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Dear Editor:
Re: Green Pagans find way to Whitehouse funding
I am absolutely insulted. I find your ignorance and lack of spiritual tolerance disturbing. Who are you to decide such things? What do you even know about modern paganism?

Pagans believe in the validity of all paths to God, which is more than I can say for the Christians you so vehemently defend. Need I remind you that it is Christianity that has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people throughout history simply for having an idea of God that didn't match theirs? I've never read anything about Pagans burning Christians at the stake.

Faith based initiatives in the White House might as well be called "Money for Christians" because it's being treated the same way Christianity treats the concept of God - as if it was a private club to which they are entitled to the only membership.

Frankly, I'm sick of the ignorance and hatred that pours forth from people who have no idea what they're talking about.

With a name like McLeod, one would think you'd want to honor your ancestors who were most assuredly pagans and followed the teachings of Druid priests. Even if you yourself are not interested in that form of spirituality, one would think you would take some pride in the fact that your ancestors did. It's too bad you do them such dishonor.

Sincerely,
A practicing Druid and former Christian
Mike LaChance
Dear Editor:
Re: Green Pagans find way to Whitehouse funding
As a practicing pagan of twenty-plus years, I am horrified at your portrayal of Earth-based religions. I am specifically shocked at your misrepresentation in your ignorant explanation of our beliefs. Yes, we reverence the Earth - it's not only our home, but the Mother who gave birth to us all; and, yes, we deplore the ravages that industrial society has heaped upon Her in the past century. But for you to spew such blatant lies as you do in your article is unconscionable. I eat meat and kill pests in my house if necessary. I don't worship Pan (where are your sources, in a medieval text on witchcraft?). And my acceptance of other beliefs seems light-years beyond yours.

By the way, our only problem with Christianity is that it has persecuted us for centuries. We are tolerant of all religions, just not so much of individuals who ridicule and abuse us with lies in print.

Hoping YOUR tolerance level improves,

Sincerely,
Kevin F. Murphy
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Dear Editor:
Re: Green Pagans find way to Whitehouse funding
It was with great dismay that I read your piece, "Green Pagans find a way to White House funding". As a Pagan for nearly twenty years, I was insulted by your glib and ignorant comments regarding my religion. In your article you made several errors that a serious journalist would have known to avoid.

Firstly, most modern pagans who adhere to the Gaia Hypothesis do not believe that man is exempt from the interconnectedness of our ecosystem -- quite the contrary. It is Man's self-imposed exile from the ecosystem, as sanctioned by the Abrhamic faiths, that is one of the major problems facing our modern civilization. Nor do we believe that killing a single insect (as you proposed) is the equivalent of an attack on the ecosystem. As my High Priestess often said: "All life is sacred; but bugs don't count". Most modern pagans do revere life, but we also revere death in the service of the life-force as a natural and sacred part of life. We often find the Abrahamic faiths' mindless struggle against the fear of death to be more damaging, ultimately, than death itself. While I take issue with your portrayal of Al Gore, Jose Arguelles, and other public figures who recognize the spiritual validity of the Gaia Hypothesis, I am more concerned that you are treating adherents of my religion with such casual disrespect. I don't expect you to understand the type of meditation that Argulles advocates, but I would hazard a guess that you did no real research on it as a spiritual or religious practice. Would you be as pithy concerning the meditations of the Dalai Lama, or the ritual baths taken by Orthodox Jews in the maintenance of their religion? How about the Mormons' "Holy Underwear"? All religions have a mystical component rarely understood out of context. Communing with Nature, as Arguelles recommends, is fairly tame in comparison with snake handling or speaking in tongues or ritual cannibalism or other Christian practices.

Towards the end of the article, you get downright insulting. Why should it be unusual for a minority religion, such as my own, to look with fear and trepidation at the current Administration's subsidizing religions through so-called "Faith-Based Initiatives", effectively endorsing them in violation of the First Amendment (one of our quaint little laws South of the Border)? So far the Administration's pocket book has included Christian groups almost exclusively, and the chairman of the program has publicly expressed his view that pagans are not compassionate enough to deserve inclusion. This flies in the face of the thousands of caring, compassionate pagans who donate their time, money, and resources for charitable causes every year. We are covered by the same Constitution, are governed by the same laws, and pay the same taxes as Christian America. Our people serve honorably in the armed forces. Our people are traditionally active participants in the community. Why should we be denied the same access to federal funding as our Christian neighbors?

But you state quite clearly: "pagans should never be funded through the Faith Based and Community Initiative of President George W. Bush". On what basis? Because you have doctrinal differences with us? Tell it to your Jewish friends. Because we are a tiny minority religion? We are the fastest growing religion in North America. Because we are not radical monotheists? Now we are are getting close to the mark, I think. The truth is, I believe, that you are afraid of what our religion means. For as polytheism, including the rebirth of the Goddess religion, slowly emerges in the 21st century, it symbolizes not the rise of the "wacko crowd", as you try to infer; instead it symbolizes the woeful lack of intellectual spark left in Christianity; the moral shortcomings of a religion ostensibly devoted to peace yet mired in the guilt of the Holocaust, the Atomic Bomb, and a thousand senseless atrocities committed in its name; the increasing irrelevancy of a religion that is just now adapting to 20th century life when the spiritual needs of the people are firmly in the new century. As churches in Europe are all but empty, the Catholic Church is entangled in scandal, and the Protestant faiths are involved in internecine doctrinal warfare as church attendance declines, your religion is increasingly turning to radicalism to prop it up. And competition from other faiths who are not on the Monotheistic bus is something a fanatical radical just can't abide. In short, Ms. McLeod, you are scared of us, and so you try to make us look silly.

You may continue to do so, if you wish. No doubt the Romans and the Jews made fun of your own religion as it climbed towards ascendancy. But we are not going anywhere. Instead we are raising children, paying taxes, and worshiping Nature as the Goddess prefers. Our success or failure will not be dependant upon a government subsidy; it will depend ultimately upon our faith's ability to make sense of the modern world.

It isn't that we aren't tolerant of Christianity, Ms. McLeod; we appreciate many of the great things Christianity has given Western Civilization. But we don't want to live by its myopic dictates, within a Christian theocracy, and that's where we see our nation moving. If anything we feel sorry for Christians, who have to overcome two thousand years of collective nonsense in order to deal with the world as it is today. Your religion is dying, Ms. McLeod, and while it may yet re-invent itself out of the hole it has dug for itself, it isn't looking likely. You might think we're silly, but at least we're growing.

Sincerely,

Arion the Blue
High Druid of Durham
Dear Editor:
Re: Green Pagans find way to Whitehouse funding
"For all of their hype, adherents of Gaia are pagans, and pagans should never be funded through the Faith Based and Community Initiative of President George W. Bush. "
Just why shouldn't we?
We, pagans, are people of faith, just not the christian faith.
Are you saying we are not equal to christians and should not have the same rights as christians?
Rather bigoted opinion you have. And definitely NOT a tolerant one, yet one we Pagans have against us most of the time.
You gave no reason why we should not be funded, other than the fact that we are not christian.
If you can say and prove that all christian based initiatives are without fault, then cast your stones........ otherwise leave us alone!

Sincerely,
MB Adkison
North Dakota, USA