Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Freedom of religion means all religions

Today this article made it's way into my mailbox.

"The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on government-issued headstones of fallen soldiers...This settlement has forced the Bush Administration into acknowledging that there are no second class religions in America..Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Variations of the pentacle not accepted by Wiccans have been used in horror movies as a sign of the devil...."

It made me very happy to read this, as many of my friends are Wiccan and Pagan, and it's always been frustrating for them to be viewed as devil worshipers. Even members of my own extended family have raised their eyebrows when I've taken out my tarot cards to do a reading for someone, and that is not even connected to any religion! They just assumed that tarot cards = paganism = the devil.

I have read several books on Wicca, and it is a religion same as any other. Wiccans honor a deity and try to be good people. The main difference that I have found is that they actively try to be good people; they don't just talk about it. They believe in karma, and even more, that what we put out there returns to us threefold. And I have found this to be a better incentive than any threat of hell or chance of heaven. Just be a good person, because if you put good energy out there, it will come back to you. If you act like an idiot, you surround yourself with negative energy and that is what you attract. Simple.

The reason I am not myself Wiccan, is because I don't believe in a deity, and I have a problem with dogma. And what I have read leads me to believe that, like every other religion, Wicca has dogma. (Twelve years of Catholic school turned me way off to dogma.)

It's unfortunate that people have not taken the time to learn more about this religion. There are terrific books on the subject, one even being written specifically for "outsiders" (family and friends of those who practice) to begin to understand it:

There are way more Wiccans and Pagans out there than you probably think. I only wish it were included in books for children. For example, this book, which we own:

covers Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, and Islam. It's a good book; it covers a lot (although Christianity and Judaism get lots more pages than the others). But notice anything missing? Where's the Wicca? Where's the Paganism? Honestly, here in the US you are far more likely to meet a Pagan than a Zoroastrians, I would think. It just annoys me that they are overlooked. (You know what else is annoying? Every single one of these religions is showing up in blogger's spellcheck EXCEPT FOR WICCA!)

I think it is because so many Christians feel threatened by it. So many Christian holidays have intertwined themselves with pagan holidays, that Christians, whose numbers are far greater than most other religions in this country, are afraid that they will debase their own religion by acknowledging these others.

It is so unfortunate, because if people could just put aside their fears, and learn about the real deal, they might be pleasantly surprised.

More on my own religion another time (like perhaps on "National Prayer Day").