imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

PUC Plays Hardball With The Radical Pagan Right

by Ron McCann Friday, Mar. 22, 2002 at 7:07 PM
mrronmccann@aol.com

Texas State Chair of the Pagan Unity Campaign leaves in disgrace.

PUC Plays Hardball With The Radical Pagan Right

BY Ron McCann

mrronmccann@aol.com

March 21, 2002

Since November of 2000, The Pagan Unity Campaign has been the only political group with a focus of fighting for the civil rights of American Pagans. They have been actively promoting citizen communications with elected officials, voter education and politician education. Their yearly big event is the "I Am Project." Every summer solstice, they encourage all Pagans to send a home town post card to their elected officials that reads, "I am a Pagan ____" where the blank is for your occupation. This lets the politicians know that Pagans do live just down the street from them and work at the businesses they deal with.

Since the last major election, PUC has made tremendous progress toward their mission of promoting the Pagan Bill of Rights; the top ten civil rights abuses suffered by American Pagans. They don't seek to have this document legislated as the laws already exist for all Americans, but seldom extend to Pagans living under a Christian dominated government.

They have beat down political barriers, overcome huge obstacles and established positive dialogues with politicians at the local, state and federal levels. But this week, one group has raised its head to tear down and destroy the work PUC has done and plans to do in the future. This group is the radical Pagan right.

Previous to learning of this story, I had never thought about Paganism HAVING a radical right wing, but it does.

Because PUC is always talking to politicians who are typically Christian, they get asked questions like "aren't you devil worshippers," "don't you kill babies," and "aren't Pagans atheist?" To counter this type of uneducated questioning, PUC developed a series of very clever, broad and simple canned responses that wouldn't scare, insult or seem evasive to politicians.

A typical example is "No Senator, grossly, Paganism is a highly diverse collection of positive, life-affirming and earth-centric religions." If the politician asked for a more complete explanation, PUC would forward them to Witches' Voice and other popular Pagan websites or refer them to the Politicians Guide to Paganism, a small brochure that listed qualities associated with each part of the sound bite. Abhorrence to murder, rape and child abuse are just three of the "typical" qualities listed under "positive." Life-affirming lists ideals common to Paganism like "appreciation of freedom, human dignity, flora and fauna." The last part, "earth-centric" lists optional qualities like having harvest, lunar, or underworld deities, the use of celestial events for timing rituals or festivals and the use of story and use of myth for rituals, festivals and theologic foundation.

Late in 2000, PUC held an extensive and public debate on the language. They did not want to refer to any other religion because Paganism had to stand on its own in the eye of the politicians. They threw out "Pre-Christian" because many Pagan paths developed after the origins of Christianity, specifically Alexandrian Wicca. Lastly, terms like earth-honoring, worshipping or respecting was felt to be to focused on Earth as a deity. Earth-centric was the widest net that felt they could cast and not anger or bewilder the target audience; the local, state and federally elected officials.

The other issue PUC needed to overcome was the issue of brevity. Because of the extreme short amount of time elected officials make available to anyone, PUC couldn't spend the three or four minutes they would have allotted, to go into a lengthy and scholarly explanation of the wide varieties and flavors of Pagandom. PUC founder, Storm Bear Williams comments, "It is not perfect, but I do not think any one can come up with a single word that describes Paganism."

I performed a random and, I am sure, unscientific poll of Pagans on different paths and those polled identified their religion with words like "beautiful," "fulfilling" or even "poetic." Furthermore, all agreed that "positive, life-affirming and earth-centric" was a wonderful way to explain it to anyone who does not practice the religion.

But PUC does have its detractors. Recently, less than 40 people have posted negative comments on PUC and began an anti-PUC campaign of their own, complete with banner ads. Some of the specific complaints of the radical Pagan right include removing the American Flag stars from the PUC logo and replacing it with swastikas, removing "abhorrence to murder" from the Politicians Guide to Paganism and adding a plank to the PUC platform that advocates human sacrifice. The radical Pagan right also demands representation for Satan worshippers, racist organizations like the Aryan's National Alliance and schedule events that have no connection to equinoxes or solstices.

One of the hottest demands from the radical Pagan right has been to change all language in current PUC newsletters, press releases and the web site to allow inclusion of "brutal" religions. The definition of "brutal, " AS USED BY the radical Pagan right is "extremely ruthless and cruel." Some in the Delphi forum have bragged that their faith is one of brutality. And if PUC cannot comply with these demands, then PUC must change its name. Suggestions have ranged from "Fluffy Bunny Unity Campaign" to "TooFuckingStupidToBreathe.org."

They feel that unless the Pagan Unity Campaign can represent every single person who claims to be a Pagan, including cults who commit murder, they have no right to use the name Pagan. Does this mean that all "Pro-Choice" groups represent every single person that supports the mother's right to choose? What about the word "environmental?" Using this philosophy, all environmentalists should agree with a philosophy of "by any means necessary" like bombs, arson and murder because that is the usual business of the Environmental Liberation Front.

But the real issue that the radical Pagan right fails to understand is the US Bill of Rights. In that document, everyone has the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly. PUC has every right to form and speak on any topic they wish. The anti-PUC protestors also have the same rights but they seem not to be able to admit that PUC operates under the same rules as they do.

So what triggered the anti-PUC campaign? The issue of "positive, life-affirming, earth-centric" was dealt with in December of 2000, so why now? The answer in one word is betrayal.

As a courtesy, PUC removed the "positive, life-affirming, earth-centric" quote from the web site this past summer in an apparent effort to gain the support of the radical Pagan right. That brought with it a woman named Li Nightsong Ferelwing to the position of Texas State Chair. In hindsight, Ferelwing's position was probably to promote the radical Pagan agenda within PUC. When the topic came back up about what to tell an elected official if they ask what a Pagan is, Mr. Williams interjected that the previous language of "positive, life-affirming, earth-centric" could be used since opponents to it have thus far failed to come up with better political language. Ferelwing and the radical Pagan right had thought they had won that battle and killed the "non-brutal" language obstacle. At that point, Ferelwing violated PUC Staff policy and began leaking private staff email, on the topic, to the public. The posts, out of context and heavily snipped, started the firestorm.

Ferelwing has openly admitted to this betrayal in the Delphi forums and has become the darling of the radical Pagan right in the same way Linda Tripp briefly became the shining star of the GOP. Ferelwing has recently announced that she would be releasing to the public, all private emails she has received from the staff of the Pagan Unity Campaign. These could number in the thousands.

But what can be seen as a mild flame war is not the central issue or important part of this story. The issue is representation. Ferelwing was entrusted with the State Chair of Texas, a powerful political position, representing maybe hundreds of thousands of Pagans in the state and the state's 32 federal electoral votes. Needless to say that the chair is now vacant and Ferelwing says she left on her own accord. To date, she has never apologized to the Pagans she abandoned for her newfound fame and acceptance with the radical Pagan right. With the other recent turmoil in Texas, especially with the Texas Council of Magickal Arts, one must ask how much further Texas Pagans can be set back in terms of political and civil equality? When will PUC be able to trust other State Chairs to perform their jobs?

The current PUC President, Ginger Strivelli, is seeking to repair the damage Ferelwing has done and prepare the group for "I Am2" which occurs this coming summer solstice.

The final solution will be at the feet of the Pagan community. However, "positive, life-affirming, and earth-centric" will never go away. The radical Pagan right has made so much noise about it, it has caused many to pause and think, "Is my religion positive? Is my faith life-affirming? Is my path earth-centric?" There are other groups that have already adopted the use of this language to explain Paganism to high school and college faculty, to overcome obstacles to gain access to previously closed local interfaith circles, to come out of the closet, to explain to and calm confused and terrified parents, to bring about a better understanding to the world community that has retracted in fear for the last 1000 plus years at the word "Pagan."

Even if PUC is forced to close up shop tomorrow, it will have already given the world Pagan community a great gift; the gift of self-definition. "Positive, life-affirming, and earth-centric" was not written by Christians or any other group. It was written by Pagans for the benefit of Pagans. And I am glad that PUC has fought tooth and nail for this language and I hope it will continue.

I am unsure if Paganism defined as "Satanic, racist and homicidal" is of benefit to anyone.

Politicians Guide to Paganism

Politicians Guide to Paganism

Pagan Unity Campaign

Pagan Unity Campaign

Anti-PUC Protest Site

Anti-PUC Protest Site

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
relevance to IMC IMCer? Sunday, Mar. 24, 2002 at 12:02 AM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Addendum: Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Tucker Did Not Advocate Voting in Businesses S25 11:45PM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy