Over the July 4th weekend several Pagan blogs raised a cry of “Hail Columbia!”. This was met with some mixed reactions, one of the most thought provoking being from Meadowsweet & Myrrh (a blog worth checking out).
The critique for worshiping Columbia is this: she is a symbol of the oppression of white colonialism and her very name comes from an explorer who committed genocide. Also there is a feeling that she is a construct rather than a natural Goddess, and should we work with egregores as though they are Gods? These are excellent points.
First, should we worry that Columbia is a dangerous mixture of religion and state? That she is merely a symbol inspiring jingoism and blind faith in the government? I think the answer lies in taking a look at those who acclaim her.
Selena Fox has battled for religious freedom through her work with the Lady Liberty League. Working with politicians and other religious organizations, I don’t think anyone is more cautious about the relationship between religion and state than Selena. Cara Schulz, who blogs here and at Pagan+Politics, is a conservative, while I identify as a liberal. Jason Pitzl-Waters at The Wild Hunt doesn’t express a political bias but is passionate about religious freedom and equal rights for minority religions, and has expressed support for Pagan pacifism.