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Faith worthy of freedom

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at

The only worthy faiths and beliefs are those freely chosen

I've been following the blogosphere and the news articles about the judge who ruled that a divorced couple couldn't expose their child to Wicca.

Yes, this is a little close to home because Wicca is one of the best known forms of Neopaganism, and technically I also follow a Neopagan path. Although I do prefer the term pagan.

Still, insisting that that Wicca is a "mainstream" religion really misses the point. The question is not which religion or belief set is mainstream, authentic, or even legitimate. Define your faith in those terms and you concede the war.

No American judge should have the power to decide matters of faith, anymore than they have the power to decide the color of your bedsheets. Faith is solely a matter between you and the Divine. In the words of the late Peter McWilliams, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do.

According to American law and tradition, the only justification that a government has to interfere in matters of faith is to prevent harm to yourself or others. I'd say even that goes too far, and I really think the only justification is preventing harm to others.

Beyond that one circumstance, I can't see any way that a government can intervene that doesn't impose one belief system over another.

It is that old Ethic of Reciprocity again. Don't do it to anyone else if you don't want it done to you. One of the oldest and truest rules in human history. No matter what your beliefs are, if you want to be free to believe as you choose, you absolutely must let others have the same right. Even if your beliefs demand that everyone else is wrong.

The very second you force your beliefs on another, you open yourself up to someone else's beliefs forced on you.

This entry has been cross posted in Pagan•Vigil and Technopagan Yearnings.
Posted: Fri - May 27, 2005 at 07:30 AM

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