Walking the Path: My Interfaith Journey

A Pagan seminarian's perspective on faith, theology, and facilitating interfaith dialogue.

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When the Path Isn't Clear: Doing the Work of Pagan Activism

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

The last week or so has been quite eventful in the Pagan community. Without rehashing specifics, I reference these posts which speak to the second and third order effects of speech and the power of words: 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/aloneinherpresence/2015/11/i-wont-shame-my-elders/

http://thecocowitch.com/2015/11/heres-why-youre-not-my-elder-i-hope-you-understand/

http://paganinparadise.blogspot.com/2015/11/pagan-bigots-please-join-my-grandmother.html

http://www.thorncoyle.com/blog/2015/11/11/continue-trying/ 

And to prove this issue is not new, a few resources from not that far in the past along the same vein:

http://st4r.org/main/circle-of-cerridwen/gender-activism/an-open-letter-to-all-pagans-and-particularly-the-pantheacon-organizers-pantheacon-2011/

http://paganactivist.com/2013/05/14/pagan-leadership-dissension-transgender-activism-ethics-and-community/

My thanks goes out to all who have addressed this, with the understanding that I'm highlighting already existing views out there for consumption. The point I'd like to make is: when the dust settles and we're all done nursing our wounds, what exactly are we going to do about this?

There are multiple opinions on what could be done. Some, like Peter Dybing, have advocated for boycotting and exclusion from the community those elders who have repeatedly shared harmful views towards marginalized people, while engaging in compassionate dialogue those who are newer to the discourse. Others have advocated for discussion, dialogue, and holding a space for our elders whether or not we agree with their views. In my opinion the platform of social media has allowed issues like this to become centralized and hyper-focused in our view, providing the perfect storm of free-speech and a captive audience. But what will we do with this righteous fire while it still burns?

A reminder that our community is not the only one struggling with these discussions:

http://www.religiousinstitute.org/acting-out-loud/transgender/

Where is our unified platform for justice? Is it in the conference model, like Pantheacon and the Parliament of World's Religions? Is it in the grassroots models utilizing social media, boycotting, stand-ins, slam-poetry, festivals, etc? Where do we as a community want to actually start doing the work instead of just talking about it?

This is not the first act of violence against another, nor will it be the last. How will you enact change?

 

--Denora

 

*Other resources:

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/understanding-the-transgender-community

http://transactivists.org/

http://www.transequality.org/actions

 

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Denora is currently a full-time wife, mother, and chaplain. As an eight-year veteran of the United States Air Force, her professional career has spanned network administration, performing presidential support requirements and veteran military funeral honors in Arlington National Cemetery, and executive communications support for the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Denora has an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Central Florida, an MA in International Relations from St. Mary’s University, and a Master of Divinity degree from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. She has completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education with the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD and has spent a year as a chaplain resident with the Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City, TN and as a Mental Health Chaplain Fellow at the Lexington VA Medical Center in Lexington, KY, specializing in trauma, substance abuse, and PTSD. She is an active member of Circle Sanctuary's Military Ministries team and the Lady Liberty League Military Affairs Task Force. Her future plans include board certification with the Association of Professional Chaplains. She is currently working with the Missouri Veterans Endeavor helping homeless and displaced veterans and their families.

Comments

  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven Saturday, 14 November 2015

    Denora, thought you would like to know that Macha (Aline) posted the following on her Facebook page about an hour ago.

    "Recently I thoughtlessly signed an online petition at changeDOTorg about removing the T from LGBT. I regret having signed it and I disavow its contents."

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