From time to time, I get tagged on posts that smash and bash on the Christian faith. Usually, I remove the tag and ignore the post. I had my beef with the Christian faith back when I was younger. Over time, my anger towards that faith has mellowed, as I aimed myself towards more positive directions with my Druidry. I’ve also learned to distinguish between those Christians that twist the teachings of Jesus ben Joseph to suit their own needs and those Christians who try their very best to walk the same Path that he did.
In today’s society, the culture war that has been brewing in the hard-right’s teapot has finally started coming to a boil. Laws limiting the rights of people based on who they love or how many have become the first focal point in that war. Certainly, there’s a lot of Pagans that scream about taking up this fight, and I completely understand the fervor behind that battle cry. But I’ve always maintained patience over knee-jerk reaction. I’ve caught a ton of flak over that perspective. I’m not reacting fast enough. I’m allowing the “enemy” to gain the initiative. I’m letting “them” get the upper hand. There’s a lot more, but you get the point.
Sometimes, I think the difference tends to be that I don’t paint these folks as “them”…after all, they are just as human as I am. People will scream and shout that these folks are trying to subvert the Constitution that governs us all here in the United States. That if they are allowed to rule this country in the manner that they see fit, all of us that believe differently than they do will be locked up in concentration camps. How Orwellian. But I try to remember that a loud, small minority do have intentions of harm towards others. While I don’t believe a majority of people are in their camp, I have no illusions that such people do exist…on both sides.
All of that eventually leads to the question: “how do you manage to stay sane in the middle of all of this?” Well, I lean back to my Druidry. My Druidry teaches that all life is sacred – that includes the people that think differently and believe differently than I do. I can disagree with people on all kinds of positions and perspectives, and still care about them in times of need. I certainly don’t climb out of my truck at an accident scene and ask each person what their political or religious beliefs are before helping them. I also don’t check the backside of each vehicle to see which of them have bumper stickers that I disagree with and then refuse to help the occupants based on that. My neighbors here all supported President Trump in the last election. There were only a handful of us that did not have political yard signs declaring our political positions. Still, if any of their houses were on fire, I would not hesitate to run inside to pull people and pets from the house before the fire department arrived. I would not hesitate to turn on their garden hoses and do my best to fight the fire and limit their property damage as much as I could.
“But they disagree with you!” “They are Trump supporters; they want you dead or in jail!” Sorry, I don’t believe everything the news media tells me. I read what is said, see the sources that are quoted in the articles or listen critically to what the “experts” brought on their show have to say…and I make up my own mind about the individual that they are speaking of. In the end, they are all still human beings, and that outweighs any other thought I might have. “What if they are firing weapons at you?” Well, if I shot and harmed them in self-defense, I would still offer and render aid to them – supposing that it was safe for me to do so. But I would defend myself with deadly force if the need arose. I like the idea of still being alive, even though my own health has declined over the years.
I see the political divisions in the world around me. I see many folks getting caught up in that paradigm, referring to the other side of their perspective as “them” or describing those folks as beneath the quality of an average human being. I don’t buy into that. My Druidry, the very beliefs that I live by, won’t let me do that. I recall much the same was said about the Iraqis during the first Desert Storm war. They were referred to with racial slurs and portrayed as sub-human individuals that deserved to die because the President of their country was a dictatorial tyrant. These Iraqi people didn’t overthrow him, thus they approved of him. A simple assumption, which wasn’t true. But an assumption that provided permission to kill these other human beings because they were “inferior” to our thinking. The reality was different. Many of them were conscripted right off the streets into the army to fight on the front lines as the first forces that the Allied units would encounter. Their incentive was clear. Fight or their families would suffer the consequences. They had an additional incentive as well. The fanatical Republican Guard were directly behind their units. Should they choose to feel the incoming Allied forces, it was noted that the Republican Guard forces would cut them down.
Within Druidry as I see it, all life is sacred and to be respected…even when the individual that is to be respected doesn’t provide the same respect to those on the opposite side. To make things a bit clearer, I am not a pacifist of any sort. You seek to visit violence upon myself or any other individual, I will step up to halt that violence to the best of my ability with whatever item I can utilize to do so and whatever force is necessary, at its lowest element of application. Others will definitely see things differently…and do. I may not agree, but I respect the ability of people to make their own choices as well. I’m not here to make other people believe as I do. I’m not here to make definitions of what is or isn’t Druidry, magick, or what have you. I’m here to live my life as peacefully, patiently, and as thoughtfully as I can.