Queer I Stand
Polytheism Is Not Relativism
The less-refined aspect of the above, though, is the lack of a caveat on the notion that "there are many truths." Yes, I think there are many truths, but "many" does not automatically mean every or any; and it certainly doesn't mean that all things are truly equal, and thus there is no "real truth." And, I suspect, this is where a huge number of modern Pagans and polytheists over-read pluralism, and think it means "anything goes," or the all-too-common maxim "nothing is true, all is permissible" (paraphrased slightly from Vladimir Bartol's Alamut).
Let me give an example, from my viewpoint and experience, and with particular relevance to the nature and purpose of the present column and my overall project here at the Patheos Pagan Channel. Under no circumstances can anyone ever convince me that homoeroticism or gender variance is "evil" or "unnatural." Both of these occur in nature, amongst species who have no interactions with or influence from humans, spontaneously and with enough regularity to demonstrate that they are common biological variations and add to the diversity and strength of a population. There are many religious people (from a plethora of religions, though some seem to hold it as a tenet almost as important as their belief in a supposedly singular deity) who hold as an article of their faith that homoeroticism is evil and sinful, and that both homoeroticism and gender variance are "against natural law." But this view is simply erroneous, ill-informed, and as far from truth and reality as can possibly be.
As a polytheist and a pluralist who thinks that there are many possible truths, I am obliged to respect people who hold these viewpoints and not do them physical harm, nor deprive them of their bodily integrity or security of person and possessions. But, I can debate them to my heart's content, I can disagree with them, I can resist their efforts to restrain my own freedoms or to demoralize me, and I can even repudiate them and execrate them if they think it is their right and obligation to harm or intimidate me or other queer people. (And, I have and I do, regularly!)
That may seem like an obvious and rather "easy" example, which many people who are modern Pagans or polytheists would probably agree upon without qualification or amendment. There is, then, the question of polytheism itself, and whether or not it can tolerate monotheism or monism as other potential "truths." I would argue that it cannot and it need not, because both of those viewpoints invalidate the basis of polytheism, and thus the experiential core that almost every polytheist upholds and responds to in their theological position as a polytheist. Monotheism and monism cannot be given equal credence as "truths" (or "truth," as they'd probably prefer it!) because they do not allow for pluralism of divine experiences, or for the diversity of approach and ways of life necessary to nature as we understand it to exist at present. (The argument would run similarly in this direction where duotheism and some forms of soft polytheism would be concerned as well.)
That example, too, may seem rather easy and obvious. But, what about all of the recent "wars" in polytheism, over topics like whether or not pop cultural entities are the same as deities, or whether there is a core set of polytheist values, or any number of other potential or actual debates that have erupted and raged across the Pagan and polytheist blogosphere in the past few years? Those are not as easy to generalize, unfortunately.
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a metagender and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist religious group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and other related gods and divine figures). E is a contributing member of Neos Alexandria and a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan in the filidecht and gentlidecht traditions. Follow Lupus' work on the Aedicula Antinoi blog.