Being an (relatively) open Pagan does have its perils

There have been a couple of blog posts I have read in the past couple of days that touch on the reality of religious discrimination in the United States. First, there is the column in the Wild Hunt and it’s related blog by Galina Krassikova (whose blog I follow).

There is also a letter to the editor that was posted last October when Cara Schulz was running for the Burnsville City Council (referanced here) where someone tried to “out” an open Hellenic Polytheist and make her religion a factor in the race instead of her stand on the issues.

This is being brought to the fore in the minds of a lot of Pagans because of the recent law that was passed in the state of Indiana. It is also something that has been on my mind because of statements being made by Christian Dominionists that Right Wing Watch has been documenting for YEARS.

I myself feel that I may have been the victim of unprovable religious discrimination in a case involving my daughter where the intake worker did not know what a Pagan was and apparantly held it against me that I was not a Christian because she decided that taking my child away for a month without thorough investigation was warrented (no actual investigation was actually done before Mira was returned and people who actually know us were shocked at that decision because the intake worker was accusing us of something that we find abhorrent BECAUSE of our ethical and religious beliefs)

I have also dealt with a hostile work environment where after I wore a Wiccan-based t-shirt on “casual Friday” it was announced that ALL logo t-shirts that did not have the logo of either the company or one of it’s sponsoring companies (it was a cable/satellite provider) would no longer be allowed. Even then, people wearing “church” shirts often flouted that rule. At this company, I also had to get a letter from an “officer” of a religious organization to be able to get a schedule that would accomodate regular religious practice. (This is much easier for people who have a physical house of worship than it is for most Pagans)

Because of this, I refuse to hide that I am Pagan. Yes, it might be simpler to do so, but in the long run I feel that hiding will only perpetuate the misconceptions about our GROUP of religions.

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