Organized Pagans: Proving Jon Stewart Wrong

Llewellyn has 58k Facebook fans, The Witch’s Voice 27k and Witch School has 9,800 fans, yet the campaign to get Jason Pitzl-Waters on The Daily Show to speak about David Barton’s attempts to deny our religious rights and the other challenges minority religions face has garnered a far fewer number of fans than you might expect.

What makes me sad about this is it proves Jon Stewart right.

Dude, Pagans don’t have an agenda. They’re Pagans. Organizational skills, eh, not their strong suit.
– Jon Stewart responding humorously to a comment by Bob Jones in 2004

They smirk because they care.

What makes this quote interesting is that it’s from an episode in 2004, which is the same year Jason Pitzl-Waters, fed up with the lack of Pagan news coverage, began The Wild Hunt. In the half-dozen years since Pagans have proven that they do have an agenda (Religious Freedom and Equality) and that they are quite capable of getting organized (The Pentacle Quest). Jason has proven himself to be “The CNN of Paganism” covering Wicca, Druidry, Heathenry, Santeria, Voodou and other traditions with dilligence and respect.

We just raised $32,000 for Japan in a Pan-Pagan cooperative effort. We know we can accomplish amazing things, so we need to get on the ball and make this happen because this isn’t some pie-in-the-sky fantasy: THIS IS VERY POSSIBLE. David Barton’s hideous interview on The Daily Show combined with Jason’s diligent coverage of Barton and Patrick McCollum’s case in CA make this an amazing opportunity.

What Jason has to say on Barton needs to reach a wider-audience, and show that Pagans are active, aware and providing reasonable commentary on matters of public interest:

The fact is that early Americans did indeed consider the issue of non-Christians gaining equal rights under the constitution, and spoke (and debated) at great length on the subject. The idea that the Free Exercise Clause doesn’t apply to non-Christians is dangerous, ahistorical, and stupid. That Barton is preaching this lie weakens the very foundations he claims to revere. The fact is that the Founders were educated and far-sighted men who understood quite well what they were constructing and its implications. Barton would have them be short-sighted dolts. So long as the depth of Barton’s extremism is glossed over, we’ll never get a chance to pin him down on this very, very important issue.

Laura LaVoie at The Juggler is behind the campaign:

Let’s work together as a Pan-Pagan community to get our voices heard.  Join the Facebook page. Write a thoughtful and polite letter to the Daily Show.  It is heartwarming to see so many Pagans of so many differing traditions willing to come together for a positive cause.

So is The Pagan Mom Blog:

I am confident we will get Jason on the show. I am confident that Jason will not only represent real paganism (as opposed to the nasties that the media prefers to talk about) but really show why Barton should be viewed as a danger to our society.

Jason himself is willing to go on the show:

I’m really quite taken aback, flattered, and surprised by all of this. Naturally, if some minor media miracle occurs and I actually get a call from The Daily Show people I’d be happy to appear and talk about minority religions and that question no one is asking David Barton. Even if I don’t, I think this outpouring shows just how invested we’ve become in building and maintaining our own Pagan-centered media. We are no longer voiceless or powerless, and we care about setting the record straight. So thank you to everyone who has put time and effort into this, and I guess we’ll see what happens!

No one is asking for money. No one is trying to do something crazy like define Paganism for everyone. No one is suggesting we parade around on tv looking like Addams Family rejects. We’re just asking that you spend 5 minutes of your time liking the Facebook Campaign Page and leaving a note in support on The Daily Show’s website. We’re just asking you to share this with your friends and family, because it’s more important than a tickled penguin video.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • Danacorby

    The sad thing is that it should take 100,000 Pagans demanding it to get Jason on the show, when buffoons like Barton get _invited_. 

  • Danacorby

    The sad thing is that it should take 100,000 Pagans demanding it to get Jason on the show, when buffoons like Barton get _invited_. 

  • Sunweaver

    We can do this! We’re witches for goodness sakes! (Some of us are, anyway.)

    I’m cheering us on as much as I can, but it’s up to all of us to help get this momentum going.

  • Sunweaver

    We can do this! We’re witches for goodness sakes! (Some of us are, anyway.)

    I’m cheering us on as much as I can, but it’s up to all of us to help get this momentum going.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362174498 Lillitu Shahar Kunning

    I will feature this in my blog as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362174498 Lillitu Shahar Kunning

    I will feature this in my blog as well.

  • http://twitter.com/MrsBsConfession MrsB

     Very well stated!  It’s time for Pagans, witches, Heathens and all the magical practitioners, and those following “alternative” religions to get together and back something positive.  Jason is such an intelligent, well-spoken, well-educated man who understands the implications of trying to represent such an eclectic group.  I can’t think of anyone who’d be able to handle themselves better in such a setting.

    Come on folks!  Take the time to help move us forward!

  • http://twitter.com/MrsBsConfession MrsB

     Very well stated!  It’s time for Pagans, witches, Heathens and all the magical practitioners, and those following “alternative” religions to get together and back something positive.  Jason is such an intelligent, well-spoken, well-educated man who understands the implications of trying to represent such an eclectic group.  I can’t think of anyone who’d be able to handle themselves better in such a setting.

    Come on folks!  Take the time to help move us forward!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandi.palechek Brandi Palechek

    We’ve shared the page and post on the Facebook Page for Llewellyn. It is time for our community will step up and join the cause!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandi.palechek Brandi Palechek

    We’ve shared the page and post on the Facebook Page for Llewellyn. It is time for our community will step up and join the cause!

  • http://rhett.weatherlight.com/ Rhett

     I think something that might help is condensing it.  I’m seeing people responding to this article who think it’s about Stewart’s remarks in 2004.  We need a paragraph each explaining why now, why Jason, and what to do.  If we can spread one good, high pagerank link, it’ll help keep the message clear.

  • http://rhett.weatherlight.com/ Rhett

     I think something that might help is condensing it.  I’m seeing people responding to this article who think it’s about Stewart’s remarks in 2004.  We need a paragraph each explaining why now, why Jason, and what to do.  If we can spread one good, high pagerank link, it’ll help keep the message clear.

  • Huntress_ba

    I agree its sad to see just how little this country has progressed when favortism for “mainstream” religious views is so blatantly obvious. 

    I will share this page on my facebook page as well.  Let’s get the message out there, we have a right to be heard!! 

  • Huntress_ba

    I agree its sad to see just how little this country has progressed when favortism for “mainstream” religious views is so blatantly obvious. 

    I will share this page on my facebook page as well.  Let’s get the message out there, we have a right to be heard!! 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

    It’s too bad to hear. Try putting something on Witchvox and other sites too. I did send a note to the show. I have not “liked” the Facebook page because it won’t let me do so without having my own Facebook account, and I’m just not interested in letting Mark Zuckerberg market every detail of my private life.

    I would suggest that we may be staking too much on lobbying the Daily Show. We’re going after a comedian to do what is supposed to be the job of every news organization covering the presidential races. Stewart happens to do some good work int the course of things, but he’s not primarily a journalist. They use news topics for the grist of comedy writing. They so something for yucks, maybe make a semi-serious point, then move on.   I’m all for trying, but we need to take a much broader view of this. Save what you write to the show and maybe re-tweak it and send it to the major networks, whatever newspapers are still alive. Even your hometown rag.

     As a former journalist, I can tell you that you can’t really push a writer into doing a story they don’t want to do, or don’t have time to do, or just don’t see the value in.  What you CAN do however is shop a story around until you find a buyer. The deep secret to PR is truly to throw things at the wall often enough until something sticks.  Believe me, I did MANY stories that were much more frivolous and self-serving that this one, simply because someone caught me at the right time, when I needed material or found something just quirky enough to delve into. One favorite tactic, and a fairly successful one, was to hold press conferences on a late Friday morning or early afternoon, typically a dead time in the news cycle when journalists are looking for a bit of “color” or filler.

    Here’s some other things we really need to be looking at: contacting Americans United for Separation of Church and State. This is right up their alley. Maybe they know about it already, but never assume. They have a certain pull with media, and a nice membership base. They’ve gone to bat for pagans more than once. We ought to all consider taking memberships in organizations like that.  We need to be exposing the Barton/Huckabee agenda and connection to Huckabee’s opponents, both moderate Republicans and potential Democratic and independent challengers. Political campaign hit men LOVE this kind of dirt.  Put other people’s agendas to work for you.

    Since I’m spouting off with all sort of “you oughta do this” advice, it’s only fair that I step into the breach myself.  I’d be more than willing to maybe talk with some folks here and Jason’s outfit to see about putting together a semi-organized and ongoing media campaign of sorts.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

    It’s too bad to hear. Try putting something on Witchvox and other sites too. I did send a note to the show. I have not “liked” the Facebook page because it won’t let me do so without having my own Facebook account, and I’m just not interested in letting Mark Zuckerberg market every detail of my private life.

    I would suggest that we may be staking too much on lobbying the Daily Show. We’re going after a comedian to do what is supposed to be the job of every news organization covering the presidential races. Stewart happens to do some good work int the course of things, but he’s not primarily a journalist. They use news topics for the grist of comedy writing. They so something for yucks, maybe make a semi-serious point, then move on.   I’m all for trying, but we need to take a much broader view of this. Save what you write to the show and maybe re-tweak it and send it to the major networks, whatever newspapers are still alive. Even your hometown rag.

     As a former journalist, I can tell you that you can’t really push a writer into doing a story they don’t want to do, or don’t have time to do, or just don’t see the value in.  What you CAN do however is shop a story around until you find a buyer. The deep secret to PR is truly to throw things at the wall often enough until something sticks.  Believe me, I did MANY stories that were much more frivolous and self-serving that this one, simply because someone caught me at the right time, when I needed material or found something just quirky enough to delve into. One favorite tactic, and a fairly successful one, was to hold press conferences on a late Friday morning or early afternoon, typically a dead time in the news cycle when journalists are looking for a bit of “color” or filler.

    Here’s some other things we really need to be looking at: contacting Americans United for Separation of Church and State. This is right up their alley. Maybe they know about it already, but never assume. They have a certain pull with media, and a nice membership base. They’ve gone to bat for pagans more than once. We ought to all consider taking memberships in organizations like that.  We need to be exposing the Barton/Huckabee agenda and connection to Huckabee’s opponents, both moderate Republicans and potential Democratic and independent challengers. Political campaign hit men LOVE this kind of dirt.  Put other people’s agendas to work for you.

    Since I’m spouting off with all sort of “you oughta do this” advice, it’s only fair that I step into the breach myself.  I’d be more than willing to maybe talk with some folks here and Jason’s outfit to see about putting together a semi-organized and ongoing media campaign of sorts.

  • Bookhousegal

    I kind of would suggest not treating this as some kind of big defeat if
    it *doesn’t*  happen,  btw.   Jon Stewart really isn’t the enemy here in
    any way. 

    I’ve been thinking about this whole thing, and while Jason would
    certainly do a great job and has my full support and confidence,  I
    think the real issue here is there needs to be *someone* on to counter
    the whole Barton/Dominionist thing,  and whether it’s one of *us* is
    secondary. 

    (Someone who speaks *well* of us would be nice, at least, though.) 

    I’m still all for Jason doing it,  but… perspective.  :)

  • Bookhousegal

    I kind of would suggest not treating this as some kind of big defeat if
    it *doesn’t*  happen,  btw.   Jon Stewart really isn’t the enemy here in
    any way. 

    I’ve been thinking about this whole thing, and while Jason would
    certainly do a great job and has my full support and confidence,  I
    think the real issue here is there needs to be *someone* on to counter
    the whole Barton/Dominionist thing,  and whether it’s one of *us* is
    secondary. 

    (Someone who speaks *well* of us would be nice, at least, though.) 

    I’m still all for Jason doing it,  but… perspective.  :)

  • http://twitter.com/Magickware MagickWare.Com

    Jason is well spoken and a huge asset to the Pagan community. We’re lucky to have him. I hope he gets to speak his piece!

  • http://twitter.com/Magickware MagickWare.Com

    Jason is well spoken and a huge asset to the Pagan community. We’re lucky to have him. I hope he gets to speak his piece!

  • http://blog.dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

     I’ve already given a signal boost on my Facebook page, and I can do the same on my Twitter. While we’re not terribly centralized, I think this can be done.

  • http://dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

     I’ve already given a signal boost on my Facebook page, and I can do the same on my Twitter. While we’re not terribly centralized, I think this can be done.

  • Nydia

    The fact that I’m a Brazilian pagan, being geographically far away from this specific issue doesn’t make this situation less important to me. It’s outrageous that our – obvious – rights are mocked as something lesser. I hope Jason gets the chance to be in the Daily Show.

  • Nydia

    The fact that I’m a Brazilian pagan, being geographically far away from this specific issue doesn’t make this situation less important to me. It’s outrageous that our – obvious – rights are mocked as something lesser. I hope Jason gets the chance to be in the Daily Show.

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    Unfortunately, one attitude encountered was that displayed on Pagans Tonight 5/11 (I think) episode. When Ed tried to talk about it, his co-host, Maryann, was very hostile towards the entire concept from the beginning, making it hard for Ed to tell the whole story through all of the objections she kept throwing up.

    I don’t know either one of them except what they’ve revealed through their show.

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    Unfortunately, one attitude encountered was that displayed on Pagans Tonight 5/11 (I think) episode. When Ed tried to talk about it, his co-host, Maryann, was very hostile towards the entire concept from the beginning, making it hard for Ed to tell the whole story through all of the objections she kept throwing up.

    I don’t know either one of them except what they’ve revealed through their show.

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    Unfortunately, one attitude encountered was that displayed on Pagans Tonight 5/11 (I think) episode. When Ed tried to talk about it, his co-host, Maryann, was very hostile towards the entire concept from the beginning, making it hard for Ed to tell the whole story through all of the objections she kept throwing up.

    I don’t know either one of them except what they’ve revealed through their show.

  • David Kennesey

    I don’t mean to discourage this effort.  I would love to see Jason on the Daily Show.  But I am at a point personally where I am wondering if Jon Stewart’s comment is right (about the Pagan organizing).  I mean, every time someone tries to organize Pagans, it boils down to a debate over whether respectability will destroy the radicalism of Paganism.  But most of the “radicalism” I’ve seen is just people who want run around naked or dressed like Halloween witches.  What radicallism?  And God(dess) forbid that someone might actually saying something definitive about Paganism — I mean if Unitarian Universalists can agree on 7 principles — why can we?  You offer the Japan relief effort as an example of our potential, but — I’m sorry but someone needs to say it — $32,000 from a group that claims 1 million members is pathetic.  Pagan community?  What Pagan community?  (and no, the Internet does not count).  Maybe it’s different in California, but the Pagan events I’ve attended in Indiana and Chicago are disorganized, uninspired, and … well, unattended.  Where are these 1 million Pagans?  For a bunch of self-proclaimed radicals, we sure don’t make much noise.

  • David Kennesey

    I don’t mean to discourage this effort.  I would love to see Jason on the Daily Show.  But I am at a point personally where I am wondering if Jon Stewart’s comment is right (about the Pagan organizing).  I mean, every time someone tries to organize Pagans, it boils down to a debate over whether respectability will destroy the radicalism of Paganism.  But most of the “radicalism” I’ve seen is just people who want run around naked or dressed like Halloween witches.  What radicallism?  And God(dess) forbid that someone might actually saying something definitive about Paganism — I mean if Unitarian Universalists can agree on 7 principles — why can we?  You offer the Japan relief effort as an example of our potential, but — I’m sorry but someone needs to say it — $32,000 from a group that claims 1 million members is pathetic.  Pagan community?  What Pagan community?  (and no, the Internet does not count).  Maybe it’s different in California, but the Pagan events I’ve attended in Indiana and Chicago are disorganized, uninspired, and … well, unattended.  Where are these 1 million Pagans?  For a bunch of self-proclaimed radicals, we sure don’t make much noise.

  • http://www.eyeofhorus.biz/ JR Hansen

    I think what you are doing is wonderfully wild and extremely ambitious.  You really shouldn’t be disappointed at the results thus far for the following reasons: 1) If Llewellyn has 58K fans, some of whom do not consider themselves pagans, 100K is what we call a stretch goal.  2) Only a fraction of those pagans know who Jason is, and many are uncomfortable with anyone as a spokesperson.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eyeofhorusmpls Jane H

    I think what you are doing is wonderfully wild and extremely ambitious.  You really shouldn’t be disappointed at the results thus far for the following reasons: 1) If Llewellyn has 58K fans, some of whom do not consider themselves pagans, 100K is what we call a stretch goal.  2) Only a fraction of those pagans know who Jason is, and many are uncomfortable with anyone as a spokesperson.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eyeofhorusmpls Jane H

    I think what you are doing is wonderfully wild and extremely ambitious.  You really shouldn’t be disappointed at the results thus far for the following reasons: 1) If Llewellyn has 58K fans, some of whom do not consider themselves pagans, 100K is what we call a stretch goal.  2) Only a fraction of those pagans know who Jason is, and many are uncomfortable with anyone as a spokesperson.

  • Thedoors_chic

    being a pagan has taught me how to
    organize every aspect of my life, and i’m sure other pagan/wiccans can
    say the same. why do people talk without knowing the truth? o
    right…they dont know that Knowledge is Power. sucks to be them and
    make themselves out to be unknowledgable idiots in front of the world.
    self destruction…..10……9…….8…….

  • Thedoors_chic

    being a pagan has taught me how to
    organize every aspect of my life, and i’m sure other pagan/wiccans can
    say the same. why do people talk without knowing the truth? o
    right…they dont know that Knowledge is Power. sucks to be them and
    make themselves out to be unknowledgable idiots in front of the world.
    self destruction…..10……9…….8…….

  • Paullorriethomas

     All you pagans will be crying when the rapture comes and your left behind because you worship another god. It tells you in the bible. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3. I could go on and on, but thoes of you who believe as you do will turn a blind eye. I pray that you open your heart and belive in our one and only true Lord our God.

  • Paullorriethomas

     All you pagans will be crying when the rapture comes and your left behind because you worship another god. It tells you in the bible. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3. I could go on and on, but thoes of you who believe as you do will turn a blind eye. I pray that you open your heart and belive in our one and only true Lord our God.

  • barb brennan

    for cryin out loud these guys are comic yuk yuks they live on contravisy. why give them a stage you know they are not interested in facts .their in the busness of put downs and to make fun of ever thing and everyone .this is spuff on the real news shows the host is the king of shock s for laughs. i try to always turn the channel tom and jerry make more sense what a waste of air. why give him any notice he needs an audiece to have his show even on the airway hes a clown folks. i like to stay off their radar i deal with a nuff flack  why pick at scaps they wont heal. some folks like to keep the pot boiling holly wood does it with every dumb broom flyin witch movie.let it be   the burning time could be reawakened. my veiw barbara brennan.

  • barb brennan

    for cryin out loud these guys are comic yuk yuks they live on contravisy. why give them a stage you know they are not interested in facts .their in the busness of put downs and to make fun of ever thing and everyone .this is spuff on the real news shows the host is the king of shock s for laughs. i try to always turn the channel tom and jerry make more sense what a waste of air. why give him any notice he needs an audiece to have his show even on the airway hes a clown folks. i like to stay off their radar i deal with a nuff flack  why pick at scaps they wont heal. some folks like to keep the pot boiling holly wood does it with every dumb broom flyin witch movie.let it be   the burning time could be reawakened. my veiw barbara brennan.

  • javetrano

    I don’t know if I would want to be called the CNN of anything…..CNN is hardly a respectible media (cable, website) for news and information.   The word schlock comes to mind. 
    Mr. Pitzl-Waters has done a wonderful job, hope he continues with integrity. 

  • javetrano

    I don’t know if I would want to be called the CNN of anything…..CNN is hardly a respectible media (cable, website) for news and information.   The word schlock comes to mind. 
    Mr. Pitzl-Waters has done a wonderful job, hope he continues with integrity. 


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