Ignorance is Afoot

Ignorance is Afoot July 10, 2014

(My original title for this was Stupid Falls on Catholic Writer but I thought that wasn’t fair to smart Catholics.)

Earlier today The Huffington Post shared an article (based on a HuffPost live segment) on an American Witch living in Utah. Like many Witches living in the United States Tova (she uses only that name in public) has faced challenges and discrimination because of her beliefs. Most of it seems like things many of us have faced over the last fifty years. Here are a few quotes from the article:

“I live in a pretty small community outside Salt Lake City, and we have some pretty tight-held belief systems here. Although [witches] are not really just out there trying to be different, certainly people know that we live in a different way, they know that we practice things they don’t understand, and I think it promotes fear,”

“As a mother, I’ve had many instances where, when my children were younger, [the situation was], ‘Oh, well, they can’t have friends over,’ because whisperings were going on — ‘What happens at their house? We don’t know, we don’t understand,'”

A little later in the article Tova mentions that maybe the hardest part of being a Witch has involved her children, kids who have become “very careful” about what they share with friends and peers.

Kudos to the Huffington Post for running such an article. Over the last two years they’ve made a pretty valiant effort to write somewhat intelligently about the Pagan Movement in the United States and about the atrocities being carried out against alleged “witches” in other parts of the world.

Sadly, Tova’s comments became fodder over on the blog Standing On My Head, a part of the Patheos Catholic Channel. For reasons I don’t understand alleged Catholic Priest and blog writer Dwight Longenecker had this to say about Tova:

“This is what I don’t get: You set out to do something which is intentionally weird, counter cultural and just plain spooky to most ordinary folks, then when they think you’re weird, shun you from their set and tell their kids you’re spooky you go and get all ‘boo hoo poor little victim me.’”

What a hateful little comment! Perhaps Longenecker has forgotten that his faith was once “plain spooky” to most ordinary folks (not too many of us dine on our own saviors) and was most certainly “intentionally weird.” Apparently poor Longenecker doesn’t understand something so it’s time to ridicule that thing. For some reason I have trouble seeing his Pope acting in such a pompous and obnoxious way. In the article Tova explicitly states: “Although [witches] are not really just out there trying to be different” and yet Longnecker feels the need to double-down on today’s helping of stupid by completely stereotyping the entire Pagan Community:

“There’s the same kind of “Look at me. What are you staring at??” double think within not only the neo pagans, but also among all the radical, revolutionary types.”

Thank you so much Mr-Knows-Nothing-At-All-About-Modern-Paganism for explaining my faith and my community to me! I will now take your words of wisdom and run with them to my local Catholic Church.

One person’s spooky is another person’s normal. I think Priests not marrying is intentionally weird, counter cultural, and just plain spooky, but you know what? I respect their decision to be Priests, and the good ones I hold in very high regard. I think it’s weird to convert from Evangelical Christianity to the Anglican Faith and then to Catholicism but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt Mr. Longenecker that your journey is a completely normal and average one.

I shouldn’t even have to tell you this, sir, but that messiah you claim to serve was also a little weird and counter cultural. I didn’t hear or read Tova going “boo hoo” about anything on Huffington Post. All she was speaking of was the reality of her situation, a reality you are welcome to join us in when you are through saying ridiculous things about Witches and Pagans.

Catholicism is not my faith, but I don’t feel any animosity towards it. People should be feel free to choose whatever faith works for them as long as it it’s not harmful to anyone around them. I’d love to live in a world where everyone respected the choices of others, and barring that I’d be happy just to be left alone. Right now I mostly feel sorry for Mr. Longenecker, who knows what sort of wonderful things he’s missing out on by making unwarranted judgements?

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