“Why Not Excellence?”

Many of my readers might have read this already, but recently allegations have come out against the late Isaac Bonewits, founder of ADF (Ar nDraiocht Fein) involving child sexual abuse.

Moira Greyland, daughter of famed author and child-rapist, Marion Zimmer Bradley, claimed that Bonewits raped her and other children.

This has, of course, led to a massive controversy which connects to an already controversial national discussion (the #MeToo movement, rape, sexual abuse, listening to victims, etc.).

Greyland’s critics argue that the publisher of her book (in which the allegations against Bonewits are made) is not to be trusted. The book is published by Theodore Beale’s (a.k.a. Vox Day) publishing company. Day is a notorious figure in sci-fi associated with the Alt-Right who is anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-woman, and anti-non-Christian religion.

Greyland also has problems with credibility given that she has become a leading critic of homosexuality.

That said, as someone who has been molested and raped myself, I believe her. She has nothing to gain by coming out accusing Bonewits.

I only met Isaac on one occasion. A friend of mine was in ADF, I attended his wedding which was performed, in part, by Isaac. I was a young and naive Pagan and had all sorts of questions on Druidry, but he blew me off in discussing that in order to hit on the (of age) High Priestess of the ceremony.

(It was the only wedding that I’ve been to where the performing clergy went skinny-dipping with the newly-married couple after the ceremony.)

Does my very limited personal experience necessarily correlate to the very serious accusations against Bonewits? No. Not at all. But I wanted to use this incident in order to bring up a larger point.

Several months ago, I got distracted by Catholicism. I struggled with the idea of returning to the Church despite its history (both past and recent) of abuse and bigotry.

Why? For starters, I saw it as a connection to the culture into which I was born and raised. It was a connection to the family that loved me and brought me into being. I  admire the culture of devotion and prayer that still lives within the Church despite the influence of the modern world. But also, as I get older, I’m feeling a desire to become a better person, morally. To stop living an ego-driven life and start living a more god-focused life.

Ultimately, I decided against a formal return to the Church. I tried and I just don’t have the faith. I’m a polytheist at heart. (Though I have created a Catholic-based shrine among my other shrines, mostly with images of the Virgin Mary and some beloved Saints, near my shrine to my Beloved Dead/Ancestors.)

I understand that our Paganisms and polytheisms are relatively young religions. Perhaps seventy years old at the most. But there seems to be an inordinate amount of, well, people more driven by lust and the desire to get laid, than in worship of the gods.

Gerald Gardner, creator of Wicca, almost certainly used his power and influence as a priest in order to get flogged (his kink) by young attractive naked women and also to pressure women to have sex with him.

I don’t want to demonize lust or sexuality. However, these things must be done with consent. It is morally reprehensible to rape or sexually take advantage of anyone, especially in the name of the gods or the “Old Religion”.

It might have been considered OK 50 years ago to use “ancient religion” as an excuse for someone to sleep with you but it is something which should not have been tolerated then and should not be tolerated now.

Paganism, as it is now, is full of dirty old men like Bonewits or Gardner who use our religions as an excuse to get their rocks off. This needs to end.

I understand that the idea of “morality” is repugnant to many Pagans, particularly those who grew up in families or communities where fundamentalist religion was used as a weapon. I understand that people do not want to feel judged by others.

I also understand and appreciate that much of Paganism in the last 50 years came up with the countercultural movements such as the Hippies, the “Free Love” era, and the influence of various drugs.

I appreciate this as someone who was also very much into the “sex and drugs” stuff myself in my 20s and 30s. (And as a former member of ADF, Church of All Worlds, and an initiate of OTO.)

It’s time for us to grow up as a religion and take our religious practice seriously. Morality is a part of that. Not the sanctimonious harshly-judging tones of the fundamentalist preacher (who often is having an affair behind his wife’s back) but by doing our best to become better people. Good people. Let us become better people that we may serve our gods better. Let us become better people so that we may serve other people better.

When we die and become ancestors, let us be inspirations for others to live better lives.

~ by sacredblasphemies on 01/21/2018.

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