I'm a political beast. You should know that about me before I go any farther. I am deeply interested in politics and debating policy and learning about policy. On paper, I'm a liberal Democrat. I don't label myself as progressive, if only because I don't think our country has the money to be as progressive as some European countries are. I'm for separation of church and state, gay marriage, and environmental policies that reduce carbon emissions and encourage Americans to embrace green energy. Got all that? Okay, moving on.
I'm also a Pagan. I might not have all the hows and whys straightened out, but I am firmly in the earth-based religions column. One thing that I'm trying to do in my life is to live how my spirituality dictates, which is kinda hard, given that my spirituality isn't so much pinned down yet. It's something I've heard a lot of Christians talking about doing--living their lives for God or with God in mind. It's sometimes hard to do this as a Pagan, particularly if the best guideline for morality I've given myself is to try to follow the Golden Rule (which is in the Bible and Qur'an and Judaic and Hindu writings AND in the Wiccan Rede, but not so much to be found in Nature or glowing from the middle of my bonfire on the Solstices.) Because I revere Nature, I try to treat it well and I try to teach my children to treat it well, but...sigh. I should start writing some of this stuff down.
Anywho, this isn't about those wacky Christians and the crazy things they do or my bumbling attempts to figure out my spirituality. Instead, I've been thinking about how my spirituality informs my political life--and whether it should. The other day, I was reading Ramblings of a Domestic Goddess and finding myself doing fist pumps and pelvic thrusts at the dressing down she was giving two eejits discussing the evils of President Obama in a doctor's office. She was appalled at the lack of professionalism and in inimitable inannasstar fashion, let them know exactly what she thought about it.
After all the pumping and thrusting...ahem...perhaps I should rethink that one...after my celebrations, I started thinking about why Pagans don't use our political voices until we have to. Some of it, I'm sure, is visions of Salem dancing in our heads. I'm not trying to be funny--they're burning Qur'ans in Gainesville, Florida. It's frightening to see how far fundamentalist Christian whackjobs will go. To be an "out" Pagan is difficult at any point in time--frankly, I fear that if I came out during a political discussion and said, "Well, as a person who worships the earth, I have to say that your Hummer really chaps my ass, gas guzzler," nobody would take me seriously. Or worse, they'd be so focused on whether I was in league with Satan that they'd not pay attention to logic.
The other problem, I'm sure, is the diversity that exists within the Pagan community. Some of us are Wiccan. Some of us celebrate traditional Celtic holidays. Some of us worship trees. Some commune with faeries. Some deal with the Greek gods. (I'm leaving out the people like me, who smoosh it all together in a big wad and hope for the best.) The Christians and Jews who are active in politics (I'm singling these two groups out because they make up the majority) have got standardized religions which they share with many of their constituents. Leaning back on religious dictates to guide public policy is EASY for them, because they're talking about what people know.
I wonder if every Pagan suddenly decided to recognize, say, the Solstices and Equinoxes if it would make a difference. I mean, these are celestial events that most every "sect" of Paganism recognizes, right? If we all did that, if we all had something in common, would it make it easier for us to argue for cap and trade en masse?
Then again, not all Pagans are raging liberals like me. I once offended the heck out of a fellow Pagan with a post over on I'm Not Hannah. I wasn't TRYING to offend her, but her measured response to my admittedly heated (and slightly crazy) post brought me up short. I had never pictured a politically conservative Pagan before--the term "conservative" is naturally married to "Christian" in my head. It made me really reconsider some of my own biases to think about this.
And I'm not sure why it suddenly seems so important to identify myself as a Pagan when discussing the things that are politically important to me. After all, it drives me to the moon and back when a Christian does it. Is my religious belief somehow more important or relevant than a Christian's--and therefore a good basis for public policy? And if I don't want Christianity's moral guidelines to decide whether gay people have the right to marry, is it fair for me to use my Pagan belief in the Golden Rule as a reason for gay people to have that right? I'm a Christmas-celebrating Pagan--do I have the right to bitch about "In God We Trust" being on our legal currency? (I DON'T bitch about it, by the way. Just an example...)
I think, really, that this boils down once again (I say, wearily) to the fact that I am not comfortable being out of the broom closet. My political ideology is almost as important to me (and frankly, some days, MORE important to me) than my religious one, but it's the one I'm allowed to show in public. And when I'm arguing about something on Facebook, for example, I have to just swallow the assumption that I'm one of those crazy liberal Christians when it's thrown at my head.
Because, otherwise, my voice won't be as powerful.
I'm sorry for this rambling, hard to understand post. Just trying to make sense of it all. (And floundering, as usual...)
In other news, the New Moon this month is next Monday, the 9th. Anybody up for Meeting at the Water?