SUNNYVALE, Calif –Jason Mankey credits his public visibility as a Pagan to the blog he writes on the Patheos Pagan channel, Raise the Horns. He is also currently that channel’s editor, a position which has put him in the crosshairs during the sometimes-tense ownership transition to BN Media, a company with a strong Christian influences. He has been praised as a devoted priest of Pan and derided as a corporate minion. In the following conversation, a portrait emerged which is more nuanced than one can often glean from blog posts for and about an individual. The Wild Hunt: Do you do anything with your life other than manage a blog channel at Patheos?
TWH – Many modern Pagans and Heathens shy away from — or are downright horrified by — the idea of animal sacrifice. Arguments against the practice generally come from a place of concern for the animals involved, or a fear that it would result in an “othering” by mainstream society. On the other hand, the sacrificial priests say that the practice is rooted in compassion and community, and that criticisms of their work reveal a fundamental disconnect with the food system, and perhaps a smoldering of racism as well. In recent weeks, a debate has heated up around this topic. It is clear that the very idea of killing animals in a sacred ritual evokes strong emotions among proponents and opponents alike, which can obscure the arguments and factual details as well as the religious reasons for carrying it out.
This past week several pieces hit the internet that focused attention on Paganism and gathered a response from Pagans. Fr. Dwight Longenecker, a Catholic priest and blogger on Patheos, wrote two pieces discussing views about Paganism and judgments about those who follow the path. Many Pagans interpreted Longenecker’s writing to be an attempt to poke fun at Paganism, which has led to the discussions, comments and angst often seen when misinformation is published about the community. The Huffington Post also posted an article this week about Pagans; it was a small piece about Pat Robinson’s most recent blaming of Witchcraft, or the Occult, for a child’s painful stomach pains on a recent episode of the 700 Club. The internet has a way of broadcasting many different types of drama far and wide.