Black Mass Event Challenges Freedom of Speech and Religion at Harvard

Heather Greene —  May 14, 2014 — 124 Comments

The Harvard Extension University Cultural Studies Club created quite a stir in Boston this past week when it announced the sponsorship of a Black Mass re-enactment to be staged by the New York-based  Satanic Temple. The event was originally slated to be held on campus Monday evening at Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub in Memorial Hall. By 7 p.m. the Club had cancelled its official involvement leaving The Satanic Temple to stage the ritual on its own.

Harvard [Photo Credit: Joseph Williams/WikiMedia]

Harvard [Photo Credit: Joseph Williams/WikiMedia]

The Cultural Studies Club began advertising the Black Mass on May 5 with campus posters and a registration website. In accordance with their mission, the Club’s goal was purely educational. As explained by the Club President*:

In a pluralistic democracy it is essential that everyone have equal rights to display their faith. We feel this has not been the case and want to allow other legitimate groups this opportunity especially when those groups have been unfairly maligned with disturbing repercussions.

The outcry and backlash were almost immediate. On May 7 a Catholic student named Jonathan wrote, “My hope and prayer is that all Catholics on campus of sound mind and faith will oppose this injustice and picket the event.” The Harvard Catholic Student Association published an online petition that reads:

While the Cultural Studies Club dubiously claims that the purpose of re-enactment is purely “educational,” this does not change the fact that the Black Mass in fact mocks religious beliefs, desecrates sacred items and symbols, and insults the spiritual sensitivities of Harvard’s Catholics, Christians and other people of faith. … Moreover, we who are members of the Harvard community fear for the University’s reputation and for what Harvard’s stamp of approval will do to the University’s relationship with its alumni, students, faculty, and the global community it aims to serve. We demand that President Faust and the Harvard administration speak out against this event, and do all in their power to disband it.

Despite mounting student protests, the University administration would not cancel the event. On May 9 the Dean of Students and Alumni Affairs Robert Neugeboren, stated:

Students at the Harvard Extension School, like students at colleges across the nation, organize and operate a number of independent student organizations, representing a wide range of student interests. The Harvard Extension School does not endorse the views or activities of any independent student organization. But we do support the rights of our students and faculty to speak and assemble freely.

Neugeboren goes on to express his awareness that the event is “deeply disturbing and offensive to many” and hopes that Club organizers will open a dialog with Harvard’s Christian community.

Boston’s Catholic leaders joined the protest asking Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust to cancel the Club’s Black Mass. Fr. Roger Landry called the event “terribly ill-advised and totally insensitive.” The Archdiocese of Boston publicly “expressed sadness and strong opposition” referencing recent speeches from the Vatican.  He said:

… Pope Francis warned of the danger of being naïve about or underestimating the power of Satan, whose evil is too often tragically present in our midst.  We call upon all believers and people of good will to join us in prayer for those who are involved in this event, that they may come to appreciate the gravity of their actions. 

The Archdiocese also announced a vigil walk from the M.I.T. Chapel to St. Paul’s Church to be held at the same time as the Black Mass. The walk would be followed by a Holy Hour of prayer at St. Paul’s.

President Drew Gilpin Faust [Photo Credit: Harvard]

President Drew Gilpin Faust [Photo Credit: Harvard]

Despite pressure President Faust would not stop the Black Mass. She said:

The reenactment of a ‘black mass’ planned by a student group affiliated with the Harvard Extension School challenges us to reconcile the dedication to free expression at the heart of a university with our commitment to foster a community based on civility and mutual understanding … It is deeply regrettable that the organizers of this event, well aware of the offense they are causing so many others, have chosen to proceed with a form of expression that is so flagrantly disrespectful and inflammatory … Nevertheless, consistent with the University’s commitment to free expression, including expression that may deeply offend us, the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs. 

In the statement Faust also emphasized that she would be attending the Eucharistic Holy Hour and Benediction at St. Paul’s Church in order to “reaffirm our respect for the Catholic faith at Harvard and to demonstrate that the most powerful response to offensive speech is not censorship, but reasoned discourse and robust dissent.”

By Monday afternoon the Club had over 700 people registered to attend the Black Mass; far more than expected. The Club President says, “Due to this level of interest and the conflicts this was creating on campus with concerns over upcoming finals, we decided to move the event.”  At 5:45pm the Club announced that the new location would be the Middle East Restaurant and Bar.

However The Middle East quickly responded via tweet that they were “not hosting the event.” According to one of the owners, “The booking had never been confirmed.”  The Cultural Studies Club believes that the restaurant may have experienced external pressure causing negotiations to fall through. At that point the Club had no other viable location and therefore decided to publicly cancel the Black Mass. The Club President says:

Some people seem to think the public cancellation is a victory, but it is most certainly a Pyrrhic one. The dissenters did not shut down hate speech as they like to pretend they did. Many people are keenly aware of that and are disgusted by the self-righteous behavior of those who tried to stop this event. Instead they come across as being frighteningly oppressive …The celebrations of the people protesting the Black Mass, we observed, took on a fascist tone because they were rejoicing in the suppression of those they disagree with.

Throughout the evening Christian Organizations held protests all over Harvard Square while the Archdiocese lead the vigial walk and prayer hour. At the same time there were counter-protests by supporters of the Club and Black Mass event. The Club President says, “Neither the club nor [The Satanic Temple] were actively involved, although The Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves did deliver an impromptu speech.”

Counter Protestors [Photo Credit: The Satanic Temple]

Counter Protestors [Photo Credit: The Satanic Temple]

Despite Monday’s turn-of-events, The Satanic Temple did manage to stage a Black Mass ritual that night at the Hong Kong Restaurant and Lounge across from Harvard Yard. According to The Harvard Crimson, there were 50 attendees, most of whom were Temple members and core supporters.

Looking back at the events the Cultural Studies Club President firmly believes that there were as many people or more who supported the Club’s work or wanted to experience the Black Mass as those who didn’t. The President notes that the University itself “was honorable though out and always planned to allow the event to proceed.” Despite significant pressure Harvard’s administration consistently upheld its support of “student free speech and made sure the necessary logistical support was provided.”

When asked if they would reschedule, the President said, “We certainly have the right to reschedule, but we’ll have to wait until the fall to decide. We already have a number of events planned.” Some of those events are a Shinto Tea ceremony, Buddhist mediation presentation and a Shaker performance. In addition a Southern Baptist preacher has volunteered to journey to Cambridge in order to host a ritual. The Club President adds that “All club members are open-minded and would enthusiastically accept invitations to events hosted by” Pagans and Heathens of all and any practice.

 

* Due to the amount of hate mail and personal threats received by the Club President and members, they wish to remain anonymous.

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Heather Greene

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Heather is a freelance writer and Pagan spirit living in the Deep South. She has served as Public Information Officer for Covenant of the Goddess and worked extensively with Lady Liberty League. Heather's work has been published in Circle Magazine and elsewhere. She has a masters degree in Film Theory, Criticism and History with a background in the performing and visual arts.
  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    President Faust!? I love it…

    • Ruadh

      Hilarious coincidence ! I loved it !

    • Bianca Bradley

      Yeah I was giggling at the coincidence myself.

  • Hecate_Demetersdatter

    They sure do feel threatened awfully easily, don’t they, these Christian worshipers of a “might god”?

    • http://www.walkofthefallen.com Labrys

      Don’t they though? Tender as snowflakes in their Hell, one might think.

    • Bianca Bradley

      I dunno, the Black Mass is a desecration of the Catholic Mass, I can see why Catholics would be pretty perturbed, and outraged. Wonder how many Wiccans would be outraged if the Spaghetti monster people decided to make a ritual based off of one of the Wiccan rituals they found on Sacred texts?

      Oh wait, we kinda saw how outraged Pagans were on the God Graveyard.

      • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

        I would be less upset if they served us spaghetti and meatballs afterwards.

      • Northern_Light_27

        That’s not just apples and oranges, it’s apples and meat. Context is a thing, it matters. If I were Catholic, part of being a responsible Catholic in a pluralistic world is being aware of your own history, and being aware of Catholic power and its sociocultural and political effect on the world both past and present. Therefore, not simply getting angry and offended at a ceremony with a long history that’s rooted in defiance of that oppressive power. (And that’s without understanding of what a Black Mass is intended to do in a Satanist context, which very much does go beyond how you’re characterizing it, and isn’t about or directed to Catholics, it’s about creating helpful dissonance in its own attendants.) If I were Catholic, would the idea of a Black Mass upset me? Probably. Would it be an occasion for prayer and time spent immersing oneself in Catholic holy expression? Absolutely. Would it be appropriate to, instead of seeing it as an occasion for prayer and contemplation, continue the kind of irresponsible abuse of power that made Black Masses necessary in the first place by trying to shut it down? No, absolutely and categorically NOT.

        • Bianca Bradley

          Not only no but NO. Part of being a good Catholic is adhering to the 10 commandments and what you are taught in confirmation.

          The pluralistic world and being aware of your history bit, is politics. It is what YOU would do and it has nothing what so ever to do, unless they subscribe to that particular brand of politics to the Catholic.

          No, what i said applies. Considering how upset various Pagans get about a wide variety of things, being snarky about Catholics getting upset about a black mass which if you look at it through their eyes, goes against everything they believe in, is more than hypocritical.

          IF you are going to toss in context than you should also take a gander at the history, of the time period, and see what was going on at that time.

          • Northern_Light_27

            That you’d dismiss awareness of what you are in the world as a “brand of politics” disgusts me. That you’d call trying to shut down other people’s speech *at a university* “getting upset” is also pretty crappy. And this *is* a world full of people who practice things you don’t and believe things you don’t like, that’s also a fact, not a “brand of politics”. “Getting upset” when it actually means being bothered, saying you’re bothered, and getting together in a prayer vigil is one thing. “Getting upset” when it means using your considerable power differential to shut other people down just for upsetting you, that’s a horse of a different color (especially at a university, a place set aside for the sharing of many competing ideas). I don’t think it’s asking too much of people– ALL people– to have the situational awareness to know that not all things that bother you are *about* you, and yes, I also don’t think it’s asking too much for people who cast a long shadow due to their disproportionate influence and power to at least be aware of it.

            I do have understanding. Churches have services every day reviling at least one, if not more, of my gods. Churches have services every day that go against everything I stand for. Somehow I get through the day without trying to shut down their freedom to practice, and making what is very sacred to them all about my indignation and upset. Maybe because their services aren’t about me, aren’t directed at me, and have nothing to do with me, and I still have to share a world with them (and they’re still *people*). IMO that’s adulthood 101.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Then you are ignoring a lot of stuff. What you are saying is political. What you are saying is not how I practice my religion nor is it as important to me as it is to you. Thus you are trying to shove your politics unto me.

            I know the history. I know the context of those times. I understand it and I try to not repeat it. That’s where the whole awareness things begins and ends for me. I’m certainly not going to beat another religion(or try not to) over the heads and shoulders because they aren’t as liberal as me, or don’t feel like subscribing to the polictical guilt trip.

            If you want to preach adulthood 101, then live it. Understand that what’s imp to you is not imp to others. Nor should it be.

            Quit trying to get religions you disagree with to bear their throat in submission. It aint gonna work.

            Also if your disgusted, because I’m using neutral tones(for me) that what you are saying is political, then the problem isn’t me, it’s you. Try asking instead of reacting. Try asking why I think that instead of reading into everything I say. That’s adulthood 101.

      • rhuddlwm

        Wouldn’t bother me at all…after all during Christmas and Easter the Christians already desecrate our beliefs and during Halloween the merchants desecrate our beliefs….so a little Black Mass won’t hurt the Catholics one bit.

        • Bianca Bradley

          Easter is not desecration of your beliefs. Merchants selling candy to people to hand out, is not desecration of your beliefs.(that came about btw from people in the middle ages getting soul cakes to pray for the dead to go to heaven, out of purgatory). Dressing up in costumes could be argued, but it’s a continuation of a Celtic festival where you dressed up in order to scare away the bad spirits. Those Irish Celts having long ago, decided to become Catholic, with very little bloodshed.

          So no you can’t claim desecration of your beliefs.

          • Grimmorrigan

            Who are you to tell someone when they can be offended. Especially after you just explain how you have a right to be offended.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Didn’t say they couldn’t be offended. I said that they can’t claim desecration because historically they are wrong.

          • TadhgMor

            Halloween has very little in common with Samhain. That connection is vastly overstated.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Than he can’t claim desecration of the holiday can he?

          • TadhgMor

            No, I’m simply correcting a factual error. I tire of seeing errors made about “Celtic” things, and try and correct them when possible.

    • Kathy

      Has to do with their myth and mentality of oppression. Every little thing that does not go according to their very limited idea of what is right is taken as an immediate sign of oppression and aggression.

  • T Thorn Coyle

    I appreciate the variation on the Crass symbol in the counter-protestor picture with the words “this is my body, this is my blood.” That is a pretty clever banner with multivalent theological content that could be unpacked in a very long conversation or article.

    Good work as always, Heather. Thank you for reporting on this.

    • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

      Thorn, Did you notice next to that Christian quote banner that there was a woman in a nun outfit wearing a short skirt and fishnet stockings? Yowza.

  • Sirius

    A critical display of ignorance: the Satanic Mass has little in common with the Catholic mass. It is not a “dark” copy.

    • Bianca Bradley

      There is no set Black Mass ritual, rather the ceremony is a parody on the holy Catholic Mass.

      From this site

      http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/b/black_mass_the.html

    • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

      I think Satanic rituals started out as a parody of the Xn mass, like saying the Lord’s prayer backwards. But it has evolved philosophically and theologically over the years to mean much more, it seems to me.

      • Bianca Bradley

        Which is all well and good to a Pagan. To a Christian or a Catholic, it seems more than a bit much to expect them to be ok with that.

  • Buckfuster

    I always find it interesting that Christians get all upset because they see this as insulting to Christians, but they will malign all faiths other than Christianity, going as far as to spread outright lies and misinformation about them. Christians insult other religions on a daily basis, but can’t take what they dish out!

    • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

      This is an even bigger story. It is my observation that the pulpits in America are probably more filled with hate, prejudice and intolerance than most anywhere else.

  • Angela M. Guzzo

    I’m a pagan and I think its unfair that all pagans and Satanist are persecuted for our beliefs! The Catholics are hypacritical in their beliefs.Intead of letting priests get married and have sex, they rather let them molest children! That’s a sin.

  • John W. Morehead

    I wish those opposed would have handled this better. In my view the discussion over freedom of religion is the more important meta-issue we should be discussing rather than the cancelled Black Mass. How we live with our differences and create a society with freedom of religion or irreligion is one of the most pressing issues of the day.

    • Hecate_Demetersdatter

      Well, fortunately, you don’t get to tell the Wild Hunt which conversations it can have.

      • John W. Morehead

        I wasn’t trying to. It’s a pity you grabbed onto a positive comment and turned it combative. Take care.

        • Hecate_Demetersdatter

          When you say, “In my view the discussion over freedom of religion is the more important
          meta-issue we should be discussing rather than the cancelled Black
          Mass,” in response to an article about the cancelled Black Mass, it’s pretty clear what you’re trying to do. Once again, you keep making the mistake that we’re all too ignorant and foolish to see what you’re up to. Take care, yourself.

          • John W. Morehead

            I paused before posting a comment, having a fear that it would lead to these kinds of comments. Unfortunately, you have are mistakenly reading a hidden agenda into my comment which wasn’t there. I presume honesty, integrity, and intelligence on the part of Wild Hunt readers, nothing else. That’s what I’m “up to.”

          • Hecate_Demetersdatter

            When you say we shouldn’t be discussing the cancellation of a black Mass, in response to an article about cancelling a black Mass, you’re attempting to control the conversation. No need read anything “hidden,” you put it right out there. You just don’t like it when you get called on it.

          • Franklin_Evans

            I respect your distrust of Mr. Morehead, but in this case you are completely wrong to the point of putting words in his mouth. He did not say “we shouldn’t”, he said “we should rather than”. The simplest view of that is twisting his words.

          • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

            When someone, especially someone outside of a sub-cultural group, says that there are ‘more important’ things to be talking about than what is currently being discussed, they should be called out on that. It’s inappropriate for them to comment that way.

          • JasonMankey

            John comments on Pagan stuff so much that he’s basically a part of the tribe, he might not like it but I consider him a part of my “sub-cultural” group in a lot of ways. Besides John is right, the cancellation of the Black Mass isn’t the story, it’s the idea held by many Christians that “freedom of religion” simply means freedom for their religion that’s the bigger tale. Certainly the cancellation of the Black Mass is a newsworthy tale (and Heather did a dynamite job reporting it) but it also speaks to larger issues in our society.

          • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

            So what’s required to be part of the Pagan sub-cultural group is commenting on Pagan stuff?

            I do think the cancellation of the Black Mass is the story…it’s what allows us to have this conversation in the first place. Why it was cancelled is important, which are those ‘larger issues’ you mention, but the actual event is important too.

          • JasonMankey

            To be a part of the sub-cultural group that reads and comments on Pagan blogs one must simply read and comment on Pagan blogs without engaging in troll-like behavior. I have a lot of Christian readers, and they have chosen to be a part of that community with their readership and contributions. I think that’s all it takes.

          • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

            Yeah, he’s not a Pagan, but he’s a member of the forum community here at TWH. Like Jason, I’ve got a lot of Christian readers, too. Sometimes they disagree with what I have to day, but in eight years of blogging, I’ve only ever had to remove one comment for trolling.

            Maybe I’m lucky, or maybe I’m just little-read… But I do comment on what I see as excesses and errors by Christians, and my Christian readers take that in stride. They may not like what I say or agree with it, but we manage gastblogschaft together. I see John Morehead doing that here–as, honestly, I could wish more of us would do, with one another as well as with the occasional Christian visitor.

            (Definition of the Heathen/Pagan concept of gastblogschaft at the link below.)
            http://pagansojourn.blogspot.com/2005/05/gastblogschaft.html

          • JasonMankey

            I think most liberal Christians agree with what we Pagans see as “excesses and errors by Christians.” These are the folks on “our side” so to speak. Today is apparently “my day” for quotation marks.

          • Bianca Bradley

            steals your quotation marks and runs away with them.

          • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

            Can’t both stories of freedom of religion AND the cancellation of the Black Mass be important to us?

            Also, I do not consider John part of the Pagan tribe but someone from another tribe who is dialoging with us, which is something to admire. I see very few Pagans actually dialoging with any of the tolerant Christians these days.

          • Franklin_Evans

            I’m not trying to “manage” this dispute, I just want to keep it clear and simple. His words — all of them, read as a complete context — don’t need interpretation or filling in of blanks. He writes “in my view”, he uses neutral language, and the first thing done (in this case Hecate, and I feel the need to ask did you see me espress respect for her opinion?) is to criticize him for words that do not appear in his post.

            Please correct me if I’m putting words in your mouth, Hecate you too: wouldn’t it just make you the most happy to have TWH blanketly ban anyone who even smells like a Christian from posting here? That’s the implication I get from both of you at this point.

            Personally, I would expect all of us in this “sub-cultural group” to have had a bellyful of being forced to be outsiders. Treating him that way, as I see it, is making him the proxy-scapegoat for revenge. I utterly reject the implication of that, and I will actively oppose it if it’s true here.

            In this specific case, there’s calling him out, and there’s convicting him of treason before he gets a chance to respond to the calling out. Hecate didn’t say “I don’t like the way you said that”, she said “I don’t care what you say, shut up and leave.” Yes, that looks like me putting words in her mouth. Absent her correction of me, I stand by it.

          • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

            I said that it is appropriate to call someone out when they’re saying that there are ‘more important’ things to discuss. If you want to read ‘ban any Christian’ or ‘scapegoating him for revenge’ into that, that’s your business, but it kinda weakens your ‘don’t criticize someone for words they didn’t say’ argument.

          • Franklin_Evans

            Fair enough. My crtical remarks were not appropriate for your posts on this tangent.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Except he’s right, there are far more important things to discuss.

          • TadhgMor

            No, he’s not. He’s an interloper who regularly flaunts his privilege and has the end goal of converting all of us. He deserves a minimum of respect, but no one needs to accept his constant attempts to speak over us.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Interloper, who wishes to convert us. So ignoring the “privilege” comment that has regularly become so popular to throw around. o.O

            Where exactly was he speaking over any of us? Where has he tried to convert anyone? If you are going to toss that out, show some proof please?

          • TadhgMor

            Go through his history here.

            If you deny privilege while defending bad Christian behavior than I do not understand in what way you consider yourself a pagan. You seem to be more enamored of them than anything else.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Because in order to be Pagan, I do not need to be a liberal democrat, who agrees with the use of “privilege” :) To be Pagan, I simply need to follow my spirituality. Stop conflating the politics with the religion. :)

          • TadhgMor

            Privilege has nothing to do with politics. But I can tell from your comments you seem to buy into a certain false narrative about it, so there is no utility in trying to explain.

            If you deny privilege, your experience of being a “pagan” is very different than mine. But since you seem to think like a Christian on every issue I’ve seen so far, I expect that is the difference.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Yes yes it does. Privledge when taken out of the academic setting has everything to do with politics.

          • TadhgMor

            Only to people trying to deny they benefited from it. But again, I’m more than familiar with the narrative you’ve bought into. You’re a special little conservative snowflake, not like us groupthink liberals, and the only thing that matters is how you feel.

          • Bianca Bradley

            smh

            I’m a liberal in prison reform, 4th amendment issues(see defense lawyer liberal) I am conservative on military and foreign policy. If you are going to talk about my politics it helps to actually know where I stand ya?

            Not all liberals are group think. However how you are acting and showing me, in your responses leads me to say that yes you are trying to get me to group think.

            As for my religion, it doesn’t matter to me whether you agree with my politics. What matters is what is between me and my Gods.

          • TadhgMor

            I don’t give a f*** about your politics. You are the one inserting politics into this. Again, I am responding to your comments, what label you choose is as irrelevant to me as sand in a desert.

            You are pushing worn out and false conservative talking points and using their language in an insulting manner. If you are going to accuse me of being part of “group think” you can politely piss off. That behavior belongs on Breitbart not here.

            Do your Gods support discrimination? I doubt it. Then why are you doing so?

          • Bianca Bradley

            You clearly do. I’m not making conservative talking points. I’m making my own, from my own experience, and from reading both sides. These are my own thoughts on the matter.

            Now I’m discriminating? Prove it. I’m accusing you of getting upset that I won’t agree with you, telling me to go away, that I’m immoral and that is part of “group think”(which has jack all to do with one group of politics, because Conservatives have their own group think ) and I won’t.

          • TadhgMor

            Yes, you are making conservative talking points. Your “own words” have been repeated by others. You even mimic their buzzwords.

            Again, I’m done with you. F*** off and go be your special independent self because you’re too good to for us. But don’t expect any respect when you behave like this so regularly.

            Especially when you shill for Christian bigots. Some of us will not take kindly to that, no matter how much you stress that you’re special and independent and whatever other shit you can make up.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Are you a mod? If not why are you policing others words here?

          • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

            She has an opinion, and she’s sharing it, Bianca. That’s not considered outrageous here–and Hecate, as a longterm commenter at TWH, like many of us, is invested in the quality of discussion here.

            I think she’s off base this time, but that doesn’t change the fact that her long history of fair-mindedness and intelligence gives her the right to share her opinion. No one needs to be a mod for that, at least in my experience of TWH.

          • Bianca Bradley

            I would disagree. It’s gone beyond an opinion to trying to shut someone down. Hence my question. But that is my opinion.

          • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

            Now the topic is turned to the “wounded Christian” who is being persecuted on a Pagan board. John, I have to agree with Hecate’s point of your “rather than” statement. Coming from a Christian it sounds like a cancelled Black Mass isn’t important. You may have chosen better words if you wanted to talk about freedom of religion– but I believe your words came out in the way that you see the world: Black Masses being cancelled are not important to Christians who have latent negative feelings about Satanist.

            And of course you have these feelings, as such a ritual is clearly intended as oppositional to your own sacred rituals of Eucharist and Christian worship. I wouldn’t expect this otherwise. It is OK to own and recognize this, in order to possibly get past it and be truly for freedom of religion.

          • John W. Morehead

            Allow me to clarify. I believe that the Black Mass was important and should have been allowed to be performed. I also believe that Christians in opposition should have shared their disagreements differently without trying to have this event cancelled, and should also be concerned about the religious freedoms of minority religions. I have no problem with discussions about it, hence my appreciation for Heather’s essay.

            My intention was to go beyond that and statement my view that for me the bigger issue is religious freedoms for all of which this Black Mass event was an illustration of the need for these kinds of discussions.

            Also, I have satanist friends and do not hold negative feelings, even while strongly disagreeing with them.

            Again, thank you for the ability to clarify.

          • Northern_Light_27

            One, please capitalize the religion of your friends, thanks.
            Two, I’m curious as to what you think “kind of discussions” we should be having about religious freedoms for all– I might agree with you if I had a better sense of where you’re going with it.

          • John W. Morehead

            Normally I do capitalize as a sign of respect. Then again I’ve seen both Pagans and Satanists use the lowercase, so no disrespect is intended. I’m quite happy to capitalize as with other religious traditions.

            Given that Christianity is the dominant tradition in the West and enjoys privilege, I think Christians should be having intrafaith discussions so they can come to recognize that religious freedom needs to be exercised for all, including minority religions with which they so strongly disagree, as well as the irreligious. We also need interfaith discussions between Christians and those in other religious traditions about this topic.

            Os Guinness sketched this out for Evangelicals in his book “The Global Public Square” which I positively reviewed at Patheos and hope more Christians might take up as a call to discuss religious freedom in this way. I hope that helps.

          • Bianca Bradley

            If you can partake, let me hand you a virtual beer or ale or whatever spirit. You are far more tolerant, than I would have been. I tip my hat to you.

          • Northern_Light_27

            Good answer, ty! I agree with your second paragraph, particularly the part about privilege. The insidious thing about privilege– and it’s really obvious from what happened here at Harvard– is that people who have it fall into a rut with how they deal with perceived threats to it. As in, the Archdiocese of Boston storming in like a charging 10-ton gorilla against a college social club. First perceived sense of threat, they throw their disproportionate weight around because they can– even though the university context might otherwise suggest more creative ways of expressing “this speech upsets me!” that add speech rather than seek to suppress it. But people won’t seek creative solutions if there’s a more familiar and more likely path to success via wielding power.

            I don’t mean this as an insult at all, but I think why several of us reacted to your initial comment is that you basically fall into the rut in the way you worded it. The comment came off like you skimmed the article and blew right past the specific content to the takeaway for you as an Evangelical Christian whose focus is interreligious dialogue– the metanarrative you pointed at. While the specifics affect some of us pretty viscerally, your power position means they don’t affect *you* that way, so you could easily dispense with them to focus on what you saw as the bigger issue. (And writing this comment makes me realize that I did much the same thing to a friend in a discussion about race last week. I saw “the big picture” and glanced over the anger and frustration my friend felt because being white insulates me from the experiences that he has to deal with for being black.) It’s an easy rut to fall into, they all are, and that’s the awareness we all need to get out of these well-worn behavior patterns and trade them for something more neighborly.

          • Bianca Bradley

            I understood your comment. Also if the wild hunt had an issue with your comment they would have modded it. I’m not understanding why anyone feels the need to mother hen you over it. Nor did I see anything, inho, bad about what you posted. I presume you are an adult and quite capable of making your own choices.

          • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

            Honestly, Hecate, I do think that if John had posted his same remark as “Guest,” you’d have read it as I did: he said that those who _opposed_ the Black Mass handled it badly, and he’d rather see a discussion that centered on freedom of religion than one that centered, perforce, on opposition to this particular exercise of that freedom.

            (Or did I misread you, John?)

            Sometimes even those we have fundamental disagreements with, as do the Pagans on Wild Hunt with John Morehead, still find areas where we do agree. It’s important to stop arguing when you’re winning, and not to shoot at your own team.

            Unless I’m wrong about what was meant here, I think that’s what we’ve done.

          • Franklin_Evans

            Out of my sensitivity to my perception of the responses to John, I jumped right over wondering if I might be wrong. I find your hypothetical about “Guest” and your metaphor about shooting at your own team perfect insights.

    • Northern_Light_27

      Handled it better? The way they *should* have handled it was to shut up. Period. Have a prayer walk, have a prayer session, that’s fine; present their alternative for the people who are disturbed by the Black Mass content. But the Harvard president is right, the answer to speech you don’t like is always *more speech*. It’s frustrating to hear you saying “we shouldn’t be talking about this, we should be talking about that”– spiritually, I’m a Satanist, so we should be talking about both– in the national discussion over the Oklahoma Satanist statue, some people were openly advocating for Satanists to be shot. When there are people out there who are openly, under their real names, unabashedly saying you should die for your beliefs, yes, having a ritual from your religion shut down this way *is* something we bloody well should be talking about! How the majority pressed its hegemony against speech it didn’t like* AND that the speech it tried to snuff out was specifically Satanist are both things that should be discussed.

      *-my, how easily the limits of Christian “tolerance” are reached. We are very far from pluralism, and Satanists are typically coal-mine canaries on this.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Satanists are typically coal-mine canaries on this. Word.

      • Bianca Bradley

        Why should they shut up? They patently disagree. They patently feel this is wrong. They are walking and talking and doing THEIR faith. It is not up to you, or anyone else to tell them to stfu because you don’t like how they walk their walk.

        • Terraluna

          How very Christian of you to come tell the Pagans how they should respect the people who want to “walk their walk” by preventing us from practicing our religions.

          I find much of popular Christian belief and practice to be horrifying. I consider it a death-worshiping, nihilistic, warped and dangerous delusion. I am heartbroken by the millions of lives destroyed or diminished by this monstrous travesty of a religion.

          But I don’t try to shut down your churches. If hundreds of Pagans angrily protested a college allowing a Christian service to take place on campus, you would be outraged. But you say we can’t tell the Christians to stfu when they tell us to stfu. Because, you know, Christians have a right to practice their religion by denying everyone else the right to practice any other religion.

          Sorry, but I can’t respect your Christianist supremacy. We have a walk, too. We just want you to get out of our way.

          • FireroseNekowolf

            There is nothing about “respecting” them in that comment. It’s “don’t be a hypocrite about freedom of speech.” And they’re right. Saying to someone who’s trying to shut you up, telling them to shut up themselves, you’re doing the same thing they’re doing.

            Freedom of speech is a two-way road; you can hate what they’re saying but you have every right to speak out against it just as they have every right to speak out against you. Saying they don’t have that right is NOT the appropriate way to handle it.

            What they did not have the right to do is try to shut the demonstration down, and thankfully they failed in that attempt. But they have every right to say how disgusted they are, just as we have every right to say the same. But just because you don’t like what is being said does not mean you can say it shouldn’t be said.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Thank you.

          • Terraluna

            Disliking a religion and expressing your disapproval is one thing. But we’re talking about an organized effort to force a college to stop a ritual from taking place. We’re not supposed to oppose that? Can we ask the Christians nicely if we can please practice our religion, if we’re very, very quiet? Or is even that too un-sheeplike for playing nice with the Christianists?

            Or are you saying you think it would also be OK if Pagans organized efforts to ban the open practice of Christianity on campus? Should we picket bible-study groups? Heckle their “preachers” during their perverted “services”? All in the name of civility?

            I am very much in support of the right to free speech. Even stupid and bigoted free speech. But when the Christianists decide that that right belongs only to them, I’m gonna call them on it. We’re supposed to let them try to ban our free speech because they really, really believe that it should be banned? And it wouldn’t be nice to tell them that they’re acting like jackasses? Nope, not gonna fall for that one.

          • Bianca Bradley

            It is well within their rights to do so. That is the double edged sword of free speech. It is their American right. It is also well within their ethics to do what they did. Whether your ethics agrees with it or not, is not applicable. Not everyone has the same ethics.

            You have every right to organize a group to try to ban the open practice of Christianity on campus. You’d loose in the courts. Not sure which civil rights group would take the case pro bono(ACLU, FIRE, or the various Christians ones) but you have the right to try. You could even argue the ethics are right on it.

          • Northern_Light_27

            Yes, I agree with you and said as much, although clumsily. I said “present their alternative for people upset by the Black Mass”, I do think they absolutely have a right to express their upset, and I said that the cure for speech you don’t like is more speech. But, I don’t think there’s a “conversation” to be had about whether the Black Mass happens on that campus at all. That moment where it became about trying to shut the offending service down would be where I think they needed to shut it, and I think there were parties involved in what actually happened that had no business being involved (i.e. those not part of the Harvard community).

          • Bianca Bradley

            No, it’s not Christian of me. Christian, would be telling him to turn the other cheek.

            I”m not Christian btw. Don’t assume. Also my facebook says I”m Pagan.

          • Terraluna

            But isn’t that just what you did tell him? That he’s wrong to criticize their attempt to ban his religion?

            My facebook says I’m a dog. Finger waving at anyone who challenges Christian privilege looks like Christian behavior to me. And Christians haven’t practiced “turning the other cheek” for, well, ever.

          • Bianca Bradley

            No that isn’t what I did. The other commenter translated.

            AS for what Christians do or do not do, that depends on the Christian. I would say your understanding of the religion needs work. I would also say that your understanding of Pagans would need work as well. Not all Pagans have this knee jerk hatred of Christianity. Some of us, can even get along with Christians(and not just the politically liberal ones).

          • Bianca Bradley

            Also Northern Light to my knowledge is not a Satanist. Nor did the those protesting what was going on, try to ban Satanism. smh

          • Northern_Light_27

            Yes, I am. It’s rather complicated because spiritually I’m one thing and religiously something else (and I spent a fairly long time as a third thing before moving on from it), but Satanism is the longest-standing part of my personal spiritual-religious thinking.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Did not know that. HUH. Out of curiosity which type of Satanist are you?(face palms and now I got Glinda the good witch in my head)

          • TadhgMor

            You’ve made something of a habit of apologizing for bad Christian behavior here, that I’ve seen. From a neutral standpoint, that comes off rather poorly in a space like this.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Except it’s not “bad” Christian behavior. It’s knee jerk over reactions by many Pagans, who see anything Christian as “bad”. You can see it in the comments here.

            Shrug. I am who I am, and that’s all that I am.

          • TadhgMor

            No, it’s not, and you aren’t our moral center. Quite frankly your tone is extremely problematic.

            It is explicitly bad Christian behavior to attack and threaten others for simple speech.

            You do not seem neutral at all. You regularly and consistently attack pagans and support Christians.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Did I claim to be a moral center?

            My tone? What tone is that?

            Attack? Yeah no. Attacks are physical reactions onto others. I haven’t seen anything in the news about a fight.

            I do regularly agree with more reasonable Christians over other Pagans that I do not agree with. Why? Because the Christians that I agree with, are pretty reasonable to me, or I understand their viewpoint more, or I really disagree with the Pagan who are up in arms stand point.

            I also highly disagree with group think.

          • TadhgMor

            Group think? There’s that same tone. Like you’re better than the rest of us simply because you play nice with Christians. You take a snobby, paternalistic tone with people in this entire thread.

            So you regularly agree with evangelicals who want to convert us, but disagree with those who find such bad faith efforts distasteful?

            I don’t know what you path is, but you seem to be far more comfortable with Christians than pagans. That strikes me as odd, and this is not the first time I’ve noted it from you. You seem to reflect their opinions uncritically, particularly on the Black Mass thing.

          • Bianca Bradley

            You really like to read into things. Snobby paternalistic tone?

            Yes group think. If I don’t agree with you, then I’m not Pagan or all sorts of other things. The you are one of us or you are not equals group think.

            I went through Moreheads history a bit. Seems like an interesting Evangelical that I’d love to discuss more with. That doesn’t mean I agree, it just means I find him shiny. I find nothing about his history that is objectionable.

            I bet I would get a better discussion from him, even when we disagree, than I would from many of the Pagans I have encountered on the Internet. That says more about the Pagans on the Internet, than it does about me or him.

            And yes, I call group think because if I don’t agree. If I take a Christians side because I agree with that particular Christian. If I don’t take the liberal democrat side, than you act like this. This makes me think of group think behavior and I do not like nor accept it.

            It means I disagree. It means I am not afraid of speaking up. It means I am not afraid to be me.

          • TadhgMor

            Yes, snobby paternalistic tone. You’ve continued it here. Your moral disapproval of paganism is practically palpable. You can’t make a single comment without a swipe at “liberals” or pagans.

            You are the ONLY person who thinks this has anything to do with “liberal democrats”. Your political obsession is irrelevant here. It speaks considerably to you that you deny reality like privilege as “liberal” politics.

            There is no group think, and your behavior here is extremely like the sort of arrogant Christians many of us have dealt with in our lives. That you are blind to that only reinforces how different you are. I don’t know or care if you’re a “real” pagan or not; your actions and words affect me no matter what label you choose, and the way you are acting is one that is generally done by Christians.

          • Bianca Bradley

            My moral disapproval of Paganism??? I don’t recall disapproving of the entire umbrella religion. I do recall disagreeing with a couple of posters, but I don’t recall disproving of the entirety of Paganism.

            I’m the only person who has said so, I’m probably not the only person who thinks that privilege and how certain ethics line up with liberal democratic policies. It is also common knowledge that many Pagans are politically more liberal, I believe people have even done stats on it.

            Arrogant Christians? So I need to take your side, because you have had bad experiences with Christians, who may or may not have been arrogant? No.

          • TadhgMor

            Gods. You’re just digging the hole deeper and deeper.

            If you want to rant about liberals and defend Christians from accusations of bad behavior this might not be the site for you. I doubt I am alone in seeing your apologia as immoral, in the sense that you are justifying oppression.

            Privilege is a concept that has nothing to do with liberal democratic policies, except that those policies try and address it. I don’t know what right wing sites you’ve been frequenting, but on this they are wrong. Opposing the concept because of your political beliefs is shallow. Allowing people to suffer because “privilege is liberal” is worse.

            Generally, when part of a group, you share some similarity with that group. You share far more with Christians than anyone else, even by the standards of this site, where the majority are monists and New Age. At least, based on your comments and stated opinions. Perhaps this is some elaborate trolling, I don’t know.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Which morals? I don’t agree nor follow your morals. So why should I act according to your morals?

            Now you are doing the fall in line or go away meme. No.

            My similarity with Pagans begins with the fact that I am not Christian. That’s where the similarity begins and ends in the large umbrella group. Religiously I do have similarities with others. I tend to have more in common religiously with some devotional polytheists than Pantheists. This has nothing to do with politics.

            Now I’m allowing people to suffer, because I won’t stand or agree with you. Sigh… Why is almost all of your arguments with me, begin and end with emotion? Yet you get mad, when I point out, you want me to group think.

            Why are you insisting I become a oblong peg to fit into an oblong hole, instead of allowing me to be my star, to go into a star hole?

          • TadhgMor

            When you justify the attacks on freedom of religion by Christians, as you have here, yes, you are explicitly allowing others to suffer.

            I have never met a devotional polytheist like you, and your behavior would be treated very negatively in my community. But you’re right, it has nothing to do with politics. It has plenty to do with your behavior.

            I don’t care if you feel special. I care if you’re harming others through your actions. You are. None of this “I’m a special snowflake” shit is relevant except to your attempt to try and turn the tables and make it seem like I am the one who is intolerant.

            Quite frankly, I find your behavior to be without honor. Ask your Gods for wisdom. The way you act deserves no respect.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Attacks on freedom of religion???? There were not attacks on the freedom of religion. Both sides exercised their freedom to religion. One side just happened to not like what the other was doing and spoke up about it. They have the 1st amendment to stand up and say no and try to shut it down. That isn’t an attack on the 1st amendment, nor on freedom of religion.

            It means they were standing up for their religious convictions. I don’t happen to have an issue with that. I’m vehemently pro choice, but I’m also ok with pro lifers doing their thing.

            Where exactly was any of this an “attack” on freedom of religion? Being told I don’t like it, i don’t’ want it to happen, I’m going to get people together and use the group to stop something doesn’t equal an attack. It equals organization.They have that right, and I won’t stand with others who say they don’t.

            I mean using the logic you are using, the million man march was an attack on someone else’s free speech.

          • TadhgMor

            Really? Really?

            You are despicable of you think what those Christians did was acceptable. But apparently you believe in distortions and false equivalences. Or your definition of “freedom of religion” is utterly different and doesn’t actually maintain free exercise.

            I wouldn’t want someone like you to “stand with” me on anything. You are utterly without honor. You seem to think anyone gives a f*** about you, and that is where you are wrong. No one cares about your approval. We simply find your shilling for bigoted behavior wrong.

            I know this is hard for you, based on your giant ego, but this is not about YOU.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Takes off the nice girl gloves.

            Hey, deal with your own crap. YOu aren’t my parent. You arent’ my preacher so kindly cut the crap.

            You talk and talk about tolerance(that whole privledge stuff) how bout you try exhibiting some!

            Yes it’s perfectly acceptable what the Christians did. I am damn well not going to fight to have them stop, because if I do, it negates my legal ability to do the same about whatever bee gets in my bonnet. I’m also not going to tell Christians they don’t get to stop being their religious self, because then I have to limit whatever religious bee goes in my bonnet.

            Saying what they did is unacceptable, means I also now should go to Care.com and Care2.com and every other petition site and yell at them that they are using force there to. That’s nonsensical.

            I am respecting the Christians for standing up for their faith. Might surprise you, but when I DO, THEY GIVE IT BACK TO ME, even if I am the weird witch that can talk to dead people. Because then it encourages a dialogue and they have a better view of Pagans.

            No I really don’t have an issue with what the Christians did, because I’ve taken some time to look at their point of view. I don’t have a problem, because i knew legaly they didn’t have a leg to stand on. Morally they were acting within their own religious convictions.

            Ie I was being tolerant, respectful. I was being an adult and not expecting others to only do what I think is ok. In this case I was showing Christians Acceptance.

            IN short Tagh
            BITE ME

          • TadhgMor

            Tolerance? I don’t need to tolerate arrogant children acting up. Nor do I need to tolerate bigotry from Christians or anyone else.

            You now sound like a 16 year old kid, full of opinions and dead sure you understand the world, but amazingly ignorant of reality. You should thank your Gods you’ve lived such a safe, sheltered life that you can afford to ignore Christian hostility or that you’ve only dealt with nice ones. That’s not the case for even most of. The “I’m a special snowflake weird witch” thing also sounds a lot like a teenager. Maybe that’s why I can’t fathom your mindset.

            Really, I think you still think like a Christian, no matter what path you follow. It litters your comments. You’re culturally like them, you think in their mindset, you justify things the same way as them. That’s fine. Plenty of people are like that. But that doesn’t mean I should accept their bad behavior, or lie to justify them, as you have.

            Sorry, I’m allergic to bullshit. You’re not my sort of meal.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Bianca, you and I read the Black Mass account differently. It looks to me like Christians used mob intimidation to shut down the Black Mass, and the college institutions crumbled. That’s not two sides even-handedly exercising free speech in my book. YMMV.I am not endorsing TadhgMor’s take on your comments. I actually can’t quite figure him out on this go-round.

          • Bianca Bradley

            I am a strong supporter of the 1st amendment.

            BOth sides used freedom of speech
            freedom of religion and the right to assemble.

            I replied to him again and it summarizes how I feel and why I feel that way.

            Excuse me I’m feeling a wee bit frustrated.

          • Bianca Bradley

            Actually stopped frequenting political sites where Conservatives are, because my blood pressure goes up. It’s also why I stop reading move.on org and Democratic underground. Have no patience with either side.

            I have to wonder why you keep expecting me to fit or conform to whatever niche you want to put me into. Why is every single argument you make to me, colored in guilt ridden emotion? Why?

            I oppose the concept of Privilege, because it comes from Feminism. It is used to shut down opposition to it. It is not the concept that is bandied about in sociology academia. I .will not stand with those that wish to use guilt to shut others down, because they don’t have any better argument, no matter what their religion or lack of religion is.

          • TadhgMor

            Ah yes, the “I’m so special I hate everyone” argument. It seems rampant egotism is your natural fit. You’re so bloody special that you can’t be put in a group, right? Bloody childish.

            It is not used to shut down opposition. But again, you’ve shown serious ignorance of the topic so I’m not surprised. That “privilege is just mean” line is bandied about in rightist circles rather frequently.

            Yet you’ll stand with those who use FORCE to shut others down. You are a blatant hypocrite.

          • Bianca Bradley

            I didn’t say I hate everyone. I said both extreme sides annoy me.

            Yes as a matter of fact it is used to shut down opposition. It has yet to work, because the other side usually just rolls their eyes at the person who throws it out.

            Now I”m a hypocrite. Whistles.

            I’ll stand with who I like Tagh. You don’t have to like it. Being a Pagan, does not mean I have to stand with you.

            As for using force to shut others down. YOu haven’t proved that, along with any of your other emotional accusations.

          • TadhgMor

            If you don’t think what the Christians did was using force to shut others down, you’re dishonest, a fool, or a hypocrite.

            I’m done with you. Go be your “special snowflake” self and apologize for more Christian bigotry. But don’t expect any respect from those of us who don’t want act without honor like you do.

            Word for the wise? Acting like a **** all the time is your problem, not everyone else being part of “group think” or being “liberal”. I wouldn’t want support from someone like you.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I oppose the concept of Privilege, because it comes from Feminism. To my recollection the current use of the term comes from anti-racism, as in White Privilege. Stuff like, “I can answer the door unshaven and sloppily dressed, and not worry about reinforcing a negative stereotype about my race.” In my experience this kind of reflection opens up conversations rather than shutting them down; of course a lot of that depends on tone.

  • Michael McNiven

    We have Freedom of Religion and lack-thereof here in the USA. Not Freedom to choose which niche branch of the world’s dominant religion and only that religion. I hope this Harvard society has an even greater event planned for the autumn festival. Maybe some October 31st summoning ritual at their public mass. The uptight, pompous fools can have their “Jesus-ween”, but let the “others” celebrate with style for the world to see.

  • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

    I am amazed with the 700+ people who were planning to attend. That is a significant number for such an on-campus religious event! Were any of them Satanists? Occultists? Atheists? Anti-Christian? Or, were they mostly just curious?

    Reminds me of the time a group on a state university campus in Illinois hosted a viewing of an x-rated film in one of their auditoriums. Despite protests from the moral guardians of the community the film was shown… and hundreds of students were turned away because they ran out of seats.

    Personally I have no interest is worshiping a Christian demigod, but with all the fury that’s been whipped up I can’t help but want to know what is behind the robust interest in this ritual at Harvard.

    • Omar Martínez

      I can completley agree with you!

    • AndrasArthen

      What’s really surprising is that there weren’t more than 700 people registered, though perhaps they stopped at that number because it was already more than the space could hold. We’re talking about Cambridge, one of the most liberal cities in the whole country, with a very large student population, so the curiosity factor alone is going to draw a crowd. Beyond that, the Roman Catholic church has had a huge influence throughout the Greater Boston area for a very long time (close to two million Catholics live there), but it’s also the place where the scandal of priests raping children first really came to light, so there’s an awful lot of tension where Catholicism is concerned. The die-hard Catholic apologists, who already feel under siege, are going to jump all over a proposed black mass that they can’t help but see as yet another example of anti-Catholic hatred, whereas a lot of the Catholics & non-Catholics who are really angry at the church will publicly support the black mass on freedom of religion grounds, and privately take delight in watching the Archdiocese go into fits of apoplectic rage. I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this; in fact:

      http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/05/14/take-for-harvard-black-mass-coming-this-fall/vurWnQHV0jQaQX8B07HgDL/story.html

  • Mel Kearney

    so the catholics are offended by somebody elses faith, well big surprise there, thats been their MO for millenias, lucky they can no longer sentence non believers to torture and death. I think they should concern themselves with those within their own walls whom reflect badly or disregard their own teachings in favor of selfish desires, those individuals are the true threat to their faith. As to the satanists? well live and let live or live and let sin as they see fit,lol

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    Christianity is such a perversely perfect inversion of truth that when it is itself inverted, this inversion is a very close approximation to truth.

    Or, in mathematical terms -(-1) = 1.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      How tediously linear…

      • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

        Yeah, I agree. I find Satanism’s over-emphasis on the importance of the individual, as well as their disregard for the sacrality of the natural world, to be far from a close approximation to spiritual truth as I understand it.

        Which does not mean I don’t think they have the same right to religious freedom and free speech as every other religious group, needless to say.

  • Maiasaura

    I would be more than happy to assist with a Pagan/Wiccan ritual, if one should occur.

  • Tommie

    A Black Mass or Satanic Mass is NOT part of Pagan,Wicca or Druidism. It is ut’s own thing. Satanism is to a degree it’s own religion. so tbey should be aloud to do it’s own thing without getting backlash just like other religions has a right to do there own thing.

  • Wolfbane

    I find this extremely hypocritical since Christianity is nothing but ritualized mockery of Judaism.

    Anyway, what’s the difference? Satanism and Christianity are the same religion. They both grovel before desert slave deities from the same pantheon.

    • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

      Not actually correct. There’s a lot of different philosophies that are under the Satanism umbrella, but the ones that seem to have staying power seem to be more about individual freedom than the Christian anti-God.

      It turns out to be fascinatingly complex–though not particularly Pagan.

      • Bianca Bradley

        ehhh, I think it can be argued that some of the sects of Satanism can be Pagan(those that see Satan as a Set, or those that see him as another type of God. Can be considered devotional polytheist. ).

    • Northern_Light_27

      You seem to have misplaced Nuance when you got up this morning, such a shame.

  • Franklin_Evans

    I used to have a very sore tongue. I was in a relationship where being wrong happened within the first six to ten words I spoke out loud, so I learned to suppress myself. I learned that no matter how many words I spoke, from the original attempt to express my thoughts through every attempt to respond to mistaken assumptions and misunderstandings, my originally being wrong was cut in stone.

    This makes me over-the-top sensitive when anyone, in any context, under any circumstances, is treated that way. That is how I see this tangent with Mr. Morehead. My posts had barely-contained ire behind them. Aine, I owe you an apology for not better reading your post and lumping you in with the rest. Hecate, the one unfair thing I did was letting my ire obscure the important points I wanted to make. I will stand by my words, and take the consequences of them.

    I submit to you Northern Light’s exchange with John. Ask and actually listen to the answer. That seems to be sorely lacking in nearly all the rest of the thread.

    I don’t believe John requires protection or advocacy here. I do believe he deserves that minimal respect we freely offer to our own siblings-in-faith with whom we have strong disagreement. Having posted extensively on this here, I will try to avoid beating this deceased equine in the future, and just ignore it when it happens.

    • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

      Gastblogshaft–treating one another with basic Pagan hospitality. I agree with you, Franklin. And I hope you won’t be alone in holding to that standard.

      (Strongly worded responses are unlikely to disappear from TWH, whatever we do, so free expression fans have no reason to fear civility! It’s understood–we will continue to disagree, and often!)

  • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

    Cultural club decides to look at cultures not of the dominant demographic. Dominant demographic goes ape.

    Nothing new there. I’m just glad that it happened. People need to be upset, sometimes. It builds character.