I recently was part of a conversation that was incredibly interesting. It stemmed from an article written by an affiliate about Politics, Wicca, and eventually turned into a discussion about those that had helped further Wicca. It was, and has been as I am not sure people wont continue the original thread, an incredibly knowledgeable and riveting thread. There were a few points I heard from other posters that I would like to touch, and did touch on. Those points will comprise this post.
Point One: It was said: “If it weren’t for the early political work [of] Gavin and Yvonne Frost[,] Wicca may not have attained legal status in the U.S.” and “Even though the Frosts condoned some reprehensible behavior, if it weren’t for them, Wicca might still be brushed off as a bunch of weirdos.”
Point Two: It was said that: “[…]other than keeping an eye open to the shifting tides of power I don’t think we need be overly concerned with politics at this time.”
The Aquarian Tabernacle Church and Pierre ‘Pete Pathfinder’ Davis have done, as far as I can tell by looking at history, far more with far less scandal than the Frosts. Veterans Tombstone Pentacle, only .EDU sponsored Pagan seminary, umbrella 501 (c) 3 which just by the ATC having it, it gives all of Wicca privileges that other pagan religions don’t enjoy in the eyes of the government, prisoner rights for incarcerated pagans, and a myriad other accomplishments from making it safe to be open in the Mid-South, to defending churches from all denominations (Pagan to Christian and back again) from unfair laws levied against home worship.
Few people throw Pete’s name around when talking about the circles of Pagans changing the world, because his ministry has always been behind a desk and not in front of a camera. The video of him posted earlier in the month was the first video of him I have ever seen, though I have enjoyed the benefits of his accomplishments every day I have been a Pagan. Which is every year of my life since I was 5. I think that Pete has always been an administrative Pagan. Raymond Buckland called him one of the most influential Pagans in history.
While many Prominent Pagan Leaders were jumping up and down in front of cameras and drumming up support through media sources, Pete was behind a desk dealing with the paperwork and hoops of the government machine. I failed to say “quietly behind a desk”, because to those at the other ends of the telephones, letters, and emails did not find the man behind Modern Wicca to be quiet. Not a bit. Pete worked doggedly to file, refile, research, call, recall, insist, resist, and go over the head of those who would deign to stand in the way of the rights of the people that he considered his charges; entrusted to him by Hekate that they would be safe while walking their path. Petes voice was the one that caused those very people to wince, and move their left foot on creating change within the bureaucracy of the political machine so that Wicca, Wiccans, and all that consider themselves Pagan could be safe; earning him the nickname amongst Government officials: “The Man with the Steel Spine”
Other than some run ins with bouts of professional jealousy from his contemporaries, there is not a single scandal or legally questionable act on his reputation.
Onto the topic of Wicca and politics.
I can understand why people would think that a religion that is about nature and the cycles of the seasons wouldn’t be political. The reality is that Paganism has always been political, and is where it is today through hard nosed political action. I find the idea that “[…]other than keeping an eye open to the shifting tides of power I don’t think we need be overly concerned with politics at this time.” to be a frightening, somewhat disturbing, and irresponsible belief to promote. If that is how you feel…. *shrug* Many of our hard fought victories in the modern Wiccan era were accomplished through the knowledge of laws, and the red tape of politics.
I refer back to Pierre “Pete Pathfinder” Davis.
His life before Public Paganism was one of political service. He was the mayor of Hanover, NJ. No democrat had been elected as mayor in that town for over 100 years, until he ran. He kept the job until he decided not to run again. Wicca may not seem political, but as Wiccans we are charged with keeping the balance. Some have said that Wicca is too diverse, and pigeon holing it into a political party is wrong. I say that without Wiccans as conservatives and liberals on the political front, we are allowing others who share NONE of our values to make decisions for all of us.
A few people in the original thread touched on a subject of the original poster that said that there was a Christian Conspiracy to take over the government and use it to force Christian values on the citizens of the USA. The people on either side of the argument here, may or may not be correct about there being/not being a conspiracy concerning Christians and the government. I do know one thing though, in light of those thoughts: we are woefully short of Pagan politicians on either side of the isle, and that’s an imbalance.
Pete has always told me (because I’ve been lucky enough to know the man) that you get more done in a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches than you can get done in a cape. He means that we need to get out there into the real world and make our lives and beliefs a parallel to the places we live in. Its no longer shocking that were Pagan. Now that we can get past meeting someone without them freaking out about our beliefs, some of us are ready to have a say at the school board, or in city council, or on higher levels of government.
So do not let people tell you to stay away, that you cant speak for them, that you dont have a voice. If they wont speak up, then you can. It’s your right as a Pagan citizen to have your voice heard. If the real goal is to find a way to accomplish your task, then you will, and you wont care who is out in front of the camera, because you know whose signature will be on the document that changed the minds of a nation. Run for that local office. Join the school board, or the city council, or the tax commission. Or dont. Dont do anything, and even refuse to cast your vote. You’re still beautiful, and you are still making a choice. It’s inescapable: Life continues on through the choices, and voices of a few select people who were willing to stand up and make it happen, and by the millions upon millions that let them do it.