In the United States, let no god be master, and let all be free.
from the Charm for Religious Liberty by IanC
I am guessing that by now, many of us within the Pagan community in the US have at least heard of DC40 and the New Apostolic Reformation and their goal of praying and politicking this nation into their brand of Christian. Their latest puts out a letter to those of us that think their idea stinks (I love this response to their letter).
There are several ideas bouncing around on how these groups should be handled, ranging from ignoring it in the hopes that it will go away to fighting fire with fire. I’m generally a middle ground sort of person, and here is no different–I’m neither in favor of totally ignoring it nor going on the direct attack. In general, I think that we need to be educating ourselves about the ongoing struggle for religious liberty in this country that we have all benefited from, and we need to be sharing that knowledge and openly celebrating religious pluralism (including our own) and embracing religious literacy. Specifically though, I think we need to foster awareness of this group and their proposed actions and taking action (both magically and mundanely) to block their objectives from success without attacking their organization or supporters directly.
I ultimately reject the idea of lowering my standards of belief or behavior by addressing any group that would act as this one does (an example), as it only serves to offer validation to their agenda. This sort of group feeds off of the controversy they incite, and I refuse to give them the satisfaction of dining upon paranoia and bigotry reinforced from my hand.
“Labels do not define our morality. They do not evaluate our character. It is not calling yourself a Pagan, Christian, Witch, Evangelical, Thelemite, Catholic or Wiccan that identifies you as a good person, it’s what you do. If what you do is declare spiritual warfare against others, if you devote your time and energy to harm, destroy and confound others, then you are not a good person. Your soul is blackened and corrupt.”
Star Foster (source)
I believe instead that it is within our best interests (as Americans and as Pagans) to take a stand on the issue itself–their goal to revoke the very liberties that define what it means to be a citizen of this nation. Intellectually and spiritually I deny the existence of their interpretation of deity, and think that their threats from this regard are completely and utterly baseless (quite frankly, their vision of god is so far off the mark for even most Christians I know that I don’t think it bears serious contemplation). However, I do think that we should be concerned with the maleficent intent of their proposal of spiritual warfare–if we actually believe in magic, we should be concerned with the attempts of others to cause “change to occur with the conformity of will” that lie in direct opposition to not only our own self interest, but the interests of this nation and its future. I agree with those that promote the idea of responding to their activism on our own terms, by using both magical and mundane means to support and promote ideal of religious freedom that this nation was founded upon.
There have been a few ritual ideas created recently to promote religious liberty, from the above quoted Charm for Religious Liberty (be sure to go and read it, it is excellent) to my suggestion of inviting the spirits of our nation’s founders to help preserve the freedoms they helped secure in my homage to my favorite Founding Father. The Hail Columbia blog recently featured this ritual, for the Spirit of Aloha (Hawaii is the first state on DC40’s list) and they have also mirrored a 4-part series, Conversations With Columbia by blogger Hecate Demeter.
Evangelicals Engaged in Spiritual Warfare (NPR)
DC40’s Dates of Prayer
A Reading List for Religious Liberty
7 Simple Ways to be Politically Involved
Pagan Political Spells from Isaac Bonewits
Framing and giving energy: How we work against DC40 Matters
The AntiChrist in the Mirror
And please, if you are reading this and you haven’t done so already, consider writing your own prayer or ritual to celebrate and promote religious freedom. Feel free to link it to your own blog in my comments here, to post it to the Musings FB site, or to submit it to Hail Columbia’s blog to share with the wider community.