This past weekend was spent mostly on the road – driving to North Little Rock, and then back with the trailer in tow. Its not the speediest mode of getting anywhere, but I don’t mind. Well aside from the slower speed of getting from Point A to Point B. The again, I’m not one of those people that’s typically in a huge hurry.
During that trip, at the KOA Campground, I ran into an interesting moment. Well, interesting for me. In the men’s restroom/shower area, there was music piped in. Not just at certain hours. More like 24×7. And it was a radio station. Specifically a Christian radio station. Now, I know there are some folks that might get repulsed by having a Christian radio station beating down on you anytime that nature calls or you need to get clean. However, it wasn’t the most unpleasant experience for me at all. I don’t have the “usual” knee-jerk reaction to Christians that some other Pagans seem to. At least not from an experience like this. Come shopping your faith (ANY faith) door-to-door by ringing my doorbell – there’s a much different reaction you will get from me. Like I tell many of these types of folks, if I was interested in your beliefs – I would have sought you out. I certainly don’t need you shopping your faith here in my neighborhood. I can find your damn church just fine.
So, back to the campground men’s room. I was brushing my teeth at one of the sinks, and an individual expressed his annoyance at the piped-in music. I looked at him for a moment and went back to working on my back teeth.
“As a Druid, I bet you’re really annoyed” he continued and motioned towards my Awen necklace. Once I finished brushing, rinsed and expectorated, I looked back at him, where I noticed the expectant look on his face. “Not really,” I answered slowly. I knew I had to be careful with how I answered. The last thing I wanted was a theological debate in the men’s room at a KOA campground. Not that I crave debate. I detest its format in nearly every fashion. “Everyone is entitled to their own faith, and if the owner/operator of this campground decided to broadcast his faith in the form of a radio station being piped-in to the men’s room…so be it.” When his face twisted into a slight grimace, I realized I had stated my opinion in a manner that he didn’t agree with. He continued on with his perspective of “captive audiences” and some other nonsense. I half-listened to him while I packed up my bathroom kit and readied for the short walk to my trailer.
“Wait a second,” I interrupted, “How did you know I was a Druid?” He pointed at the necklace, and indicated that he knew what an Awen was, and that he associated that with Druidry. “And so, you know what I am,” I followed on, ‘What faith do you belong to?” “Church of Set,” came the quiet response. And I knew where the knee-jerk reaction on his part had come from. I nodded, picked up my kit and my towel, and headed for the door. ‘More power to him,’ I thought to myself.
But it left me to wonder….how can I provide a pass to a guy that blasts his faith over a set of speakers in a men’s room in a campground, but be over-the-top rude to the same type of individual that is merely bringing his faith door-to-door. I mean, the poor sap just knocked on my door, why should I come out guns blazing? Perhaps, its the difference in location. The campground men’s room isn’t mine. I’m just leasing access to it for two nights over the weekend. My front door, on the other hand, is my property. My home is where I practice and live my beliefs, right? But don’t I practice and live my beliefs every day, no matter where I am? So what’s the difference??
Maybe its respect. I am being respectful of the campground owner’s beliefs being broadcast over a speaker, because I am a guest there. I didn’t invite this clown to my front door to sell his Savior like a vacuum cleaner or a set of encyclopedias. That’s definitely possible Deputy Dawg, but I am not sure its the entire reason. Intolerance on my part within the bounds of my property? Or just a desire to not cause waves in a more public venue?? Or can I just chalk it up to my “cheery disposition?”
To be honest, I am not sure. I know I am not a Christian. I’m a polytheist Pagan Druid. But I don’t believe the whole world will be better if everyone believes the same way that I do. I’m not pushy about what I believe in. Nor am I all that “hidden” about what I believe either. I just don’t see a need to take out an ad in neon colors for the billboard out on the interstate. And knocking door-to-door? Definitely not my thing. Would I pipe Pagan Radio over the speakers if I owned a KOA campground? Probably not. I might pipe DruidCast episodes over the speakers…but that’s just me being snarky.
It has only been two days since this momentary encounter. And as I mull this over in my mind, I begin to wonder about how consistent I am in my interactions with those of other beliefs?? I would like to hope that I am consistently respectful of how others believe, but up to this moment – I just can’t be sure. I do know that I am consistent in how I deal with others on the manner they present themselves. Door-to-door salesmanship, pushy interactions where I am told that I need to convert to their way of seeing the world — these will definitely incur a testy response from me. Genuine discussion? Happy to oblige.