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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Politics

As my readers know, this column frequently has a political orientation.  Some people object a religious site should not have political content.  But historically spirituality has never been purely private except when viewed from a secular perspective that relegates it to the purely subjective, like preferring chocolate ice cream over vanilla. Interestingly, this secular outlook imports powerful monotheistic assumptions under the surface.

However to say that religion has unavoidable political implications is not to make the next jump and say that religion leads to One Right Way politically. This totalitarian conclusion has roots in religions dominating societies and also claiming there is only One Right Way. Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are tragic examples. By contrast, religions emphasizing sacred immanence, that divinity is within the world wherever else it might be, generally recognize many valid spiritual paths, and more easily live at peace with a diverse political landscape. 

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    We have come almost full circle about Liberalism over the past couple hundred years. Liberal started out as someone favoring Libe
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Greybeard- You will never understand this or the following columns if you think of them treating liberalism and conservatism as a
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    So much has changed politically, even since the 1970s, that the U.S. mass media's notions of 'liberal' and 'conservative' don't ev
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I will cover this issue never fear. But before it can be really understood I think we need to understand where liberalism and cons
  • Don Kraig
    Don Kraig says #
    Gus, this was a great historical article. Thank you. It seems to me, though, that you have not yet covered how they have evolved
Before Gordon Gekko There Was Star Trek

Before Ayn Rand became a household name or Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in the movie, Wall Street, captivated the masses with his "greed is good" ideals, a license to callously cheat and exploit, we believed in the progressive values of Star Trek.  Remember, in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (1982) when Spock's dying words to Kirk were "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."  Or a few years later, in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) Picard explains the world view of the future when he says "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives.  We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." In fact, Star Trek's mission was one of exploration and humanitarianism rather than the Right Wing rejection of science or the Ayn Rand values to spurn collectivism and altruism.

That said, I wonder how many have considered how much more Trekkies and Goddess Advocates have in common?  Let's see.

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  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte says #
    Resistance is Not Futile. Resistance to the eternal spiritual 'darkness' is most decidedly not futile. We - as a lifeform & specie

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Embracing The Other

I was recently interviewed on a radio program and the host asked me if I might name one way my mother influenced my life.  I immediately knew the answer to her question.  Evelyn, my mother, taught me to fight for the under-dog.  She never verbalized it, but I think she felt like an under-dog.  She grew up in Louisiana in the 1940's.  It was a time when women had little choice about the direction their life would take.  She had no protections like Roe v Wade.  Her mother was a janitor and education for women was not a priority.  Her world view consisted of getting married, keeping a roof over her head and her kids fed.  I can still remember her and my step-father, too poor for a decent meal because selling vacuum cleaners door to door was not putting food on the table, eating corn chips with some cheese spread for dinner.  Sometimes my breakfast cereal did not come with milk, but water to moisten it.  Ham was out of the question and I came to love bologna sandwiches, especially if I had potato chips to slap between the slices of bread instead of lettuce. 


Never having taken a class in Women’s Studies and a product of the conservative South, I don’t think Evelyn can name the cause for her circumstances.  I can still hear her misplaced loyalty to her Southern roots as my step-father, a northerner from Iowa,  would tell her of the rampant ignorance and racism in the South.  Sexism never came up, however.  Afterall, women just had their role in society.  Evelyn’s life path was not in question - it was normal for the times, but I doubt she was happy.  I wonder if she even felt happiness was something she could hope for.  I got the feeling she was happy surviving.   I wonder how her life would have been different if she had the option to finish high school and go on to college or if she could make enough money not to have to get married or fulfill society’s expectations that women have children.  So, yes, Evelyn instilled in me to fight for the under-dog, probably because she felt there was no one fighting for her. 

She encouraged me to reach out to the lonely kids on the playground who were rejected by the popular kids.  We shared what little we had with neighbors who had less than us.  She told me to go out and get what I wanted in life because it would not come “knocking on my door.”  She tried her best with what she had to work with, which wasn’t much materially or education-wise, but she had compassion and empathy, which I believe, made her very rich.

So it’s no surprise, today I consider myself a social justice advocate.  I fight for “THE OTHER” because today, so many more of us are THE OTHER.  We are the ones with a boot on our neck. The boot of white, male, fundamentalist Christian men and their female counterparts who benefit from the oppression of others.  Yes, this is the root of so much of the oppression and denigration and it’s not just oppression from the elites.  Often it’s poor, white, male, fundamentalist Christian men and their female counterparts who play their part in this patriarchal scheme. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I hope that you are enjoying a wonderful Lughnasadh.  I hope that you are harvesting all that you can manage and just enough to share. 

Here in the mystical MidAtlantic, there are lots of jokes about sneaking onto our neighbors' porches to leave bags of zucchini; we can all get overwhelmed this time of year by what our gardens produce.  I want to remind everyone in that (enviable) situation that most food closets and soup kitchens will gladly take extra produce -- they're masters at turning out soups and casseroles filled with your extra produce.  It's not so much a sacrifice as a way of sharing, a way of continuing and reviving the gift culture that may, one day, supplement, if not replace, capitalism.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Admittedly, most of the time, when someone refers to me as a feminist, the word they follow it up with is not “Witch” (though the word they choose does rhyme with Witch). In fact, I find that people are somewhat confused when I refer to myself as a “Feminist Witch.” This confusion is probably best summed up in the question I got from a young woman in a college class I had been speaking to about Witchcraft and Paganism. Her voice full of sincerity and clear perplexity, she asked, “So you're a feminist? What's the difference between you and a man-hater?”

Well then. I guess that's better than the “What's the difference between you and a Satanist?” bit I usually get at these public lectures, I thought to myself. Then I took a deep breath and gave her my standard answer: “Feminism is the radical idea that women are people. Feminism is the idea that there is no such thing as a lesser person, and that all people deserve dignity and equality, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, class, or anything else.”

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  • Ashling Kelly
    Ashling Kelly says #
    Couldn't have said any of this better myself; in fact, you expressed it far better than I could have. Thank you for bringing this
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Its good to hear that young women in college today have so much wisdom.
  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir says #
    I just love how every time a woman self-identifies as a feminist, that has to be quantified with "but I'm not a man-hater, honest!
Extraordinary Creeping Paganism...we need more creep in the Old North State

Bless you, Ms. Trotta. It is such a lovely usable phrase.

Thought I'd check in and let you all know we're grounding, centering, focusing our wills down here in the sinking ship that is North Carolina. We know the country is watching us, wondering how much farther we can fall.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

What does religion have to do with a particular political party? Not much. Political parties are fluid, and politicians are more interested in power than in a particular moral stance. Reagan gave a nod to fundamentalist Christians, and they leapt to align themselves with the Republican party. But now the GOP is getting pressure from many of its members to change its stance on marriage. What will these Christians do then?

My fellow blogger here at Witches and Pagans, Gus DiZerega, would have us be convinced that being Pagan is quite incompatible with being Libertarian. I’m not convinced. Gus spent many years being a Libertarian and has offered considerable philosophic reading in his links. But ultimately, I didn’t come to my interest in Libetarianism through philosophy and scholarly study, but through politics and economics.* My interest in Libertarianism is that it is all about getting government to be smaller and less intrusive. This means fewer laws, and a trust that the market will be better for humans and Nature than will government. Since Gus brought it up, I started thinking more deeply about what spiritual values might underlie our political choices (if any). From there I considered the connections between compassion and responsibility, and personal happiness.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    It is not "BIG" that makes government and business bad. In a nation of over 300 million people and almost 4 million square miles
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    I maintain that the only political issue that truly applies across the multitude of Pagan faiths is religious freedom. One can fin
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Agreed 100%. Getting the government off our backs and out of our pockets should be a goal of every freedom loving human being. G
  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore says #
    Bravo, Selina! As you know, I do not agree with many of the opinions you express here. But I very much support both your right t
  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    Have you explored the distinction between anarchism and libertarianism? My primary problem with libertarianism is that it seems li

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