We Will Not Be Censored, Silenced, or Intimidated
It is heartening to see that Pagans and Polytheists from so many traditions are taking a stand against the hateful and divisive rhetoric of the Radicals with Gods contingent.
First up is J. Agathokles who writes:
Throughout the article the author, who was apparently too cowardly to put his/her name under the article, accuses polytheism of being inherently intertwined with far right ideologies of misogyny, ableism, racism/supremacism, nationalism, etc. These things are genuine threats to us, yes, but in my experience they are mostly external ones. I have not yet met a single, genuine polytheist who holds such opinions as part of their religion.
Subsequently Rhyd has been outed as the author of the offensive article, and no doubt there’ll be a backpeddling “apology” forthcoming, but the damage is done and we’ve seen clearly what Rhyd and Co. are about.
And we aren’t having any of it, as evidenced by Keith McCormic’s damning indictment:
In short, the author seeks to build himself up by tearing down others. This is the essence of an abuser. I hate the term “bully” because it minimizes the abuse and seeks to excuse it as mere immaturity or even “natural”. This is abuse. It is the direct attempt to exert artificial hierarchy over others, as bad OR WORSE than the attempt to abuse natural hierarchy by extending it into areas where it does not pertain.
No more should paganism or polytheism regard this article or its author as relevant or important than should a wife regard her husband as wise and fair simply because of the strength of his arm. We rightly decry physical abuse, we sometimes properly address emotional and social abuse. In the face of this article, any sane person wishing to view themselves as just and considered must defy the author in his attempt to assert dominance and control over others by labeling them, falsely and without evidence.
And lest you think this was a one off passionate blunder, Ruadhán J McElroy reminds us:
Rhyd is very careful about his choices of words and phraseology. Plus there’s the fact that Rhyd is a smart man — I’ve not just observed this in his blogging, but also in real life, when I met him at the Polytheist Leadership Conference a couple years ago. He knows good intentions are no excuse for implicitly smearing others in this way (including others who have gone out of their way to support him, give him voice, and recognise the value in much of his words), regardless of the importance of the message that this smear is couched in.
Matt Whealton raises an important point that even those who share these beliefs find such demonizing and polarizing tactics objectionable:
Your brush is too wide and your vision monochromatic.
My reconstructionism is not a-political. I support financially efforts that rebuild and restore the ancient buildings, record them, and employ and train Egyptians to do those things. This is honoring the Gods and ancestors in a way that respects them and their children as well. All their children. It is a way of acting politically too. One that strengthens people who are suffering quite a lot right now. This kind of political action, embedded in a number of contexts, with multiple goals, and using the tools at hand to effect change for individuals in an economic and educational way, is the choice I have made within the ethical framework of my reconstructionist religion. It is real and it is effective.
A point reaffirmed in Tess Dawson’s critique:
A person can indeed have a religion which combines polytheism and politics, and a person can indeed call it a polytheistic religion if it involves some kind of religious regard for many deities (that’s all you need to be called “polytheist”); but a person cannot claim that such an intersection between politics and polytheism is, or should be, the whole of polytheism. A person also cannot claim that such an intersection between a specific political ideology (like socialism or libertarianism) and polytheism is the whole of polytheism. A person also cannot claim that an intersection amidst specific political ideologies and economic ideologies (like socialism and anti-capitalism, or like libertarianism and capitalism,or like socialism and capitalism) is the whole of polytheism.
Which is why what Rhyd is doing is so insidious, as Joe Bloch points out:
Now, you might not agree with me about being folkish. People of goodwill can and will disagree and still be civil. But damn, I would hope that you would agree that there are some things more important than some left-wing political agenda.
Like, you know, the Gods, the faith, and the folk.
The New Right, by his own definition, isn’t fascist. Rhyd even states explicitly that they don’t self-identify as fascist, but then goes on to say that he knows better what lies in their heart (ditto racists). He paints broad swaths of the neopagan community that doesn’t happen to be the tiny segment he’s a part of as under the insidious influence of the New Right (whose stances are only evil to a true left-wing zealot; it’s possible to disagree and not say they’re evil), and gets even his basic facts dead wrong. But worst of all, he places his own petty political axes above the Gods, above the needs of our Heathen and neopagan faiths, and above the folk. Because he thinks he knows better than everyone else, and if you don’t agree, then you’re part of the problem. And if you object, you’re just being emotional and over-reacting.
Lucius Svartwulf Helsen shares a story and some videos that will help nuance this conversation, as well as this pointed reminder:
As anyone who has read my blog for a length of time may no doubt recall, I have been dealing with this view inside paganism for a while and have repeatedly said “do not play this game, you will not like where it goes.” Because something inevitably will happen which you play the race/sex/gender/etc game. Eventually the people you call evil for being a different race/sex/gender/etc are going to get tired of being called evil and insist that no, they are good and it is you who is evil.
And that is exactly what the Radicals with Gods crowd want or why else would they be so eager to demonize even those who wish to remain staunchly apolitical as they do here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And dozens of other places on the ‘net.
These people won’t be happy until everyone is at everyone else’s throats and peaceful coexistence and constructive cooperation nothing more than an impossible dream.
Don’t let them win and twist Paganism and Polytheism to their own warped ends.
I don’t give a fuck what you believe, or where you fall on this or other issues. I just want you to be heard. I have no intention of calling the FBI on you for expressing views contrary to my own.
You have a voice. Stand up and use it, before it’s too late.