Freedom of Speech.
If there is one civil right that was, is, and should ever be held at the heart and in highest esteem by any Pagan or Heathen, it is this. Without it, none of us would be here. Our myths, legends, holy texts, and ancient philosophies would not exist. We would not be able to speak our minds, or pray to our Gods, or find and gather with like minded individuals. Without this concept, without this Civil Right, granted to by the Divine, we cannot exist.
It is the sacred duty of every Pagan and Heathen then, to defend this right, in totality, for every single person on this planet. For, should this right be denied to one, it is denied to all. And if denied to any, it is only a matter of time before it is denied to us.
This includes, especially, speech that is odious to many. The reason for this is simple. In the grand scheme of this world, much of the population belongs to one of the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All three religions which, in their holy texts, forbid the worship and practice of Pagan religions. While Islam is the most strident of these, demanding the death of any Pagan, Christianity’s history has been no less suppressive, and often just as violent, except under the aegis of the belief in inalienable Civil Rights. Even then, we have often had to fight long, and hard, to have those rights recognized and respected.
The 1st Amendment of the USA is a declaration of this human right and that is shall not be infringed in any manner. Because of it, the USA has been one of the strongest gardens for the revival of Paganism and Heathenism. While this growth has not been easy, nor without its internal and external conflicts, it has grown, and grown for one reason. Because no matter how odious people find our beliefs, no matter how vile, sinful, demonic, or any other negative thing they have declared it we have a right to speak and believe as we choose.
Or we did.
As of January 9th, 2021, we have been told we no longer have that right.
Twitter, Facebook, Google, Twitch, Reddit, and other platforms stripped President Trump and those affiliated him of their accounts, among other actions such as suppressing discussions involving him and his associates. Over the last several years, it has been argued that it is the right of these companies to ban or remove content they see fit, because they are ‘privately owned’ spaces. However, in a high court ruling, it was found that Trump’s Twitter account was a public space, and hence he could not ban people from following or commenting.
A public space, to which the 1st amendment fully applied by law.
These sites, which dominate nearly all of social media, publicly stated that they are not only above the law, they are above the position of President of the United States. That the supreme executive authority, the source by which all laws are enforced in this country, must bow to them. That even the President is only allowed to speak what they want him to speak.
Now, there are many who hate Trump, for many different reasons. Many are very happy to see him gone. I suspect, given my interactions with many different pagans over the years, that a fair number of them are happy with this.
While it is not in my habit to tell a man or woman that they are wrong in their faith (though, I have been known to call them wrong in their actions easily enough), I would council that there is not a Pagan or Heathen out there who should not be both outraged, and scared, by this. The most powerful individual man, in one of the most powerful nations on earth, has been told that his civil right to speak freely, in alienable and will be infringed at the will of a corporation, regardless of our most sacred laws.
“But he was calling for violence!” some might say.
Indeed. Depending on your perspective he was. But then again, so has every major Democratic party member over the course of 2020 last year during the BLM ‘protests.’ Indeed, most of the minor ones did to. So did Malcome X. And, again depending on your perspective, Martin Luther King Jr. So did John Adams, and Thomas Jeffereson. As did Davy Crockett and Sam Houston.
So did the Beasty Boys when they insisted you had to fight for your right to party.
‘Inciting’ violence is nothing new. Nor is it immoral, when that violence is brought forth to secure one’s civil rights, especially in one’s own nation. In an election where 40% or more of the population, from all political parties, believes that fraud has occurred, and where unarmed protestors have been murdered by the police, an ‘incitement to violence’ is not an immoral act.*
“Mob Violence is the language of the unheard.” These are the words of Nancy Pelosi, the highest ranked member of the House. Not only could these words be construed as an incitement to violence (indeed, she spoke them in full support of the BLM movement which had grown violent already at the time), they are an admission of fact. Strip people of their ability to be heard and all you leave them with is violence.
I know Trump is odious to many, and that his words are considered vile and hateful. Many consider this reason enough to silence him. Many celebrate odious and vile words being removed from society.
Martin Luther King jr.’s words were also considered odious and vile to many as well. They considered his vision of a nation undivided by race to be hateful, vulgar, and obscene. His calls to protest, to rise up, to seek the rights granted to them by the divine…as an incitement to violence.
Imagine, if you will, how easily things could have changed. If Sit Ins were described as “violent, insurrectionist riots.” After all, black people went into stores they were not welcome in, demanded services that were often theirs by right (if not by law), refused to leave, and were met with violence to remove them. Much the way protestors went into a Congress they were not welcome in, demanded a service that was theirs by right (and by law), and were met with violence to remove them.
The later have been painted with a villainous and odious brush. The former, in many a southern news paper, was painted in a not dissimilar fashion. Yet, would we today, accept MLK being silenced? Would we look up on those who cheered such an action as noble and good? Would we consider this action acceptable?
Or would we grow dark in our thoughts, to think that a corporation believed it had the right to violate the most sacred and fundamental of all rights? Would we grow angry in our cups? Would we not see this as a vile act worthy of punishment?
I think we should. I believe that any Pagan or Heathen should look up on this with horror, fear, and rage. Regardless of one’s feelings about Trump and his associates, a strike against the rights of one, is a strike against the rights of us all.
“With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, that chains us all irrevocably.” – Captain Picard.
I am old enough to remember. To remember when as a Heathen I feared to speak, to acknowledge my faith and my Gods. I remember the courage it took to put on my first Mjolnir and wear it in public. To walk out there knowing that I would be judged, and hated, for my faith. That it could cost me friends, jobs, even my family. I also remember that what gave me the courage to do that, long before I had sworn myself to Hel, was the knowledge that it was my right to do that. To speak, and believe, as I saw fit. That that was the right granted to me by the very Gods themselves, and that no man, no matter how powerful, no matter his beliefs, had the right to take that away from me.
But now, with their actions, the masters of corporations look out and they tell me that they do have that right! That it is their right, and their power, to decide who speaks! That they get to decide what shall be said, and believed, and that they are the ones who decide what rights I get to have as a human being!
Yesterday it was Trump. Tomorrow it could be anyone. It could be me. It could be you. It could be all of us. It all depends on who holds the reigns at the end of the day, and what they decide they don’t want to see anymore.
But it is not their right!
It must never be their right!
Millions of people have fought, and died, to secure our rights. Speak up, speak out, strike back. By spell or deed, by boycott or protest, do not let the violation of the most fundamental of all human rights go unanswered. Do not let your most fundamental right be stripped from you. By the Gods, do not let it be taken from us, or else we and all those who are to come after us may never be able to speak to our Gods again.
*In regards to evidence of the fraud, I would like to point out that Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault on the testimony of a dozen women, none of whom had physical evidence, and by the nature of the assault were unconscious at the time, as well as Cosby’s own partial confession to giving people knock out drugs. By this standard, the literal dozens of witnesses who saw fraudulent behavior, and Biden’s own apparent statements that the Democrats had one of the largest voting fraud systems, should be more than enough evidence for fraud in the election, regardless of any actual evidence that turned up beyond that.