10/21/09

Something Pagans Need To Know About Volunteer Emergency Response Efforts

Almost two years ago, I attended a state-run critical incident response training event over on the Peninsula along with a plethora of Christian chaplains. All of us were offered continuing education credits that qualified us to counsel people in times of deep crisis. An issue of concern arose for me when this government-funded group repeatedly promoted one religion; exclusively. I realized, after hearing many public prayers to a deity that not even the Jews acknowledge (as the son of their deity) that many citizens in our communities would not feel comforted by having a devout Christian attempting to counsel them; especially not if they were already enduring some serious environmental crisis. (Indigenous cultures, for one example, have historically been grossly oppressed by the Christian communities.)

Naturally, I asked the trainers why there was no representation (on this state level) from other religious communities. There were no Jewish leaders, nobody from the Muslim faith. No Atheists or agnostics. As far as I could tell (and classroom discussion seemed to confirm this) I represented the only alternative religion there.

The Christian chaplains obviously saw no issue with this -- not even after I explained that the communities we live in and serve are very diverse. Disregarding anything I had to say on the topic, the chaplains kept insisting they were open-minded enough to counsel anybody.

Meanwhile, they kept offering up their public prayers and one particularly vocal chaplain cornered me at break time. He told me a story I will never forget. Seems he had met a Wiccan {just once}!

His story droned on to sadly explain that the witch refused to give him entry into her house when he responded to an emergency call that he had heard over the fire station's radio. "I'm sorry you had a negative experience," I admitted, sincerely. Then the chaplain went on to explain that the woman was a total nut-job who had just killed her mother. {That story clearly defined what he thought about Pagans.}

While many different stories of Christian ministers who molest children came to my mind, I bit my tongue and excused myself from divulging such undesirable information. After all, it would not have helped me make friends in that environment. Meanwhile, my experiences were to the point where I realized that I had better start a revolution. That's why I began making contact with the governing powers that be and learned they would welcome outside groups with open arms. I’m hoping, desperately, that we as Pagans can work together as one unit in this regard. To form a phone tree, an email broadcast effort perhaps – just get better connected with one another to show we really do care about our community.

This really is a powerful opportunity to put our Pagan community in the municipal limelight. This Thursday is the first opportunity that’s arisen for showing up as a group. This is why I began sending out announcements to my community a few weeks ago. I'm asking for participation in a collective effort. I hope, if you cannot attend Thursday’s meeting, that you will at least send me your contact information so you can be called and made aware of future opportunities to serve our communities during times of crisis.

Please let me know if you would like to be added to that list. United we will change the way we are seen by local governments. Divided we will falter and fail. Lets network and get better connected. Please feel free to forward this message to any party you feel would benefit from the sharing.

NOTE: If you cannot attend Thursday but want to be added to a Pagan Emergency Response list, please send that information to me at SunTiger@usa.com.

MEETING INFORMATION
WHAT: a meeting entitled "How Can You Help: Preparing for the Upcoming Flood Season" HOSTED BY: the City of Auburn & the White River Valley Community organizations Active in Disaster (COAD)
WHEN: Thursday, October 22 from 4-6 PM WHERE: Auburn City Hall, City Council Chambers, 25 W Main St. *Note: I’ve reserved spots for our forming group. YOU are invited.

Richest blessings, ~ SunTiger

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

When Zoroaster prohibited Devil Worship, it could likely simply have been the worship, as proffessional demeanor. Those who worship Jesus as a Devil, should extend their hands to what comes to hand, pray, meditate, and release what's ready to go. They should not be touting their particular devil, if they're to be of the Solomonic Brethren. Jesus and Solomon are both perfectly fine Pagan Gods, neither of whom were teaching Paganism.
Belief in a higher power might reasonably be promoted at a meeting of Muggles Annonymous, but we should ultimately realise that the relationship between any Higher Power and our Ultimate Selves, is going to be mutual. Should God believe in a Higher Power?
When Jesus is being introduced as Imperial Devil, his effective post, under the Compromise of Nicaea, then you've added Politics to efforts of Ministry, and crippled yourself, as you struggle to heal another.
Atheists are a good example of Theology in Practice, for they are simply pretending not to know any Higher Power. Theology itself means Devil Teaching.
A prayer for Atheists, and other Theologians: "Oh, Higher Power, and whoever else I might defame, may I someday speak so honestly of myself."
I tried to post in your other blog, but it pendates approval. The Sumac Drupe offers edible fruit, that seems to be different from what you've pictured, but Poison Sumac doesn't seem to be so closely related, as it is to its less toxic kindred, Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.
Arawn Graalrd

SunTiger said...

Arawn. There is absolutely no reason to reinvent the wheel. There are already incredible training resources available through state, county and municipal organizations (not to mention the training that the Red Cross and other non-profits make available). Our goal is to "get trained" and volunteer under EARTH's name (building credibilty for all Pagan emergency responders).

See our new website: http://paganresponders.blogspot.com

Autumnforest said...

One time I told my brother (after he wouldn't stop sending his religious fundamentalist minions after me) "You're never going to stop being a Christian, and I will never be a Christian. Can't we just respect each other?" Nope. Never heard from him again. I scare him because the Jesus figure is not my Lord. It really separates those who feel secure in their own beliefs and those who feel so weak they're threatened by other beliefs. America will never stop being Christian, white, male, but more exposure to Pagans will go a long way to healing rifts. I never told anyone my belief system was Pagan. Eventually, I blurted it out as if I just admitted I smothered kittens. People who know me, love me and even admire my qualities. Eventually, they began to ask about Pagan beliefs. I was fine clearing up their ignorance, but I always say that my journey was my own. I don't want anyone to take on my beliefs. It's as private as one's sex life. In fact, when they knock at my door and want to discuss religion, I tell them, "sure,if you tell me about your sex life." I then point out my front door sign that clearly says "No solicitation, ESPECIALLY religious." I'm so thankful to be part of a spirituality without profit belief system. I am proud to even write it on the hospital operation forms before a surgery. Keep it up. As the teens say, "You represent your peep's"

SunTiger said...

The beauty of being Pagan for ME is that nobody in our group hides behind a false cloak of holiness. Pagan, to me, means we find greater spiritual significance from nature than we do from mortar, wood or stone.

I've met many Christians who I would be very proud to call comrade and others who scared the bejesus out of me with their deviant self-centered and dominating ways. {{Shudder for such encounters.}}

Sorry your brother didn't see the bigger picture.

judy said...

I like your blog.

彬彬 said...

great msg for me, thanks a lot dude˙﹏˙

SunTiger said...

Judy ~ THANKS!

彬彬 ~ You are so welcome.

FloyKnop said...

thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩

Tami said...

Well? Thank YOU (If folks are actually reading this page ... maybe I'll post MORE). Feedback is very helpful!