Religious Freedom and its reasonable limits

Via WitchVox, here’s an amusing story from my hometown of Chattanooga. The bad news is that some Pagans were behaving in a rather irresponsible manner. The good news is that the cop who responded had some knowledge of what he was dealing with and wasn’t interested in a religious argument.

Some of the comments on the Chattanooga Pulse site and on WitchVox are saying “this is why I’m a solitary.” Certainly, morons like this are an embarrassment, but that just motivates me to do an even more professional job with our open circles. I don’t want this to be the only image someone has of Pagans and Pagan beliefs and practices.

About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06208142626285495635 Robin Edgar

    You probably don’t want this to be the only image someone has of U*Us and U*U beliefs and practices. . . :-)

    What was it that Rev. Victoria Weinstein said about image?

    Oh ya. . .

    “Anyone who is in a position of leadership has to consider what image they’re projecting, and that goes for clergy too. . .”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00875369837359076688 JohnFranc

    Robin, I’m writing here because I can’t find an e-mail address for you through Blogger.

    I’ve read your story, and as someone who has had some spiritual experiences that your average UU would find incredible, I’m sympathetic.

    However, I recognize that Unitarian Universalism is what it is, and I choose to tolerate its shortcomings (knowing that all religions have them) so I can work to improve it from within, and so I can actively participate in the good that it does. To use a shamanic metaphor, I walk in both worlds – the rational (sometimes hyper-rational) world of Unitarian Universalism, and the metaphysical world of Paganism. I find both worlds to be helpful and meaningful, and so I support both worlds.

    I’m glad you’re reading my blog, and I welcome your thoughts and feedback on the topics at hand. However, I have no interest in providing a forum for your crusade against Unitarian Universalism. Therefore, I ask that you refrain from posting anti-UU comments that are unrelated (or only tangentially related) to the subject of the blog entries.

    Future comments similar to this one will be deleted.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06208142626285495635 Robin Edgar

    Please do not make the mistake of confusing my crusade against diverse U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy, to say nothing of U*U stupidity. . . as a crusade against Unitarian*Universalism JohnFranc. Indeed do not make the even worse mistake of knowingly and willfully *misrepresenting* my crusade against diverse U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy as a crusade against Unitarian*Universalism as a religion JohnFranc. I am no more crusading against Unitarian*Universalism in my comment about the image that Peacebang aka Rev. Victoria Weinstein projects with her irresponsible behavior than you are crusading against Neo-Paganism in this blog post about how some Neo-Pagans were behaving in a rather irresponsible manner in Chattanooga Tennessee. My point is exactly the same as yours, only it deals with how the rather irresponsible manner (to put it mildly) in which Peacebang and other U*Us behave at times reflects as badly (if not worse. . .) on the proverbial public image of Unitarian*Universalism as the behavior of Chattanooga pagans reflects on paganism. N’est-ce pas? I am trying to clean up the proverbial “act” Unitarian*Universalists not destroy Unitarian*Universalism JohnFranc. Certainly, morons like this are an embarrassment, but that just motivates me to do an even more professional job with The Emerson Avenger blog. . . It should now be obvious that what I am doing *for* Unitarian*Universalism is no different than what you are doing *for* paganism in this blog post. I am surprised that it wasn’t obvious to you before, but it obviously wasn’t, was it?

    I have no intention of littering your very interesting and enlightening blog with *legitimate* criticism of Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. You will find that I left a number of rather more interesting comments that had little or nothing to do with embarrassing* U*U morons as it were. If and when you blog about some Pagans behaving in a rather irresponsible manner that is an embarrassment to Pagans and Neo-Paganism that you would hope is not to be the only image someone has of Pagans and Pagan beliefs and practices, I would hope that you would allow me to point out that Unitarian*Universalism suffers from similar problems. . . For the record U*Us are not nearly as rational as they pretend to be. If they were ha;f as rational as they pretend to be our little war of words would have ended over a decade ago. . . Indeed it never would have “got started” as it were. U*Us were and still are stunningly irrational in their responses to both my claimed revelatory religious experience and related religious initiatives and my subsequent complaints about the obviously intolerant and abusive manner in which some “Humanist” U*Us responded to my religious beliefs and practices which were entirely in line with U*U principles. So, once again, it is not my intention to litter your blog with criticism of U*Us behaving badly. Au contraire I think that I will mainly be adding pertinent comments of religious value to your thoughtful blog posts. But on the odd occasion where I do feel that it is very much “on topic” and appropriate to raise the issue of U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy, to say nothing of just plain stupidity aka the embarrassing moronic behavior of some U*Us, please be so kind as to respect that.

    Sincerely,

    Robin Edgar

    * I will let you decide if that is an adjective or a verb. . .

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06208142626285495635 Robin Edgar

    BTW JohnFranc

    It was not necessary for me to even read the article to make the comment I made or even my follow-up response to your objection to it but, having done so now, this bit is very applicable to too many of the U*Us I know and no doubt too many of the U*Us *you* know. . .

    “but the folks I had contact with were more interested in displaying their radical differences on their sleeve than they were in displaying the virtues of such a concept. I found this as annoying as I do anyone who is full of shit but doesn’t know it.”

    Am I wrong?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00875369837359076688 JohnFranc

    Robin, I hear you. And I’m sympathetic to your goals as you’ve stated them.

    But your methods strike me as more harmful than helpful, therefore I choose not to support them.

    That’s really all I have to say about it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06208142626285495635 Robin Edgar

    Unfortunately U*Us abjectly fail and obstinately refuse to allow me to use less harmful methods JohnFranc. God knows I have repeatedly given them opportunities to do so. . . OTOH My “method” in my comments here is virtually indistinguishable from your “method” in dealing with pagans who are embarrassing morons. . . N’est-ce pas?

    When the Unitarian Church of Montreal and the UUA are ready, willing, and able to initiate and responsibly participate in genuinely just and equitable conflict resolution procedures, as I have repeatedly asked them to do, things will be much better for everyone concerned but as long as U*Us obstinately refuse to engage in “waging peace” with me I will be quite happily prosecuting this ongoing war of words with them. Quite frankly it can be quite a bit of fun being the Dark Knight of the benighted U*U World. . . It’s not a bad “hobby”, or indeed “alternative spiritual practice”, at all. Hopefully you found my other comments on a few of your other blog posts more palatable but I believe that what I said here needs to be said, and not just on my blog.

    Regards,

    Robin Edgar

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06208142626285495635 Robin Edgar

    BTW my email address is robinedgar59 at yahoo.ca if you should want to contact me by email. It is provided in the ‘Leave your comment’ form of all my blogs.


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