When fighting with the mentally challenged or the immature . . .

For some of my readers and listeners this can easily describe me. I know this that is why I am writing this down now just after the conversation.

Since my accident I have been somewhat bedridden with medical appointments, physical therapy , and the like. So to kill off this cabin fever I frequent my friends comic shop and surf the web and check out any collectables that may have come in.

The topic came up about a store worker and his epidemic of shoplifting he has experienced. This is not an item here or there rather carts of top end merchandise leaving the store with the store policy of non confrontation. This I understand since you can loose more money in employee injury than the loss of the item(s) . I of course interjected by saying unless its a store you own then you would shoot them for strong arm robbery and usually a group puts said owner in jeopardy but also owning a store you have the rights to protect yourself , clients , and property.      Another gent interjected spouting a polar opposite way of thinking and as usual with no solution or clarity just criticizing  . Ok I get some people may not like firearms and think hugging a bad guy is a sound solution… not me .
As usual buy  now everyone has a phd in criminal law of who is libel for this and that etc. Personally I rather ask for forgiveness than permission when it comes to my actions of self preservation … In short I defend myself with death as an ending result by my hands whether I eat at home or in a jail cell I am the one breathing another day and that what counts with me.

I did the traditional ‘served in the us army’ was a ‘former law enforcement officer’ experience talk to be shot down by You can be making this up like me being a space engineer he replies .   To give credit where credit is due he is right .  Although I may have voice my disdain for breathing air in the same room with me I calmed down after I realized who I and arguing with ….

True In my early to mid twenties I served in the armed forces and worked law enforcement.   This kid who is in his twenties comes in with his teddy bear.

I know then I have been cooped up far to long and need to hit the gym as my doctor requested … LOL

There is no right or wrong here.   Comedy at its finest .   A person like myself will solve issues if deemed with what I think is necessary and teddy bear boy …. well what can one say ?   Sigh and UGH  on my part for being compassionate about my own personal liberty and having inadequate people in the debate.   I am sure there are details left out and may up date this as time goes one.

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A Stand Against Abuse

A Stand Against Abuse

Polytheist.Com Update — Release Delay: A Stand Against Abuse

Our long-awaited and very exciting launch of Polytheist.com — a new online hub dedicated to Polytheist community dialog, discussion, theology, writing and movements — was delayed briefly early this week due to some technology related issues, which have since been resolved. However, while we prepared for our launch, a very disturbing thing took place that rippled across various spiritual, magical, and religious circles on the internet. Amidst one of many online controversies and disagreements, a prominent leader, voice, and business owner of the occult and broad pagan community both online and in the cities of Salem, MA and New Orleans, LA, took it upon himself to “dox” a few dozen internet users involved in the other side of an argument, taking actions to release their public identities to the internet (and stripping them of their pseudonyms, magical aliases, and religious names). When one of these — who is one of our columnists here at Polytheist.com — communicated that she employed an alias online in order to protect herself and her young children from a violent predator, this prominent community leader and business owner responded with a statement of bemused sadism so vile I will not repeat it here.

What followed was several days of important community dialog, at least two radio shows dedicated to discussing this (and other recent issues in religious and spiritual leadership unbefitting of our — or any — communities), and innumerable blogs, Tumblr discussions, and private discourses around the subject of exactly why using the language of violent sexual assault against another human being — especially a woman who has just expressed very real concerns for the physical safety of her young children — is never, ever going to be okay. It doesn’t matter how angry you are. It doesn’t matter what “led up to” that point. It is never acceptable for anyone — especially a person claiming titles of leadership and influence — to say these things.

Our community took to the internet and championed this message. An apology was issued, a response to the apology was issued, and — most importantly — the victim of this criminal and morally unforgivable act was heard, respected, honored.

I got to know this courageous woman more closely than I could have expected to, over the last few days, and spent a lot of time in conversation and support with her. I saw fear, stood witness through terror and tears, and watched a person I am proud to count amongst this site’s growing team, champion herself and the rights of all women, mothers, children, and survivors of all stripes. I watched integrity happen, and I watched this set of transformations take place in a backdrop of humility, hesitation, concern, shame, dignity and a torrent of frantic emotions around a transition from hidden anonymity to public spectacle and “outed” identity.

This last word is an important one: identity. It is what this site is all about, in some pretty literal ways: space for the right to differentiate and self identify our religious selves, practices, movements, communities, in safety and unmolested dignity, grace and foundational respect. The very act of stripping a person or a group of their right to identity is counter to everything in Polytheist movements and efforts, just as it is counter to basic human rights. It is a disgusting violation unbecoming of any community in any land or context anywhere in our world. Assaults on identity are used in torture and interrogation and confinement practices to fundamentally strip a person of their own human dignity, Will, and voice. These assaults will never be tolerated on our watch. As a hub providing space for Polytheists of a diverse set of configured identities and places — including two columnists who are literally absent freedom as they write from present terms in state prisons — we will endeavor to champion the cause of the rights of devoted Will, and of voice, and of the gods-given and gods-guarded dignity of identity.

In light of all of this, we have delayed the launch of our site, in order to not allow its unveiling to distract from the important discussions that happened around this very important issue and the events associated with it.

Please join us early next week as we take our site live, with an initial release of ten Polytheist columns, which will each be updated in weekly and monthly intervals. Our bold and diverse team of regular columnists is over two-dozen strong, and these voices will join the site in sequence following our initial launch, with new and exciting columns slotted for release in regular intervals.

– Administrative Team of Polytheist.com

webmaster @ polytheist (dot) com
source here

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Editorial: Addressing Outings, Conflict, and Community

Editorial: Addressing Outings, Conflict, and Community
Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 8, 2014

Normally on Mondays I do my weekly round-up of news and happenings within our religious movement. However, this week I’d like to instead address something in a more personal editorial. In the previous week, there has been a lot of discussion in our interconnected communities over an ugly and hurtful exchange that invoked issues relating to outing (aka “doxing”), toxic communications, and the reality of rape culture. For those who want some more background, Polytheist.com has a public statement up that talks about what happened. Since the initial exchange in question was made public, there have been a number of replies, a public apology, a response to that public apology, calls for a boycott of the prominent Pagan involved, and an ongoing simmer of activity as word slowly reaches different communities.

When this emerged, a number of people asked me when I would respond. As the Founding Editor of one of modern Paganism’s largest news sites, many look to us for an “official” report on important events. In this case I was hesitant, not because of the prominent Pagan involved, who actually offered to give me a public statement, but because I know how the magnifying “bully pulpit” power of this site works. Given that the genesis of this incident starts with the outing of public identities, I didn’t want to draw more people towards giving scrutiny to someone who is already dealing with the ramifications of being outed. So instead I want to briefly touch on some underlying issues, and the challenges our interconnected communities, our broader religious movement, faces as a consequence

There is no excuse for the outing (or “doxing”) of individuals who choose to use pseudonyms short of matters that would involve criminal charges (in those cases, the authorities should be called). The basic functioning of our movement depends on the safety of our assumed identities, as we are still members of religious minorities who largely live in countries where the dominant religious paradigm views us with skepticism at best, and with hostility at worst. Those of us with the privilege of being “out” can sometimes have a hard time understanding the ramifications of having your identity revealed, and thus being exposed to hostility, discrimination, or personal danger as a consequence. Even removing all dangers, calling Starhawk ‘Miriam Simos,’ when she’s asked to be called Starhawk, denotes a lack of respect that eats away at the basic functioning of any sort of community.
Relationships are the backbone of polytheism, of Paganism, and anything that perpetuates rape culture or abusive language is anathema to it. Our religious reality is about overlapping relationships: with gods, with spirits, with our ancestors, with our family, and with our wider religious community. Those relationships encompass every expression of gender, race, orientation, and ethnicity. It has to, or else we end up denying some piece of what we call sacred. I don’t have to like everything all of the time, I’m not endorsing some sort of false utopia of harmony, but I cannot forget that any time I break or poison a relationship my actions ripple out into a larger world, often in ways I could not anticipate. Further, hospitality is a common value many of our communities share, and we should bring that ethos to the Internet and social media in a real way. A chat window on Facebook may not feel like “home” but in a very real way we entering and exiting other people’s personal spaces and should ever be mindful of that. Lastly, as a family of faiths that encompass beings we call goddesses, the perpetuation of toxic patriarchal memes or sentiments degrades our mission of cultural shift.
We’re part of a broad movement of different faiths, but we interact in community. Community can mean a lot of things: On an immediate level it means our family, our direct religious community, and the beings who we honor in the course of our lives. However, community also means the friends we make on Facebook, the groups we join, the causes we support, the events we attend, the acquaintances we make. Sometimes the virtual world can feel very much like a life-giving and supportive community, and sometimes it can feel hollow and fake, and in those moments we can be tempted to forget the humanity of those we interact with. When that happens, horrible things can follow. I have been skeptical lately of whether there can be a national or international “Pagan Community,” or if true community can only be built in a small grass-roots manner, but even still we cannot deny those interactions we maintain outside of our personal faith communities. Our movement may be a convenient umbrella fiction for scholars and polemicists to bandy, but it is there, and we do have a stake in our small faiths finding a way to thrive in our modern world. There is no way to “No True Scotsman” our way out of people behaving badly, there is only doing the work to make sure we’re all accountable to the communities we participate in.

This has been a hard year for our community. We’ve been hit by the deaths of pivotal figures within our movement, by horrific crimes and scandal, by a world increasingly under stress, and it can seem easy in these times to simply drop our tools and walk away to the relative safety of our hearths and homes. I know that I have been tempted, when hit by that “one more thing”, to question why I am here. Wouldn’t my life be easier, better, if I simply kept to my own practice, my own family, my own tight circle of close friends? But I have to believe that our interconnected families, our almost impossibly diverse movement, is indeed worth something, and worth fighting to improve. In the years to come I do plan to focus more on my local experience, but I will not give up fighting for a better movement to be in, and to honor the amazing people I have met as a consequence of my outreach into ever-wider circles of community. I hope we can take this moment, and pivot towards something great, something that says “we have learned” and that we can build better in the years to come. A place where we feel safe once more.

Thanks for listening.

Jason Pihtzl-Waters


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