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This is honestly a post I never thought I’d have to write. Not because I believe Heathens have full equality in our legal and social structure, we don’t, but that’s not something that’s really worried me. If something or someone attacks me because I’m a Heathen, I respond with typical Heathen attitudes and either walk away from the tiny one, or fight tooth and nail against my foe. Adaptability has always been a part of my living.

I always figured though, that my primary foes in the quest for the equality of my rights were the Christians and Muslims with their overwhelming planetary power and power base, with the occasional Jew who decided that I needed to be crushed because I used “nazi and racist symbols.” But I haven’t really run into any Jews like that yet so it hasn’t been much of a problem on a personal level, just a meta-social level, so I haven’t worried too much.

To all you Jewish folks out there who support Heathen rights, know I stand beside you in your quest for Jewish safety and equality.

I never thought it would be from those who also claim to be seeking equal rights for themselves.

See, in the grand cosmic thing of “the second class” citizens where you have so many scrambling for equal rights, rightly or wrongly so, I figured we Pagans and Heathens were right there in the thick of it, with our rights as respected as say the GLBT community, whose equal rights the Pagan Community uniformly supports as far as I can tell, and Largely supported by the Heathen community.

Apparently, at least for some, that support is a one way street.

I’ve been getting into a discussion on Facebook with a few folks that started one place and went off on a tangent. In response to the claim that those on the Right (politically) were nothing but hateful little trolls, I pointed out that this was also true on the Left (politically) as can be seen by the fact that a bill in AZ to protect business owners from legal action for running their businesses according to their religion, which might mean the denial of services to people that said religious business owner finds morally objectionable to, in Anti-Gay terms and how that came across not as seeking equal rights, but special rights.

Apparently the idea of forcing someone to conform to your morality is objectionable….only if you’re “religious.”

Apparently the separation of church and state, an idea that was meant to help the free practice of religion, the very thing that allows Pagans and Heathens to practice our ancestral ways doesn’t work the way we think it does. See, according to some it doesn’t mean freedom Of religion, it means freedom From religion, and you can forget about freedom For religion.

I never thought I’d see the day when I was fighting for the freedom of Christians and Muslims to practice their religion because doing so meant my freedom to practice my religion! It’s a head rush, I tell you. The two biggest religious threats to Paganism, and here I am defending their right to practice. What in sweet merciful Helheim happened?

Well, apparently, the rights of certain people trump the rights of other people…if those people are religious. Or they should, in the views of some people.

I wrote an article already about my thoughts about the AZ bill and how those thoughts led me to the conclusion that the rights of the religious should also be defended in this matter.

WE should give equal rights to the GLBT community because such is morally good. I agree with this. Those of the GLBT deserve the same rights as everyone. But does that mean that my right to live my life in accordance to my religion means that I have to submit to the will of the GLBT community when there is a moral disagreement? I would hope, in this age of tolerance, that I wouldn’t be expected to just bow my head and subsume my views because another finds it objectionable. Because if that is the case, why is the will of the GLBT community superior to say the Christian community that says I should only worship their god and live by their ways. Must I then give up my right to practice my faith because others find it objectionable?

This is a question that has left me wondering for the first time, if I truly am a second class citizen. I find myself, as a Heathen, in the same position that the Jews have found themselves in for centuries. My being is defined by my Ethnic Religion. Just as a Jew is a Jew by both religious tradition and ethnic heritage, so to am I a heathen by both religious tradition and ethnic heritage. My religion is part of my genetic code, if you will. Now I face the fact that my person and my rights are to be of secondary importance, because they are Religous in origin, and this apparently falls second to someone else’s right because they are Sexual. Both come from a genetic source, sexuality and heritage, so does this mean that Gender is superior to others in terms of rights?

Some like to say that this idea that shop owners should be protected in their religious beliefs and denying services base on that is no different from the old days when blacks couldn’t eat in certain places or use certain facilities and that we were right to ban such discrimination, and so we are right to ban such discrimination against Gays. But the situations were different. The former discrimination was based on race, and the idea that one race was superior to another.

The current issue isn’t Heterosexual people banning Gay people. This isn’t discrimination based on the idea that one gender alignment is superior to another. This is the idea that people should be free to live their lives as they see is correct based on their moral code, vs the idea that people should be forced to live by the moral code of another, and that one of these groups is superior not because of the morality of their position, but that their foes have a morality to their position!

Or, to simplify that mouthful, the idea that a Gay man has the right to make a Christian live by the Gay man’s morals, simply because the Christian is a Christian, and the Gay man is Gay.

How then, is that different from the apparently highly objectionable actions of a Christian forcing a Gay person to live according to Christian morals? If it is wrong to make one person live by the moral code of another, then it should work both ways, not just on the basis of gender vs religion where gender is superior.

That is not equality, people. That is superiority.

And this isn’t like the issue of Gay Marriage being denied. Marriage is a business arraignment, and like all such things the oaths of the GLBT folks deserves to be viewed as equal to those of all others. That is why I support Gay Marriage.

But there is a difference between the right to have your oaths recognized by law, and using law to force people to serve you against their moral code. The idea of forcing people to violate their beliefs by law is wrong. We as a society should understand this, our Founding Fathers certainly did when they decided to separate church and state so the state couldn’t legislate religious choice or action.

Normally when I hear Christians bleating about “attacks against our faith” I normally just sneered and rolled my eyes. Now though, I begin to wonder. If you can be forced to act against your conscience simply because the law says so…where does it stop? This isn’t like insisting evolution be taught in schools or removing Christianity’s death grip on society and its laws anymore. This is about saying it is okay to punish someone for acting according to their beliefs By Law. Using the Law to force people to do what they find is wrong.

In the discussion I was having, it came up that the Religious agreed to abide by the laws of running a business and they have the choice not to own a business if they don’t want to have to obey the law, even when that law discriminates against them. So the law was the morally superior thing. I then pointed out that the law also bans gay marriage, and we believe this law needs to be changed, so Law can’t be the ultimate moral authority, so why should it be that the law is wrong when it insists gays can’t marry, but it is right when it says that people can be forced to act against their will and conscience because that conscience has a religious basis?

What I know is this. It makes me feel that because I identify as a religious person, I do not deserve the right to have my way of life respected because I am religious. That I deserve to be made to act against my conscience by the Law, because certain people find my lifestyle morally objectionable.

The irony is not lost on me.