I confess I hate Politics. I enjoy discussing politics with polite reasonable people, but I loathe Politics. As an American Pagan you can’t escape “Big P Politics” even if you want to. Not only do other religions insist on getting tangled up in the political process, every so often a candidate decides to attack us.
Maybe it really doesn’t help that we hold our elections in early Nov, just after the lead up to Halloween. The Christine O’Donnell thing truly was silly. Stuff ‘n’ nonsense. Zan over at The Juggler even had the great insight that the O’Donnell debacle actually reduced the “threat” of Witchcraft, saying it “basically puts Witchcraft-dabbling into the same category as “experimentation” with drugs and lesbianism.” Dabble-Gate was a silly interlude that almost made you think the nastyness of the SRA scares were behind us. Then you have a candidate like Missy Reilly Smith.
In an interview with The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle she makes the following statement:
I don’t care what you think about abortion, but I highly object to being represented as being an agent of “Satan” with bloodthirsty and sinister motives. The public in general tends to be ignorant on the medical procedure known as abortion. The images in Smith’s ads are gruesome, as gruesome as any human tissue looks exposed. I won’t comment on the ethics or morality of abortion but I would take as much offense to having the name of my religion displayed alongside images of open heart surgery, rhinoplasty or an appendectomy.
“The more that you’re involved in this organization [Planned Parenthood] the more demonic you realize it is,” Smith said. “Many of the employees of Planned Parenthood and abortion mills, the actual killing centers, the employees are actual witches. They belong to Wiccan and there’s nothing more valuable to Satan than the blood of innocent babies.”
This cheap, mean and shallow attempt to make us appear bloodthirsty by connecting us to images that automatically trigger emotional and instinctual responses of anger, fear and disgust makes me angry. Not a fiery anger, just a sad smoldering. A depressed gloom as I shake my head at the ignorance and hatred in the world. I’m not even angry at Smith. I’m angry that this sort of thing works.
Religion should not be a political tool. Period. Using religion as scare tactics is abominable. Keeping people afraid of Muslims, Jews, Mormons, atheists and Pagans distracts people from the real issues. It’s a boogeyman. A red herring. It’s fueling hate and causing conflict where there is no cause for it. I’m no expert but I’m fairly certain Pagans are as divided on the issue of abortion as the rest of the country.
I secretly enjoy the Silly Season. Yes, we get a bunch of “ooh look at the Pagans! They don’t really eat babies, you know!” articles. We also get fun series on tv. I watched a special on Dracula yesterday that was fascinating. I like the nonsense and hubub of Halloween as much as I love the beauty and richness of Samhain. Really, the Silly Season hasn’t been that terrible the past few years. Until now.
This really depresses me. I’m a nice person. My coven is full of nice people. Yet if people’s first impression of our religion is from people like Smith, then what hope is there for American ideals?