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There Are More Religions in America Than Just Christianity

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Crimson's Favorites

There Are More Religions in America Than Just Christianity

(Despite What the Politicians Think)

Quill Mastercraft


With each day's news programs, Pagans seemingly have more and more to worry about, now that we have President Bush firmly ensconced in the White House. According to Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Bush has appointed himself our "national pastor", and has already begun dictating how federal monies will go toward faith-based charities, and declaring a national day of prayer. He has nominated individuals to Cabinet posts who are clearly anti-Constitutional, yet they will be confirmed by the Senate without a second thought.

It would be surprising if many of the Representatives or Senators will protest what Bush is doing in violating the separation of church and state. Imposing Christian ideals on the entire population of the United States may not seem such a bad thing, especially when most of the members of Congress are themselves Christians (though many of their recent campaign tactics might indicate otherwise). They may keep silent, or overrule the few who speak up to uphold the First Amendment.

For all practical purposes, it will be left to the people on the street to fight for their rights. For every violation of the Constitution Bush proposes, fingers should be flying across computer keyboards sending off urgent e-mails of protest to the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives. Pagans cannot stand by and allow their rights to be trampled, and their faith to be endangered. Pagans value the chance to interact at conferences, perform a ritual in the woods or the park, or gather in a restaurant for a social evening. If the government continues in its present direction, we will all be forced back into the closet - possibly at gunpoint or under literal threat to our lives.

It was noted on many fronts that more people voted in last year's election than had voted in many decades. It is common knowledge Americans are rather passive about politics, allowing the elected officials - for whom they probably didn't vote - to handle the "dirty work". This time around, the "dirty work" isn't going to be handled by the crew in Washington, because they've been proved to be just as passive about what happens as many of their constituents. They don't care about the environment; they'd rather accept money from big industry lobbyists and vote for programs which claim to promote more jobs or more power plants, which will cause more problems than they solve.

The voices belong to the individuals, and they will need to be heard - loud and often - in the years to come. Pagans who cherish their right to practice their beliefs as they choose should openly state as much, and do what can be done to promote mutual understanding and tolerance. If it means sending the local representatives "tracts" on the meaning of Paganism, so they will be more informed in their voting, have everyone you know send one, so the numbers will be seen and counted.

There are more Pagans in America than the government wants to admit (or recognize). Our numbers are growing by the day. There're more religions in America than just Christianity. All those the politicians consider faith "minorities" (and often choose to ignore) need to prove they are actually a majority, and be heard.

Because, if we're not heard, we may well be silenced.

 

 
An Indian Prayer

 

by H. Kent Craig

 

My grandfather is the fire

My grandmother is the wind

The Earth is my mother

The Great Spirit is my father

 

The World stopped at my birth

and laid itself at my feet

 

And I shall swallow the Earth whole when I die

and the Earth and I will be one

 

Hail The Great Spirit, my father

without him no one could exist

because there would be no will to live

 

Hail The Earth, my mother

without which no food could be grown

and so cause the will to live to starve

 

Hail the wind, my grandmother

for she brings loving, lifegiving rain

nourishing us as she nourishes our crops

 

Hail the fire, my grandfather

for the light, the warmth, the comfort he brings

without which we be animals, not men

 

Hail my parent and grandparents

without which

not I

nor you

nor anyone else

could have existed

 

Life gives life

which gives unto itself

a promise of new life

 

Hail the Great Spirit, The Earth, the wind, the fire

praise my parents loudly

for they are your parents, too

 

Oh, Great Spirit, giver of my life

please accept this humble offering of prayer

this offering of praise

this honest reverence of my love for you.

 

Oh Great Spirit,

Whose voice I hear in the wind,

Whose breath gives life to the world,

Hear me!

I come to you as one of your many children.

I am small and weak.

I need your strength and wisdom.

May I walk in beauty.

Make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things that you have made,

And my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may know the things

That you have taught your children--

The lessons that you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

Make me strong, not to be superior to my brothers, but to be

able to fight my greatest enemy: myself.

Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes, so that

When life fades as the faded sunset

My spirit will come to you without shame.