We all know the jokes. Heathens are Klingons, Recons are Vulcans, and oh, there are a lot of choices for the Borg nowadays. Back when I first heard the joke, Llewellyn was the Borg, but Witch School might make as amusing a candidate nowadays.
Jokes aside, I think there are a lot of similarities between Modern Paganism and the Star Trek canon. The United Federation of Planets, and it’s exploration/peacekeeping/diplomatic arm Starfleet, aims to promote peace, justice, liberty, cooperation, and by it’s actions, tolerance towards all people.
The Federation’s goal is not to change the cultures it encounters, even those within it’s republic. The goal of the Federation is not to promote human values on alien civilizations, or to civilize aliens according to human standards. Starfleet keeps the peace, encouraging different races and species to live and let live and leading the way for advancing knowledge of the universe.
Paganism’s goal is for all faiths to live in peace together, for religious freedom for all and for spiritual knowledge and understanding to be readily available. When you consider all the religions falling under the Pagan umbrella, particularly when you use the term in it’s broadest sense, Paganism as a movement contains at least as many religions as the Federation contains planets.
The Federation makes mistakes, and sometimes the Prime Directive isn’t followed to the letter. Sometimes it happens that the Federation butts in on a primitive civilization or has to take military measures to prevent injustice. Sometimes toes get stepped on, sometimes you end up on the wrong side of the neutral zone and sometimes you’re just plain wrong.
We have a choice. We can remain separate. We can each form our own boundaries and defend them ourselves, or we can cooperate in the name of liberty. Like the Federation, we can work together, knowing we will make mistakes but that ultimately our higher ideals will always prevail. There is no problem that we cannot solve better together, and no Pagan leader that doesn’t have a Spock, McCoy, Sulu and Uhura backing them up.
Conflict is nothing more than a test of character, and just like in space, in a world where religious freedom is a precious thing, we need each other to survive.