Hail, Guardians of the Watchtower of the East
October 1, 2014 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Hey, remember when the Supreme Court ruled that every religion needs to have a shot at opening a legislative session with a prayer? Well, ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for David Suhor, Agnostic Pagan Pantheist. Wait, where are you going?
posted by Cool Papa Bell (69 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
An invocation is offered before Escambia County commission meetings.
And by law, a member of any faith or religion is welcome to deliver the prayer.
Perhaps this is like Henry Ford's "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:53 AM on October 1, 2014 [9 favorites]


Whoever writes these laws suffers a profound deficit of imagination.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:55 AM on October 1, 2014 [19 favorites]


This was kind of neat.
posted by PinkMoose at 12:03 PM on October 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was happily surprised by how respectful the rest of the attendees were.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:04 PM on October 1, 2014 [21 favorites]


From the linked article:
David Suhor "In a way I would like for other people to experience what it's like when I go to a meeting and am asked to pray against my conscience."
posted by Fizz at 12:07 PM on October 1, 2014 [13 favorites]


County Commissioner Wilson Robertson: "I'm just not going to have a pagan or satanic minister pray for me."

Again with the evangelicals falsely equating paganism with satanism. FFS, Satan is a judeo-christian invention.

Not that there aren't plenty of satanists around, but most modern pagans eschew all Christian iconography, including Satan.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:11 PM on October 1, 2014 [18 favorites]


I'm from that area; it's basically the buckle of the Bible Belt. Frank Lay, principal of Pace High School, used to lead prayer before the football games and other school events. I was glad to see them get sued for it, though apparently they didn't learn anything from it (though why would they? basically the judge just wagged a finger at them).
posted by johnofjack at 12:13 PM on October 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I like that one board member called David Suhor "pushy." Because, you know, having Christian prayers in government meetings is totally not pushy.
posted by zippy at 12:17 PM on October 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


The song was lovely. I have an affection for the lilting darkness of traditional folk music, and I think his invocation lives in a really compelling space between that and more typical religious chanting.

A few things from the article:
The Escambia County School Board has refused several times to let Suhor give his prayer.
You know who loves all that Pagan shit? Teenagers. Even I flirted with it for a while. They deserved to be represented, even if not all of them will make it a more permanent part of their identity.
Bergosh told Channel 3 News the reason Suhor has been denied a chance to deliver the invocation is "he's pushy to members of the board and has been off putting."
Yeah, sometimes people get like that when you oppress them. As a member of the majority, it's Bergosh's responsibility to cede the floor once in a while, or else he'll have it taken from him.

And also, what Pallas Athena and zippy said.
posted by WCWedin at 12:19 PM on October 1, 2014 [10 favorites]


Because, you know, having Christian prayers in government meetings is totally not pushy.

It's pushing the other cheek.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:19 PM on October 1, 2014 [12 favorites]


Personally, I would have lead with an "Ia! Ia! Cthulhu f'tagn," but this was nice too.
posted by malocchio at 12:20 PM on October 1, 2014 [13 favorites]


Googling "Agnostic Pagan Pantheist" led me in a few short steps to Suhor's blog, which delivered this gem, a better recording of the invocation.
posted by slipthought at 12:21 PM on October 1, 2014 [8 favorites]


Not that there aren't plenty of satanists around, but most modern pagans eschew all Christian iconography, including Satan.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:11 PM on October 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


Eponysterical, etc.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:25 PM on October 1, 2014 [8 favorites]


That was kind of nice, and props to the guy for stepping forward and carrying through. It did go on for a while though. He might want to come up with a shorter version if he's going to keep doing it. Maybe just one of the cardinal directions instead of all four each time. Heck, when he invokes the spirit of the South he might get some unexpected support, being in Florida.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:29 PM on October 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


BTW, check out the first "Related Post", Storm Damage in Nebraska.

What's the relatedness? The 'hail' tag.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:31 PM on October 1, 2014 [19 favorites]


Personally, I would have lead with an "Ia! Ia! Cthulhu f'tagn," but this was nice too.


And now, to honor the traditions of my ancestors, I present the Song of the Shoggoth:


TEKELI-LI TEKELI-LI TEKELI-LI TEKELI-LI TEKELI-LI TEKELI-LI TEKELI-LI TEKELI-LI
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2014 [18 favorites]


BTW, check out the first "Related Post", Storm Damage in Nebraska.

What's the relatedness? The 'hail' tag.


It's hail all the way down:
Blair, Nebraska Hail Storm Damage June 5, 2014
Hailstorm v Swimming Pool May 18, 2010
CoCoRaHS - "Volunteers working together to measure... November 19, 2009
Effing Hail: May 4, 2009
Great balls of ice falling from the sky! December 11, 2003
posted by filthy light thief at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2014


As an atheist, this sort of thing still seems intrusive, and even a "moment of silence" to allow people to pray silently in their own way still seems inappropriate. People can pray on their own time. When it's time for the meeting to begin, start it.

And hell, if you're a Christian, you ought to be against a public prayer at a town meeting anyway. Matthew 6:5-6 is very clear about that.
posted by explosion at 12:47 PM on October 1, 2014 [37 favorites]


By walking out of the pagan prayer, is he opening the council up to another lawsuit? It seems like once you start choosing which prayer session you, the government official in the room, are going to sit through, you are stepping over the line.
posted by Phredward at 12:50 PM on October 1, 2014 [8 favorites]


In the New Mexico Legislature building, there's a rotunda where anyone can schedule time and come together, supposedly to speak to the legislators and members of the public who attend. I was at the building one day, and I first heard a long prayer session, asking for God to guide the legislators and whatnot.

I was really tempted to get some time to rant against religions, or call everyone to hail the great noodly appendages of god.

explosion: And hell, if you're a Christian, you ought to be against a public prayer at a town meeting anyway. Matthew 6:5-6 is very clear about that.

That came to mind, too. The prayer session was very public, and all about very publicly praying, making public prayer groups, etc. But then the loud Christians were followed with a local branch of an international feminist movement, so I figured there was probably some balance over time, at least in this venue.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2014


I was pretty impressed by how sincere and (more or less) appropriate the invocation was. Nice work, watchtower-dude!
posted by edheil at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


The article references a blog post by Jeff Bergosh, the Escambia County school board member, where he discusses Suhor but they don't link to either the specific blog post nor to the blog in general. Here's the blog. And here are a few links to a couple of posts, along with some quotes:

How Do Other Governmental Bodies Handle The Pre-Meeting Invocation?, Aug. 19, 2014
I mean, should the majority of persons in attendance at one of our meetings really have to listen to a satanic verse? What if a “Witch Doctor” comes to the podium with a full-on costume, chicken-feet, a voodoo doll and other associated over-the-top regalia? It could easily get out of hand, so far as I can tell....(I wonder what our local media would say about this?)
Out Came The Prayer Rug!, Sept. 17, 2014
So as we were about to begin the invocation prior to a very heavy school board meeting, one of the individuals in the front row took a prayer mat, set it right next to the podium, and began mumbling and chanting incomprehensible gibberish as our invited pastor was trying to give a really heartfelt Christian invocation.
That second one is interesting to me. I wonder what really happened there.
posted by mhum at 1:05 PM on October 1, 2014 [7 favorites]


Well, at least this kind of thing where asking the government make accommodations for peoples' religious beliefs only causes a minor inconvenience in obscure municipal government meetings, and doesn't create problems at the federal level.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:10 PM on October 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


I mean, should the majority of persons in attendance at one of our meetings really have to listen to a satanic verse? What if a “Witch Doctor” comes to the podium with a full-on costume, chicken-feet, a voodoo doll and other associated over-the-top regalia? It could easily get out of hand, so far as I can tell....(I wonder what our local media would say about this?)

And I won’t stay and listen if someone tries to be disrespectful like that. I’ll leave the room and come back after, or wear BOSE noise cancelling headphones. Or I'll turn around and raise my fist in the air like the '68 Olympians did(uh, I'm being sarcastic-I wouldn't really do that...)...... I won’t be part of someone's prank.


Oh wow, but this guy should not be holding public office.
posted by rtha at 1:13 PM on October 1, 2014 [22 favorites]


Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony.

Amen.
posted by bonehead at 1:17 PM on October 1, 2014 [21 favorites]


(Zelazny, of course)
posted by bonehead at 1:18 PM on October 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


God's judgement 'pon Murrica for letting the pagans pray, natch.
posted by symbioid at 1:23 PM on October 1, 2014


Let us praise God...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:25 PM on October 1, 2014


And hell, if you're a Christian, you ought to be against a public prayer at a town meeting anyway. Matthew 6:5-6 is very clear about that.

That passage is, at least, clear about the problems of praying as a vain/proud display of religiosity. That's about as far as I'd say you could get most of Christianity to agree on, though it's credible to argue the shoe fits in a lot of cases where prayer is held in public meetings, and it's true that some Christians would take it as a general discouragement of prayer in secular meetings or even prayer at all.

Anyway, while I'm weighing in as a Christian theist on Metafilter, I'll also say that I respect what Suhor has done here. There's the reminder to the majority about what religious freedom means and the service of providing them with the experience of being the audience for an unfamiliar religious expression, and that's valuable, but there's more to it for me.

I'm thinking of what a Pastafarian likely would have done/said, which would have pretty much covered those intellectual points... and stopped there. But Suhor instead did a real invocation and brought in something which held some of the notes I recognize from my own religious experiences: awe, a world charged with grandeur and bigger than moment of the meeting itself, an expressed desire to be strengthened and inspired by these things.

It's a fit invocation, and if Christians are going to insist on making their own in public meetings, they could stand to learn from it. We often can't all gather around the same specific beliefs, but I think we can offer one another perspective, hope, and the chance to learn about things we can recognize as common and gather around.
posted by weston at 1:25 PM on October 1, 2014 [22 favorites]


The song was lovely. I have an affection for the lilting darkness of traditional folk music, and I think his invocation lives in a really compelling space between that and more typical religious chanting.

According to the caption and transcript below the YouTube video, the melody is "inspired by the Muslim call to prayer."
posted by compartment at 1:32 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pastafarianism? That's atheism with a sense of humor, not a religion.

It is funny though, so it's much much better than humorless atheism.
posted by el io at 1:32 PM on October 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


Pallas Athena: County Commissioner Wilson Robertson: "I'm just not going to have a pagan or satanic minister pray for me."

Again with the evangelicals falsely equating paganism with satanism. FFS, Satan is a judeo-christian invention.

Not that there aren't plenty of satanists around, but most modern pagans eschew all Christian iconography, including Satan.
A needlessly (and falsely) naive take on his meaning. Also, he used the word "or", making your interpretation still invalid.

Your religious beliefs (that pagans aren't satanic, which is to say: inspired by Satan) are no more provably factual than his.

And what does it matter that he left? He's free to express his religious beliefs by not being present for another's religious ceremony, in this country. That's kind of the entire point here.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:08 PM on October 1, 2014


Again with the evangelicals falsely equating paganism with satanism.

They think everything is Satanism, though

Or as they called it when I grew up around them, "Of the devil."

Things that were "of the devil":

The Simpsons.
Zubaz pants.
FM radio.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:09 PM on October 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


Given how odious that Bergosh person appears to be, I wouldn't be surprised if the prayer mat and 'gibberish' were a Muslim person. Everybody knows the real God only speaks English.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:10 PM on October 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Given the opportunity to do this I would prolly hold up a cat and sing the opening to Circle of Life.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:13 PM on October 1, 2014 [30 favorites]


If I ever need anything invocated I am definitely calling poffin boffin.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:32 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


And what does it matter that he left? He's free to express his religious beliefs by not being present for another's religious ceremony, in this country. That's kind of the entire point here.

He's an elected official, representing a local government office. He's not acting in his capacity as Just Some Guy. In theory, he represents all the people in his school district, not just the ones who voted for him, and not just the ones with religious beliefs he agrees with. If he's can't do his job without seeming like (or actually!) he's violating the Constitution, he should step down. He's not entitled to hold this job if his religious beliefs are more important to him.
posted by rtha at 2:33 PM on October 1, 2014 [22 favorites]


As a contemplative Christian I'm a bit perplexed about why we have to have prayers of any kind at the beginning of a public meeting, let alone prayers that ask God to do shit for us. If you have an active prayer life, I assume you pray at the beginning and the end of the day, and that should be enough for you. Praying together before a meeting is as arbitrary as praying together before a phone call, your morning commute or a 360 evaluation. At any rate, many of us have very different ideas of what prayer is, and it doesn't make sense to me that we ask God to give us a hand with a county board meeting.

However, as an mixed indigenous person, I am in lots of meetings where praying beforehand is common. Sometimes these are Christian prayers, and sometimes these are prayers and blessing from the culture and community I am with, and sometimes these are just more general blessings, intercessions and invocations. So I'm quite used to invocations, songs and long thanksgiving prayers. In general it feels like these prayers are intended to bring us to presence, to being fully here and to crossing a threshold from the outside world to the container of the meeting. In the US public deliberative body example here, it seems like everyone is just going through the motions, and rather than actually taking on board the chance to reflect, people are just indulging other people's spiritual practices. It looks different from the meetings I am used to. And the guy who walked out is an example. He is perhaps too sensitive and possibly insecure about his beliefs. i wonder about his ability to make other decisions in the public realm. Suhor is probably quite strange to him, but it's certainly not the worse thing that could happen if you are inviting a diversity of invocations. I like Suhor's general intention to do away with public prayer altogether and just have silence.

For me, the point is purpose.

I think a moment of silence before important work is a damn fine idea, and I practice that all the time in my work as a facilitator. Before we make a decision, take a moment to really examine the implications. Before speaking take a moment to think about what you are going to say and especially how that might affect people. Taking a pause is wise. It helps chill out conflict, allows people to quiet their emotions and tap their rational minds, and slows things down enough that we can hear each other. It is the best tool I have when there is conflict in the room.
posted by salishsea at 4:36 PM on October 1, 2014 [14 favorites]


It's a fit invocation, and if Christians are going to insist on making their own in public meetings, they could stand to learn from it. We often can't all gather around the same specific beliefs, but I think we can offer one another perspective, hope, and the chance to learn about things we can recognize as common and gather around.

weston, as a "recovering Christian" who has been terribly abused by the church I grew up in, I want to give you a hug. Thank you for showing that there are still compassionate Christians out there.
posted by xedrik at 5:49 PM on October 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


It is generally conceded, or so I thought, that if you are praying, you are praying to a god of some sort. Who are these "Guardians of the watchtower(s)" he keeps invoking? Sounds like a load of BS to me. See also Exodus 20: 2-3.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 7:23 PM on October 1, 2014


It is generally conceded, or so I thought, that if you are praying, you are praying to a god of some sort.

Define 'generally'. Catholics pray to a gamut of saints, including the Virgin Mary. They are not held to be gods.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:18 PM on October 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


Things that were "of the devil":

The Simpsons.
Zubaz pants.
FM radio.


and tattoos!
posted by en forme de poire at 8:23 PM on October 1, 2014


Who are these "Guardians of the watchtower(s)" he keeps invoking? Sounds like a load of BS to me.

Right? An invisible deity? That some people invoke, perhaps even worship? The mind boggles.
posted by xedrik at 9:47 PM on October 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


I love that he's done this at multiple meetings AT ALL. All hail!
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:03 PM on October 1, 2014


Sounds like a load of BS to me. See also Exodus 20: 2-3.

You're right, that does sound like a load of BS to me.
posted by Drexen at 3:52 AM on October 2, 2014


But seriously though:

"Who are these "Guardians of the watchtower(s)" he keeps invoking?"

Golden Eagle of the Dawn, Star-seeker, Whirlwind, Rising Sun, Red Lion of the noon heat, Flaming One, Summer’s warmth, Spark of life, Serpent of the watery abyss, Rainmaker, Gray-robed Twilight, Evening Star, Center of the whirling sky, Stone, Mountain, Fertile Field, and North Star.

HTH.
posted by Drexen at 4:01 AM on October 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


The Watchtowers have a history in ritual magic that can be traced back at least as far as John Dee's enochian evocations in the 1500s, and possibly even back to Roman times (it was not uncommon to find a tower dedicated to a guardian spirit, or lar, at a crossroad). This isn't something the dude just made up on the spot.
posted by malocchio at 6:38 AM on October 2, 2014


I found it beautiful. But I'm pagan and it is nice to see these things in public spaces that respect and honor the religion instead of being whatever non pagans think paganism is. As someone who had dedicated years of my life to the study and practice of the religion it is nice to see.

I feel some of the comments discount that many pagan religious sects have long histories and scholars. There is tons of study that goes into the reconstruction of ancient rituals and things we do have reasons. There is a full history. Many groups meet regularly. It may look all weird to the outsider but we generally aren't just making things up on the fly.

I understand and it is okay that people don't hold the same beliefs as me. But I would like to see it more mainstream and not some huge stigma I have in my life. (In my life it feels stronger than my lgbt stigma or my mental illness stigma)
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:30 AM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


See also Exodus 20: 2-3

You understand, don't you, that it's a key component of this story that the invocation is being carried out by a pagan?

I mean...I guess I can't blame Jahweh for attempting to make an exclusive claim on my loyalty, but that doesn't mean anyone else should make assumptions about me going along with it.
posted by Ipsifendus at 8:05 AM on October 2, 2014


"Who are these "Guardians of the watchtower(s)" he keeps invoking?"

Since Google doesn't work for you: The Guardians of the Watchtowers are more or less the personifications of the forces associated with the four cardinal directions. The closest Christian analogue would sort of be angels, and in fact in the Western occult tradition/Hermeticism (from which the neo-Pagan practice is derived), each direction has a corresponding archangel.

See also Exodus 20: 2-3

That isn't relevant at all, because

1) This is about religious freedom
2) This isn't about what Christians believe
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:59 AM on October 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's a lovely invocation and very traditional. The "watchtowers" language is from the Golden Dawn movement in the 1880s, and is based (as others have pointed out) on John Dee's work from the 16th century and possibly much earlier sources. The language was incorporated into Gardnerian Wicca in the 1930s/40s.

It is generally conceded, or so I thought, that if you are praying, you are praying to a god of some sort. Who are these "Guardians of the watchtower(s)" he keeps invoking? Sounds like a load of BS to me. See also Exodus 20: 2-3.

Depending on your theological beliefs (and paganism runs the gamut), the Guardians of the Watchtowers can certainly be considered "a god of some sort". Some pagans are hard polytheists, in which case the Guardians can be considered literal gods of the four elements and directions (East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water, North/Earth). Others are soft polytheists, pantheists, or panentheists, in which case the Guardians can be considered aspects of a larger deific entity.

At the beginning of many pagan services, the priest or priestess invokes the blessings of the guardians of the four elements/directions to watch over their ritual and protect or bestow good things on the participants. This is completely in line with invocations in other religions.

Interestingly, I've never heard these invocations sung. It reminded me, more than anything else, of pre-Vatican II Catholic liturgical singing. :)
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:10 AM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eponysterical, Ben Trismegistus.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:17 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pastafarianism? That's atheism with a sense of humor, not a religion.

It is funny though, so it's much much better than humorless atheism.


Instead of promoting the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Pastafarianism would be so much funnier if they worshipped Chef Boyardee with dreadlocks and called him "Spaghetti-O Jah."
posted by jonp72 at 9:41 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Things that were "of the devil":

The Simpsons.
Zubaz pants.
FM radio.


They're not wrong about Zubaz.
posted by jonp72 at 9:43 AM on October 2, 2014


Instead of promoting the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Pastafarianism would be so much funnier if they worshipped Chef Boyardee with dreadlocks and called him "Spaghetti-O Jah."

But that would be mocking a specific religion, instead of mocking all of them.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:46 AM on October 2, 2014


See also Exodus 20: 2-3

That isn't relevant at all, because

1) This is about religious freedom
2) This isn't about what Christians believe


No. It is about what Christians AND JEWS believe, which according to the most recent figures I have seen, make up about 68% of the American population that believe in God.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:52 AM on October 2, 2014


But what about 1 though.
posted by Drexen at 10:56 AM on October 2, 2014


i.e. the thing that I heard 100% of Americans were supposed to believe in.
posted by Drexen at 11:01 AM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


No. It is about what Christians AND JEWS believe, which according to the most recent figures I have seen, make up about 68% of the American population that believe in God.

Why does what they believe matter at all to people who are neither Christian nor Jewish?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


No. It is about what Christians AND JEWS believe, which according to the most recent figures I have seen, make up about 68% of the American population that believe in God.

And the other 32% should, what, suck it up? Majority rules, and all that?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:04 AM on October 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


No. It is about what Christians AND JEWS believe, which according to the most recent figures I have seen, make up about 68% of the American population that believe in God.

So, straight-up majority rules and fuck anybody else?

Me personally, I don't think public meetings ought to be including prayers, or invocations, or moments of silent, in the agenda at all. But if they're gonna (and they shouldn't, but if they're gonna), the allocation of those moments better be impeccably nondenominational and free from even a whiff of preferential establishment.

The very moment you toss up a number like 68%, 78%, or 98%, and nothing else at all besides the words of your specific faith's holy text, you've demonstrated that those limitations don't matter to you at all. And maybe they really don't, but if that's case you better be upfront and explicity about the fact that you think only Jews and Christians have a place in the public sphere. I'm not either of those things, and I prefer to know up front that I'm talking to someone who thinks I'm a second class citizen.
posted by Ipsifendus at 11:51 AM on October 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


No. It is about what Christians AND JEWS believe

Don't forget Muslims.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:00 PM on October 2, 2014


No. It is about what Christians AND JEWS believe, which according to the most recent figures I have seen, make up about 68% of the American population that believe in God.

Freedom of religion. Not freedom for some religions.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:37 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


No. It is about what Christians AND JEWS believe, which according to the most recent figures I have seen, make up about 68% of the American population that believe in God.

Do you honestly not see how casually dismissive and othering of differing beliefs this is?

Christianity is but one among many religions that insists it is the One True Path. Logically, they can't all be right. But what is truly disappointing is how widely and deeply its believers defend the smug, condescending assumption that of course Christianity is the real thing, because the Bible says it is.
posted by xedrik at 2:10 PM on October 2, 2014


My own take on Exodus 20:2-3 is not "Hey there are a bunch of competing gods out there so let me be clear. You're mine."

I read it differently: "This 'I AMness' - you really can't be any other way. We're all I AMing all the time."

Cal me a heretic or a universalist or what not, but I have never understood how religions can have gods that are smaller than the concept of god.
posted by salishsea at 2:39 PM on October 2, 2014


Pagans do and don't based on a variety of factors. In a broad since working with a mythology allows some of us to focus on particular aspects of a monotheistic diety. It gives a structure some can relate to more can can visualize better. We use the ones we want at the times we want and it helps to comprehend this all powerful force. Others don't. It's very fluid. For most pagans breaking it down into elements/directions/god, goddesss, spirit) helps us comprehend and connect to the spiritual diety/s of choice.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:52 PM on October 2, 2014


And sometimes some pagans connect with the Christian god in their spiritual journeys. It's fairly uncommon in my opinion but people do that.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:01 PM on October 2, 2014


In a broad since working with a mythology allows some of us to focus on particular aspects of a monotheistic diety.

In that vein of thought, if I'm remembering some of his writing/biography correctly, C.S. Lewis had a Christianity that was consciously informed by a lot of less-explicitly-Christian mythology (Greek/Roman and Norse) -- and that in fact, he was reeled back in to theism from an atheistic position via the study and appreciation of those myths first (and from there, into Christianity, in particular via conversation with Tolkien about Norse myth).
posted by weston at 3:35 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


"A needlessly (and falsely) naive take on his meaning. Also, he used the word "or", making your interpretation still invalid."

No it doesn't, and peevishly insisting that it does is just as bad as what you accuse him of. That "or" can also represent a restatement of the previous term, e.g. I won't watch a boxer or pugilist.

Your religious beliefs (that pagans aren't satanic, which is to say: inspired by Satan) are no more provably factual than his. "

That's inane nonsense and requires a tendentious reading of exactly the same manner that you complained about. It relies on the idea that Satanists and pagans aren't distinct groups despite their obvious self-organization as distinct groups.

And what does it matter that he left? He's free to express his religious beliefs by not being present for another's religious ceremony, in this country. That's kind of the entire point here."

It matters because he's clearly favoring one religion over another in his professional capacity.

So, in short, your comment was hypocritical, ill informed, needlessly argumentative and pointedly ignorant.
posted by klangklangston at 2:44 PM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


« Older Wolves at the Door   |   "The United States is a lot more interesting than... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments