Labeling Pagans and Other Impossible Tasks!

Labeling Pagans and Other Impossible Tasks!

Author:   Avren  

Elitist. Snob. Know-it-all… These are not names you would normally use to describe the Pagan community. This is the reason many of us filtered in to this diverse, and multi-faceted spiritual path. I felt much battered and bruised by my own self-imposed guilt when I turned from my previous path to God. Truth be told, I prayed to Him and Them the first transitional year. I was too terrified not to! Yet here I am today. I’ve worshiped and practiced now for almost ten years.

Fair warning to the more delicate of us, there is a lot of labels thrown around in this essay. To everyone else, get your B.S. goggles on, and don’t forget your earplugs!

I’m no “Fluffy Bunny” nor am I a “Cynical Badger, ” these are a couple of descriptive names used by Isaac Bonewits in his essay ’Making Fauna Pagans’ to describe many of this community. His essay is one of the top thirteen viewed on this site, and for good reason. I think everyone should view it. It is well written and to the point.

I recently read yet another essay where the author attempted to put down one or several of us by describing a particular type of Pagan as not “real.” In fact the whole theme seemed to revolve around not being real because you don’t put your biggest pentacle out there. This seems to be a very worrisome subject for lots of us, so I figured I might as well throw in my two cents.

I am not a part of a coven, nor do I interact with many of the Pagan community. I don’t think I am in anyway “better” or more “advanced, ” I’m just simpler. I’m sure there are lots of people out there who feel the same way I do. I don’t need reinforcements to follow my path. I interact with many of you here in this virtual community. While I thoroughly enjoy it, the separation that is integral in any safe online interaction serves me just fine. I love to read the voices of like minded people, I just can’t stand the pressure to be “right” or “in” or the most “real” (Usually under debate, who’s path was first) or whatever the term may be. To be fair the people I’ve communicated with have primarily been positive.

However, I ask this question. Why do we need to know who is more authentic? What’s more, who of us has the right to tell someone they are unreal and/or a fluffy bunny? (For people new to the term, this usually means one or more of the following: Flamboyant, inexperienced, know-it-all-two-book-reader. You get the picture. It’s someone who can act at times immature, yet claim to represent us all.)

I take my faith seriously, and I try to teach our young ones to love and respect our Lady as well. Do I need a face full of black makeup, or a neck full of pentacles to be “real?” Didn’t many of us leave our various paths sick to death of “Keeping up with the Jehovah’s?” You all know what I mean. My path is right for me. I’m not fake nor am I a flake.

Do you see the recurring theme here? Lots of labels. Bottom line, Too much make up = Fluffy Bunny. Too little = Not Pagan enough.

Is it possible that others are threatened by my ease and confidence with the Lord and Lady, when theirs is possibly shaky? Is that why they cannot share their Yuletide traditions with those people they love, while simultaneously celebrating their loved ones holiday as well?

I’m not a traitor; I just don’t feel the need to dredge up a history lesson, when my mom says “Merry Christmas.” She isn’t saying it to try to make me conform; she is just saying a small blessing in her most comfortable way. If anyone wishes to label me, try these on for size: Forgiving, Non-Judgmental, And Real (a personal favorite) , or just plain Happy. I don’t live in a bubble, or take happy pills. I live day to day, and try to look on the bright side. (NOT always easy when times are tough, not to mention being a Scorpio who can see B.S. everywhere I look.)

I think the issue with the folks who need to label, is the simple fact that the Pagan community at large wouldn’t wear a label, even if it fit and was made of 100% recycled paper! Are these hypocrite Pagans too afraid to branch out on their own? Are they too afraid to use the brain the Lord and Lady gave them to think of their own traditions?

We as Pagans don’t have the “Word, ” and I for one am grateful. I never liked the thought of only one way. Is it this lack of black and white, mixed with a whole lotta grey that causes the uproar? Who among us hasn’t struggled with identity in this Craft? There isn’t anything like being under enemy fire, and trying to explain your spiritual roots. The sad thing is, however; the firing brigade that often awaits in our own camp.

I suppose you could look at this essay as a “can’t we all get along” type, and maybe it is. Why can’t we all get along? We teach our kids this, and we also tell other people we don’t judge people by their faith. (Unlike some monotheistic faiths) Why don’t we see more essays on how to cast, or some neat meditation techniques we might have? How about traditions that are neat to pass down.

I recently walked through the forest. What an experience. The pine trees smelled of secrets and childhood. The green was so vibrant it almost hurt the eyes. I shared woods lore my grandparents taught me with our two children. I explained how seeds work, and we counted the rings of the tree that gave its life for our holiday. We also gave thanks to it, and the earth for giving it to us. This is new to them, (I’m the stepmom) but they enjoyed it anyway. I felt Them around us. Who needs a church? I wrote this, by the way, as an example of what we COULD be sharing.

I worship this way. I tend my garden with a joyful and grateful heart. I pray to Them, and I give back to Them. I don’t wear a Pentacle, I don’t advertise period. I don’t need it, and neither do They. If this isn’t Pagan enough, I sincerely don’t care. I have nothing to prove, and I don’t believe my path is the only right one. I’ll celebrate mine, if you celebrate yours! (Small joke) Why can’t more of us feel the same?

So the next time you catch yourself judging the Pagan next to you, relax and remember that we are all different, but They know who we are

__________________________________

Footnotes:
Issac Bonewits ‘Making Fauna Pagans’

How Do You Order Up Your Pagan Group?

How Do You Order Up Your Pagan Group?

Author: Greenbridge (Ellen Bergstrom)

Would you call it bold and spicy? Or is it more like creamy and smooth? My guess is that it is more like the former, bold and spicy…and perhaps even outrageous, loud, and obnoxious, angry, or even destructive. Hopefully it has not gotten to the physically violent level as yet, but hey, give it time.

Am I being a bit sarcastic here? Well, yes, but there is a lot of accuracy in what I say. Pagans are often obnoxious, loud, angry, and even attacking each other. What’s wrong with that you say? Don’t like the “fluffy bunny” approach? Well okay then, you violent ones, why don’t you all stick together. Perhaps you will all destroy each other eventually or else mellow out to realize you really don’t want your children, your grandchildren, and continuing generations to be as mean and nasty a bunch that you were.

Perhaps as you reach your elder years, become sick and frail and unable to care for yourselves that you’ll really begin to appreciate those “fluffy bunnies” that signed up to care for people like you. Perhaps so but if you get a caretaker like you, a mean one, what will they do to frail ole you when no one is watching. Perhaps it will only be then. Or maybe not even then. Maybe you will say you are tough enough to put up with the abuse, abuse that you yourself have given to others during your life of eating fluffy bunnies for snacks and fun. You may have to only realize it on your deathbed when you finally figure it out. Perhaps you would have lived longer, or perhaps even recovered from this elder illness you had but alas none of the fluffy bunnies survived to care for you.

Well now. Obviously I am not the obnoxious mean type of pagan I talk about (but I used to be, I’m in recovery I guess you would say.) Or you may think I am what you may consider to be a fluffy bunny or at least advocating that kind of thing. Think again. Actually, the term “fluffy bunny” was invented by those who are perhaps arrogant and self-involved to the extent that they wish not to consider the needs of others except when they are being patronizing. Patronizing is a lot like the “trickle down” stuff. Give a few crumbs to the peasants to keep them quiet and get credit for being generous.

The real fluffy bunnies are infants and small children who are being raised in love and kindness. They are still naive, of course, they are children, and are filled with love and hope. They want to spend their days discovering new things and having lots of fun. They think kindly of others and want to help those in need and it comes from their hearts. Few of us adults have been able to retain that kind of spirit. Too many of us have become tainted, rebellious, and skeptical. Or perhaps we were spoiled rotten and never learned to think of others except for “our own.” Others of us harbor hate in our hearts and will destroy others when given the chance.

Some of the greatest people among us are those who have been deprived of the necessary love and kindness that all children should have received yet discover that the hateful way they were treated is not the life they chose. These people have learned that love and kindness is strength not a weakness. They realize the worldview is upside down. Strength means kindness not meanness. They have learned that being kind to others often will bring that back to them. In fact they have learned that true respect of others is only respect for the self. They discovered what is perhaps one of the greatest secrets of all: that we are all connected. And since we are all connected, hurting others is like one hand trying to harm the other. In short we all hurt.

I have a theory why so many Pagans are so mean to others and even to other Pagans. I think it is because so many of us have been forced to follow old fundamentalist ideas like those of the Fundamentalist Protestant and the Catholic Church. We learned that to be considered “good” we follow what we are taught to do but not necessarily what the others do who taught us. We learned that life is mean, tough and competitive as we grew up with it. We learned to rebel against these awful ideas as young people since we have a brain. But then instead of joyfully entering Paganism, some of us bring that anger and hate right to the place we thought would be the best for us. Think of it. Bringing your hatefully past to a place you think will bring you to some kind of happiness in life.

Some of us never learned how to love and kind to others. Some of us never learned what joy that kindness brings into your life. Instead we were taught that it was a sign of weakness. We learned we had to fight and compete. Or perhaps we were so spoiled and rotten we never learned to even consider the needs of others.

Perhaps we learned we had to talk loud and take over the discussion, not allowing others to talk. Perhaps even we were taught to belittle others who have ideas different from ours. Perhaps even we were taught physical destruction against the property of others or even violence such as hitting, etc. Those who continue to be nasty perhaps have never learned the skills of kindness or the understanding of the strength it takes to be kind. These are just simple social skills that anyone can do to show respect for another human being. The strength comes in when they are practiced.

Turning the channel now.

Aaaahhhhh. Now I enter thoughts of love, kindness and peace. As I do so, I leave behind the abusive parents I had, the mean teachers, the hypocrites from the church I grew up in, the bully kids at school, the bullies at work. And those bullies at the last Pagan gathering I went to. I relax by myself and with others who are like me interested in having a loving and peaceful world. I know that is the only way I can fully develop all my talents and abilities and create the life I want.

There are many of us Pagans, those of us that want love and peace. We are not “fluffy bunnies.” Many of us are still full of piss and vinegar…spicy as all get out! We are very strong women and men who despite all the meanness and destruction in the world around us are strong enough to be kind to others. We care lovingly for those who need our help. And we care lovingly for our loved ones and for ourselves. We have known how easy it is to be mean and nasty to others…we did it ourselves. After all, that is how we were brought up too! But we realized it was the cowardly way out. We decided we did not want to be cowards.

We found out that after all it is the harder life to have in the long run though it “seems” to be easier. We discovered that it just seemed easier because it was something we were accustomed to doing and thus it was an automatic response. Being kind… that was hard because we never did it before. But when we started doing it, it turned out to be a happier life after all. We found out that it is a far easier, better, and more enjoyable life to simply be kind to others. We found that we could be kind to everyone, not just “our own.” When will you find that out, now, or will you wait till the moments before your death.

Oh and about that “bold and spicy” as opposed to “smooth and creamy”, I’ve decided that I don’t have to chose either one. I can have one of them today and perhaps the other tomorrow. I can have them both! I also discovered that I could add and subtract from things, juggle them around and make them the way I like. I choose to add kindness to the “bold and spicy” label but I delete out the mean part. Think I’ll create just that. Care to join me? Why not have it all together? What would you create? Let me know? I promise, I’ll be kind.

The Term “Fluffy Bunny” Must Go

The Term “Fluffy Bunny” Must Go

Author: Praxiteles

I believe that the term “fluffy bunny” is not only not useful or practical, but harmful, and that we should abandon the term.

So, why must “fluffy bunny” go? In my opinion, there are the five main reasons why:

1. The term “fluffy bunny” is itself fluffy bunny.

“Fluffy bunny” is defined variously, but the general notion is that of a person who doesn’t check their facts (or even care about ‘facts’, historical or otherwise); who accepts or dismisses something without critical thought; and who goes around spreading their dogma as if it is the one True Way. The usual example given is of someone who buys one book on the Craft, or several books but all by the same author, and takes this author’s approach and viewpoints as Gospel, and then goes around annoying the heck out of everyone else. When challenged or questioned on anything, the “fluffy bunny” can’t defend or explain their position, except with something along the lines of “because so-and-so says so.”

Now I agree that this behavior is rather unimpressive, and that “because so-and-so says so” isn’t any kind of reasoned response or valid argument. However, have you maybe noticed that the same people who throw around the “fluffy bunny” and “fluff” and “nonsense” labels the most are often the very people who can’t explain why a particular author or book or person is so bad, so “fluffy”? Instead of taking the trouble to back up their assertions with reasons and facts, they just slap on the “fluffy bunny” label and pour on the derision and contempt.

To my mind, this is type of behavior is worse than the behavior being criticized.

Labels and stereotypes are the tools of guilt, shame, manipulation, and domination. They bypass reason and consideration and go straight to an emotional level. No tyrant or demagogue has ever been able to dispense with these tools; no genocide, no atrocity, no war has ever been committed or fought without their help. They stop you from considering the people involved, from thinking of the person, the human being.

Fluffy bunny in drag isn’t any better than fluffy bunny. The website Why Wiccans Suck, for example, isn’t any more thoughtful or profound than that which it attacks. If someone hates someone or something because it is “fluffy bunny”, and when asked for an explanation why can do no better than say, “because it’s fluff and nonsense”, well then, I’m sorry, but I don’t see any essential difference between the behavior they are exhibiting and that which they are attacking.

And supposing that someone can articulate many good reasons why something is bad then why fall back on a crutch, on a label like “fluffy bunny” in the first place? Wouldn’t a paragraph or two of articulate and reasoned criticism be so much better?

2. “Fluffy Bunny” is a straw-man term.

Has anyone ever actually met a fluffy bunny, either in real life or online? Perhaps some people have, but I haven’t! Looking over the more serious definitions of what a “fluffy bunny” is, at, for example, Wicca for the Rest of Us, I can’t see that there could possibly be very many bona fide fluffy bunnies running around out there. And keep in mind that those people who are de facto fluffy bunnies due to ignorance, and who stop being such when confronted with the facts and better information, are not fluffy bunnies.

Fluffy bunnies, according to the definition, are those who ignorantly and stupidly cling to whatever they hold up on a pedestal, regardless of the facts. Now, really, how many of those people have you met?

So, why is this term so prevalent? Is it perhaps because its use makes people feel good because it implies that the user is not a fluffy bunny, is in fact a “real” Witch? A “serious” Witch? I think sometimes this may be the case, or partly the case, and this brings me to my next point:

3. “Fluffy Bunny” is manipulative and plays on the fears and desires of the inexperienced and insecure.

For the record, I include myself here. The stupidest thing I ever wrote online is when I asked for a definition of a “pop Wiccan” because “I didn’t want to be one, ” and knowing what it was would help me from becoming one. But, really, how could I know that I didn’t want to be a pop Wiccan if I didn’t actually know what a “pop Wiccan” was? I couldn’t. It was stupid. Or actually, it was insecure.

I greatly admired (and still admire) the person with whom I was talking, and wanted to avoid what she despised or dismissed. In other words, instead of thinking for myself, I wanted her to think for me. This is not what being a Witch is all about–quite the opposite–regardless of whether the opinion or position was right or wrong.

Witchcraft isn’t about having the “right” opinions, or reading the “right” books, or being taught by the “right” Coven–not if “right” is something you dogmatically and thoughtlessly accept from others.

The widespread use of the term “fluffy bunny” and terms like it, creates an atmosphere of negativity and nastiness, and this atmosphere tends to focus the attention on opinions and positions instead of on process and methods, which help develop discernment and skills.

It’s got a bunch of people out there wasting time trying to avoid being a “fluffy bunny” when they don’t even know what that really is, and could thus only accept the judgments of others on the subject, and hence perpetuate the fluffy bunniness of the term “fluffy bunny.”

Wouldn’t it be better to focus attention instead on learning and progressing? I suggest that maybe the best thing we can do is not to be afraid of being called “fluffy bunny”; not to be afraid of reading a book reputed to be “fluffy bunny”; not to care so much what others opine, but instead to care more about trying to find the truth for ourselves.

I think dialogue is good; discussion is good; considering the thoughts and reasoning of others is good; by all means engage in these activities (as we are right now). But I think that accepting labels and bald dogmatic assertions, even from those with more experience and skill, short-circuits all of these good things.

4. “Fluffy Bunny” is authoritarian.

It seems to me that those who use a label, a stereotype, like “fluffy bunny”, necessarily imply that they are an authority. They are asking you to take their word on something, unless or until they bother to explain the reasoning behind the judgment.

And, please! I am quite sure that there is always someone out there who thinks that you and your way is “fluffy bunny”; always some group ready to look down on the group looking down on a group just finding their way as best they can; always someone ready to point out what you are not, what you have not, where you are unworthy of serious consideration.

Wouldn’t it be better to just stop with all that? Don’t we have better things to do with our time than criticize and condemn and judge others and how they practice? We’re not monotheists! We have no orthodoxy to defend; no Tradition to keep pure and untainted. Can’t we instead use all of that extra energy to strive all the harder to live and practice to the best of our ability?

5. It will hurt your magick.

Or at least it did me. I have found that contempt and disrespect is not something that will enamor my Younger Self to my Talking-head Self. Contempt is spiritual and magickal poison in my experience. It goes hand in hand with skepticism and snobbery.

Obviously, this is only my experience. Test things out (if you haven’t already) and see for yourself. Try for a day, or for 8 hours, to bend your mind to the good in people and situations. Do not indulge in contemptuous or belittling thoughts towards others or yourself. Now cast a circle or do a pathworking or LBRP, or whatever practices you do, and see if you notice a difference. Perhaps you will find that it is easier to reach ritual or magickal states of consciousness. I certainly do.

But, don’t get me wrong here. You don’t have to go around fooling yourself into believing everyone is an avatar of perfection. You don’t have to check your discernment at the door. You just have to avoid holding others in contempt.

So those are my reasons. Perhaps you found them interesting and worth reading, or perhaps not. But either way, I do understand the problems and frustrations behind the widespread use of the term “fluffy bunny.”

I understand that there are plenty of people out there playing at being Witches; dabbling, posturing, looking for instant gratification, and I understand that many serious Witches are concerned that these people drag things down to a lower level and give Witchcraft a bad name, and so on.

I do understand that.

What I don’t understand is why we give them so much thought, and even a stereotype, when instead we could have given their opposite as much or more thought, and held it up as a shining ideal.

Fluffy bunnies are, after all, immune to criticism by definition, right?

In my opinion, it’s better to show what you think is the way forward, and the ideal, than to waste time and thought on where you do not want to go, on what you do not want to be. People will scatter from the latter in every direction. But people will go towards the former from every direction.

So shouldn’t we think about abandoning the term “fluffy bunny” and focus on the opposite?

How about the “sleek raccoon” or something?

I Love The Craft, Charmed, and Practical Magic…Wait, I’m A Fluffy Bunny?

I Love The Craft, Charmed, and Practical Magic…Wait, I’m A Fluffy Bunny?

Author: Celeste

I doubt there is one person in the school I go to that doesn’t know that I’m a Pagan—or, as the part of the student body that don’t like me call me, “witch bitch.” This just past school year, my junior year, I made an attempt to clear up rumors by being interviewed by the school newspaper about my spirituality. I explained it (excluding words such as witchcraft, spell, magic, and Wicca of course) and hoped that it would make people see me in a new light. Unfortunately, because the aspiring journalist wrote it in such a way that made me sound very melodramatic (and put quotes around things I didn’t say!) I think it just added fuel to the fire.

But anyway, now that the background is out of the way, let’s get back on the subject at hand.

I like to view myself as a very intelligent, well-rounded, open-minded individual. Since day one, I’ve researched and researched and researched everything I could. Within the first week, I knew what a ‘fluffy bunny’ was, and I was determined not to be one. Right from the get-go, I knew magic wasn’t like in the media. I knew vampires and werewolves and dragons and other fantastical creatures like that weren’t real, although I certainly wished they were.

I had my fluff moments here and there despite all the research and work I put in, but don’t we all? I’m past that now, and although I don’t really self-identify as a Wiccan or a Witch any longer, that’s the label that’s stuck because I used to be very…. out there. Hence the fluff. So, rumors were thus spread, especially when I got to high school, and I became known as “witch bitch” to some, “the witch” to others, and still others just didn’t care. ( I appreciated those still others.)

So, anyway, in reference to the title. First, it was The Craft. My buddy Kat introduced it to me first, since she adores it. And I really liked it, too. Sure, many people think it’s a terrible movie, but I thought it was really good. Besides, you can only expect bad graphics and actors from a 90s movie about witches.

After The Craft was the lovely Practical Magic. Who doesn’t love this movie? Not only does it have great actresses, but also it’s a great love story and a great example of the fact that things like curses only work if you believe in them. The whole placebo effect thing.

And of course, there’s Charmed. I’m almost finished watching the entire series—I’m on the fifth episode of the eighth season now. And I love it. I think it’s hilarious. And even though the graphics and actors/actresses are even worse than in The Craft, it’s so addicting that you can’t help but love it. My mother and my 8-year-old sister love it as well.

Now, like I’ve mentioned, I like to view myself as a very intelligent person. I’m no longer “out there” about my spirituality. I don’t even wear a pentacle anymore: I wear a pretty little triskele. I get complimented on it all the time. If someone asks me what religion I am, I tell them I don’t like to put a label on my beliefs, but I do believe there is a divine out there, that it’s called by many names, and that I basically try my best to work in harmony with the earth and the universe.

If I know for a fact that the other person is of a like mind, I tell them that I’m an Eclectic Neo-Pagan. I don’t bring Neo-Pagan or New Age centered books with me to school unless I’m passing them on to a friend who wants to borrow it. I don’t talk very much about it, either, simply because there’s nothing to talk about. My experiences are my own and I don’t need to share them. I don’t shout my thoughts and feelings from the rooftops like I used to. I’ve become a much quieter, peaceful, and—because I’ve settled down with my spirituality—much more confident and centered. People respect me a lot more now, and even the rumors have seem to have settled down.

So, one day I was talking to a friend about TV shows we like, and I said my and my family love to watch Charmed. He snorted and said, “Yeah, ‘cause it’s about witches, right?”

Huh?

I ignored the comment and mentioned another TV show I like (House, but that’s not the point here) , but it left me wondering what people think of me when it comes to the kind of media I like. Do people really think I only like The Craft, Charmed, and Practical Magic—and Harry Potter, but who doesn’t love Harry Potter? —because they’re about witches? Do I come off as fluffy bunny simply because I don’t hate the fantasy genre that is filled with vampires, witches, wizards, fairies, and other creatures?

I know there’s really nothing I can do about besides not mention the kind of media I like, but it still irks me. And it really gets me thinking about assumptions within the Pagan community, too. But here, it’s almost reversed. You’re ostracized if you DON’T love those kinds of things. Oh, but you can’t be “out there” with it. Except if you’re at a Pagan gathering. Then you can be “out there”.

But you all know what I’m talking about. It’s been discussed in several different articles on here before. I don’t need to go over the whole thing again. I really just wanted to blow off some steam.

I’m really just tired of the fluffy bunny thing. Okay, I admit, I used to use the fluffy bunny label all the time. Sometimes I still slip up and use it. I’m really trying not to, and it’s because I’m trying to get rid of that assumption that I’m fluffy bunny because of the kinds of TV shows and movies I like. Or books. Because I love the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan, too.

They’re fiction, people. We all know they’re fiction. Granted, there are those out there who don’t think they’re fiction, but those people are much more few and far between than we think they are. We aren’t like rabid Twilight fans that convert to Cullenism and think that they’re vampires, too.

Just because someone loves The Craft, Charmed, and Practical Magic DOES NOT mean that they believe witchcraft is just like that. I wish more people would understand that.

How Do You Order Up Your Pagan Group?

How Do You Order Up Your Pagan Group?

Author: Greenbridge (Ellen Bergstrom)

Would you call it bold and spicy? Or is it more like creamy and smooth? My guess is that it is more like the former, bold and spicy…and perhaps even outrageous, loud, and obnoxious, angry, or even destructive. Hopefully it has not gotten to the physically violent level as yet, but hey, give it time.

Am I being a bit sarcastic here? Well, yes, but there is a lot of accuracy in what I say. Pagans are often obnoxious, loud, angry, and even attacking each other. What’s wrong with that you say? Don’t like the “fluffy bunny” approach? Well okay then, you violent ones, why don’t you all stick together. Perhaps you will all destroy each other eventually or else mellow out to realize you really don’t want your children, your grandchildren, and continuing generations to be as mean and nasty a bunch that you were.

Perhaps as you reach your elder years, become sick and frail and unable to care for yourselves that you’ll really begin to appreciate those “fluffy bunnies” that signed up to care for people like you. Perhaps so but if you get a caretaker like you, a mean one, what will they do to frail ole you when no one is watching. Perhaps it will only be then. Or maybe not even then. Maybe you will say you are tough enough to put up with the abuse, abuse that you yourself have given to others during your life of eating fluffy bunnies for snacks and fun. You may have to only realize it on your deathbed when you finally figure it out. Perhaps you would have lived longer, or perhaps even recovered from this elder illness you had but alas none of the fluffy bunnies survived to care for you.

Well now. Obviously I am not the obnoxious mean type of pagan I talk about (but I used to be, I’m in recovery I guess you would say.) Or you may think I am what you may consider to be a fluffy bunny or at least advocating that kind of thing. Think again. Actually, the term “fluffy bunny” was invented by those who are perhaps arrogant and self-involved to the extent that they wish not to consider the needs of others except when they are being patronizing. Patronizing is a lot like the “trickle down” stuff. Give a few crumbs to the peasants to keep them quiet and get credit for being generous.

The real fluffy bunnies are infants and small children who are being raised in love and kindness. They are still naive, of course, they are children, and are filled with love and hope. They want to spend their days discovering new things and having lots of fun. They think kindly of others and want to help those in need and it comes from their hearts. Few of us adults have been able to retain that kind of spirit. Too many of us have become tainted, rebellious, and skeptical. Or perhaps we were spoiled rotten and never learned to think of others except for “our own.” Others of us harbor hate in our hearts and will destroy others when given the chance.

Some of the greatest people among us are those who have been deprived of the necessary love and kindness that all children should have received yet discover that the hateful way they were treated is not the life they chose. These people have learned that love and kindness is strength not a weakness. They realize the worldview is upside down. Strength means kindness not meanness. They have learned that being kind to others often will bring that back to them. In fact they have learned that true respect of others is only respect for the self. They discovered what is perhaps one of the greatest secrets of all: that we are all connected. And since we are all connected, hurting others is like one hand trying to harm the other. In short we all hurt.

I have a theory why so many Pagans are so mean to others and even to other Pagans. I think it is because so many of us have been forced to follow old fundamentalist ideas like those of the Fundamentalist Protestant and the Catholic Church. We learned that to be considered “good” we follow what we are taught to do but not necessarily what the others do who taught us. We learned that life is mean, tough and competitive as we grew up with it. We learned to rebel against these awful ideas as young people since we have a brain. But then instead of joyfully entering Paganism, some of us bring that anger and hate right to the place we thought would be the best for us. Think of it. Bringing your hatefully past to a place you think will bring you to some kind of happiness in life.

Some of us never learned how to love and kind to others. Some of us never learned what joy that kindness brings into your life. Instead we were taught that it was a sign of weakness. We learned we had to fight and compete. Or perhaps we were so spoiled and rotten we never learned to even consider the needs of others.

Perhaps we learned we had to talk loud and take over the discussion, not allowing others to talk. Perhaps even we were taught to belittle others who have ideas different from ours. Perhaps even we were taught physical destruction against the property of others or even violence such as hitting, etc. Those who continue to be nasty perhaps have never learned the skills of kindness or the understanding of the strength it takes to be kind. These are just simple social skills that anyone can do to show respect for another human being. The strength comes in when they are practiced.

Turning the channel now.

Aaaahhhhh. Now I enter thoughts of love, kindness and peace. As I do so, I leave behind the abusive parents I had, the mean teachers, the hypocrites from the church I grew up in, the bully kids at school, the bullies at work. And those bullies at the last Pagan gathering I went to. I relax by myself and with others who are like me interested in having a loving and peaceful world. I know that is the only way I can fully develop all my talents and abilities and create the life I want.

There are many of us Pagans, those of us that want love and peace. We are not “fluffy bunnies.” Many of us are still full of piss and vinegar…spicy as all get out! We are very strong women and men who despite all the meanness and destruction in the world around us are strong enough to be kind to others. We care lovingly for those who need our help. And we care lovingly for our loved ones and for ourselves. We have known how easy it is to be mean and nasty to others…we did it ourselves. After all, that is how we were brought up too! But we realized it was the cowardly way out. We decided we did not want to be cowards.

We found out that after all it is the harder life to have in the long run though it “seems” to be easier. We discovered that it just seemed easier because it was something we were accustomed to doing and thus it was an automatic response. Being kind… that was hard because we never did it before. But when we started doing it, it turned out to be a happier life after all. We found out that it is a far easier, better, and more enjoyable life to simply be kind to others. We found that we could be kind to everyone, not just “our own.” When will you find that out, now, or will you wait till the moments before your death.

Oh and about that “bold and spicy” as opposed to “smooth and creamy”, I’ve decided that I don’t have to chose either one. I can have one of them today and perhaps the other tomorrow. I can have them both! I also discovered that I could add and subtract from things, juggle them around and make them the way I like. I choose to add kindness to the “bold and spicy” label but I delete out the mean part. Think I’ll create just that. Care to join me? Why not have it all together? What would you create? Let me know? I promise, I’ll be kind.

The Fluffy Bunnie

The Fluffy Bunnie

Author: Anniekate

Having been told what the definition of “fluffy bunnie” is by the more supposed ‘learned’ in the Pagan/Wiccan community, I thought it was long overdue that I go on a quest and find out what a ‘fluffy bunnie’ really is. Researching it a bit has been an embarrassing as well as eye opening experience because of the abundance of incorrect information or just plain ‘opinions as facts’ that I have found in my search.

Rejected by a LiveJournal group as being ‘too new’ (This status apparently being one of the main fluffy bunnie indicators) , I had my ideas shot down because I was not as experienced as those who apparently have been practicing magic since popping out of the birth canal or have a long lineage of practicing magic folk in their ancestry. Hah!

One of the ideas often held by the fluffy bunnie is the idea one is automatically Pagan/Wiccan after reading one book. Nonsense. The Bible is a collection of more than one book — it is in reality 66 books — and reading the entire Bible does not make one a Christian. Becoming a Christian (for the ones who actually are) is a life changing experience, with the Bible being a guide in the mundane as well as spiritual life. Being raised Christian, going to church every Sunday, even attending a Christian college does not automatically make one a Christian. Same rules apply in Wicca.

Another part of the fluffy bunnie phenomena, I have heard, is the wearing of 50-million chains about the neck and dressing like Dracula. Unless you are a Goth, most Pagan/Wiccans look like everyone else. That does not mean however, that a true Wiccan/Pagan cannot wear what they want, even if it is a lot of jewelry, or black clothing.

There is no rule against being Goth and Pagan/Wiccan. Ask Raven Digitalis, or is he considered a fluffy bunnie because he can pull off both? Even if one is considered a fluffy bunnie like Silver Ravenwolf, is it not possible to learn from her anyway? Maybe on what NOT to do and maybe some of her thoughts and ideas can be beneficial? We study history to (hopefully) learn from the past. Not everything from the past has been a lesson in success and the best of human behavior. We can learn from our history on what is the worst in humankind as well.

People new to being Pagan/Wiccan are considered fluffy bunnies for no other reason than for being new. It is ridiculous and very shortsighted of people to think that they cannot learn something from another who may not be as old or as much of an expert on a subject than someone else. No matter what, there is always going to be an older and smarter individual than you are. If you do not think that is true, you live in a make believe world occupied by cute pink elephants, or your head is stuck in a dark place and we will not specify where.

There are teachers out there, or experts, who know full well they learn more from their students than another teacher. Children are more open-minded to things than adults are. They are like sponges soaking up information and knowledge like it was food. Children are ‘newbies’ to life, yet they have a lot to teach us if we in turn can be open-minded enough. Great ideas are created not just by the experts, but also by those who have a fresh view of the idea that the expert may not have even considered.

To be blunt, there are a lot of Pagan/Wiccans who believe that some of the hallmarks of fluffy bunnies are found in “those who refuse to learn, refuse to think, and refuse to consider the possibility that they could be wrong.” (Catherine Noble Beyer, 2002-2009)

Well, that could be true of many people, experienced or not. Wow. However there are people who do claim to be Pagan/Wiccan for shock value and think it is really neat to curse people, or become Pagan/Wiccan because it is the exact opposite of Christianity. These people are fluffy bunnies. They are not truly Pagan/Wiccan, but are looking for something else. Maybe some therapy is in order.

This is not to say that someone who has been raised Christian all his/her life cannot become Pagan/Wiccan. Some of us were raised in that environment, but have always known that they never fit in, or they never bought into the dogma that just what the ‘church’ says could be right or wrong. It is also untrue that someone who has been in a predominantly male religion/lifestyle cannot be Pagan/Wiccan, as discovering the Goddess for the first time is like a breath of fresh air, and/or like coming home. The teenage rebel might also become a true Pagan/Wiccan, as some of us have discovered that being Pagan/Wiccan can bring more peace and harmony to one’s life.

Fluffy Bunnies supposedly believe that there is light, love, harmony, and all those wonderful Tele Tubby type feelings, and no bad stuff. Really? Take a look at the Ying Yang symbol. There is duality in all things: light and dark, good and bad, male and female, etc. Some actually believe we cannot have good without evil, or light without dark. The fact is, everywhere you look there are opposites and they coexist with one another. Human beings are capable of the greatest feats of courage, goodness, and love, as well as capable of cowardice, evil, and hate. You only have to turn on the news, look on the Internet, and read a paper to know that this is a fact.

There was a discussion question up on an Internet group on the subject of lying. Some felt that since some in the animal kingdom use the art of deception, lying is really not that big of a deal. It is just a ‘rule’ that one can choose to follow or not. Some believe that lying is like throwing a rock into a body of water, and the ripples from it, spread ever wide. Others think it is okay to lie if it is a ‘white lie’ to protect a person, like saying your 300-pound friend looks lovely in an outfit that is not flattering to her.

A friend said this, “On the issue of lying, I don’t think there is an answer. Maybe the closest one was actually in a little book of anecdotes from the Buddha’s life that I skimmed through once, while loitering in a bookstore. In Buddhism, the gravest sin is lying. However, even the Buddha had to tell a lie once, out of compassion. Thus, sins must sometimes be subservient to virtues. And the highest virtue of Buddhism is compassion.”

Most people agree that telling your wife you are home late because of work when truthfully you instead were out cheating with her best friend are two different things. But maybe not. Depends if you buy into the idea that lying is a man-made rule and not a natural one. I might buy that if I was actually an animal and needed deception to catch my lunch or avoid being one. Hopefully, as human animals, are more evolved than that.

Everyone who is Wiccan or Pagan, Buddhist, and even Christian, has their own path to follow, one that another may not agree with. Your relationship to the Universe, God, Lord and Lady, or the Spaghetti Monster, IS going to be different than another person’s because we are all individuals. Each one’s path is as unique as the individual — otherwise it is not a spiritual path you are following, but a cookie recipe. And let’s face it; even though you use the same cookie recipe over and over again, you know that sometimes the cookies do not always turn out the same way each time. Maybe this is an oversimplification, but you get the general idea.

No human being on the planet is perfect, including Pagans/Wiccans. No one is going up for sainthood anytime soon. However, that does not mean that we cannot try and act like adults, even when we disagree with one another. That includes not lowering ourselves to name-calling.

Calling someone a “fluffy bunnie” because you do not like what he/she has to say or because he/she holds a differing opinion than you or your clan does, is childish and immature. And the reason why some of us know this is because we have been guilty of it ourselves.

No, we are not all going to get along. To believe that just because we are Pagan/Wiccan, and someone else is too, does not mean that they or we are going to act somehow better than anyone else because they and we both claim to be Pagan/Wiccan. There are bad and good people and so it stands to reason that there are going to be bad and good Pagans/Wiccans. To think that a person claiming to be Pagan/Wiccan cannot possibly be a bad person is another sign of the “fluffy bunnie syndrome”.

The one thing that can work to counteract the whole fluffy bunnie thing is knowledge. However if a fluffy bunnie does not think that he/she needs to be educated beyond the one or two authors he/she has read, it is going to be an uphill battle. And there is no use in trying to fight with these people to change their minds, as you get sucked into the nonsense right along with them.

You can hope that they come to their senses, grow up a little, and realize that some of their preconceived ideas on what being Pagan/Wiccan was all about were not exactly accurate. At one time, all of us who claim to be Pagan/Wiccan were beginners. We all made mistakes. We held innocent and naive ideas on what Pagans/Wiccans were really all about. We were pigheaded enough to think that we were right — even though we were not – and we did all of the other things that newbies do and get called fluffy bunnies for.

To say that you never did this is being dishonest and you are doing the very thing actual fluffy bunnies do: refuse to learn. Being Pagan/Wiccan means learning those tough lessons and hopefully changing as a person by growing from the errors that we make.



Footnotes:
http://wicca.timerift.net/fluffy.shtml
http://www.soulrebels.com/beth/fluffy.html
http://www.radicalsapphoq.blogspot.com/2007/02/thoughts-on-bashing-fluffy-bunnies-by.html

On Fluffy Bunnies…

On Fluffy Bunnies…

Author: Sarenth
As our religion becomes more prominent in the mainstream media, I find myself feeling more and more getting a feeling of competition within the Pagan community. Given that my exposure to the community of Paganism in general is relatively little, consisting of the Pagan community in my backyard, what is in books and on the Internet from sites like Witchvox.com and Rendingtheveil.com, I don’t entirely know if this is rippling through the Pagan community at large or not.

However, as I see it, there are well written but somewhat short-tempered, self-righteous or outright assertive posts and essays being written about ‘what makes a Pagan a Pagan’ and what a Pagan ‘should and should not be’. Some of these are to be found on Witchvox and Rending the Veil, some are to be found on personal websites and yet more in the pages of books from authors of all stripes.

It would seem that some in the community, whether they are in a prominent position such as that of author, editor or any other seemingly ‘big’ role in our community, are wishing to define exactly down-to-the-letter what makes our religion, our religion.

Mind you, I am in the Georgian Tradition of Wicca as an Initiate, but I still work with Gods and Goddesses that I did as a Solitary, so I understand that tradition and values of a ‘lineage-based’ coven structure can be as important to a person as a ‘free-form experiential based’ spirituality. I know that traditions and codes of practice can make or break a person’s spirituality, both from my time as a Catholic and as a Georgian. I also know from my experience as a Solitaire, that sometimes the complete defining of rules and regulations as to ‘how the world works’ and ‘what Paganism is’ is not only spiritual caging, its spiritually debilitating.

Yet, this view of spoon-fed spirituality and/or religion seems to be what some in the community want, a Codes of Behavior and a ‘This is What We Do as Pagan’ manual. I’ve been there, done that with the Papal, Canonical and Scriptural law of Catholic Christianity. Maybe this is my own bias, but after many of us in the community come from a spirituality and religion of strictly defined relationships with God, Goddess, Spirits of all types, our fellow humans and Nature Itself, why would you build up another faith that embraces the same kind of rules that inspired you to move away from, or not accept?

As an example, recently codes of dress have been examined as to what a Witch should and should not wear. Sometimes the opinions therein were based upon what would and would not offend others, which, to a point I can concede is important that you be mindful of others. However, why would we go to a religion that celebrates life, traditions and paths in its myriad of forms, and then shut up those who celebrate their particular form, tradition or path, self-made or no?

The many ‘anti-fluffy bunny’ websites out there that made extensive use of examples of ‘what not to do’ or ‘what makes a fluffy bunny’ are another example of what I see as community self-hate. Rather than ask what these people believe, and try to see their point of view so even if their information is historically or practically (i.e. rooted in this physical, mundane reality) our community, it seems, has taken to name-calling and elitism.

Yes, I know that some viewpoints cannot be argued with, changed or sometimes understood because they are believed in so fervently. I also know that some individuals should not be tolerated, such as those that seek to harm children or those who exist in our religion for the sole purpose of fattening their wallet. Despite this, many ‘fluffy bunnies’ are picked on, ostracized and in general, swept under the rug or pointedly hushed down by those who do not agree with their views. While I am not asking those who do not agree with what is called ‘White Lighter’ or ‘Fluffy bunny’ views to spontaneously accept or begin dialogue with them, I would ask you this: think upon what impact you have on them.

Let’s do a few what-ifs down this line of thinking, with three differing scenarios with three possible results afterward.

Scenario 1: The person is new to the Craft and Paganism and has a near-to-no understanding of either. They are looking for information on these subjects and things related to them. They read a book or a series of them and look at it/them as canon as to ‘how the Pagan world works’ (whether by cosmology or magick) and so, embrace the book and its author as their religious and magickal foundations.

If you approach this person in a manner that is demeaning or hurtful (i.e. judgment calls, jabs at their inexperience or lack of understanding) then you could do a number of things to them. First and foremost, you could drive them from ever fully embracing Paganism and learning the subjects you would prefer they learn. Second, if you don’t outright drive them off, you could make it so they will have a precedent of what a person ‘who knows what they are talking about’ acts like; would you care for someone to treat you like that and represent your religion as you just did?

Third, if they do not leave Paganism and do/do not adopt your ‘views’ as you gave them to them in your demeaning/hurtful stances, they may yet go further into what might be the very practice you feel is incorrect. Worse, they may get into other forms of the same practice that are much more dangerous or forms that might reflect poorly on the Pagan community.

Scenario 2: The person is one who has been in the Craft a year or so with a little experience of Paganism under their belt and is starting to foment relationships with Goddesses, Gods, Spirits and the like. They tell you that (as an extreme example that I have seen cited elsewhere) the Celtic Triple Goddess, The Morrigan, has tapped them for a special partnership and it involves something like making war on anger with hugs and practicing Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

While this might make you laugh, think of how your dismissal of their spirituality and personal relationship with Deity affects them. Not only this, but who are we, as people to dictate to others how God/dess relates and shows itself to other people? While we do have precedents of how most of our Deities act, react and go through the cycles of the year (i.e. the general nature, demeanor, etc. of The Morrigan) , who are we to tell them that that particular Deity ‘just doesn’t do that’ or ‘never acts like that’. I would feel for so many peoples’ criticisms of absolutist faith and/or spirituality (this I feel can occur in any faith) in the Pagan community that such thoughts, while they may be true for our realm of experience, may not be true for theirs and so, should not be dismissed out of hand.

Approaching a person with such an attitude can have little effect on them, especially if their faith in their God/dess, path, etc. is strong. However, for those who have just began or are strengthening their relationship with their Deity, I find that this is a particularly vulnerable time for new Pagans or Pagans developing in their faith; one which needs care and gentleness to be heeded when people of the same faith speak with them or work to ‘correct’ (i.e. historical precedent of The Morrigan in this case vs. the person’s personal experience) their perceptions of the Deity in question. An approach that is too strong in terms of confrontation, or too harsh in terms of the ‘correction’ can produce long-lasting harmful effects.

First, among these effects could be a sense of not knowing what Deity is like for them. If they have approached Deity, I would believe most have had a certain list of things that is associated with the ‘presence of’ or interactions with of Deity. When people are then are told such things are wrong and given a differing list, one that feels alien or perhaps even exclusionary to their feelings on Deity Itself, they can be turned off to working with Deity entirely and either focusing solely on magick or other Pagan pursuits, or simply dropping Paganism altogether.

Second, I have seen people whom go through a bout of the possibility listed above, only to come out of it always questioning if they have really perceived the ‘presence’ of Deity, or second-guess conversations and interactions with Deity. This is not to say, ‘get rid of your critical thinking when Deity tells you to do something’ or something similar, it merely means that the entire belief in the Deity, or It’s ‘presence’, faith in It’s existence as the Pagan has experienced it, etc., suffers. Faith that is blossoming can suffer a little or a great deal, and I find this is dependant on the person, their convictions and perhaps how much support they have from their community. Though I have seen a Solitaire friend of mine endure the two examples I listed above, I do not find in my speaking with Pagans (like those I find/listen to in bookstores or in chatrooms or message boards) that this is usually the case. People need a support network, and it serves no good to take the Goddesses and Gods they work with in the way they work with them, out from under their feet via their budding faith.

Third, if they do weather the first two outcomes, it could be entirely possible that they emulate the behavior of snap decisions, judgment calls and judging others’ relationship with Deity by their own experiences or by history’s standards. To reverse the situation: would you want a person who has worked with The Morrigan for twenty years tell you that you are working with/worshipping/etc. Her all wrong, and that the She now and always has wanted Her priestesses/priests to make war on anger with Perfect Love and Perfect Trust?

Let’s say in this hypothetical that the history books and records of The Morrigan’s followers are in line with what this person claims, and that you feel completely different, that Morrigan is (as She is described to us in actual Celtic lore) is a War Goddess, but not just of War, but also Death and Fertility?

Scenario 3: The person is part of a group/coven/order/etc. that espouses what could be considered to be ‘fluffy bunny’ beliefs, doctrines, relationships with Deity, etc. They are devoted to these beliefs, and so on, and fervently believe them, but they make claims that are, for instance, historically inaccurate about The Morrigan and Her followers, priests and priestesses when the Celts as a culture still thrived. They follow these teachings with a deep attachment, despite whatever historical or practical errors there may be in them.

As I have asked before, who are we to dictate how people relate to Deity, or practice said Deity’s teachings in a modern context? Are we to begin the practice of ‘proper way to honor’ such-and-such a God/dess? Are we to eliminate Unverified Personal Gnosis (a sudden spiritual awakening that can be brought about by ritual, possession by God/dess or other methods, with results, such as messages from Deity, internal enlightenments, ah-ha moments, etc.) from our religion?

What if you were told something by your God/dess that It wished to change a practice, ritual or your relationship to It, immediately, contra to history’s record? Would you tell you God/dess no, that’s not how we’ve done things, so you aren’t this or that God/dess? If someone made the move to ‘correct’ you on your beliefs, your coven’s teachings, etc., how would you feel?

From the perspective of the person whose group vision you’d be trying to ‘correct’…

First: they could react to your news in either evaluating their religious, spiritual, magickal, etc. conclusions or otherwise absorb the information you present, or put up resistance of some magnitude. At its worst, this would probably escalate to a screaming contest, whether or not you participate. Putting in the way the Chris Rock as the character Rufus does from Dogma, (directed by Kevin Smith) : “I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can’t generate. Life becomes stagnant.“ It may not, however, be your responsibility to be a catalyst for this growth; it may need to come from within the group.

Second, whether or not they absorb your ideas is moot if they shut themselves off to the ideas of others, replacing their ideas and beliefs with just as much zeal as they previously had, maybe more. So, rather than enlighten, inform or otherwise aid your fellow would-be Pagan, you may just trigger them to shard off from the community at large even further. Teaching them an open mind, much more than the ‘correctness’ of their faith, I feel, is the way to go. You cannot absorb new information if your mind is closed only to what you are told or believe. How are we to expect our children or fellow Pagans to be open to others if we expect them to adhere to hard-and-fast rules about how they ‘are to be like’ or what is ‘officially Pagan.’

Third, they could take everything you try to instill in them the way that you desire, and either assimilate or otherwise consider the application of the knowledge, teachings, what-have-you that you wish to bestow upon them. They could also take everything you’ve said wrong way, become incredibly embarrassed and/or angry, or worse yet, hostile and retaliate.

This is how Witch Wars start, by absolutist thinking.

Absolutism, by its nature, allows no other viewpoints other than the one in control, and so long as two sides disagree and cannot peaceable communicate, there is conflict. This is part of my issue with the Pagan community in general; we bill ourselves so often in public life as being the compassionate, tolerant ones that don’t mind other peoples’ faiths, or beliefs and then we turn on our own people who ‘might make us look bad’. For what?

Why do we even persecute the ‘fluffy bunnies’ real or no? Is it for us to hold up a sign saying ‘We aren’t those flakes! Look at us, we’re Pagans and have as much right to be part of the mainstream! We don’t have weird, counter-culture beliefs or relationships with God/dess, Spirits or any of that crazy stuff!’?

Is it so somehow we feel we get a smidgen of superiority for pointing out that ‘this is only a subgroup’ to people who question us about the attitudes and beliefs we actually normally hold, which are then attributed to ‘fluffy bunnies because we don’t want to explain them, they are controversial or are contra to the mainstream religions?

Look at the Great Rite or Heiros Gamos, for instance; how many of us have explained to others, that though this started off, for instance in Wicca, as a fertility rite between a High Priestess and High Priest of a coven only symbolically? It was performed for real at one point, we’ve only recently stopped doing it, and it’s not some fringe thing.

Pagan rituals are abundantly about fertility, sex and the two colluding between the High Priestess and High Priest and the land for a bountiful harvest. Yet I have seen this practice of the physical copulation referred to by authors and people of the Pagan community as something ‘the fringe’ which, generally, will include fluffy bunnies does, and it The Great Rite is now largely symbolic

In short, it is time to stop using the ‘fluffy bunnies’, ‘goths’ ‘Renaissance Festival freaks’ and all the other straw man labels as scapegoats for the parts of our religion that we don’t want to talk about, that do not jive with the mainstream faiths, or to one-up each other. It is time to stop competing and it is more than time to start coming together and working as a whole for a better future.

If we do not open up our ears and our minds to other people, how can we expect others, i.e. Congress, to do the same for us when we want a bill passed? If we are waging war on people of our faith, regardless of how we express it, then you are doing no one any good, save those who wish for our faith to disappear.

I am not saying capitulate to those whose view you do not believe, but I firmly believe that clinging to dogma, or beliefs for the sake of doing so is not wisdom nor is it courage. It is stubbornness and self-destruction that drive us to doing this, and it is time we stopped arguing with each other, and started conversing.

As much as you may not like it, I feel it is high time we listened to these voices of our community, who may, if we listen, teach us more than our books and personal knowledge can.