Pagan activism


I was at an office meeting the other day, and one of the presenters, in the middle of an endless PowerPoint presentation, made some idle comment about the “pagan ceremony” that some of the university students were carrying out on campus.  He chuckled nastily. “I shouldn’t say that,” he said.  “I am given to understand that there are actually pagans here, and they might be offended.”



Well, I bridled at that. Why shouldn’t there be pagans?  There were in that room, almost certainly, people who believed that a talking snake convinced the first human beings to eat the one thing on earth they shouldn’t eat.   Also people who believed that God spoke to one of their early leaders through a flaming shrub. 



Pagan.  Hmph.  Pagan looks good to me a lot of the time.  Burn a few candles, dance around the room.  What’s the difference?  I used to sing hymns in a little Protestant church in Washington state; they’d have been much livelier if we’d been allowed to dance around the altar a little bit.



Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m still an atheist.  But I’m still human.  Certain aspects of faith – pounding on stones, dancing in a circle – are still powerfully attractive to me.  A recent book on atheism took exactly this point of view, saying that there was no reason that atheist couldn’t have rituals and holidays too, even some like the current ones.



And the pagan stuff definitely has its attractive points.



If you’re gonna shove your talking snakes and burning bushes in my face, I can certainly do a little hula on the vernal equinox.



Fair’s fair.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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