An Article I wrote which I then used for my Podcast "A Pagan Voice".
| The Pagan Community; a concept that could work not just on paper but in reality. Every year, thousands of us attend gatherings and large rituals with seemingly few problems or hiccups. Having spent a week of my summer there in the presence and company of one of these large gatherings, I can attest to the power and beauty a community of Pagans brings forth. You and old talking and listening and teaching to one another, the unifying presences of the Goddesses, Gods and Beings of a rainbow of pantheons and beliefs. This, all in a place where I may not have believed what my fellow Pagan did, but I could respect hir for hir beliefs.
So many are worried about dogma creeping into a community that I have heard it said (in a number of forums) somehow it would be better for us and our religion to have no community. I must ask why anyone would feel this way, given we live (in the U.S.) in a Representative Democracy. Is what you are saying this: that it is better for us as part of the umbrella of Pagan faiths to have no representation? If yes, why? I would think that even if you are an Eclectic Pagan it would be more beneficial for you to have, for instance, a to-the-letter Gardnerian Practitioner representing you to our country, rather than be part of the mass of people represented by a Christian.
For others, as I have read online, the worry lies not with representation but administration of that representation. “What if the President/representative/etc. pushes hir beliefs on us?” are among the kinds of questions I have read. If you put strictures in place and in writing provide a guideline to the prevention of abuse of power (i.e. function of legislative branch) and such, your administrator or board, etc., will only legally be able to access and do these things assigned to them (i.e. function of Executive Branch). I would think with a watchdog group in place (i.e. function of Judicial branch) this should allay many worries.
To not organize and fight for our rights is, to me, a mistake. In the past thirty to forty years, the rights of Pagans have grown by leaps and bounds through community, however loose or rigid that may be. Why stop now, when our predecessors worked, fought and suffered for us to be able to openly express and share our beliefs? We are in the public arena now, and we can stand united, a group of many faiths, a federation, an organization, a something that works to make our religious and societal rights as eminent and legal as any Christian.
We can take the lessons our teachers, High Priestesses, High Priests, Spirits, Goddesses and Gods have taught us, and use them to better ourselves, our communities, our world, and many other things. One of our many other choices, is that we can remain in shadow while people who do not understand us cast votes deciding our religion’s place in our society. I ask not for you to give up your beliefs or faith or spirituality for the cause of community; but would have been able to pursue your beliefs, faith or spirituality without a community of cause?