Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Social Action

Arachne at Textual Arachne has posted her thoughts on social action and Paganism:

But there is a third reason why I struggle with these questions. And...Well, I'm ashamed of it. The third thing that's keeping me from writing on this topic, facing it honestly, is a desperate need to cling to what I have. A shameful hope that by never spelling out what translating Pagan beliefs into social action means, I can avoid having to act on them.

I tried to do a search on Pagans and social action, and I didn't find much. There is one site that was specifically regarding this topic but there doesn't seem to be any activity on their site for almost six years. Many of the other links that I found mentioned CUUPS (Covenant of UU Pagans) along with social action such as this convention back in 2001.

Much of what I am finding is from years ago. I know that I have to be missing something, as many Pagan do mention social action. Anybody want to point me in the right direction?


Penguin said...

I had a wonderful, intelligent comment. Thanks to a power surge, it is gone!

So, here are some links I found on a Google search for pagan social action:



Will write more when the Power God allows me to.

Sojourner said...

LOL - I have had that happen several times! It's frustrating, isn't it?

Thanks for the links, and I look forward to your further comment!

Niobium said...

I don't know about others but I myself do lots of social justice work, just without 'Pagan' attached to it. For example, I've volunteered with my local animal shelters, done some peace work, reproductive rights volunteering, etc.

If you are asking why Pagans don't have organizations such as 'Pagans to End Domestic Violence' or what not, I think it's a lack of unity due to society's opinion of Pagans. There are some organizations, such as the Pagan Unity Campaign but I don't know much about them.

Penguin said...

What I had said was so very similar to what niobium posted.
I don't think Pagans aren't socially active; I think that because of the Pagan myths being enforced by other religions, we must keep that part of us hidden and use other outlets for "make the world a better place".

Sojourner said...

Niobium said:

I don't know about others but I myself do lots of social justice work, just without 'Pagan' attached to it.

I remember seeing an article (I now can not find a reference to it; wish I had saved it) that mentioned that Pagans as a whole were not socially active. Maybe the reason why is because Pagans do not participate as "Pagans," as you said.

If you are asking why Pagans don't have organizations such as 'Pagans to End Domestic Violence' or what not, I think it's a lack of unity due to society's opinion of Pagans.

And may be a lack of 'numbers' to keep such an organization afloat?

Penguin said:

I don't think Pagans aren't socially active;

Most of the Pagans I know are into activism so that was why I was confused at the lack of information that I was finding. I am guessing that is as both you and Niobium have stated regarding not attaching the Pagan label.

Niobium said...

Another thing to consider is income level. Most of the Pagans I know keep small farms or work for themselves, thus, they do not have the time to participate in many volunteer activies. Remember, those who have the time to volunteer aren't the one's working at McNarley's for mininum wage. Volunteers are people who have time to expend. So my point is there's a whole class issue you need to take into account.

Rubicon said...

I think penguin has an excellent point. I think of Witches and Wiccans and Pagans created special interest groups that most people would be put off by them or refuse to participate because of their medieval (sp?) mindset regarding Witches and pagans.

Penguin said...

Yes, Rubicon, that is exactly what I meant.
I also agree with Niobium - us rural types are working for ourselves mostly and time to volunteer would have to be fit in between sunset and sunrise and sleep and eating and family...Perhaps our (Pagan - Wiccan - Druid) priorities are different?
Oh, the few times I have "tried" to be socially active, I ran in to way too many people that felt they were doing "God's work" and I was a "good Christian" for helping. Rubbed me the wrong way.

Cosette said...

The point that Pagans may be doing charity and social work without the Pagan banner is a good one. Pagans are very involved in the kind of social work that often falls in line with our beliefs such as environmental causes and animal rights. Areas where Pagans are working hard and openly as Pagans include interfaith education and dialogue and causes involving religious freedom. Be sure to check out Circle Sanctuary, the Covenant of the Goddess, Reclaiming, and Avalon Cares. Keep in mind too that many Pagan groups are grass-roots organizations working in their communities and not necessarily at a national level.

Niobium said...

Cosette: great points.

Nixie B said...

A few recent mental exercises (blogging about a spell to get rid of GWB and Witches' Weekly's question about being a political pagan) got me thinking about the very questions you all are discussing here. A Google search on political pagans yielded very little, just as your search on pagan activism was disappointing. As a political blog junkie (got my feet wet at Daily Kos) I decided the time had come for a political blog whose particular purpose is to serve the pagan community.

So I'm working to launch a new blog: Citizen Pagan. My mission for this blog is that it will be a community effort to expose, highlight and discuss current political issues in the context of how they affect our uniquely pagan experience so that we can be well-informed, active citizens of our country, states and municipalities. The purpose of Citizen Pagan is to serve as an aggregate source of news and information about political issues and events that are of particular relevance to the pagan community. Activism would be just one of the areas we would cover.

Some of the commenters here have already agreed to participate as contributors to Citizen Pagan. :) As a community effort, we can use all the support we can get. If any of you would like to turn your interest into action, I'd love to have your help to make Citizen Pagan a vital source of information for all of us. Email me.

Sojourner said...

Thanks for putting this together Nixie! It is something that is much needed.