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Darakash
November 22nd, 2004, 09:50 AM
Before I begin, I must say that I recognize there is little I can do about the following without coming off as an overly sensitive kook, but i figured if I cannot share my frustration here, where could I? LOL

I was watching "The Daily Show" the other night, I love that show, I respect and like Jon Stewart and generally agree with him, even when he is joking. So anyway, he was doing a segment on the open Letter that Bob Jones (of Bob Jones University) wrote to President Bush, and Jones' negative comment about "the Pagan Agenda." (The following is paraphrased, as I might not recall his exact wording): and Stewart said something like "The Pagan Agenda??? Pagans don't have an agenda....Dude did you remember the goat's blood....Oh man, no I forgot...." This was said in a tone of a sort of "stoner" sounding voice etc.

Now, i know his point was more about how absurd Jones' comments were, etc. But I was a little (actually more than a little) bummed about his portrayal of Pagans and I sort of see this in a lot of places, in addition to the obvious "pagans are hedonists who sacrifice animals" type tone, there was almost a "Pagans are make-believe" kind of suggestion to this (and other) comments I have seen.

What do you think? Does it matter, should we care about this stuff? I mean, I remember a couple years ago, Bush said "I don't think that witchcraft is a religion. I wish the military would rethink this decision." in regard to the Military recognizing Wicca as a religion of some soldiers. Now, I personally do not see witchcraft as a religion, but rather a part of my religion, but that is NOT what Bush was saying here, he was basically asserting that Paganism is not a valid or real religion...at least that is how I see it.

Does anyone else here experience these pangs and do you think it is a perception worth doing anything about?

Blessings, dK

Morning Star
November 22nd, 2004, 10:20 AM
You could always look at it this way... At least they are not burning us at the stake. *shrugs* We live amongst the Abrahamic religions. The Jews, Christians and Muslims look down on everyone who isn't them. Oh Well. I wouldn't let the comments of people like John Stewart bother you. No one is going to give the pagan community respect as long as most of the "normal" people in the community keep their paganism a secret.

Lunacie
November 22nd, 2004, 10:25 AM
O - kay, those who keep their Paganism a secret probably have very good reasons for doing so. There are some people I've told and some I won't tell, but since the majority of Pagans are quiet, normal, working-type folks we don't get a lot of attention to counter the bad press.

Ahautenites
November 22nd, 2004, 10:29 AM
In nitpicky point of fact, Paganism is *not* a religion. It's an umbrella term for a LOT of religions.

**shrugs** Meh. I was amused by the Jon Stewart thing you posted. I saw it as them making fun of a couple stereotypes. It didn't seem to me to be an attempt to mortally offend the Pagan community.

Darakash
November 22nd, 2004, 10:31 AM
Yep, to both posts....I definitely see the issues inherent in the fact that often the most outspoken (and press-worthy) members of any given group tend to be the most extreme "least normal" or most outrageous of that group and therefore, perception of said group is skewed...but I also know and understand (and to a certain extent experience) the necessity to remain in the broom closet in certain circles and situations.

Morien
November 22nd, 2004, 10:33 AM
John Stewart makes fun of everyone, don't let him get to ya. :) If you believe in what you're doing is right, what does it matter what everyone else says, ya? ^_^ Just keep saying that to yourself, and then go out and be the exception to the "rule" in your behavior and life. Show your corner of the world what you are and what you do. If even one person exchanges their misconceptions and predjudices for respect and knowledge, then you've won a little victory. I have to deal with misconceptions about Christians being utter bastards. :)

Kaylara
November 22nd, 2004, 10:48 AM
LMAO I saw that one! It was freaking hysterical!

Darakash
November 22nd, 2004, 10:51 AM
In nitpicky point of fact, Paganism is *not* a religion. It's an umbrella term for a LOT of religions.

**shrugs** Meh. I was amused by the Jon Stewart thing you posted. I saw it as them making fun of a couple stereotypes. It didn't seem to me to be an attempt to mortally offend the Pagan community.

First, nitpick noted (and of course, I know you are right, was just on a roll with the thought and didn't stop to put the correct usage of the term Pagan)

Second, Yeah, i know no one was even remotely close to mortal wounds, it was more an example of the perception I see, a sort of..."that is just a make-believe religion for people who wanna be different and unique..." and it sort of bothered me that it came from someone I like and, yes, honestly, I thought it was pretty funny when he said it, but I guess I kinda thought "Oh damn! Even the smart non-pagans get it wrong" and that felt dissapointing, if that makes any sense....
DK

Ahautenites
November 22nd, 2004, 10:57 AM
Yeah, it makes sense. **hugs** Don't let it bother you too much. Jon might not have gotten it right, but at least he wasn't making us out to be Public Enemy No. 1.

**grins** That's reserved for the evil Egyptians who are going to be taking over America, according to Pat Robertson. (I heard him say that on the 700 Club a couple years ago. I found it vastly amusing.)

Breathless Falcon
November 22nd, 2004, 11:13 AM
I'm sorry I mised the John Stewart thing, but looking at the issue. I can sence negitivity twords being a pegan in the USA. Since arriving in Europe I watch how things are said and what angle they are told in the US, from TV, election coverage, news in general.

A long time ago our GGGG grand parents left a country where if you didn't believe in the same religion( God) you were wrong, so they moved to another country and said we have the freedom of religion. Now, present day, If you don't believe in the Chrisitan GOD you are worng? and your religion is not real or don't exist/reconginized. We as a counrty have taken a complete turn around, imposeing the USA ideas, religion ect ...on the rest of the world. ?????? ( off soap box) :rant:


Agreed at least they arn't burning us at the stake!!!

Falcon

Darakash
November 22nd, 2004, 12:10 PM
Now, present day, If you don't believe in the Chrisitan GOD you are worng? and your religion is not real or don't exist/reconginized. We as a counrty have taken a complete turn around, imposeing the USA ideas, religion ect ...on the rest of the world. ?????? ( off soap box) :rant:

Agreed at least they arn't burning us at the stake!!!

Falcon

Your "rant" reminds me of an essay I wrote about a year ago for a website i was involved in during the whole public display of the 10 commandments debate...There were all these pundits stating that since the US was founded by "religious" people etc., that "God" is a natural part of our Nation and that things like the 10 commandments are just about "God" not a particular religion, blah blah...Well the Essay was called "He's Your God, Not Mine" and the point that I made was that while several of the commandments may be considered appropriate to any religion, the FIRST 3 require, yes require one believe in the Judeo Christian God...and thus, can hardly be argued as inclusive of other religions! And then, of course, there is no consideration among these folks at all that there are atheists in this country as well!

I guess it is just my reaction to the "Majority-not-only-rules, but-is the only-view-that-counts mentality that seems so prevalent sometimes.

DK

mattolsen
November 22nd, 2004, 12:20 PM
I don't mind this since it was really intended as just a joke. However its interesting to note that there are enough pagans in the US that this joke was even made.

Gypsy Vanner
November 22nd, 2004, 01:24 PM
You could always look at it this way... At least they are not burning us at the stake.

The "Cheer up, it could be worse" school of thought is one that makes me very nervous, in the sense that it can always be worse. When witches start being burned at the stake, someone can say "Look at it this way... at least they are not parading our burned corpses through the town and throwing rotten vegetables at them."

It is a very disturbing pattern of coping with unpleasant situations because it implies we should all be accepting of our current reality for fear of a worse possibility should we try to change it (at best), or perhaps because we would be whining when we really have it very good in a vastly skewed relative sense (at worst). For example: "Quit whining about being sexually harassed. You could be living in Iran where they would make you wear a burqua."

It is very seductive, because it is in the nature of our culture to use less-fortunate reference groups against which we compare our owm situations favorably. But it also stimies any change of unacceptable circumstances and events because it implies anyone who wants a change is somehow asking too much. That we have progressed as far as we can possibly progress from the point of reference.

Morning Star
November 22nd, 2004, 03:32 PM
The "Cheer up, it could be worse" school of thought is one that makes me very nervous, in the sense that it can always be worse. When witches start being burned at the stake, someone can say "Look at it this way... at least they are not parading our burned corpses through the town and throwing rotten vegetables at them."

lol - I'm sorry. I'm not a firm believer in religious justice. When we are dealing with religion, we are dealing with powerful and wealthy social institutions. Did not the Pope and Osama both weigh in on the US elections?

Do you believe that there are enough pagans out there who are ambitious enough to fight the Abrahamic World culture and force our acceptance, to make a real difference? When it comes to religion we have a 3 party system. Even the Hindus have to sit on the sidelines and let the Big Three fight over who's God has the biggest Kohones.

Oh - also, I want to make clear that I am not trying to make light of the issues you brought up - it's just that I believe that Religious injustice is different than other social injustices. There is no powerful Organization fighting for the rights of child molestors...oh. Wait. Bad example. There is no powerful organization out there fighting for the rights of child abusers or rapists - but there are organizations fighting paganism as though it were truly the product of an evil Devil. So long as they believe that pagans are actively serving their Devil, there is no reasoning with them.

DamienDeville
November 22nd, 2004, 04:24 PM
I didnt see it or hear it,but I do wish that stereotypes didnt exist about pagans,satanist,witches,etc etc,but as long as some idiots are out there that keep popping up in the news about animal sacifices,human sacrifices and the issues of casting hexes and claiming that they are pagan or witches or satanist and the stereotype that all pagans are ungodly and worship satan(cough cough)well their view of satan,then it will never stop.
Growing up I was always told that first impressions mean alot and that living by example instead of by saying something is the best way to show people what type of person you are,this holds true to the pagan community also.People dont want to hear how we dont do this or that for the most part(they have their own oppinions),but if they saw us as good people,with good morals and values before they know anything about our beliefs and not some lunatics,then maybe they would accept what we tell them about our beliefs instead of what they have always heard..Well if some pagan groups would have documentaries on tv and such that shows and explains what they believe could be of some good,but It all begins at home and where we work or go to school,not the news.

SilentDreams
November 22nd, 2004, 04:33 PM
In nitpicky point of fact, Paganism is *not* a religion. It's an umbrella term for a LOT of religions.

**shrugs** Meh. I was amused by the Jon Stewart thing you posted. I saw it as them making fun of a couple stereotypes. It didn't seem to me to be an attempt to mortally offend the Pagan community.

Thats how I took it. But there is one problem with playing on stereotypes for jokes. So many many people don't know that many of us don't sacrifice animals etc. Like these days if someone makes fun of a gay person purely on stereotypes a good amount of people(while still finding it amusing) will know that not all gay people are like that. But if people go around talking about pagans in a joking manner using stereotypes how many are going to know that we all aren't like that?

Aidron
November 22nd, 2004, 04:41 PM
Thats how I took it. But there is one problem with playing on stereotypes for jokes. So many many people don't know that many of us don't sacrifice animals etc. Like these days if someone makes fun of a gay person purely on stereotypes a good amount of people(while still finding it amusing) will know that not all gay people are like that. But if people go around talking about pagans in a joking manner using stereotypes how many are going to know that we all aren't like that?


They will know by educating themselves. If they do not do that for one reason or another, the misinformation they posses is their fault, their problem, and only makes them out to be the idiot.

Ben Trismegistus
November 22nd, 2004, 05:09 PM
Thats how I took it. But there is one problem with playing on stereotypes for jokes. So many many people don't know that many of us don't sacrifice animals etc. Like these days if someone makes fun of a gay person purely on stereotypes a good amount of people(while still finding it amusing) will know that not all gay people are like that. But if people go around talking about pagans in a joking manner using stereotypes how many are going to know that we all aren't like that?
Well, to be fair, it was a joke about Bob Jones, not about paganism. (Yes I saw it, and yes it was damned funny.) The joke is that Bob Jones would even think there was such a thing as a "pagan agenda", not the specifics of what a pagan agenda might be.

ealawyn
November 22nd, 2004, 08:11 PM
Well, to be fair, it was a joke about Bob Jones, not about paganism. (Yes I saw it, and yes it was damned funny.) The joke is that Bob Jones would even think there was such a thing as a "pagan agenda", not the specifics of what a pagan agenda might be.

Finally!!! :spinner:

Jon Stewart is very sarcastic, and I believe that he was using Bob's own perception of pagans, to make fun of him------not us.

Sheesh :awilly:


:fpeace:

Keroberos
November 22nd, 2004, 09:15 PM
yup that was it he was using the stereotype of the flaky satanist, showing there was no way that person could put together an agenda. The general stereotype from people (even the ones who don't think we're satanists) is that we're all flaky as hell. And frankly I had reservations about starting down this path because of that, I've met more flaky pagans than I can count. It's up to us to overturn this stereotype, not them. If we show them that there are many "pagans" out there who are well educated and really believe in something, then they may be able to overlook all the flakes out there being pagan just so they can say they're pagan, or because they hate their parent's or something stupid like that.

Speaking of getting the message across though, when that episode of the Daily Show was on I was working on my Illustration project, which happened to be about religious discrimination in the US. I had a row of people with armbands, like the nazi's made the jews wear, every religion had to wear an armband, and in the forfront were the big 3 (chrisitanity first, of course), and the rest were in the back in darker colors out of the way, to show how our country percieves religion right now. I just found it ironic that I was working on that assignment and the Daily Show episode is about a christian explosion going on with people publicly praying outside of buildings and fundie fanatics praising Bush.

Darakash
November 23rd, 2004, 10:23 AM
Finally!!! :spinner:

Jon Stewart is very sarcastic, and I believe that he was using Bob's own perception of pagans, to make fun of him------not us.

Sheesh :awilly:


:fpeace:

I absolutely understood that when i started this post, and as I said I thought it was funny as I usually think Stewart is funny....I just had a "well that's a bit of a bummer" reaction to the choice of joke, that's all. I am not suggestion that there are NOT pagans who use blood in ritual or anything like that, and I sure have met plenty of "flaky" pagans, etc. I just think I was like "Damn, he's on 'our side' and still has a skewed and stereotypical view of us." I know it was a joke at Jone's expense, but I guess i would have preferred a joke (or even stereotype) that was a little more accurately depictive of the majority of Pagans....and also, my question/post arose more out of the "general" view of pagans by non-pagans, not soley Jon Stewart's joke. He was just sort of a perfect example at the time.

DK

arctic splash
November 23rd, 2004, 11:27 AM
I also respect and admire Jon Stewart. I *love* the Daily Show, but I have to say, last week's shows were not up to par! Too much stupid profanity, and jokes about body parts, IMO.

I also saw the thing about the disorganised pagans and goats blood. I didn't think too much of it. It's what I expected. I thought he was referring to stereotypes of ancient pagans, and not even acknowledging the existence of modern pagans. That happens a lot. Is it worse to be ignored or hated? Anyway, when I visited Ireland I found a lot of people were the same -- they felt paganism was something from a long time ago, and didn't even consider that people today practise forms of paganism. I honestly don't think Jon Stewart meant any insult to Neo-Paganism. I think he, like many others, have just ignored it altogether.

Or -- it could have been sarcasm, as others have said. However, I sort of question that, because I don't think the general public is informed enough about paganism to get the sarcasm.

Or he could just be poking a little fun at his pagan audience.

arctic splash
November 23rd, 2004, 11:35 AM
The Jews, Christians and Muslims look down on everyone who isn't them.

Morning Star: I think this is somewhat accurate of Christians and Muslims but it's still a stereotype and unfair to make the generalisation.

As for Jews, it surprises me that you say this. I have never known a Jew to look down on someone who's not Jewish (maybe it's the 'chosen people' thing that makes you say this?). I have never known a Jew to try or even want to convert anyone. I have known Jews to honour profound and critical thinking about religion and dogma. I've never known a Jewish person to think less of me because I wasn't Jewish. I can only speak from my own experience, though.

arctic splash
November 23rd, 2004, 11:39 AM
I'm sorry I mised the John Stewart thing, but looking at the issue. I can sence negitivity twords being a pegan in the USA. Since arriving in Europe I watch how things are said and what angle they are told in the US, from TV, election coverage, news in general.

A long time ago our GGGG grand parents left a country where if you didn't believe in the same religion( God) you were wrong, so they moved to another country and said we have the freedom of religion. Now, present day, If you don't believe in the Chrisitan GOD you are worng? and your religion is not real or don't exist/reconginized. We as a counrty have taken a complete turn around, imposeing the USA ideas, religion ect ...on the rest of the world. ?????? ( off soap box) :rant:

Agreed at least they arn't burning us at the stake!!!

Falcon

Would you be so kind as to tell us a little about how paganism is perceived in Germany? I visit Germany quite often and it would be nice to know...

Breathless Falcon
December 13th, 2004, 04:40 PM
Would you be so kind as to tell us a little about how paganism is perceived in Germany? I visit Germany quite often and it would be nice to know...

Since this question was posted I've been trying to watch how people treat me or speak to me, as a whole the older people, I don't think they know what I am. I don't dress gothic. I wear a necklace/pentagram. We live in Bamberg and from what I was told( by more than one person) that this town was the second highest in the burning times. They think the "star " I wear is the Eastern Star. The younger kids don't care. There are three stores in the town that sell different things, stones, incents, statues, kind of the multi religion new age type of store. Last February during Fasching my kids went to the activities, On one of the days I went too. I met the local priest of the church, I shook hands and he said to me "I'm surprized to see you here". :bug:

I not only get to be with the Germans, but the Americans too. I've had more Americans try to "bless" me than I can count, I've met a few others (Americans) that are open pangen and when approiate we do talk, but ...... I've been through enough personally I really don't care what others think about me , some others are afraid to be open. My friend knows some married couples and because one is deployed the other won't wear any symbols or try to get a study group together out of fear from others. (Americans) If we lived on Post I would be more cautious. Currently I've been passed up twice for promotion. I'm trying not to let it bother me however one begins to wonder.... :whatgives ...... might be time to look for another job.

If I had to sum it up I've had more negitive from the Americans then the Germans.
Any other questions?


Falcon

Verthandi
December 13th, 2004, 05:08 PM
Yeah, I saw that ep. I about fell out of my chair laughing at the comment. I think he was pretty much making fun of the fundie's perception of pagans.

banondraig
December 13th, 2004, 05:17 PM
i also live in germany, and on the few occasions i have worn my pentacle out in public, no one has batted an eye. the local esoteric bookstore usually has quite a few people in it, rather than being all but empty like they always seem to be in the states. in general i'd have to agree that germans seem to be more accepting of paganism, although there are people here who will try to convert you as well.

note, however, that this was a crowded-ish pedestrian area in the middle of the day, therefore annoying rather than scary.

Lunamoth
December 13th, 2004, 05:19 PM
Morning Star: I think this is somewhat accurate of Christians and Muslims but it's still a stereotype and unfair to make the generalisation.

As for Jews, it surprises me that you say this. I have never known a Jew to look down on someone who's not Jewish (maybe it's the 'chosen people' thing that makes you say this?). I have never known a Jew to try or even want to convert anyone. I have known Jews to honour profound and critical thinking about religion and dogma. I've never known a Jewish person to think less of me because I wasn't Jewish. I can only speak from my own experience, though.

Have to agree with Moonstone... I mean, and it's not even ALL Christians (I can't say I would know for sure whether I've met a Muslim. I've met people from all over the world, but you can't assume what their religion is just by looking at them, ya know?). The most "looking down" I've had from Christian folks is more like, "Oh, are you one of those weird crystal-waving Newagers who wears too much purple and has too many cats?"

As for those of the Jewish faith, well, I was close to a girl in highschool who was Jewish, but she was hardly very scholarly about it. It's just how she was raised. And then there were a couple gals I hung out with in San Francisco, both fabulous cooks, that's what I recall about them. But again, not all that scholarly. Both thought it was neat that I had a strong sense of spirituality. Both were dating someone not of their faith.

My husband used to have conversations with a Jewish man at work who explained that it was more like you study the texts and you learn from them, but you don't necessarily take them all literally. I think it's a misconception that all members of any one faith behave in a specific way.

Darakash
December 15th, 2004, 02:04 PM
I just received an email that Jon Stewart, The daily show, is going to have an interview with a witch on tonight (December 15) This could be fun! Hee Hee, I sure will be watching...DK

Luminessence
December 16th, 2004, 09:18 PM
I have to deal with misconceptions about Christians being utter bastards. :)

When I was a Christian, if I told somebody I was a Christian I would often have to add, "... but not one of the intolerant ones." It still frustrates me that some people see all Christians as fundamentalists.

Sorry to get off the subject there :)

Darakash
December 17th, 2004, 11:00 AM
When I was a Christian, if I told somebody I was a Christian I would often have to add, "... but not one of the intolerant ones." It still frustrates me that some people see all Christians as fundamentalists.

Sorry to get off the subject there :)

This is not off the subject at all! I am glad you posted it, and I think it is a great point. I was so focused in my original post on the whole, changing stereotypes about Pagans that i didnt think to add: it would be nice to change the perception of stereotypes about other religions as well. You see, I didn't think of it, because, well, i do NOT think of all Christians in that way at all, in fact, I have a tendency to assume that everyone is as open minded as I am, including folks who I shouldn't at times! And it has gotten me into trouble a couple of times!

My mom is basically Born Again, but she is a very accepting person in many ways, and so she influences my view of other Christians a lot of times. So much so, that when I meet a very openly judgemental Christian, I am taken aback about the kinds of things they are attacking or making judgements about....if that makes sense? Like if a Christian(or any) person starts talking about the evils of homosexuality or Harry Potter or some other thing that seems SO none of their business or so harmless to others, this is something my mom would never even come close to saying and it makes me go: HUH?

On the other hand, as open-minded as my mom is about those things, she does tend to be very much about wanting others to find the joy,peace, etc., she has found in her faith and so, does tend to assert sometimes that Jesus is the only way, this tends to come out in a more "I wish you could see this" kind of way, an "I fear for your soul" kind of compassion, rather than, "If you don't do this you are WRONG/EVIL etc." But it is a factor nonetheless, and Jesus being the Light and The Way, being a basic tenant of her religion, it makes sense, so it is simply something that i do not argue with her about and understand is part of her faith. She does not try to shove it down my throat and I do not expect or anticipate that most other Christians will either.

DK