Quick Notes: Gay Paganism, Project Conversion, and the Tea Party

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 24, 2011 — 50 Comments

A few quick notes for you on this Thursday morning.

Gay Paganism’s Second Wave: The Circle of Dionysos has posted the audio from a panel discussion at this year’s PantheaCon entitled “Walking it Out: Gay Paganism’s Second Wave,” featuring contributions from DK Cowan (Circle of Dionysos), P Sufenas Virius Lupus (Ekklesia Antinuou), Hayden Reynolds (Circle of Dionysos), Storm Faerywolf (Brotherhood of the Satyr), and Hyperion (The Unnamed Path).

The Unnamed PathThe Amethyst PentacleEkklesia Antinuou, The Circle of Dionysos: in the past several years a flurry of pagan groups and practices specifically geared to the LBGT community have emerged and caught the attention of the larger pagan community. Why is this happening? What are the similarities and differences between the various paths? What value does this work have for not only GLBTQ pagans, but also for the larger pagan community? Join Hyperion, Storm Faerywolf, DK Cowan, and P. Sufenas Virius Lupus for a round table discussion of these and other topics related to second wave gay paganism.”

You can download the panel discussion, here. Gay Pagan organizations like the ones listed above, or the Brotherhood of the Phoenix in Chicago, have really come into their own in the last decade. Gay Pagans have gone from being a somewhat isolated fringe in the 1970s, to a vibrant and integral part of who we are today. I’m heartened to see growing communication and acknowledgement around this phenomenon.

Also, while I’m on the topic of PantheaCon, let me quickly point you to Morpheus Ravenna’s blog, where she discusses her experiences at this year’s Morrigan devotional ritual. I was in attendance at that ritual, and it was one of the most powerful large-group experiences I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of.

Twelve Faiths in Twelve Months: Rothwell Polk at the Huffington Post puts the spotlight on “Project Conversion,” where writer Andrew Bowen immerses himself in a different faith tradition for each month of 2011. In January he “converted” to Hinduism, here’s his video wrap-up of the month.

Currrently, Bowen is studying Baha’i before moving on to Zoroastrianism in March. In October he’s “converting” to Wicca, and will be exploring “fringe” religions in June (whatever that means). He’s noted that he already has a teacher/guide for his Wiccan month (though he doesn’t reveal who it is). Bowen asserts that he’ll always remain “spiritually promiscuous,” but one has to wonder how he’ll feel after he’s immersed himself in both monotheistic and polytheistic faiths. Will it change the way he views the world? The way he views the dominant monotheisms? No doubt he’ll be experiencing the “best face” of each tradition, but there are significant differences.

The Tea Party and Religion: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released a new analysis of Tea Party members which reveals a movement this is not only fiscally conservative, but also overwhelmingly allied with socially conservative (Christian) issues like opposition to gay marriage and access to abortion.

“A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that Tea Party supporters tend to have conservative opinions not just about economic matters, but also about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In addition, they are much more likely than registered voters as a whole to say that their religion is the most important factor in determining their opinions on these social issues. And they draw disproportionate support from the ranks of white evangelical Protestants.”

This significant overlap between the populist Tea Party and socially conservative Christianity has been seen in several nationally elected politicians who received endorsement from Tea Party groups (Rand Paul, for instance). Indeed, some have described the Tea Party phenomenon as a second wind for Christian conservative candidates. The question going forward is will the Tea Party organizations see their fiscal stances become married to a social agenda as well. If so will it create an unhealable rift between factions?  How will this affect fiscally conservative Pagans who have found a home in the Tea Party? Especially when an unspoken position of many social conservatives is an animus towards non-Christian faiths.

That’s all I’ve got for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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