Editorial: Douthat’s post-Christian future, a response

Yesterday, columnist Ross Douthat wrote The Return of Paganism for the New York Times. As the essay’s subtitle commented, “Maybe there actually is a genuinely post-Christian future for America.”

As I read the article, what I find myself focused on is the incredible disservice this essay did to the – writ large – Pagan community around the world. Mr. Douthat reduces “Paganism” to a series of disconnected beliefs in spiritual and supernatural forces that focuses skeptically on moral standards, although he correctly points out that Paganism generally centers on immanent reality as a manifestation of the spiritual. At the same time, Mr. Douthat becomes trapped by the philosophical perspectives of pantheism of Nietzsche, Spinoza, and even Walt Whitman. He plays with the cultic aspects of a Pagan world, and finally does his greatest disservice by engaging in an ever-present, and frankly ignorant, need to link together “New Agers and neo-pagans [sic].” He exposes his ignorance of the Pagan and polytheist community by noting that he has “in mind the countless New Age practices that promise health and well-being and good fortune, the psychics and mediums who promise communication with the spirit world, and also the world of explicit neo-paganism, Wiccan and otherwise.” He ultimately laments that “there may soon be more witches in the United States than members of the United Church of Christ.”

What Is The Pagan Blogosphere? What Role Does It Serve?

Today, at the Patheos Pagan Channel, Christine Kraemer interviews Anne Newkirk Niven, editor and publisher of Witches & Pagans Magazine, about the current state of Pagan media (among other things). During the interview, Niven expounds on blogs within the umbrella of Pagan media, and the role they serve. Today, blogs fill a specific niche: real-time, fast-paced information. No print media can keep up with the blogosphere; on the other hoof, even the most super-heated debate in the legendary Green Egg forum (letters to the editor) never got as crazily divisive as what happens in the comment-rich, disinhibited atmosphere of the Web. Pagans are an information-hungry group of people; reading led many, if not most, of us onto our paths.

Column: Confessions on Being Silent No More

[The following is a guest editorial by Lydia M N Crabtree. Lydia M N Crabtree, back from a medical sabbatical, confesses she is many things through her website and her blog (Confessions of Being…). She writes on social justice issues, incest survival, physical and mental trauma as it relates to spiritual development, and Family Coven – the idea that a family unit is the first and primary coven anyone is part of. “Family Coven: Birthing Hereditary Witchcraft” will be released in Spring of 2014 through Immanion Press.]

Obamacare! Government shutdown! Republicans, Democrats, class wars, racism!

Column: The Extra Burden of Honor

[The following is a guest editorial from Cara Schulz. Cara Schulz is the Managing Editor of the Pagan Newswire Collective and the Chair of Pagan Coming Out Day.  She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, enjoys attending festivals, and has no tattoos.]

Let me first state that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. That said, things look grim for Councilman Dan Halloran (R), Queens, although he maintains his innocence.  He, and five others, were arrested on charges of accepting bribes and attempting to rig an election.  Halloran was specifically accused of setting up meetings with three other elected officials and handling bribes totaling thousands of dollars.  The details, and guilt and innocence of each person, will come out in trial and I have no interest trying the case here.I’m also not naïve enough to think bribery and corruption aren’t rampant in all levels of our government. It may be as blatant as what the FBI claims Halloran engaged in or it may be more subtle and pervasive.  How many of our politicians leave office poorer than when they were first elected? Dan Halloran wasn’t just any politician, though.  While we’ve had, and will have, other Pagans and Heathens in elected office, none were as prominent as Halloran.  None had been so publicly and brutally outed during their campaign, and yet still won, as Halloran.  And none, once mocked and derided for their religion, had either of the two major parties stand by him as steadfastly as the Republican Party stood by Halloran.  For the first time, mocking one of our religions not only didn’t work, it backfired.  People of all, and no, religious persuasions said bigotry was not a winning campaign strategy and they voted Halloran into office.