Jul 9, 2006

"STAY AS YOU ARE"

I woke up, finally noting some improvement on my cold. I stretched and my cat snuggled into my waist and started to purr. I slipped out of bed and came back with my laptop and resumed with the cat snuggle with the added benefit of net surfing. Yawn. Stretch. Yawn.

In the span of about five minutes, the cat hocked up not one but two hairballs (One day I will cultivate an iron stomach. Not today, though.) and I came across this blog, Isn't Life Strange, which led me to The Washington Post to see if I could find out more, which led me to a feeling of serious disappointment, shame, anger and something else that I haven't quite figured out yet. Here's the piece from The Washington Post.

Basically, Sgt. Patrick Stewart, a wiccan soldier is being denied a symbol on his memorial at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernly, Nevada. Christian soldiers have crosses, Jewish soldiers have our Magen David, Muslims have the Crescent, Buddhists have a wheel, Mormons have an angel, Atheists get "something that looks like an atomic symbol" and there's a nine-pointed star for those into Bahai (Any word on Hindus? Anybody?). But, nothing for Pagans, Neo-Pagans and Wiccans and it absolutely infuriates me. How can anybody feel okay about this? I feel for wiccans, I really do. They are constantly being misunderstood and called all sorts of crazy things that they just aren't. Take a moment. Read a little. Learn something about somebody different.

Wait, there is more. A woman was recently fired from her job for admitting to being wiccan. If a wiccan can be fired, so can a Jew. So can a Muslim. So can anyone. And that sort of thing, my friends, is the business that keeps me awake at night and threatens to give me a stomach ulcer one of these days. Well, that and the fact that nobody seems to be up in arms about it. Why hasn't a large crowd, heck, why haven't I gone to this poor woman and just told her, "Sister, I'm not the same as you, but it doesn't matter. I'm still with you. What happened was wrong and I'll support your fight."...?

I spent some time in the mid-1990s in the Beverly/Salem area of Massachusetts. A woman, Laurie Cabot, an ordained high-priestess of Wicca resides and runs an adorable little shop in Salem filled with books and candles and the like. It's cute. She also founded the WLPA (Witches' League for Public Awareness), and in the mid-1970s, Governor Dukakis deemed her official, thus recognizing her valuable contributions to the world around her instead of judging her and ostracizing her, as so many seem determined to do.

Here is the thing: We can learn different ideas and we can recognize the validity of another belief or opinion without taking those beliefs for our own. Everyone is entitled to see the universe and the things that make it tick in a way that suits them and speaks to them and feels sacred to them. And, when we find the little spot in the universe that is all our own, the spot that suits us and feels sacred to us and speaks to every cell of us, then we should also be able to feel secure enough to allow a sense of to each his/her own when it comes to everyone else's little corner of the universe.

I can't tell anyone what the Absolute Universal Truth is. I only know when I have an experience that feels sacred to me and that's all I have to do. What feels secure and sacred to me won't and shouldn't necessarily feel the same to anyone else because it's mine. Maybe if everyone focused on feeling secure in what they practice, then it will matter less and less if anyone else is doing otherwise.

I leave you with this, something I'd read before, but that I heard again on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day). I think it is beautiful and heartbreakingly true.

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out -- because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me -- and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.
(Attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller, German priest)

3 comments:

Nicky said...

On the bright side, this is good news. 300 years late, but at least she can rest easy now!

AmHistorian said...

Wait a minute...she put an HTML tag in her blog comment! She's a witch! Burn her!

Nicky said...

But, do I weigh the same as a duck?