2.10.07

Other People's Morality

Why is it that the ignorant people seem to be flocking into my life, right now? The last two weeks have been pretty rough for me with the loss of a grandfather then to return to my apartment, only to face packing boxes.

In the last 4 days I have met 3 new people that were appalled and vocally disappointed when they recognized I walk a different path.

The first was one of the kind gentlemen I hired to assist with moving me. Due to the unexpected delay caused by the out of state memorial service, I hired a moving company to help pack and relocate my belongings. One of the young men was in my bedroom when he came across the pentacle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentacle) I made. (Review previous postings for photo.) At which point he took a closer look around and realized he was in a room with multiple candles, an incense 'ashtray', and wall hangings of Celtic knot designs. The young man, we shall call Josh, was quite upset. He was so upset he actually pulled a small New Testament bible from his jeans and started reading scripture in my home. He refused to touch any more of my 'tainted' belongings, until they had been blessed and the evil banished from me and mine. Oh, but the issue continues with young Josh. Young Josh starts bucking against the instructions of his employer of putting away his bible and do his job. Josh starts spewing forth a great fount of ignorant blithering of evil and persecution. Statements of magic being the work of the Devil and how I must be possessed by the 'Great One', himself to have such arcane paraphernalia laying about. To shorten a long story, Josh quit/was fired from his job for failing to exercise the agreed upon duties of his position. Josh even tried to recruit away the other young man assisting. Josh left the apartment, only to return a few moments later to request a ride to another part of town.

Today I met the other two, at the same time. I was at a local branch of a major chain store. There is a "Neighborhood Market" a few blocks away from my new apartment. As I'm walking across the parking lot (the Dr. told me to get more exercise), I stop to help a woman whose bag of groceries had busted, spilling about the ground. Chasing down roll-away oranges is not something I wanted to do, but it was the 'right' thing to do. Returning to the scene, I'm helping re-bag the spilt groceries into other bags when my pendant falls out from under shirt, as I bend down to pick up a few items. The older woman whose groceries we were picking up noticed the design of the pentacle and made polite mention of it. The younger woman (still old enough to be my mother - so 60ish?), whom I assume to be the daughter of the older lady just goes nuts on me. She gets so agitated that she actually hit me with her purse. Demanding I step away from 'Nanna'. Of course, this is assault, but who am I to press charges? There was really not much danger to me, unless she lost her balance and fell on me. I stepped away. 'Nanna' was nice and friendly and non-judgemental. The other woman was just mental.

I am starting to see a pattern, not just from these three people, but the experiences relayed to me by others, also. As 'We' start uniting and become a large enough entity for the government to be called to toe on meeting equal rights, 'We' start catching more and more guff from the public. As the Wiccan/Pagan/non-Christ based beliefs start getting more air time and published in more mainstream media 'We' will become larger and better targets for these types of attacks.

I don't advertise to people I don't interact with daily, my interest in arcane beliefs, my curiosity for a different answer, my desire to find a solution to the mysteries of life and the universe that rings honest and whole in my heart. The people know these things about me. A few are graduates of seminary schools and we will debate, not argue the differences in our beliefs. I wear a small pentacle on a string about my neck. The pentacle is nearly the same diameter as a quarter. I'm a balding, overweight, 40 year old white guy, with glasses. My clothes are appropriate for what I am. The only wording on my shirts is to advertise some company or service related to computers. I have no tattoo's or piercings.

In discussion of these events with friends, this evening, a common thread started to become visible. The world we know, here in this town is changing, and it is not for the better. Several comments were made regarding choices and options. Amendments and Constitutions and Bills were also deliberated. It was finally decided there is little we as individuals can do, that we are not already doing. Be who and what we are. No need to publicly advertise our beliefs, but instead to step up and be what the Ideal American of the 50's was supposed to be. Friendly, supportive, helpful and wholesome. Give no quarter by providing nothing to be pointed out.

Now all of this has been a wonderful exercise of public image management for a group of largely alpha personalities participating in the nations fastest growing belief system. My ultimate question is: Who decides what is or is not moral? I have been told the public, as a whole, through the vote determines morality laws. But with the number of sex scandals in the elected offices of late, can we count on this being true?

6 comments:

RugbyGirlMD said...

My heart goes out to you.

My day-to-day paraphinalia is small (tattoo smaller than the ball of my thumb inside my left wrist), but I get outed on occasion too. I've been preached to, but never assaulted (but then again I'm just a little girl, right?)....I left my first college partially on account of religious intolerance. Welcome to the Bible-Belt.

Rochester NY was good for being pagan.
New Orleans is ok if you pick & choose who to talk to about it. Stick to the literati and you're about 50/50 - 60/40 against moral outrage.

Have you read "Talking Right"
An interesting treatise on the politicalization/moralization of the English language.
I picked it up after I heard about it on NPR where the author spoke on the right-wing aqcuisition of the word "moral". Worth a read.

I hope your move brings you somewhere less intolerant.

net said...

I'm so sorry, Blacksmith. Not every "Christian" chooses to be so judgmental. I have several Wiccan friends and, it seems to me, they care about and practice their beliefs more faithfully than most of my parishoners.

I'd have pressed charges. You are much more gracious than I.

Pagan Blacksmith said...

rugbygirlmd,

Thanks. The apartment complex I have moved into is actually managed by and has several residents of the 50 unit complex who are wiccan or pagan in some fashion.

Pagan Blacksmith said...

net,

I thought about pressing charges, but why? I was in no real danger. Any cop I called would have laughed at me. The woman was scared, that is all. She reacted in a way that probably was not the best way to react. How many of us have reacted to a situation and later wished we had handled it...differently? I certainly have. In fact the second post for last night is a statement of one of those times.

Strings said...

there're intolerant nutjobs on all sides, bro. I've dealt with just as much BS from pagans about my guns ownership (and political activism) as I have from Christians about my faith.

As for "morality", mine is simple (if different from some folks'): I try my best to not initiate harm against another human being. And it's fairly easy to live that way...

Zanthera said...

Press charges? Nah, I would tip my hat and be laughing on my way.

Karma got the moving guy but I am sure you cast a curse on him as far as he would ponder.

The other day I wore my pentacle to work on a class day. No reaction just one thought I was Jewish and mocked me after I explained to her the difference in the stars. Nice to know I wouldn't be harassed being in a very Catholic predominant setting.

I don't feel sorry, feel more like we can be out there and someone is watching over us kind of thing.