Recently Pagan Newswire Collective journalist and Pantheon blogger Cara Shulz has been receiving threats via e-mail and has made it clear that she will be reporting these to the appropriate authorities. Paganism is a loose grouping of communities whose one clear unifying value is tolerance, not merely for religious views and practices but for political ideologies. Threatening a Pagan journalist you disagree with is ridiculous.
1. Freedom Of Speech
The fact that there are Pagan journalists is an amazing thing and most of them are working in interactive environments where commenters can debate their views. Journalists aren’t in some ivory tower dictating their views to the masses but actively promoting dialogue in the Pagan community. So the idea that someone with an opposing viewpoint should be silenced is not merely un-constitutional but damages our community. You should be proud that there are people dedicated to writing about our communities and issues openly. If you disagree with them then debate it out in the comments section.
2. Pagan Views on Tribe and Justice
Pagans do not have a doctrine of unconditional love and forgiveness. Many of our faiths emphasize protecting your faith family and exacting justice for wrongs done. Not only will threats against journalists be reported to law enforcement authorities, but should the perpetrators name become publicly known it seems likely the person will become anathema in our communities. Pagans communicate well and have long memories. Your actions have consequences: mundane, magical and spiritual. Take pride in your personal honor and in the fellowship of your community and act appropriately.
3. Threats Are Taken More Seriously Since 9/11
Threats against journalists are terroristic threats that could find you talking to Homeland Security. There’s the possibility your name could end up on their lists. Your ill-advised e-mail could mean you no longer have the privilege of air travel ever again. Consider this.
4. Threats Are A Sign Of Weakness
To fear an idea is the ultimate sign of weakness. Strength is being able to entertain the diverse ideas of humanity. The United States was built on the idea that freedom of thought and expression is a sign of a strong country and a strong people. Any attempt to silence an idea only makes it stronger. Our faiths have experienced oppression and enforced silence. The result is a group of religions whose adherents are more committed than ever before. We are a people Constantine never envisioned.
Cara and I disagree on many subjects, often strongly. That said, I have a tremendous amount of respect Cara, and for all the writers giving their time and devotion to Patheos, the Pagan Newswire Collective and many other Pagan and Pagan-friendly websites and publications. As a Wiccan I take “Harm None” as a responsibility to prevent harm as well. I take this issue seriously. The writers on Patheos are like family to me. Sometimes a dysfunctional one but I love these people.
The Pagan portal on Patheos and the Pantheon blog is committed to being a voice for diverse perspectives within the Pagan community. If your idea is interesting, authentic and well-articulated there is space for you here at our “table”. I have and will continue to publish perspectives that I disagree with absolutely. Civil debate and discourse is part of our Pagan heritage, from Socratic dialogue to debates in a public forum to being heard in the Thing or arguing your position under Brehonic Law, this is our birthright from our ancestors. Be civil.