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So, this week saw a great deal of History made. Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States … our first non white male president. Even if John McCain had become president, died and Sarah Palin had become president, she would not have been an elected president. But still, we’ve shown, as a country, with Hillary Clinton’s amazing race, with Sarah Palin being John McCain’s running mate, and Barack Obama, a black man with a white running mate, that our country, on the whole, isn’t afraid of race or gender. That says a lot.

On the other hand, California, Florida and Arizona have all passed initiatives which deny civil rights to gay couples. So, while on the one hand, we’ve made great strides in civil rights based on gender and race, we’ve taken steps backwards for people based on their sexual orientation. If we’re going to be a country that values civil rights, we can’t grant them on one hand, and take them away with the other. It’s also somewhat strange that in a country in which major decisions are to be based on more than a simple majority, that a simple majority in California has just denied civil rights to a large part of the population.

So what does marriage offer that civil unions do not? It affords a great many things, from the right to visit your spouse in the hospital when they are in critical condition, the right to have your children live with you when your partner dies, the right to inherit property without going through significant legal hurdles, the right to insurance and pension as a dependant, the right to more easily change one’s name during a marriage … there are many significant and minor advantages that a married couple has that a civil union or non-married couple do not have.

The radical right is in an all-out war against anyone who doesn’t believe as they do, and call any attempt to retain civil rights by those whom they disagree with, an assault on their rights. They’ve frightened their numbers into believing that a loving relationship between two men or two women will somehow harm them. They have campaigns that boycott any company that is at all supportive of LGBT people. They have blamed LGBT people for everything from the Louisiana flooding to the destruction on 9/11, and they’ve been getting away with it. They demonize LGBT folk, and can’t see the similarities between radical Islam and radical Christianity.

One of these dangerous radical right groups just sent out an email talking about the disappointment that came about with a country standing overwhelmingly and electing someone who will lead well, but rejoicing in the fact that civil rights have been taken away from a large group of people in three states. A new president is elected, and so overwhelmingly approved of that stocks went up in the world’s major markets. Someone finally offers hope for our country, and the radical religious right finds this terrifying.

This same group of people though, doesn’t stop at demonizing LGBT folk. They also rail against the military for permitting Wicca and other pagan religions to be practiced. Even in our current system of freedom of religion, military pagans have had bottles and stones thrown at them during ritual. It’s not unreasonable to believe that if the radicals gain a foothold by outlawing GLBT civil rights, that they’ll then begin attacking once again, the pagans, the wiccans, the witches. We’ve seen quite recently that if a grave is disturbed, or animals seemingly ritually killed, that the first people blamed are witches and Wiccans. Many people still think that witches are Satan worshipers. They can’t understand that Satan worshipers are people whose foundation of faith is the Bible, and that Wiccans don’t use that book.

In any case, the issue that we as pagans, and those in search of equal civil rights for all, is the battle that we’ll need to engage with the religious right. We really need to engage them and demonstrate that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or pagan isn’t a bad thing. It’s simply another way of being.

So, I suppose that what I’m urging people to do is to be a bit more public, if they are in a position to be so. Let people know who you are, and that it’s ok to be you. Let them know that they don’t have anything to be afraid of, and that you are a person who is of good character. Don’t respond to the religious right with anger, but do defend your own positions. Subscribe to the radical right sources of news, like the American Family Association, so that you can know what it is that’s being said and done. You can know about their boycotts of companies and attacks on groups that support civil rights. Where they will be urging people to boycott these businesses, you can support them. Indeed, getting their alerts can be a signal to you to support companies that show real social responsibility.

As I’m writing this, another AFA alert came out, in which they are selling buttons that say “It’s ok to say ‘Merry Christmas’”, and another which is a news item seemingly upset because the ACLU and other groups are trying to regain the civil rights taken from them by the so-called pro-family movements that have pressed anti-GLBT legislation and amendments through in a number of states.

Regarding the “Merry Christmas” buttons though, it IS ok to say “Merry Christmas”. It’s also ok to say “Blessed Solstice”, “Happy Hanukah”, “Blessed Yule”, or whatever holiday greetings you choose, including “Happy Holidays”. To the extent that a particular business might wish to substitute the more inclusive “Happy Holidays” instead of promoting a single religious viewpoint that might alienate any individual; that too, is their choice.

As Pagans, we don’t have to become outraged when a “Merry Christmas” comes our way. We can thank such a person, and, if we’re comfortable enough, wish them a blessed yule or Solstice. But such a thing shouldn’t be considered retaliation, merely a return of a blessing, but one from our own paradigm, or way of thinking.

 

Well, this week, we’re in the season of winter, and we’ll stay on the wheel, focusing on this season, at least a bit. We have some new music from some generous artists that we’ll be playing.

If there is anything that you would like to hear, that we might have in our library, or if you’d like to give us a call while we’re on the air, you’re always welcome to give us a call at 603-430-9722.

 

Coming up tonight we’ll have our regular segments, but tonight’s review, rather than a book, will be a piece of software called QuickPhase Pro which is a desktop moon-phase program.

 

Lastly, before we get on with the rest of the program, I want to offer a shout-out to all the pagan podcasters out there, including Darkly Fey at the Dark Side of Fey, Mojo and Sparrow at the Wigglian Way, Jay O’Skully who is quite new, with two episodes of his program, A Witchery of One, Hawthorne over at the Spiral Dance, who just aired a recording of  a conference on Pagans and the Media that took place recently in Peterboro, Aidan Odinson at “The Secrets in Plain Sight”, and of course, Greywolf Moonsong at “A Pagan Heart in Maine”. These are all great pagan podcasts that you can listen to while you’re not listening to the great programming here on Portsmouth Community Radio.

I do need to mention a few of the programs that I especially enjoy here. There is of course Rich’s program, Space is the Place, right before PaganFM,  Jo Ann Paradis hosts Women Plus on Saturdays from 1-3, Jean Proulx, with Pawsitive Thoghts, every Friday, from after the news at 6, until 7:00. Really, go and take a look at the program schedule at wscafm.org and check it out. There is literally something for everyone.

Also, while you’re at wscafm.org, if you like PaganFM! and the diverse programming that’s available, at Portsmouth Community Radio,  we welcome you to join as a member, or if you’re a business, you might consider underwriting.

So, with that, let’s get to some of the music we’ve got tonight.

 

© 2008, Deirdre A. Hebert