With each day's news programs, Pagans seemingly have more and more to worry about, now that we have President Bush firmly ensconced in the White House. According to Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Bush has appointed himself our "national pastor", and has already begun dictating how federal monies will go toward faith-based charities, and declaring a national day of prayer. He has nominated individuals to Cabinet posts who are clearly anti-Constitutional, yet they will be confirmed by the Senate without a second thought.
It would be surprising if many of the Representatives or Senators will protest what Bush is doing in violating the separation of church and state. Imposing Christian ideals on the entire population of the United States may not seem such a bad thing, especially when most of the members of Congress are themselves Christians (though many of their recent campaign tactics might indicate otherwise). They may keep silent, or overrule the few who speak up to uphold the First Amendment.
For all practical purposes, it will be left to the people on the street to fight for their rights. For every violation of the Constitution Bush proposes, fingers should be flying across computer keyboards sending off urgent e-mails of protest to the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives. Pagans cannot stand by and allow their rights to be trampled, and their faith to be endangered. Pagans value the chance to interact at conferences, perform a ritual in the woods or the park, or gather in a restaurant for a social evening. If the government continues in its present direction, we will all be forced back into the closet - possibly at gunpoint or under literal threat to our lives.
It was noted on many fronts that more people voted in last year's election than had voted in many decades. It is common knowledge Americans are rather passive about politics, allowing the elected officials - for whom they probably didn't vote - to handle the "dirty work". This time around, the "dirty work" isn't going to be handled by the crew in Washington, because they've been proved to be just as passive about what happens as many of their constituents. They don't care about the environment; they'd rather accept money from big industry lobbyists and vote for programs which claim to promote more jobs or more power plants, which will cause more problems than they solve.
The voices belong to the individuals, and they will need to be heard - loud and often - in the years to come. Pagans who cherish their right to practice their beliefs as they choose should openly state as much, and do what can be done to promote mutual understanding and tolerance. If it means sending the local representatives "tracts" on the meaning of Paganism, so they will be more informed in their voting, have everyone you know send one, so the numbers will be seen and counted.
There are more Pagans in America than the government wants to admit (or recognize). Our numbers are growing by the day. There're more religions in America than just Christianity. All those the politicians consider faith "minorities" (and often choose to ignore) need to prove they are actually a majority, and be heard.
Because, if we're not heard, we may well be silenced.
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Last modified: June 12 2016 13:08:48