The response to Sunday’s post on some right-wing Christians’ plans for “spiritual warfare” has been strong. But it has not been unanimous. A few have expressed some legitimate concerns (including two Pagan bloggers I greatly respect, one here and the other here) and I’d like to address them.
What’s wrong with a bunch of Christians praying for America? Absolutely nothing. But these particular Christians aren’t praying for America – they’re praying to establish a theocracy. In their own words “we declare illegal in the earth any action of any people, Nation or nations that undertake what is contradictory to the Word of God.” Despite these people’s revisionist history, the United States was founded on religious freedom for “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”
These people are fruitcakes – ignore them and they’ll go away. Unfortunately, they’re very well-organized, well-financed fruitcakes – they’re not likely to go away any time soon. And what’s worse, they’re well-connected – they have the ear of numerous government officials including several Presidential candidates (most notably Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry). Their influence far exceeds their miniscule numbers.
If we take action we’re no better than they are. Practice magic for any length of time and you quickly learn that power is neither good nor evil. What makes it good, evil, or some mixture of the two is how and why that power is used. Go watch the videos Jason posted on Sunday’s Wild Hunt. Follow some of the links and read what these people say about us and what plans they have for America. Ask yourself if you’d want to live in that America – or if you could. Ask yourself what would happen not just to Pagans but to Buddhists, Muslims, atheists and even progressive Christians. If this campaign isn’t evil, then it’s certainly harmful. If it’s evil, then we have an obligation to oppose it. If it’s harmful, then it’s in our best interests to oppose it.
My religion teaches “harm none” – and that includes my enemies. Or, if I work against someone else I’ll pick up negative karma. We can debate the ethics of war and warriors, but we don’t have to do that now. Here I’m in agreement with the Pagan pacifists – there is no need to aggressively engage this pseudo-Christian movement. But that doesn’t mean we can afford to do nothing.
Here’s what we can and should do.
Work protective magic. Most magic users do a lot of this anyway, in part because protective magic doesn’t harm anyone – it prevents harm. Find out who the “Christian warriors” are targeting and shield them. Work magic to support elected and appointed leaders who support freedom and pluralism. Remember that magic works best when it’s focused on a small, specific goal. Workings for “peace” “justice” and such may feel good, but they’re far too vague to have any measurable impact.
Work revealing magic. The majority of people in this country are at least nominally Christian and they look favorably on Christian heritage and imagery – in part because they think they’re supposed to support them. But your average Methodist or Catholic has no more interest in turning the District of Columbia into the “District of Christ” than we do. Work magic to reveal the truth – to neutralize the spin and let the average American see these people’s vision for our country. We don’t have to debate them – just let them be seen for who they are and what they want.
Be a good Pagan and a good American. Keep up your daily spiritual practice and seasonal observances. Do your best at work or school. Be kind, polite and generous. Be as “out” as you can. Let people see that Pagans aren’t what we’ve been caricaturized as – we’re real people, the same as they are.
I share my pacifist friends’ concerns that many Pagans seem eager for war. Wars of any kind – including spiritual wars – are terrible things to be avoided if at all possible. By taking sensible, measured, positive steps now we can help stop this assault on freedom. By taking sensible, measured, positive steps now we can avoid the need for more aggressive action in the future.