A few days back, the entire Pagan blogosphere seemed to explode over the notion that a group of Christians are looking to work some form of “spiritual warfare” starting at some gathering that they (the Christians in question) are proposing for October 3rd in Hawaii. Nearly every blogger I read has said something on the topic – one way or the other. Thus far, I’ve stayed out of the entire fray. And despite the fact that I’m writing about it here in this post, I’ll continue to do so. I understand the reasoning for everyone to be in the overall stir that’s taking place within the cauldron – I just don’t see the same thing that many others do.
Calls for “spiritual warfare” have been commonplace out of the Christian community in the past, particularly out of the far-Right Evangelical crowd. I’m old enough in my Pagan faith to recall the “Satanic panic” of the mid-1980s, which also rang through with cries of “arming one’s self for battle in the name of our Savior”. I recall radical Christians calling for potential perspectives of “baptism and a new shirt or death.” I recall these statements because they were levied against me face to face when I was in the Air Force – at a time when I had not been very long within my Pagan faith. I also recall similar statements in the early 1990s, when I was cornered in a military Post Office in the middle of the night, when I was checking my mail after a shift. I’ve heard these cries and statements before…with time, patience and a little understanding, discussion ruled the day in all of those scenarios. Level-headed discourse was the prevailing factor in bringing sanity back into my immediate world. I didn’t have to do any spell-work, I had no need to level curses or adhere to “black magic” practices to make my perspective known and understood. I only needed to talk to others in a manner that was necessary. Find a plot of common ground, share that with them, and explore the differences for what they were: just differences of perspective. Sure, I didn’t win very many converts to my way of thinking — but I also wasn’t seeking to convert anyone. Merely to explain my perspective, show the commonality between us, and let the issue go after that.
Do these folks have a right to their beliefs? Of course they do. That’s part of the freedoms that we all enjoy here in the United States. They are not only entitled to their perspective, I swore an oath and wore a uniform for eight years to provide them the ability to have that perspective. Even though it differs completely from my own. Now, there’s some notation to all of this as well: its been noted that these particular “Christians” (and that’s a loose descriptive, as they don’t truly follow the teachings of the individual that they proclaim as their Savior) also have a desire to bring about their beliefs as the only recognized belief within the United States. Now that is an issue to fight them on. It violates the tenets of what this country was founded on. However, they can proclaim their desire for such things to take place all that they want. When they act on that – physically or legislatively…then I’ll join the fray. After all, there is a difference between saying something and doing it…until then, let them talk.