The Persecution of Pagans Continues in the United States

We are supposed to live in a country that has freedom of religion, confirmed by the Constitution’s First Amendment banning state-religions, the evils of which were all too evident in the Founding Fathers’ own time. The most destructive of these, the Thirty Years War, ended 126 years before 1775. Consider the memory and impact of the First World War, which began 100 years ago this August, and you will have some idea of its effects. Rampaging armies, murder, rapine, plundering – and an estimated 8 million dead as Protestants and Catholics made Europe, centered on Germany, a battleground in the name of the Christian god.

But we don’t really have religious freedom in this country. All too often we DO have what passes for religious freedom in Religious Right terms, despite their complaints to the contrary. Islam is the most visible target of persecution, but others feel the hate as well. Just recently, in Beebe, Arkansas, a Pagan couple, Bertram and Felicia Dahl, were denied the right to establish a temple (they had no problem with a church) simply because it is a Pagan place of worship, and his family has been subject to harassment because of their religion.

This is the “freedom” demanded by the Religious Right – the freedom to hound those of whom they don’t approve, right out of town, and out of existence, if possible. This is the old Christian way, the practice of twenty centuries of Christian intolerance, alive and well in the United States.

In Huntsville, Alabama, we find a Wiccan man having his invitation to give an invocation at the City Council revoked because they realized he is a Pagan. Blake Kirk told WHNT News that,

I gave the invocation earlier this year, at the time they did not ask me what my faith affiliation was, but when they did this time and I told them ‘Wiccan,’ I was told I was no longer invited to give it.

A person should not have to pretend to be Christian to be treated like everybody else. The area he lives in is 75 percent Christian, but according to the U.S. Constitution, that does not mean that the remaining 25 percent have no rights. Yet, according to the Religious Right, that is exactly the case, an example of the so-called “excesses of democracy” the Constitution was written to prevent. The Founders feared that exactly this would result if the rights of minorities were not protected.

They cannot say he does not represent the community when he is part of that community, and a government is supposed to represent all its people, not just the majority view.

Despite the Founding Fathers’ best efforts to give us true religious freedom, conservative Christians have conspired to keep the spirit of the fifth century Theodosian Code alive and well. We do not expect to see such un-American fervor directed at us. Most, being at least nominally Christian, will never experience it directly, but it is a very real danger to modern-day Pagans, and I have experienced it myself, and my family still gets hostile looks when our Thor’s hammers are visible on our chests.

Thomas Jefferson wrote of his own state in his Notes on the State of Virginia:

By our own act of Assembly of 1705, c. 30, if a person brought up in the Christian religion denies the being of God, or the Trinity, or asserts there are more gods than one, or denies the Christian religion to be true, or the Scriptures to be of divine authority, he is punishable on the first offense by incapacity to hold any office or employment, ecclesiastical, civil, or military; on the second, by disability to sue, to take any gift or legacy, to be guardian, executor, or administrator, and by three years’ imprisonment without bail. A fathers right to the custody of his own children being founded in law on his right of guardianship, this being taken away, they may of course be severed from him, and put by the authority of the court, into more orthodox hands. This is a summary view of that religious slavery under which a people have been willing to remain, who have lavished their lives and fortunes for the establishment of civil freedom.

The Constitution is supposed to put an end to this as well, as Article VI, paragraph 3 of the Constitution mandates that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Even so, we regularly see demands from the Religious Right than only Christians be elected to public office, or are fit to hold public office.

In example of of Beebe, Arkansas and the Pagan couple there, think on the mayor’s words:

Mayor Mike Robertson says,

Please remember in the coming November election for leaders of this nation to elect only those who will stand firm doing the will of God and not their will. If placing God or the simple mentioning of his holy name in this newsletter is offensive to some; so be it. I do not and will not apologize, ever, for giving him the praise he is due for all that he has done for our blessed country. Not now, not ever in the future, should we turn our backs to our creator.

Think then, about what “rights” non-Christians in such towns can hope to enjoy under the Constitution, which is regularly ignored by the Religious Right.

This is their idea of religious freedom, and if they do not have the right to hound the rest of us out of existence in the name of their god, they cry persecution. And that is what religious freedom is to them: persecution. Be the victims women, gays, lesbians, Muslims, or the odd Pagan, the result is the same. And the shame is ours, as a Nation, for permitting it.

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41 Replies to “The Persecution of Pagans Continues in the United States”

  1. Proposed Constitutional Amendment:
    “Any Federal, State, County or Municipal law, act, bill, bye-law, regulation, order, rule or any other form of restrictive or prescriptive statement given by legislative, executive or judicial authorities which bases itself upon, invokes or otherwise refers to religious grounds, a deity of whatever description, or any supernatural entity or concept shall be automatically null and void, without any need for referral to legal scrutiny.”

  2. The religious zealots in this country are the furthest thing from pure of heart and mind. They have contorted themselves into a vile ball of hate and bigotry.

    I don’t know the specific scriptures but it says in essence in the bible that the more you suffer on earth, the greater your rewards in heaven. So naturally they are under constant persecution for their beliefs. Their mock suffering being almost unbearable as their beliefs being under constant attack from the liberal, progressively minded demagogues.

    They know deep inside that their numbers continue to dwindle with time. Yet the squeaky wheel gets the grease as they say. Any sector of animal life be it human or other wise becomes more radical in it’s behavior as it faces extinction.
    Hence their behavior to control and manipulate the country today.

    In my opinion they have an absolute zero chance of prevailing. It’s isn’t just numbers. It’s the fact that they don’t even live by their own moral codes.

  3. Every time a Christian, particularly a Catholic says “we’re not all bad, please don’t paint us with the same broad brush” I think of my ancestors who left in the middle of the night in the 1880s during the huge wave of Jewish persecution. And I think of all the anti Semitic things that have been said to us throughout the years and the fact that some of them, even as Conversos, it was not good enough and they were STILL persecuted.

    And I think: let’s not kid ourselves: if these rigid, hateful, judgemental, punitive people ever get absolute power it will be a blood bath.

    And NO: those who tell me that the inquisition was not all that bad and the numbers were “not that many”

    It is the same as holocaust denial. So SHUT UP.

  4. I’m a political liberal but I’m no hippie. There’s only one God and it’s the Christian God. America was founded by Christians. What they meant by religious freedom is that you could be a catholic or Protestant. Even Mexicans understand that. No other religion is relevant in America. If you want your freedom to be a wicken then go back to your own country.

  5. Drew, anyone like you who believes that only Christians can have America is not a liberal. You are a SCUMservative. I know conservatives who aren’t Christians, so I must differentiate between them and you.

  6. I would by far prefer a hippie over a Christian any day.

    BTW Drew, you get the first stupid post award for today, hope that makes your day.

  7. A Methodist in youth, now a philosopher. They discuss ideas, not worship. You cannot worship what is incomprehensible. Church of course, is more “fun”, yet inhibits learning. A learning process must be the goal of all. We are still barely removed from the primitive animal in the back of our brain. Most of us crave sound guidance and leadership, yet we see the aggrandizement of the ego driven, like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and those seeking to advance the cause of the already wealthy, pushing us deeper into an Oligarchical society. I like Neil deGrosse Tyson, Bernie Sanders, Robert Reich, Jon Stewart, Naomi Klein, Rachel Maddow. Democracy and “fairness” are still new ideas, requiring great effort to achieve and maintain. I grew up in the 50’s with Dwight Eisenhower. He was a fair man, now seen as a de facto Democrat! Then, companies earned good money and paid good wages! Excessive greed here, and exporting tech to China makes them too strong! We will pay dearly …

  8. Since I really don’t care which religion you are, I will just subscribe to “You belong to your religion and I’ll belong to mine.”

  9. Sorry, Drew, but some of the Founding Fathers were Deists. Do you know what a Deist is? (Hint – not a Christian).

  10. Wow, Drew, you are so off base, Thomas Jefferson:

    But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

    -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

  11. Humans Cannot Change Other Humans Beliefs” Only The Future of Evolution in Great amounts of Time and Steady Science undercover’s will Succeed in Ending this Massive inbred belief of some Redeemer in the Heavens of our Endless Cosmos!

  12. All pigs are created equal. but some pigs are more equal than others.

    “and the animals looked through the windows, and watched the pigs and the farmer sitting, laughing and drinking. And they could not tell which was pig and which was farmer.”

    Not precise, but you get the drift…..

  13. “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him. ​”​​ — Mahatma Gandhi

    The interpretation of the bible is open to interpretation. The U.S. Constitution is not.

    Read your bible as it is written and stop making up stories to advance your hateful agenda.

    “Prejudices are what fools use for reason.” — Voltaire

  14. The old axiom you are the religion of where you are born is true. If any of these fake christian idiots were born in India they would be saying some thing completely different.

    No one has to live under the religion of the land of which you are born. Not in the US.

  15. I have two comments to any religion ruling a group of people. G.W. Bush said it when we all sat in shell shock, after 9/11 ” If you are not with us than you are with them(the terrorists)”.

    My 2nd comment, just look at the sad of affairs in all the country run be religious rule. If you are not of God than you are not an American. Religion has all way been about good and evil. Heaven vs hell. etc.

    Fear, may get the uninformed masses to react, but it usually is a reaction against their own best interest. Fear is an emotion that can scare people into irrational action. The people that take advantage of this, to do evil, is evil.

    We were taken advantage of in 2001 post 9/11 of our collective PTSD, by persons that at first was a normal response to a crisis to react, but quickly went too far to gain total control of the uninformed.

  16. Drew, there is no “going back”. I was born here. My ancestors have been here for 10 generations, building this country since the 1600s, if not longer. We built religious freedom into the Constitution and pledged to uphold it for our mutual good — including your right to display your ignorance, hatred, and assumption of privilege over the rest of us where we all can see it. You remind us of why we and our Ancestors poured our blood, sweat, and lives into this Nation and will defend it against all enemies, including you.

  17. “and an estimated 8 million dead as Protestants and Catholics made Europe, centered on Germany, a battleground in the name of the Christian god.”

    I’ve never heard that WWI was a religious war. I actually asked my son, who just got his degree in history what I was missing and he basically said mom, what kind of crap are you reading?

    BTW every poll I’ve seen ranks atheism dead last, for example, for whom would you be least likely to vote. At least one can admit they’re a wiccan or whatever but you don’t dare say you’re an atheist. Bill Maher just said he thinks President Obama is an atheist and that seems reasonable to me. I’m sick of having to pretend to respect christianity.

  18. If I were a lawyer, I’d be ready to go pro bono to take these people down. These “Christians” wouldn’t know what hit them.

  19. You need to get a refund on both your educations. The author was referring to the thirty year war
    The Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) was a series of wars principally fought in Central Europe (primarily present-day Germany), involving most of the European countries.[10] It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history, and one of the longest continuous wars in modern history.

    Initially, religion was a motivation for war as Protestant and Catholic states fought even though many of them were or had been members of the Holy Roman Empire

  20. “Consider the memory and impact of the First World War, which began 100 years ago this August, and you will have some idea of its effects. Rampaging armies, murder, rapine, plundering – and an estimated 8 million dead as Protestants and Catholics made Europe, centered on Germany, a battleground in the name of the Christian god.”

    The author turned his attention from the Thirty Year War to WW1 and I was asking wth and looking for clarification. The piece needs editing. And thanks for the downvote, Id never do that to you.

  21. I don’t downvote. If I disagree trust you will know.
    The most destructive of these, the Thirty Years War, ended 126 years before 1775. Consider the memory and impact of the First World War, which began 100 years ago this August, and you will have some idea of its effects.

    I wont speak for the author he can do that for himself but what I took from it was the religious persecution in a war that if you ask 95% of Americans, have never heard of. As for reference he ask the reader to remember WW1 in its destructiveness and you have a idea of the killing on a vast scale. I know sometimes he give people too much credit in putting 2 and 2 together but that is not his fault. The fault lies in us

  22. Yeah, I never questioned anything about the Thirty Year War because of course I know a little about it. But thanks again for trying to teach me about it and questioning my comprehension over the poor wording of the article. I was just asking for clarification because I still don’t get how he went from the TYW to WW1 when the subject is religious persecution but nevermind now.

  23. Drew,

    As the person at the center of one of the controversies discussed in this article, allow me to point out that this IS my country, dammit! My earliest ancestors of which we have records arrived in Virginia in 1623, and I spent 24 years wearing the uniform of the United States Army in order to defend your freedoms to believe whatever you want and to make asinine remarks in public, along with all of the freedoms of every other person who lives here.

    If a government can tell me this week that I cannot make a public expression of my religious beliefs because someone else might be offended or disturbed, well, a government could tell you the same thing next week. So I’m still out there fighting to protect your freedoms.

    You might want to think about that.

  24. As one of the founding members of the Wiccan Tradition of which my husband and I are a part once wrote: “Any definition of God is to limit the infinite. All religions have a portion of the infinite, but none have it all. AND if God is infinite, then all religions can be true at the same time. ” We don’t ask that anyone believe as we do, just as we don’t try to tell others what to believe. We ask that our right to believe as we will and to have the same rights as other citizens be respected in return.

  25. Oh, my. Where to start? First, what’s your definition of a hippie? I’d bet the farm that you’re one of those who thinks all liberals are atheists, right? Oh, and I’m not buying the “I’m a political liberal” line.

    “you could be a Catholic or a Protestant” …? Really? So the Mormons aren’t American? How about the American Indians who still practice many of their old traditions … they’re not American either?

    “Even the Mexicans knew that” … LMAO! What? I have a sneaky feeling that you’re not very accepting of Mexicans, even the Catholic ones.

    “No other religion is relevant” … do you just ignore the parts of the Constitution you don’t like? That’s a solidly **conservative** thing to do. Again, you’re no liberal.

    Exactly which country should the Wiccans (it’s not Wicken, Einstein) go back to? What is the country of origin for them?

    Indeed, you do get the “stupid post of the day” award. Oh, and djchefron’s links? You should take…

  26. The original inhabitants of this land were Native Americans who were decidedly NOT Christian. Christianity is as much an import to these shores as any other religion OTHER than Native American ones. This country was founded on freedom of ANY religion, not just this one. If you have an issue with that, I suggest you move to Israel, where Christianity came from. Let us know how that works for you.

    Also, I, like the others who have posted, AM in my own country.

    (And if it is satire, dang, fooled me.)

  27. Drew…just a word of advice as you’ve already been thoroughly skewered for expressing an opinion is that you should NEVER assume that you have THE answer regarding what God is in any way; you’re not his mouthpiece, you’re NOT God’s self-appointed spokesperson. FACT: America was NOT founded by Christians; settled by several Christian sects is true but by far and away not inclusive. And much of the ‘origins’ of Christianity is ‘old earth/mother’ religion based. Thou must get thee edgeahmacated!!!

  28. …I haven’t been in a church in decades, I read the New Testament at home and try to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ…
    …no wonder Gandhi said “I like your Christ,but I don’t like your Christians.They are so unlike your Christ”
    …the politicizing of most churches gave rise to the pseudoChristian “religion”, a politically motivated, Old Testament reading and believing,Jesus Christ-free determined to force thier “religion” down the rest of our throats…
    I HAVE THE RIGHT TO HOLD MY OWN BELIEFS…that said,how does it hurt me that the author has different beliefs???
    Is he gonna chase me down the street with an authenticated replica of Thors hammer??? I do NOT think that’ll ever happen…I’ve met Wiccans, none of whom ever tried to put the whammy on me,{snark alert…lol}for being a sailor and swearing in depth and for long periods of time.{this occurs every time I hurt myself, if someone disagrees with me, my usual reaction is to crack jokes and puns}

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