follow up to Monday's post. There was an apology given through Twitter.

@TuckerCarlson - To Wiccans and pagans: Sorry for my pointlessly nasty remarks. Your holidays still confuse me, but you seem like nice people.

I'm not very familiar with Twitter, so I'm not sure if there's a way I can link right to it, but as of now it's one of the more recent things he's said. Now, frankly, I'm not too sure how sincere this apology is. Also, I find it disappointing that he couldn't really be bothered to do a bit of research even after the fact. Not terribly surprising, though.

However, the real reason I'm posting this is I'm much more disappointed with the way some pagans are reacting. We should be using this as an opportunity to show our best, an opportunity for education. If not for the people directly involved, then for the people on the side-lines, the ones who might be silently watching this whole thing unfold.

Some pagans are coming from a place of misinformation. This is not malicious, and it can be hard to blame them when, for example, many prominent pagan authors are happy to put forward some truly terrible history. So, to speak briefly on some of those things... The world was not awesomely perfect before the Christians came along. I've seen many accusations of Christians just stealing pagan holidays, which ignores how indirect such things were in many cases. It also ignores the fact that both ancient and modern pagans are just as guilty of such things. The Wheel itself, the thing that started all this, is a mash-up of Celtic and Germanic festivals and ideas. Many Wiccans have taken a few elements from these old holidays, and put new mythology and such to them. Does that sound familiar at all?

Ancient pagans borrowed holidays, customs, symbols, ideas, holy sites, and even Deities from all sorts of sources, all the time. (Modern pagans do this too, of course.) Additionally, we often think of Christianity spreading through violent means, and ancient pagans never did that! Except for when they did. Look at the history of Europe before Christianity got there. Groups conquered new lands, bringing their religion with them, covering up the old ones. As an example, the ancient Romans were very keen on destroying the druids - not solely for religious reasons (but then, Christians didn't always do such things solely for religious reasons, either), but it did result in a tremendous loss of religious knowledge. Let's not even get into all the horrible things ancient pagans did to the early Christians, either.

All this is not an excuse to ignore modern issues that come up - but it is a good reason to leave the past in the past.

Like I said though, that's mostly just due to misinformation. That is easily correctable. Of course, some seem to get mad when the correct information is brought in, it interrupts their happy Christian bashing, I guess. Isn't that the sort of thing we're mad about, though? Willfully focusing on bad information, refusing to be educated on particular topics?

Some pagans, however, are coming from a place that seems just as bigoted as where those particular people were coming from. Sometimes this comes from years of struggling with spirituality and the like, and I do try to be understanding of that, but it is still disheartening to see. This sort of thing does not help paganism, and it doesn't help the person doing it.

Yes, what was said is frustrating, yes, what was said was bigoted. It's okay to point these things out. It's even okay to rant a bit, so long as the rant stayed focused on what was actually said. It's not okay to make sweeping judgements. It's not okay to willfully spread misinformation. Let's use this as an opportunity to spread correct facts, to share knowledge, and to show people that pagans are just regular people - not some weird oddity, not some stereotype. That we're trying to lift ourselves up, not push others down.

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