What a Pagan can tell you about whether Mormons are Christian

This post is my contribution to “Are Mormons Christians?”: A Blog Round Table.

I think I have something of a unique perspective on the question of Mormons’ Christianity.  First, I used to be Mormon.  For 25 years, I was Mormon.  Second, I left the Mormon church, identified exclusively as a Christian, and had an experience of being saved by Jesus Christ.  Third, I then became Neo-Pagan.  I subsequently discovered that Pagans are having the same debate about who is and who is not Pagan as Christians have about each other.  So I have seen this issue from the perspective of a Christian Mormon, a non-Mormon Christian, and a non-Christian Pagan (there are Christo-Pagans, but I am not one).

Being a Mormon Christian

Let’s begin when I was Mormon.  I was raised LDS and baptized at the age of 8.   I went to BYU after high school.  I went on a 2-year proselytizing mission to northeast Brazil when I was 19, and then I returned to BYU to graduate.  I married my Mormon wife in the Manti, Utah temple.  And I blessed and named my newborn son in an LDS meeting house in Provo, Utah in a circle of Mormon in-laws.

During all this time, I thought the whole question of whether Mormons were Christian was silly.  Of course Mormons were Christian.  We had his name in the name of our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which was on the outside of every meeting house and temple.  We had pictures of him in our churches and in our homes.  We closed every prayer with “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”  We read books and magazine articles about Jesus Christ.  We talked about him and testified about him and sang about him every Sunday.  I mean, really, what does it take to qualify?

I was pretty naive.  Apparently, to many other Christians, Mormons lacked many of the indicia of Christianity.  Mormons don’t have crosses on their churches and don’t wear crosses.  Mormons don’t recite the Nicene Creed.  Mormons aren’t Trinitarians.  Mormons aren’t even technically Protestant; they are Restorationists, like Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Mormons have other scripture than the Bible.  And although Mormons believe in and read the Bible, oftentimes they are less familiar with it than with their other scriptures.*  And of course Mormons do many other things that seem weird to other Christians.

Leaving Mormonism over Christ

Okay, but so what?  I had heard Evangelicals say that Catholics were not Christian.  And that was definitely silly.  So the problem of Mormonisms’ Christianity was not a problem for me … until I was about 25.  And then all of the little issues I had with the Mormon church started to become big issues.  I won’t go into all of them, but I will say that one big issue was that I began to feel that something was not right about the Mormon doctrine about Jesus.

In the New Testament, there is a tension between Paul’s message of grace and James’ message of works.  On the works-grace spectrum, Mormons fall well onto the works side.  In fact, the word “grace” was rarely spoken in the LDS services when I was Mormon.  And Mormons demonstrate an embarrassing ignorance about what it means to other Christians to be “saved by grace.”  I grew up hearing Mormons mock other Christians for believing that they could be “saved” and then “do whatever they wanted to”  (i.e., sin).

Perhaps the most important Mormon scripture on grace is 2 Nephi 25:23, which is in the Book of Mormon: “We are saved by grace, after all we can do”.  By the time I left the Church, I felt that that kind of grace was no grace at all.  When I officially withdrew my name from the Mormon church’s rolls, I wrote a letter to my ecclesiastical leaders which stated, in part:

“I believe that the LDS Church teaches an incorrect doctrine of the Atonement and has an inadequate understanding of grace, the result of which is to encourage the belief that we are saved by our own efforts, which in turn results in profound depression, on the one hand, or blind egotism, on the other.  Not coincidentally, the LDS Church does not give the atoning sacrifice a preeminent place in its theology or its discussion, but it is instead lost in a morass of teachings of secondary importance.  In fact, the principle teaching of the LDS Church seems to be that the Church is true, not the proclamation of the good news of the gospel, which gives the impression that the Church (‘the law’) and obedience to its leaders saves.  I am left wondering if the LDS Church can truly be called Christian.  Of all the deficiencies of the LDS Church, I find this one to be the most significant.”

I wrote this in 2000.  At that time, the LDS Church was actually making an effort to give greater emphasis to Christ in its message.  While I was on the mission, the missionary name tags and the Book of Mormon cover were redesigned to make the words “Jesus Christ” stand out.  The greater emphasis was reflected from the pulpit in the talks given by the Mormon Prophet and Apostles and other leaders of the Church. In addition, a new Mormon neo-orthodoxy had already been growing among Mormon theologians for some time.  This neo-orthodoxy placed greater emphasis on grace discussions of salvation.  I applaud these efforts.  But for me at the time, this was too little too late.

Being saved by Jesus, Being saved from Jesus

After leaving the Mormon church, I identified as Christian, but I attended no church.  I wanted nothing to do with organized religion.  Instead, I begin a serious study of the Christian concept of grace.  I was trying to unlearn the notion that I had to earn God’s grace.  In retrospect, I see now that I was trying to convince my rational mind, so that it would free me to experience this grace emotionally.  It was Alan Watts’ book, Behold the Spirit – which bring insights from Eastern religions to a study of Christian faith — that had the most profound effect on convincing me that God’s grace was already, always present, and just there to be accepted.

It happened one autumn morning in 2001 as I was walking to the bus stop after leaving law school.  Something clicked and I felt all of the guilt and shame I had been holding inside of me disappear.  I knew in that moment that I had truly accepted Jesus as my Savior and I had been saved.

Now what follows will likely be incomprehensible to many Christians.  But almost at the same time that I felt saved by Jesus, I felt saved from him.  I was released not only of the guilt for my sins, but also of any really feeling of need to identify any longer as Christian.  Having been saved by Jesus, I felt I could move forward and leave him behind.

Leaving Christianity behind

Over the next few years, I explored different forms of spirituality — always in books or on the Internet — and eventually settled on Neo-Paganism.  Since I had first learned about Neo-Paganism in books, my idea of who Pagans were was somewhat skewed.  For one thing, I came to Neo-Paganism thinking that it would be a refuge from the supernaturalism which I had hoped to leave behind with my Christianity.  What I found were many Pagans who believed in astrology, owned crystals, and practiced “magic”.  So I set about launching a website called “American Neopaganism”, which was dedicated to promoting my kind of Paganism as the Paganism.

Eventually, I realized that I had just shifted my fundamentalist attitudes from my Mormon past to my Pagan present.  Slowly, I grew more comfortable with the idea of sharing the name “Pagan” with people who believed and did very different things than me.  And I grew accustomed to telling people I was “not that kind of Pagan” whenever I explained my religion to a non-Pagan.

Around the same time, I noticed on the Internet many people who had formerly identified as “Pagan” were withdrawing from that moniker and from association with other Pagans.  These were mostly reconstructionist and polytheistic Pagans for whom the Pagan gods are real, distinct beings — not just psychological or metaphorical aspects of one unknowable divine Being.  Soon thereafter, I noticed other polytheists, who were not withdrawing from Paganism, but who were claiming it as their own.  I read claims that one is not a “real Pagan” unless one believes literally in the existence of the gods as “real” as any other persons.  And I threw myself into this debate wholeheartedly, staking out and defending my own claim to Paganism as a “Neo-Pagan”.  Many lines were drawn, but the only real line was between those who wanted to draw lines, and those who did not.

The answer depends on who is asking the question

My a-ha moment happened at a Pagan conference in San Jose in 2012.  I was attending a panel discussion on Pagan identity chaired by several prominent Pagans.  I realized that “Pagan” was being used generally in two different ways by the panelists:  For some it was an umbrella term.  There was a self-described witch, a shaman, and a magician, who all identified primarily as those things and only secondarily as Pagan — in much the same way as many Protestants today might identify first as Methodist or Lutheran and second as Christian.  And then there were others on the panel for whom Pagan was their primary or only identifier — in much the same way that many non-denominational Christians identify firstly as “Christian”.  These two groups use the same word, but in very different ways.  And the exercise of defining just what “Pagan” means was generally more important to the latter group who had no other term with which to describe themselves.

The same thing happens with Mormons and their relationship to Christianity.  In my experience, the majority of those people who would deny Mormons the right to use the name “Christian” are those for whom “Christian” is their primary religious self-designation.  While those for whom “Christian” is more of an umbrella term tend to be more liberal regarding the inclusion of Mormons and others within the Christian fold.  It’s no coincidence that when I identified as Mormon (my primary religious identity), I took my Christianity for granted.  And when I left Mormonism, and “Christian” was all I had to identify myself with, then I was more skeptical of Mormonism’s Christianity.  Now that I am on the outside looking in, I see that the question of whether or not Mormons are Christians has less to do with Mormons than it has to do with the person asking the question.

Because we have religious freedom and the right to self-determination, no one is going to keep anyone from calling themselves whatever they want to.  So what are we doing when we try to draw these lines to exclude one group or another from Christianity or from Paganism?  These lines don’t exist in the real world.  But they do exist within us.  When we define what “Christian” or “Pagan” means, we are really trying to define who we are.  I for one don’t believe this is avoidable.  Boundary drawing is an essential part of the process of identity formation.  But it behooves us to be conscious of what we are doing.  When we say that so-and-so is or is not Christian or Pagan, we are not really talking about them.  We are talking about ourselves.

 

* The statement above regarding Mormons’ unfamiliarity with the Bible has been my own experience, but it may not be generalizable, as one of the commenters below pointed out.  From Dandini: “A national 2010 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history: on just the questions about Christianity and the Bible, Mormons scored the highest. They also scored second only to Jews in knowledge of Judaism. [Overall, Mormons understand their own doctrines and the Bible better than other Christian denominations.] “Protestants, Catholics and Mormons Reflect Diverse Levels of Religious Activity” – - July 9, 2001 study released by the Barna Research Group of Ventura, California. The Barna Institute for Religious Studies identified that outside of Sunday church sermons (meaning in the home), Mormons were more likely to have read the bible (not the Book of Mormon, but the Bible) than any other religion polled.”

 

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  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

    “When we say that so-and-so is or is not Christian or Pagan, we are not
    really talking about them. We are talking about ourselves.” YES.

    I grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church where “Christian” meant “born again evangelical”. By their definition, Mormons, Catholics, and most mainline Protestants weren’t Christians. As you explain, “we’re the real Christians and they’re not like us.”

    As a Pagan who tries to take a neutral position on the internal affairs of other religions, I tend to support your Mormon-era answer – Mormons follow Jesus and come out of a Christian lineage, so of course they’re Christians. At the same time, it’s fair to observe that their religion is a very different flavor of Christianity.

    Though “Pagan” is my primary religious identity, I prefer an umbrella approach. I’m a hard polytheist, but soft polytheists, duotheists, monists, animists, witches, humanistic Pagans and a bunch of other folks are just as entitled to the label as I am. That doesn’t mean I want us all doing the same Wicca-lite rituals at the Equinox – it means I want us working together for the common good and supporting each others’ practices.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

      Well put. The differences do matter. But that’s not an excuse for spiritual exclusivism.

      • Bianca Bradley

        On the other hand you don’t get to demand spiritual inclusion either.

  • http://www.walkofthefallen.com Labrys

    Thank you for the well-thought out posting. I, too, was temporarily Mormon at my father’s orders. I never accepted the faith as I found the story of the Book of Mormon at odds with history.
    I gave Catholicism a 17 year try as an adult, but ultimately the misogyny and increasingly irrational insistence on “every sperm is sacred” and denial of human conscience as pivotal drove me away.
    I do identify as pagan now, but as a highly speculative skeptical sort who lives more by unverified personal gnosis and shamanic initiation experiences than any particular definition based on written legend. Having been a writer in charge of being persuasive….I doubt most written accounts, those “transcribed” by Christian monks especially.

  • Dandini

    John – – – Already losing integrity in your research and assumptions – quoting you: “And although Mormons believe in and read the Bible, oftentimes they are less familiar with it than with their other scriptures. ”

    A national 2010 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history: on just the questions about Christianity and the Bible, Mormons scored the highest. They also scored second only to Jews in knowledge of Judaism. [Overall, Mormons understand their own doctrines and the Bible better than other Christian denominations.]

    “Protestants, Catholics and Mormons Reflect Diverse Levels of Religious Activity” – - July 9, 2001 study released by the Barna Research Group of Ventura, California. The Barna Institute for Religious Studies identified that outside of Sunday church sermons (meaning in the home), Mormons were more likely to have read the bible (not the Book of Mormon, but the Bible) than any other religion polled.

    • VG Lovecraft

      Dandini: What you say may be true, but, it may not be the personal experience which John had with Mormons with whom he was familiar. Besides, do you accept polls conducted by the Pew Forum (or any pollsters, for that matter) as un-biased “gospel”? I certainly do not.

      • jsperry

        A survey is scientific when each member of the sample has an equal random chance of participation and the sample size is sufficiently large that it’s mean approximates that of the population. Pew clearly delineates between studies that meet these criteria and those that do not. It doesn’t matter the source of a survey if both the method and analysis are valid.

      • Quentin

        As jsperry said, it may not be “gospel”, but not all surveys are alike in their scientific validity. After Animal Planet’s merfolk mockumentary, especially that “video evidence” with CGI that looked about as good as the CGI on Babylon 5, their website had a poll and the results suggested 60% of people believed in the existence of merfolk; that’s not scientific because it’s going to be significantly skewed in the direction of people who watched the special and fell for it, as well as Internet trolls, and so on. It’s not a scientific method of polling.

        The Pew Research Centre may not be perfect, but it’s certainly worlds more scientific than a sidebar poll on a cable station’s website.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

      Dandini:

      Thanks for pointing that out. I remember reading that a while ago and being quite surprised. Unfortunately, I promptly forgot it. While I was speaking for my personal experience (as VG points out), I phrased it in terms of fact. This definitely justifies a footnote to the post above. Thanks again.

      John

  • VG Lovecraft

    I agree wholeheartedly with this posting. To me “Christian” and “Pagan” are both umbrella terms. My personal definitions of these umbrellas are: Christian = a person who believes that Jesus Christ died for humans’ “sins”. It doesn’t matter what church (or lack thereof) the person identifies with. Pagan = a person who believes in multiple gods. No matter whether the gods come from one Source, are separate entities, archetypes, thoughtforms, etc.

    I applaud the author of this posting for writing such a clear, well-presented viewpoint.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

      Thanks VG!

  • http://goddesspriestess.com/ Molly

    I’m only lightly, delicately becoming able to include myself under the pagan umbrella—I felt way too “different” with my UU-rooted, Goddess-focused spirituality from “those other pagans” to identify with the “pagan” word at all, even as I started to blog on Patheos for Pagan Families! However, just in the last couple of months, I’m beginning to see how I do qualify as a pagan as a fairly generic umbrella term. I still like panentheistic-spiritual naturalist-Goddess-oriented UU the best! ;)

  • Bianca Bradley

    First, it really isn’t any business of any one in Pagandoms umbrella term, who calls themselves Christian. That is between the Christians themselves.

    Two, no you just don’t get to get acceptance. The first amendment gives us religious freedom it also gives us freedom of expression. However in Paganism there is NO central authority. There isn’t much of any, in Wicca, and only a few that I have seen in reconstruction ism have some sort of central authority, and even that is questionable.

    We do have the right to argue amongst ourselves over what is Pagan and what is Polytheistic. It is a boundary line. It is more then just about what is Pagan about ourselves it is also what is Pagan to the rest of the theological world.

    and thirdly. I”m beginning to find it really disturbing the amount of times you reference Galina, and how you do it. You don’t reference Sannion, or any of the other detractors of your position, but consistently do this with Galina. What is up with that?!

    IT isn’t that you make her into someone who disagrees with you strongly, and can articulate it well, even if it is very blunt, Which for someone who went to lawschool should be used to. You don’t agree to disagree with her. You basically make her out to be a fundy person. You don’t do that with any of your detractors, nor do you mention them. It’s concerning.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

      I don’t what you’re talking about. I didn’t mention G. in the post above.

      • Bianca Bradley
        • John Halstead

          Oh, we’re back to that again. I’m curious, why Bianca have you designated yourself G.’s defender. You may have noticed she is capable of answering for herself.

          • Bianca Bradley

            I actually haven’t become her defender. Never met her. Blame the Lokean Sagittarius in me.

            I actually started reading this article going, why on earth is it Pagans business what Christians fight over and went, not again,

            Btw deflection:P

            Oh and you were the one that linked it and brought her up.

            SO I am very curious, why is she the one you consistently bring up? I know she’s blunt and all. But she can’t be the only one.

            ON another note, why do you think demanding inclusion can and will work? Which seems to be the argument you are making. It doesn’t work in Christianity, why do you think it will work in the larger Pagan context?

            • John Halstead

              I merely linked to my own post to support the statement that some Pagans were claiming “that one is not a “real Pagan” unless one believes literally in the existence of the gods as “real” as any other persons.” That’s just factual. And G. is the most strident example of this that I have encountered. It made sense to bring it up in the context of my larger point about religious identity and exclusion. I didn’t mention her by name or attempt to rehash the issues there. You did that.

              Why do I think I can demand inclusion? Because I am here! I am already included. I am Pagan whether you like it or not. And it has indeed worked for Christians. Mormons are here, claiming a right to call themselves Christian, and you may have noticed they are not going anywhere either. The evangelicals have all but lost that battle.

              What makes you think you can exclude us from Paganism? What power do you think you have to silence us or exclude us?

            • Bianca Bradley

              G has already made an addendum, way back in the brouhahaha, that you can call yourself Pagan, but she’s drawing the line at Polytheist. Which is what the broughhahaha started out as, is Pop culture really Polytheistic.

              By linking that post, you are rebringing her into this. Which makes me wonder if this is a rehash. And that is what bugs me. I haven’t seen much if anything of anyone elses’s strident opinion being linked, just hers.

              Mormons may call themselves Christian, but will a Southern Baptist accept that? (One of the more fundamentalist out of the Conservative Christians) Will they accept a Catholic as Christian? A Unitarian Universalist? So no, you can’t claim it has worked, when inclusion on the Christian side isn’t working. Nor have Evangelicals lost that battle. It’s an ongoing battle on the Christian side that doesn’t have anything to do with Pagans(of whatever stripe)

              Btw, I have never said you can’t say you aren’t Pagan, or even Polytheist or whatever it is you want to define yourself as. I am pretty much ambivalent there.

              And no, just like you as a former Mormon can’t demand inclusion in a Southern Baptist fellowship you can’t demand inclusion in other niche areas of Paganism. Different places, different strokes. Just like in Christianity, you can’t demand that (pulls recon out of air) a Celtic recon with leanings toward Kemetic accept your brand of Paganism. It wont’ work anymore then a very vehement British Traditional Wiccan will accept a Scott Cunningham Wiccan, as Wiccan.

              If you do, don’t be too surprised when said recon pushes back vehemently.

              Again no central authority. Ergo no real central definition either.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

              “G has already made an addendum …”

              So what, she gets a medal for being slightly less fundamentalist? I’m sensing a double standard here.

              “By linking that post, you are rebringing her into this.”

              She’s brought herself into “this”. But, I reiterate, the post above is not about her or her BS.

              “I haven’t seen much if anything of anyone elses’s strident opinion being linked, just hers.”

              Feel free to send me links to other Pagan fundamentalists if you wish. We can see who is more strident. Look for a “call to arms” against non-hard-polys.

              “Mormons may call themselves Christian, but will a Southern Baptist accept that?”

              Of course not. Whoever suggested we need 100% consensus? If that were true, no one would be “Christian”, because there’d always be at least one person who would dissent.

              “… you can’t claim it has worked, when inclusion on the Christian side isn’t working.”

              You must have you’re head in a hole for the last 10 years if you think Mormons are not making their way into the Christian mainstream.

              “Btw, I have never said you can’t say you aren’t Pagan, or even Polytheist or whatever it is you want to define yourself as.”

              Then what are you talking about when you say I am demanding inclusion. Because inclusion under the Pagan umbrella is the only inclusion I am talking about.

              “And no, just like you as a former Mormon can’t demand inclusion in a Southern Baptist fellowship you can’t demand inclusion in other niche areas of Paganism.”

              Who ever said I wanted to? Whenever I exchange words with you, it’s like you’re responding to a post I haven’t written. Try reading what I actually wrote first, not the one you wish I had written so you could be pissed about it.

              “Just like in Christianity, you can’t demand that (pulls recon out of air) a Celtic recon with leanings toward Kemetic accept your brand of Paganism.”

              But I can still call myself a Celtic recon with Kemetic leanings, if I wanted to, and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

              “If you do, don’t be too surprised when said recon pushes back vehemently.”

              That’s fine. In case you haven’t noticed. I push back.

              “Again no central authority. Ergo no real central definition either.”

              Kind of the point of my post.

            • Bianca Bradley

              You can call yourself whatever you want, but don’t expect to be taken seriously. Plus expect those who know what they are talking about to call you out on it. Just like many Hoodoo people are calling out Bird for doing dangerous advice in her book. It doesn’t make them fundies for doing it either.

              My reading comprehension is fine. You might want to make your writing more clear, if the only thing you are talking about is inclusion under the Pagan umbrella, which no one has really been arguing about.

              This is the definition of fundamentalism========fun·da·men·tal·ism (fnd-mntl-zm)

              n.

              1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

              2.

              a. often Fundamentalism An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.

              b. Adherence to the theology of this movement.

              or this

              http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fundamentalism

              IF you are going to label her or others as Pagan fundies, you might want to see if they actually fit the label. By Galina doing Etin moot, by not adhering strictly to the Heathen doctrine, she doesn’t fit as a Pagan fundy. Nor, would her take on UPG, fit that definition either.

              Politically she’s very liberal. I doubt she’s against secularism.

              You want strident Polytheists, ok. Go to the Troth Website and demand that they give equal time to Loki. How bout go onto Amber and Jet and demand they give equal time to Sacred Mists Wiccans. Give me time, I’m sure I can give you some more drama fests that pop up in my memory from yee olden days.

              and btw, just because they are strident, doesn’t make their pov any less valid. That’s like discounting Santorum views on autism(who by the way was one of the first champions) because he’s very strictly Catholic and likes Hannity and Limbaugh. Nor would I qualify it as tolerance.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

              No one else has seemed confused yet.

              “A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views …”

              hmmm … remember this? … “Believe what you want. practice what you want, but don’t define it as polytheism or even Paganism. … Anything that attempts to veer Paganism or Heathenry or Polytheism or any of these traditions in the process of being restored away from those indigenous roots is something to be resisted.”

            • Bianca Bradley

              Again, not something that is pertinent to Galina. Lokean and Odinist who gives respect to the Jotuns, not something you can say she goes back to fundamental principles. Intolerant of other views, on politics, fine, but not religously.
              She works with other Gods and other peoples traditions. Nope, sorry, nope.

              So, she’s intolerant because she doesn’t think that Batman has the same level of respect needing to be given to him then say Achilles or whoever that guy was that slew that dragon, with the opera about Brunhilde(completely blanked on his name)?

              Heck the whole believe and practice what you want makes it tolerant statement. The don’t define it as such and such doesn’t not negate the tolerance, it’s an argument standpoint. That’s like calling Libertarians intolerant and fundy because they don’t want you saying that they believe that the govt is the answer, when many of them want less government.

              It doesn’t make her a fundy, it makes her a recon. She’s less of a hardliner then you think. If you think she’s hardline, you should look a lot deeper into Heathenry, and the old flame wars of the past.

              Her stance is no different then what some of the BTW Wiccans have on what makes WIcca Wicca.

              Her stance isn’t fundamentalist. It has a firm line, it’s rooted in respect for her Gods, but it can and will bend if there is a good reason.

              How many fundamentalists have you debated or had conversations with? I don’t mean just Christian fundamentalists either?

            • Quentin

              But I can still call myself a Celtic recon with Kemetic leanings, if I
              wanted to, and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

              You could also call yourself a pineapple, and reality would still be at odds with your claims, regardless of whether or not anyone can do anything about it or not. A lack of central authority simply means that definitions are harder to enforce, since it’s not restricted to, say, membership in a certain church or another, but the definition still exists. There’s no central authority on fruit, fruit can’t even argue your hypothetical insistence on identification as a pineapple, but you’ll likely have some major problems if you were to openly identify as one when you clearly don’t fit any such definition.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

              The pineapple wouldn’t give me any problems. It’s only other people that would. Which means that meaning is created in community. Which means that it can be negotiated. Meaning doesn’t “exist”. It is created in community. And it can be re-created in community.

            • Bianca Bradley

              source this please?

            • Crafter Yearly

              No central authority, other than Bianca Bradley, who gets to be the final arbiter of Pagan-ness and other people’s opinions.

            • Bianca Bradley

              OH good, I get bling now. And staff, staff is good. OH but wait, ears droop, I’d have to organize Pagandom…. And I don’t get to use a beating stick.

              Oh wait, you are being sarcastic. Yeah, at what point did I say I’m arbitrating Paganess?

            • Bianca Bradley

              Btw, someone already made Sannion the Pagan Pope, I’m not entirely sure he’d be happy, I’d be usurping the funny hat. Though I could totally rock it, if one of my kids didn’t steal it first.

            • Quentin

              Did you even read what she said, or did you just skim for keywords to be angry at?

            • balance

              I don’t think it’s demanding inclusion at all (and your comment illustrated that, but let me state it this way…)

              We’re not demanding inclusion so much as not ceding ground to those who are demanding exclusion.

              I
              don’t cease to be a woman if another woman or a man cites the fact that
              I’m wearing pants and maybe have short hair as reasons why they don’t
              think I can claim that label. They’re obviously having personal issues,
              and it has nothing to do with my sex or gender. And there are actually
              people who demand exclusion in that matter based on their own criteria,
              like there are in religion. Their criteria are based in culture and
              personal bias/struggles, not in fact nor in the reality of the person
              they are judging.

              I actually laugh a little on the inside to see
              people drawing lines like “polytheism” because, what, are they going to
              exclude general, run-of-the-mill, indigenous, ancient animism in all its
              variants but for the ones that developed pantheons of anthropomorphic
              deities? That excludes their own ancestors and spiritual roots! :D

            • balance

              Oh, and I wanted to note that an interesting twist comes into play when you apply anthropological terms to this.

              Inclusive religions such as Christianity and Islam are those that think everyone in the world is Christian or Islamic even if they don’t know it yet. They include all humans as subject to their gods, or will be when their religion takes over the whole world in its eventual destiny as the One True Way.

              Exclusive religions such as indigenous Paganisms are the religions that don’t bother to make their religion apply to others outside their people, or to anyone who claims a different religion or no religion. They’re pluralistic and accept that you might have a different god and values and story than theirs.

            • Bianca Bradley

              No, they tolerate you have different Gods and values different then theirs. Do the Asatru accept the Rokkrtru(no for the most part no). Depending on the Pagan(of whatever definition) you are talking about, they may not be as accepting as they like to be. See the myriads of Wiccans who like to preach the Three fold law about everything.

            • balance

              You picked some that tolerate, I was specifically talking about the ones that qualify as exclusive and ACCEPT. If they merely tolerate it sounds like they aren’t pluralistic nor exclusive, but inclusive or maybe even think other peoples/religions are background scenery for their story.

            • John Halstead

              Good point!

            • Quentin

              I actually laugh a little on the inside to see people drawing lines like “polytheism” because, what, are they going to exclude general, run-of-the-mill, indigenous, ancient animism in all its variants but for the ones that developed pantheons of anthropomorphic deities? That excludes their own ancestors and spiritual roots! :D

              The division between “polytheism” and “animism” is an artificial divide that, in practise, tends to be one of “what white people do” (polytheism) and “what brown people do” (animism). Polytheists believe in gods and spirits, “animists” believe in gods and spirits, the only difference between the two “grades” is that some people believe that the gods of indisputably brown people, especially those whose culture may not be as “advanced” or “developed” as, say, any pre-Christian European culture are somehow “less” than actual gods and therefore must be “mere spirits”.

              https://www2.bc.edu/~lugira/africism2.htm

              “At one time Tylor refers to animism as being the rudimentary definition of religion. At other time, he considers it as the philosophy of religion. And in chapter eleven of his cited work, volume one he repeatedly rubs it in by referring to animism as being the religion of lower races. [1874: passim]. From this, it becomes evident that none of the many names that disparage African religions has not been somewhat affected by the misguided concept of animism.”

              “With regard to the religiously and semantically racist subtleties, the encompassing influence of Animism was this year demonstrated in a report which appeared in the Boston Globe on the Sudan. Writing on the current political situation, among other things, Colum Lynch reported that: ‘A new rebel alliance comprising of Muslim, Christian and animist insurgents spent the past week seizing key towns along Sudan’s eastern border.’ [January 19, 1997 on page A2]. Trying to be constructive, the writer of this presentation sent a letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe pointing out the semantically racist intricacies in the report. To this day the letter has not appeared in the Boston Globe; nor has the writer been graced with an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter. Here the semantic issue is on the phrase ‘Muslim, Christian, and animist’. Note the initial capital ‘M’ in Muslim and the initial capital ‘C’ in Christian. Compare the first and the second word of the phrase and their initial capital letters with the initial small letter ‘a’ in animist. Base the comparison of the three terms on grammatical, rhetorical, semantic and logical principles. By the comparative process of this presentation, the conclusion clearly tallies with what Edward B. Tylor profusely indoctrinates that Animism is the religion of ‘lower races’.”

              “As if he is drawing a conclusion, Tylor asserts that ‘Animism is, in fact, the ground work of the philosophy of religion, from that of savages up to that of civilized men.’ [1874: I, 426]. Landing himself into semantic racism Tylor declares that ‘Animism characterizes tribes very low in the scale of humanity.’ [1874: I, 426]. He then unabashed and repetitively in his book, proceeds to accentuate and punctuate that Animism is the religion of lower races [1874: passim] For that reason this presentation wonders whether Animism is an expression of semantic racism par excellence! Isn’t it time to erase it out of meaningful seasoned and serious religious discourse?”

              While Tylor’s initial definition of “animism” as a very simplistic, rudimentary model for religion and philosophy certainly seems, at first, to be a reasonable divide between two concepts, he quickly sullies this. The only real divide between “polytheism” and “animism”, in practise, is that of race, making the term itself inherently racist. Even Wikipedia points out, with sourced statements and everything, that the divide is an anthropological construct and that “animism” is not a term used by the overwhelming majority of those deemed “animists”. That Tylor’s definition of “animism” is the one that still pervades anthropology of religion certainly illustrates an inherent racism in that field.

            • Bianca Bradley

              That is interesting.

            • Quentin

              There’s also evidence that PIE theory is also racially-motivated, as the whole basis of PIE tends to downplay the fact that most Indo-European languages are traced to Sanskrit, and any language older than Sanskrit (a Proto-Indo-European language, if you will) will be a hypothetical reconstruction, at best. The fact that it’s elevated to theoretical rather than hypothetical strikes plenty of people who are conscious of the inherent racisms still lingering in the anthropological fields as one of those left-over “scientific racisms”.

            • balance

              I’m an animist, and I do use the term.

              Tylor’s racism is acknowledged in anthropology and the field is distancing itself from the early racism as anthropology came into being in the Western Civ context.

              I do agree that modern racist tendencies do give animism to the “brown people” but I don’t know to what extent that’s actually happening among anthropologists, unless they happen to be racist (hard to accomplish/retain while studying culture and humanity) or Abrahamic (easier to accomplish/retain because of the psychological factors of those religions.)

              Not all animists include gods with their spirits. Part of the early ethnocentrism was applying familiar English words to translate the words of other cultures, but it’s not always appropriate to translate “gods” or “priests” for religious entities and specialists. There are remnants of that floating about in pop culture, but anthropologists are far more careful about that.

            • Bianca Bradley

              We all Judge. In fact if you do not judge as a human being, you tend to run into danger and fall prey to those who prey on the naive.

              You are also generalizing. How much time have you spent actually getting to know these peoples point of view, before you came to such judgements?

    • Quentin

      and thirdly. I”m beginning to find it really disturbing the amount of times you reference Galina, and how you do it. You don’t reference Sannion, or any of the other detractors of your position, but consistently do this with Galina. What is up with that?!

      IT isn’t that you make her into someone who disagrees with you strongly, and can articulate it well, even if it is very blunt, Which for someone who went to lawschool should be used to. You don’t agree to disagree with her. You basically make her out to be a fundy person. You don’t do that with any of your detractors, nor do you mention them. It’s concerning.

      I find this a bit off-putting, as well.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

        Quentin: As I stated to Bianca, I did not reference G. in the post above. I linked to another post of mine in which I did discuss her at length, not to bring attention to her or any other “detractors”, but merely as an example, albeit a conspicuous one, of an instance where someone claimed that one had to believe in gods as distinct persons in order to be Pagan. There’s nothing censorious about my characterization of G.’s position in this post, except the fact that I disagree with it. What I find disturbing is the heightened sensitivity G.’s groupies have to the mere mention of her name, or in this case a link to a post which quotes her. As for the “fundy” allegation, that’s just another word that we’ll have to disagree about the meaning of.

        • Bianca Bradley

          Since I”m the one standing up, you really can’t say I’m a groupie. I don’t even read her blog all that often. I would do this if, you were talking about Thorrsson as well, or Starhawk.

        • Quentin

          Your insistence that you didn’t bring up Galina would follow logically if that post in question wasn’t pretty much exclusively about her. Sure, you mention a couple others, but it’s clear that you take greatest offence with her, in particular, especially when Sannion said things that are easily arguable as more damning.

          While it’s cute that you think I’m one of her “groupies”, and apparently think that of anyone who voices a bewilderment and concern that you seem to put a lot of energy on her words, disproportionately so, if i were you, I might want to take a moment to examine what (albeit few) people are saying, cos I dunno, maybe I’m just a fag, but to see a man (I’m assuming you are, based on your name and photo; do feel free to correct me if that’s wrong) spend such an inordinate amount of energy to call out a woman for saying pretty much the same things a man (in this case, Sannion) has said, it kind of smacks of misogyny.

          Maybe you don’t think you’re being misogynist, and maybe you can cite all sorts of people who’d agree with you on that, but like I said, your criticisms of Galina versus Sannion for saying basically the same things sure looks disproportionately critical of Galina and tolerant (maybe not the best word) of Sannion. When that sort of gendered disparity exists, it’s usually indicative of some deeper resentments toward the feminine genders on the part of the critic. If that’s not the case for yourself, then certainly you can think of a way to make it clear that you’re equally critical of all who say such things –I mean, you say you went to law school and all, and presumably this speaks to your intelligence, so doing that shouldn’t be at all difficult for you to do.

          Of course, my mother used to say that if some-one is disproportionately critical of another, it’s usually indicative of either displaced affections (“you be crushing on her”, as the kids say), or jealousy. Which is a perfectly understandable thing for a ten-year-old to do, but I’d like to think a grown person of the age I’m guessing for yourself, (mid-20s?) would have a firmer grasp of their emotions. Thus I put more weight in my misogyny hypothesis, even if you don’t realise you’re doing that, or at least don’t realise how it looks.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

            First of all, I would appreciate it if you did not use terminology that is derogatory to homosexuals in the comments. Not even ironically.

            Next, so now your issue is not that I criticized G. but that I didn’t criticize S. enough. And because one of them is male and one of them is female then ipso facto it’s misogyny, right. Wrong. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to suck me into another pointless semantic debate.

            As for my “crushing” on G., you’re right about that, in a sense, but not in the juvenile sense you suggest. I think she is one of the most articulate and interesting hard polytheists out there, although there are others. (I like to read Dver’s blog and Tess Dawson’s too.)

            • Quentin

              First of all, I would appreciate it if you did not use terminology that
              is derogatory to homosexuals in the comments. Not even ironically.

              Maybe this is showing my age, but I thought Social Justice 101 still maintained that it’s more than a tad uncouth to tell a minority how to identify. As a homosexual, myself (well, OK, I’m technically bi-, but I’m more into other men than women by a pretty wide margin), whether or not a term I use to self-identify is derogatory isn’t for a heterosexual to say.

              Next, so now your issue is not that I criticized G. but that I didn’t criticize S. enough. And because one of them is male and one of them is female then ipso facto it’s misogyny, right. Wrong. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to suck me into another pointless semantic debate.

              Yeah, just declaring me wrong doesn’t make it so, even lawyers on TV know better than that.

              And I don’t believe it’s at all a “pointless semantic debate”. Misogyny is still pretty pervasive in this world, even in the pagan community that often tries to pain itself as immune to misogyny cos Goddess Worship is a big thing. The fact remains that women are consistently, and disproportionately criticised, even in the pagan community, for saying the same things that men have said –Silver Ravenwolf is criticised for saying basically much the same as Scott Cunningham, but guess who has entire websites dedicated to their debunking? The only one I knew of dedicated to Cunningham left the web when Yahoo ended Geocities a couple years ago (sure, there is also some lesser-known history of Ravenwolf’s involved in that criticism, but like I said, most people are going to be unaware of it, and you’ll have to do some digging on semi-private web forums, like the dot-pagan-snark LJ community, to find some of it).

              If you don’t believe you’ve fallen victim to committing an unwitting act of misogyny here, please, convince me. I beg you to do so. Don’t just say “wrong” and end it at that, that only tells me your opinion, which is irrelevant –most people seem fond of opining that frogs’ legs taste like chicken, but they’re still wrong, so clearly opinions alone in arguments of objectivity are worthless.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

              I’m not denying that there is sexism and even misogyny in the pagan community. What I am denying is the suggestion that every time a woman is treated differently than a man it is an example of misogyny. That’s a non-sequitur and I would expect it’s incorrectness to be obvious even to nonlawyers.

              Incidentally, this is the third time that you have brought up my being a lawyer. As long as we are talkingasbout unconscious biases, you might want to look into that one.

              If you feel that S. was equally or more deserving of my condemnation than G., please feel free to point out to me where S. issued a “call to arms” against non-polytheistic pagans. Otherwise, I can’t help but feel that this whole issue of alleged misogyny which you raise is a red herring in this instance.

              And I still don’t understand why we’re having this conversation in the comments to this post. If you have an issue with the post that I linked to, go there and comment.

              Oh, and on the issue of your use of derogatory terminology, I would raise the same objection if an African-American commented here and used the N-word. My blog, my rules. So consider yourself warned.

            • Bianca Bradley

              John, ummm, are you really going to argue with a Gay person on whether or not they label themselves? BTW For the African American thing, they use the N word, but it’s ended in an A not an er, which changes the meaning and context.

              It’s akin to Witches owning the term Witch. Or very combative women, like myself, taking the B word and making it my own. Or why I label myself an evil Pagan Republican.

              Just saying, you may want to ummm think on that firm line there.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

              He can call himself whatever he wants elsewhere, but that word is off limits here.

            • Bianca Bradley

              You just ignored everything I said.

              Fine why is that word off limits, even if uttered by a Gay guy, who is reclaiming it? And why do you a straight, lawyer(see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/2013/06/26/10-reasons-i-care-about-the-same-sex-marriage-rulings/) get to state he can’t define himself that way here?

              ANd this is Socratic btw.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

              Because its my blog. I thought that would be obvious.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

              Why does my profession keep getting brought up here?

            • Bianca Bradley

              Not to be insulting and I’m trying not to, but dude, you can’t debate well. Your sourcing needs work as well. Which is surprising, since you should have been taught how in lawschool.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

              Congratulations Bianca. You just outed yourself as a troll. My objective here is not to debate, but to discuss. Goodbye.

            • Bianca Bradley

              Actually, I believe Ravenwolf got criticized, in the beginning for telling teens to lie. Cunningham, not sure why people hate on him. He never said do anything you want, his entire theme was do a gut check and listen to jiminy cricket:P

            • Northern_Light_27

              I’m coming to this late, but this thread made me really, really angry. I love how debates about Galina Krasskova are never, ever about what she does. It’s always a deflection. You’re just criticizing her because you’re kinkshaming. You’re just criticizing her because she’s a woman. Never her deeds (I mean gosh, it’s not like deeds are the entire. bloody. point. of heathenry or anything) or her words– I wonder if it’s because her words and her deeds are too far over the line into froot-loopy to defend on their own, without this Tumblresque SJWism to hide behind? A thing she says on the most-linked YouTube video is that we have no right to question or judge the gods because they are gods and we are not. We are, presumably, only to obey– whatever stirrings and thoughts and feelings we have, without question, because that’s The Gods Speaking. That’s an extreme position. The bizarrity she said, that is linked here, is to most Pagans an extreme position. She’s way out on a limb as a Norse-identified Pagan, by the standards of that wider community, never mind where those words would place her within greater Pagandom. But gosh, we can’t talk about that without it being shunted to something, anything, but the actual topic of the things she said. The only thing I’d agree with you about is that Sannion should be brought up just as often– yes. Because he’s said equally bizarre, extreme things.

              The f*g thing was a bear trap, and you know it. If John didn’t take the bait, he’d be homophobic. If he does respond, as he did, he’s identity-policing. He has a no slurs, period policy– perhaps because it’s not just about you. Seeing that word is hurtful to a lot of gay people who aren’t you. You want to have the reclaiming debate? This is neither the time nor the place. (And since people who argue the way you’re arguing always want an identity check, I’m a bi woman.) It’s also vastly afield of the point– for one thing, you’re BOTH MEN. You don’t have any better idea what it’s like to be a woman than John does, being gay isn’t a magic “speak for women” card. If it’s always misogyny to call a woman on her crap, where is our agency as women? If I have to put it in SJW terms, your white-knighting is a tad paternalistic. You’re afield of the mark with the Silver Ravenwolf stuff, too. I’ve mostly seen her criticized for telling teens to lie to their parents, for acting like minor royalty (the being crappy to the little people type) at festivals, and appropriating Pennsylvania Dutch magic and putting a bunch of poorly-researched crap out there in its name. I don’t recall Scott Cunningham– who, actually, I’ve criticized way, WAY more than Ravenwolf for outright saying that “darker” gods have no place and should not be invoked by the solitaries reading his books– doing any of those things.

  • Living The Wheel

    This points out why I have such a problem with “umbrella” terms. As an ex-mormon myself, I often got a lot of that “are Mormons Christians?”, too. As I understood it (and I was not raised in the church, I was converted at a young age), if Christ was somewhere in your beliefs and teachings, “Christian” was your term.

    The same sort of applies in my mind for “pagan”. Pagan is supposed to encompass those that don’t identify with any of the big name umbrellas. “Christian”, “Jewish”, and “Islamic”. Well, that’s pretty much….everyone else, including Hindus (quite a lot of whom get upset when you refer to them as pagan) and Buddhists (same as for Hindus, a lot of the time).

    It might be time to move past the umbrellas. I used to be one that said, “So and so can’t be a pagan because X, Y, and Z. And, now I just think there’s more substance in calling your religion by it’s name rather than by the umbrella group it identifies with. Wiccan, Asatru, Mormon, Episcopalian…….the arguments would go away if people did this.

    That would make me a Godless Heathen, which I like a lot better than “pagan”.

    • John Halstead

      That would be good, but I, for example, don’t resonate with any other appellation more than “Pagan”.

  • ericjdev

    Fascinating stuff. I grew up LDS and had a long agnostic stretch before becoming Pagan and most recently settling on just calling myself a witch in order to avoid the word Pagan. In one sense I hate the word is so broad as to be meaningless and on the other I reject anyone defining it. I certainly have thoughts on what I think it should and shouldn’t mean, should and shouldn’t include and i’ve had angry exchanges over it. As an example, I don’t think atheism and Paganism are compatible, I think the notion is silly. So I leave the umbrella because I won’t be paired with atheists, they don’t belong.
    ‘When we define what “Christian” or “Pagan” means, we are really trying to define who we are.’ Reading that was a real moment for me, I feel releived, settled – I should have seen that a long time ago but there is a real comfort in clearly knowing it, I’m not struggling to understand Paganism, I just thought I was, thanks for the epiphany.

  • trueinar .

    Hmmmm… 20+ years of being Mormon after being born into a Mormon family? Check. Went on mission? Check. Tried other forms of Christianity? Is now Pagan? Check. Wow, this sounded very familiar. As a ex-mormon I have to say they are indeed Christian by how I define it (believes in and believes they follow Jesus). I mean if people want to talk about how the teachings presented by Joseph Smith take a more prominent position than Jesus’ I really have to point out most of the stuff I have heard from other Christian churches comes from Paul (I really feel Paul’s teachings are better known and more highly regarded than Jesus’). As far as the Pagan term I don’t claim to be able to determine who can call themselves Pagan and who can’t. I can only decide what I am and I’m kind of complicated. I am a hard polytheist but I am completely fine with soft polytheists and non-theists (I might prefer that term to atheist for the sake of accuracy). People are different and that is fine. We just need to learn how to get along and make room. At the end of the day labels aren’t that great.

    • John Halstead

      Amen. Oh, I mean “blessed be.”

  • balance

    Another Ex-Mormon Pagan chiming in… (and a non-theistic one, at that!)

    It
    has always bothered me to see a particular sect thinking it gets to
    disown all other sects of a religion or religious umbrella (especially
    the Johnny-Come-Latelies who call traditions older than theirs “fakes”).
    Yes, even as a Mormon, back in the day, despite the “restoration”
    angle. Religious adherents are defined by self-identification, not by
    passing doctrinal tests (that comes from when religion became about
    creed rather than about spirit) set by self-appointed name-guarding
    sects. There is no world authority on who gets to use what religious
    label. Non-creedal religions that embrace internal authority or
    authenticity, like much of Paganism, shouldn’t have as much of a problem
    with that, though of course some Pagans lean creedal out of cultural
    habit. Western Civ is just that kind of place, thanks to its historical
    influences.

    Astute observation about it being more about
    boundary-setting within the person struggling with identity than about
    who is actually a “real” [Pastafarian]. :)

    I wish the
    anthropology of religion was part of public education so all these
    mistaken conceptions about how it even works would go away, but add that
    one to the huge pile of subjects everyone wishes were basics of
    education. :)

    • John Halstead

      “Another Ex-Mormon Pagan chiming in …”

      There’s more of us than I ever realized. Maybe I should start a survey. Hmmmm…

      “… Johnny-Come-Latelies who call traditions older than theirs “fakes””

      Yes, isn’t that strange!?

      “I wish the anthropology of religion was part of public education …”

      I would love that! Sign me up!

      • balance

        My theory is that many Ex-Mormons are drawn to Paganism because of the folk-magic folded into Mormonism at its origins, and its magical thinking, too, of course. It’s rather Pagan if you scratch the patriarchal & authoritarian off. I blame Young for that crap.

        Hell, I’ve been noticing lots of influences on Smith’s creation as I study. There’s even Islam in there. (The traditional testimony declaration is like a reworded version of Islam’s first pillar declaration, and the other pillars seem to be in there, too, if you count going to Nauvoo or Jerusalem as a pilgrimage.)

        Anyway, I’m always up for talking with Ex-Mo Pagans, and a survey would be interesting. :)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

          Jason Mankey’s written an interesting post on Mormon occultism. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2013/07/josephsmith/

          It’s ironic that I came to Paganism to escape supernaturalism. I’ve since resisted all associations of Paganism with occultism.

  • http://www.forgingthesampo.com/ Kauko

    On a side note: I have to admit that, back in my Jewish days, I was always weirded out when I ran into Mormons- although they aren’t very common here in the South- because when they found out I was Jewish they would get really intense and have tons of questions for me. It always made me uncomfortable. In particular, I remember being out walking one evening when I came across two Mormon missionaries going door to door. The moment I saw them heading toward me, I thought, ‘Oh #&$%’.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

      Yeah, Mormons can be Judeo-philes. They are wanna-be Jews (God’s chosen) and, for many of them having lived their whole lives in Utah and Idaho, real Jews are like mythical creatures.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

    Quentin:

    I feel I gave you sufficient warning about the use of that language and I am not going to engage in a debate about its inappropriateness.

    Consider yourself blacklisted from this blog.

    John

    • Bianca Bradley

      John..

      That term is a term that Gay people are claiming and reclaiming. You are essentially giving etiquette lessons, to a minority who are taking a painful word, and making it their own to take away the sting. You are taking the rainbow, and painting it beige.

      The equivalent would be to tell an A.I.M guy he or she needs to take away the Indian word and replace with Native American, without understanding that they don’t like the term Native American, and prefer to go by tribes(or at least that was what I was informed when I asked a few patient people, who’s tribe I can’t remember).

      blanking on other minorities doing this, will come back to more analogies later.

      The point of Quentin using that term, is to take away the sting. It is a communication technique. It is about symbolism. It is not about redefinition, it’s about, fine, I”ll take all the bad things you say, and own it, and make it FABULOUS(with a quirky and snarky kiss my arse about it too).

      It isn’t about appropriate John. It’s about something more. And while I’d be the last person to say, only minorities get to use certain terms, John saying he can’t use that term, is kinda wrong too.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

        I’m a straight male and I’ve been harmed by that term, as have I believe, all males. I stand by my right to exclude its use on this blog. Quentin can find another forum to reclaim it.

        Wow, has this conversation gone far afield!


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