I recently read a post on one of the Pagan Facebook groups I belong to, that said something about that we Pagans should not be so harsh, or even just not judgmental, towards Christians. That’s fine, good advice, considering that we sort of live under the do-no-harm “commandment”, or the Law of the Harvest, as we call it in Druidry.
But it’s also so damn hard.
How do I know? That goes back to when one of my dearest family members came out to be gay. Being really close to her, I obviously knew earlier than the rest of the family, and supported her in the way I knew best…I just didn’t care. Her sexual orientation has been such a non-issue in our life-long relationship, within which we went through quite harsh times emotionally, that it didn’t affect our love for each other in the slightest.
BUT…my attitude, which we affectionately call Wurscht in Austria – it means “sausage” and I have no idea why we choose that for expressing “I couldn’t care less” – is what actually got me into heated discussions with her, filling whole evenings. My line of thinking was “So what, you’re gay, nobody’s business, really, why do you have to advertise it so prominently (which she does, and kudos to her)? I don’t go around and tell everyone ‘Hi, my name is Christian, and I am heterosexual.’ (And really, that’s my name, no pun intended)
BUT…ha…was I wrong. Because I do walk this earth and stick my heterosexuality into everyone’s face! Not on purpose, of course, and not like this TV preacher Robinson or Robertson or whatever his name is who suggests that gay people should wear badges and stuff like that.
BUT…I do go into Starbucks and order drinks for myself and for my wife. And the guy at the cash registry yells to the barrista “A tall vanilla latte for Christian!” (they know me there already) and then turns back towards me and asks “What’s your wife’s name?” And I tell him and the yelling goes on with “And a hot chocolate for Sarah!”
Everything cool, right? No raised eyebrows, no “Your wife huh…oh, I see”. No turning heads in the Starbacks community lounging on comfy chairs sipping their ventis and lattes etc. etc. Just normal business. Right into our faces! We heterosexuals just don’t feel it that way. ‘Cause it’s normal.
Imagine the same scene with my beloved family member (yes, I am protecting her privacy) ordering coffee for herself and her wife. There are the looks, the nuances in “Here’s the latte for your wife.” Even here in Massachusetts you can observe this, even among young people…not because they – we – want to, but because heterosexuality is so predominant, it’s so everywhere and always there, standing right behind you in the line and even lingering in the dark corners of the coffee shop. Yes, I meant the pervert who can’t but help getting aroused when thinking about lesbian sex. Like that’s okay to think because they are…uhm…different.
Nowadays, after my Paganism has developed from being my own business and therefore better being Wurscht to everyone else, to more of a lifestyle choice that I – humbly and discretely – advertise in plain public, I can see what my gay family member meant. Christianity is, at least in the western hemisphere, always there and around us, practically unquestioned. Even if it’s not practiced outrageously in your face here in the Northeast like in some areas of the US, it’s still the unchallenged baseline within which the “mainstream” population is embedded.
Look at the non-issue with Starbuck’s red cup for the Winter holiday season. Of course it’s not about that the Pagan – or sometimes really just mundane – symbols are no longer on the cups. It’s that Starbuck’s – genius, BTW – marketing move challenges the quiet yet in-your-face (because always and everywhere) dominance of Christianity. We Pagans are allowed to play around with our altars and Gods and Goddesses as long as we are neither seen nor heard. But if we want to, for example, establish ourselves as groups with the same privileges as Christian churches? That’s being decided by Christians, and good luck with that.
And never, ever, dare to chip away from the omnipresent, silently accepted all-encompassing baseline! Even if it’s just not printing certain symbols on a cup. Then you are no longer Wurscht, but an apocalyptic threat, and that, apparently, can be dealt with in any which harsh way.
That, my friend who’s wondering why some Pagans are just fed up with the Christian attitude, is the reason why some of us are no longer holding back that much.