Pagan Politics and the Wisconsin Union Protests

Jason at the Wild Hunt features a take on the recent political events in Wisconsin  by presenting an interview with a pagan union worker.

Jason makes this one caveat at the end of his link-heavy post:

I make this report not to push a particular political stance, but to reinforce the idea that the headlines often do involve and affect the lives of modern Pagans. I’m always looking to amplify the Pagan voice in a variety of situations that may not seem, at first, to be “Pagan issues.” But there are, as you can see, Pagan union stewards, and Pagans at these protests, and Pagans are a part of the fabric of life in Wisconsin. No doubt there are several Pagan public employees wondering what the fallout of these events will mean for their lives. If you are a Wisconsin resident, I invite you to share your perspective in the comments, and The Wild Hunt, The Pagan Newswire Collective, and the wider Pagan media will endeavor to continue looking for the Pagan voice within larger stories going on in the world.

I call bullshit, Jason.

The whole purpose of this post was to push a political agenda, and that agenda is fairly blatant: Republicans are bad, unions are good, and pagans support union rights. Oh, and Fox News and Koch industries are bad, too.

If that is Jason’s position, and the position of the union employee interview, fine. But what Jason is doing here is something that routinely pisses me off and makes me want to swear off the entire concept of the “pagan community.”

There is no such thing as a “Pagan political position”.

Sure, there may be interests that are of concern to most pagans more so than other citizens, like religious freedom issues. But what is the pagan position on environmentalism? On abortion? On union policies? On military involvement? How in the depths of Hades can you sit there and pretend that a religious movement that can’t even agree on a coherent definition for what it means to be “Pagan” has some kind of unified political position?

Yes, there are pagans living in Wisconsin, and pagan union members, and their lives were affected by the recent legislation. What about the pagans that were active in the Tea Party, and who are not union workers, and who did not support Obamacare? Jason seems to not even consider the possibility that pagans would not agree with a certain political agenda, to the point of not even recognizing that he is blatantly pushing that agenda as a “pagan” one. And that disturbs me greatly.

I have held for some time that calling oneself “pagan” is a primarily political identification, rather than a religious one. It signifies membership in a group outside the “American mainstream” and takes pride in that status. And with that comes the expectation that anyone who is “pagan” supports certain political ideals, which are usually concordant with the counterculture (i.e. the political left). And there is no reason at all for this assumption.

So Jason, support the unions if you want to, and criticize Gov. Walker and Republicans and Fox News and the Koch brothers all you want. But please do not pretend that the collective bargaining position of a teachers’ union is Wisconsin somehow is an issue that people should be concerned with because of what should be a religious identity. Do not pretend that others’ religious affiliation requires them to share your political affiliation. And please do not pretend that co-opting an entire religious movement by labeling your particular political stance as a “pagan issue” is not pushing a “particular political stance.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s