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Unfortunately, there is no getting around the current trend in the United States against Islam. This has been growing in spurts since 9/11; I remember a Pakistani friend of mine in Columbus, OH, having to replace the sign in front of his restaurant after 9/11 first occurred, because someone took it on him- or herself to break the sign in a show against Islam and Pakistan. Just recently, a bookstore I used to frequent, Isis Bookstore in Denver, CO, had its sign violated in a similar way after the attacks in France. In this latter case, the folks inside are Pagan, not Muslim, but the identification of ISIS for the Islamic State terrorists has culminated in a painful backlash for those following the Egyptian Goddess or associating with her. (I’ll probably say something about that tomorrow, though it’s not really PIE related.)
On the Wild Hunt recently, Jason mentions the 40 Days Over DC event. Most of what he says explains the situation, and most of the comments are calls to magical action, sitting in the comfort of their homes and casting spells to block, reflect, or deflect the power of prayer that will be directed towards the Nation’s Capitol. Many of these comments also state that the Neopagan response should be to publicly ignore it (or, in one case, laugh at it) to take away much of its energy.
The problem with the approach in many of these comments is that this is not just a magical event these “prayer warriors” are engaging in. They are essentially marching on Washington in a 40-day prayer & protest, then moving to Philadelphia for 11 days to do the same. A protest has a different effect on the world than a magical act such as prayer; it’s more public, it has more exposure, and in itself it can affect the opinions of hundreds. Added to the tactics of Fundamentalist Christianity such as prayer against LGBTQ, Paganism, and other religions, this tactic becomes even more effective.
As I have said several times, adding physical components to one’s magical acts will increase the power of the act. Everything from gestures to burning the written word to planting seeds in the ground has been used to enact magic in the world. This protest is a Christian version, though they would never call it magic. I agree with one comment which says that the Christian “prayer warrior” is much more dangerous than a magician because the prayer warrior doesn’t take any responsibility for the act – “it’s all up to God”. Therefore, praying to kill a lesbian Senator or remove rights for thousands of American Pagans is perfectly alright, because if it happens, then it can be explained away as “God’s will” rather than someone’s hatred or fear manifesting.
After all, everyone knows magic doesn’t exist.
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
I sit and continue to watch as Fundamentalists continue to venerate a god they claim is “good”, and yet continues to harm anyone unlike them, and calls upon them to do the same. It’s time to stand up to this stupidity and call it what it is. If God is love, their God isn’t God.
Therefore, when this 51 days of prayer event reaches Colorado’s “day” on October 15th, I’m going to be standing out in front of the state capital. All day. Preferably with a sign or some other protest of this “prayer war” that has been waged against me and anyone else who is of a different religion, sexual orientation, or political persuasion different from these so-called Christians. My act of magic, the physical component to the counter-prayers I will send to Freyja and Herne, will be risking derision, attack, and arrest to stand up for what I believe in; if there are prayer warriors there, maybe we can start a dialogue, though I truly doubt they’ll be interested in discussion.
The generation before mine spent many years facing no less than derision, attack, and arrest, in order to give the current generation a chance for religious freedom, a chance for freedom to love whomever we love. It’s time those of my generation stood up and started following in those footsteps, because the previous generations cannot continue to fight forever. We’ve lost many of our Pagan elders in recent years. I think it’s fair to ask, have we also lost our will to fight for our rights? How far will we fall in this desire to avoid conflict before we lose them?
Like me, I hope you will take risks to go to your state capital or town hall, or even travel to Washington, DC, to stand up and be counted, to oppose those who claim to follow the path of the Founding Fathers but instead ignore the writings of Jefferson, Franklin, and Addams to create a revisionist view of American values. If you are one of these brave souls, I wish you luck.