Faultlines Book Release, and Why Pagans Should Work with Other Religions

Fault Lines

Last month, my new book Faultlines: the Sixties, the Culture War, and the Return of the Divine Feminine was published by Quest. Clicking on the title and linked web page give a pretty good sense of what it discusses, as does a post I just put on PaganSquare. Auspiciously, the date of publication was my birthday, but I was on the road from then until a few days ago, without the peace and quiet to write much. Now that I am back home, I want to focus here at Patheos on the book’s implications for … [Read more...]

Does America Need a Civil Religion?

Gus diZerega

From the editor: Gus diZerega is featured in Patheos' new Public Square, a discussion space designed to bring people together at the intersection of 'current concern' and 'ultimate concern.' Our opening topic: Does America Need a Civil Religion? The late sociologist Robert Bellah argued that American civil religion had become an "empty and broken shell" by the turn of the twenty-first century. Is it a concept worth reviving? Would re-imagining it help us move beyond the culture wars … [Read more...]

Samhain 2013

Skulls and Marigolds

This year marked a watershed in my life.  I attended two weddings, but also a memorial service for one of my longest-time friends, and later, a funeral. My generation has become the oldest, the family elders. For me, from here on the funerals will outnumber the weddings and the deaths the births, until my time comes as well—that final initiation of our physical existence. It is from this perspective that I approach one of my most beloved Sabbats, Samhain. Here in California today, the … [Read more...]

A Personal Note on Abortion

Gus diZerega

My previous columns have all given theoretical arguments rebutting claims that women should not have final control over deciding whether or not to carry a fetus to term. I argued that respect for life could not justify such claims, that the pre-existence of entities seeking birth or rebirth could not do so, and that there are no very firm grounds in the Bible to consider a fetus a human being. These columns also demonstrated the leadership of the pro-life movement is not pro-life in any coherent … [Read more...]

The “Pro-Life” Movement’s Hidden Subtext

Gus diZerega

The most vociferous and sometimes violent opponents of women’s right to choose claim they act in the name of Christianity and of life.  The truth seems to me to be very different. Interpreting scripture I expected anti-choice zealots would be able to easily quote biblical passages clearly condemning abortion. I was surprised that instead, the citations they offered were always open to multiple interpretations, and even more surprised that their anti-choice interpretations historically … [Read more...]

Pagan Abortion Ethics: Pre-existing Spirits Seeking Birth

Gus diZerega

Because abortion is so powerful an issue today, and because those attacking a woman’s right to choose whether or not to give birth claim an undeserved moral high ground, I will offer several more columns on the subject.  The issues at stake are complex and exist at many levels.  As much as possible, I will try and explore them beginning with comments from women bothered by the morality of abortion. Last week over at PaganSquare, I explored why most people emphasizing the moral weight of a … [Read more...]

On Abortion: A Pagan Ethical Response

Gus diZerega

Our times are characterized by two powerful and divisive ethical issues: abortion and our relations with the other-than-human world.  It is significant that those opposing abortion are usually unconcerned with the well-being of the other-than-human world, but those respecting a woman’s right to choose are often concerned with the other-than-human world as well.  There are exceptions in both directions, but the broad pattern is plain to see. I believe there are profound reasons for this … [Read more...]

Earth Day 2013

Gus diZerega

Today is Earth Day. Established by Senator Gaylord Nelson and some college students back in 1970, Earth Day records and honors a moment when many Americans decided to honor their home and make a personal commitment to protect it. At its root, Earth Day encourages a shift away from the ideal of domination to one of care-taking. Earth Day offers an alternative vision to the religious and secular insanity that sees our proper role as lords and masters of “creation.” It is one of the … [Read more...]

The Transforming Power of Pagan Religion in a Christian World

Gus diZerega

Over 1000 years of Christian domination, enforced by swords and guns, fires and pogroms, has decisively changed the way even most non-Christian Westerners view the world.   Most particularly, it has made it difficult for people to see the world as anything more than a backdrop of the human drama, the stage upon which we strut, and a supply of resources to be used as we wish.  In America, this tendency reached its most extreme expression.  The Protestant conception of God tended to be … [Read more...]

Why I Am a Pagan

Gus diZerega

Patheos has asked writers to explain in 200 words why they practice their religion. Had anyone told me I would be a Pagan a day before Midsummer, I would have laughed in disbelief.  I was a guest at a Midsummer Sabbat. When it finally started, over two hours late, I was happy mostly because that meant it would eventually end, and I could go home without insulting the person who invited me. A circle was formed in a glade by participants and guests. The priest walked to its center and … [Read more...]


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