Monday, February 20, 2012

Hypocrisy much?

This post is not going to win me a lot of friends, but I hope we can all be adult enough to agree to disagree.

I am really frustrated at the call for a potential boycott of Pantheacon.
Why are people who claim to preach tolerance tearing down someone's belief in the same breath?!
Freedom of Religion means ALL Religions, even the ones we don't agree with, even the ones that challenge our own faith. Isn't this what we ask the Christians to do?

Thank you, Star, for articulating my concern far better than I ever could.
Should There Be Freedom Of Religion Within Paganism?


  1. I tend to insulate myself by not getting all worked up by "things" and that is mostly for mental health reasons. That being said, I must say that this is just such a bloody waste. You are correct in saying freedom of ALL religions. Hypocrasy isn't even a big enough word.
    I once had a friend whose cat had kittens. She said she was going to screen the folks getting the kittens and make sure that none of them was non pagan....????? I just don't understand and probably never will.
    Oma Linda

  2. Oma Lina,
    I try really hard to stay out of things that would get my blood pressure up but this whole situation has blown out of proportion. The gentlemen linked to calling for the boycott is a colleague of mine in the MD/DC/VA Pagan community and I appreciate many many aspects of his work, from a personal as well as community perspective, but I just feel he's out of line here. I really struggled to articulate why and was saved by Star Foster putting it perfectly. I cannot stand behind boycotting a fantastic and tolerant resource simply because I disagree with one of their teachers. If I did that, I would have no conferences to go to ever.

    I stayed out of the hullabaloo last year but this year I think a line is being crossed and felt the call to speak up.

  3. It's this sort of crap that keeps me from taking part in the larger Pagan community. Every time I start to think about getting involved, I get frustrated my the "us/them" rhetoric. Why can't we allow people to make their own spiritual decisions?

  4. Keeper,

    I think the bigger issue (that no one is articulating well) is that this 'exclusive' ritual was help at a public convention.

    My answer to that is "So?" Do I agree with Z. Budapest's characterization of trans-women (and cis/trans men), no. But why isn't there enough room at the con for a cis-women only ritual?

    I can very much understand why this would turn people away from joining the 'community' but community building is never easy and I'd like the pagan community to avoid the 'squeaky wheel' syndrome, which can only happen if the 'silent majority' people participate.

  5. Although I do think we are the sex we are in our soul and mind, not so much our bodies ... since it was a skyclad ritual, it's kinda hard with a women with her penis hanging about to think of anything but that. Perhaps if it were not skyclad it would have made a difference in her decision.

    Me, I'm solitary and when I read such things, so very glad I am. But, that's not too healthy either.

    Either way I wish Happiness and Peace to all.

  6. ArtSinger,

    Not only was it skyclad it was also vulva-centric. However, I don't think anything would have changed the presenter's mind as there is evidence to substantiate a claim of Z. Budapest being a bigot towards trans-gendered people as well as men.

    I am also a solitary practitioner but I'm also a Pagan Community Organizer in my region. It's an interesting balance but one I enjoy.

    I echo your wish for peace, especially to those that would have benefited from the ritual in question but were unwilling to subject themselves to the negativity surrounding the situation.

  7. I completely agree that you shouldn't boycott a whole event for one view you don't agree with by a presenter. I'm a part of a large festival here in Florida and we had someone calling for the same on us because The Frosts presented and often attended in the past. (Many times they came themselves not because they were invited) I know there is controversy over things they said in the past. Do I agree with those things, No. But I wouldn't stop attending the event because of it.

    Boycott the specific persons work etc. If you feel so but not an event that also helps many other great presenters.

  8. Velody, Thanks for sharing your experience. I totally agree with you. I'm an organizer in the MD/DC/VA area and I hope to never be so attacked about a potential presenter.

  9. Kat- thanks for allowing me a channel to clarify thoughts on what Star wrote yesterday morning (most-specifically about my call to boycott). It is clear that Star is upset and using my call to action to vent some understandable anger. As we are friends, I'm hopeful that cooler heads will prevail over time. After all, Ive never been angry with those who doesnt support my action, which to me is an honest, peaceful, and respectful advocacy approach.

    In regards to Star's point about religious freedom in this situation (which I feel is a theological-jargon distraction to the real issue of hate speech), it makes sense to just post what I posted in response to the Patheos blog yesterday morning:

    "One thought this morning that I leave with you all that applies to many things this week: It is commonly known among supporters of equality that granting legal protections from bullying to LGBT people does not take away rights from any other person. Is the bully restricted in their actions? Yes. If the bully believes it is his Christian 'freedom of religion' to beat someone to death, do they get to continue the abuse? No, because as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said "your rights end where mine begin." If your religion demands the public dehumanization or abuse of a group of people, then yes, you don't have that right. Let us all demand that institutions big or small uphold those protections."

    Beloved colleague, thank you for continuing dialog on this most important issue. Even if we must agree to disagree, I feel grateful that this issue is getting the attention it has so long awaited.

    bless you

  10. David, I'm all in favor of respectful disagreement over this issue and as I said about you in one of the comments above, "I appreciate many many aspects of his work, from a personal as well as community perspective".

    I don't think Star is upset (but I'm not in her head); I think part of the conflict is that people are looking at this issue as a few very different core problems. Star and I are looking at the religious freedom angle and you (among others) are looking at the real hate-speech concern.

    I disagree with the bigot Z. Budapest on almost every level. I would never purchase her books or take any of her classes. Were I an attendee of P-Con I would certainly make my opinion known to the administration. I would never ever go to a ritual that discriminated against trans-women in favor of cis-women (I don't even like typing that distinction because I believe it's not necessary). I would even consider sharing in Thorn's silent holding of space (depending on a couple factors).

    That being said, I do not have a problem with the ritual taking place, though if it were held by a less twisted person I think more healing would be able to be accomplished, especially for all the women who need to rediscover the power and wonder of their bodies. At such a huge event as P-Con there should be space for faiths and paths that challenge people, their faith, and their perceptions and that has certainly happened.