A Day of Peace

I’m not one who likes getting into current news, but I think we’ve all heard of the Boston Marathon tragedy. It’s a terrible, terrible thing to happen. And over the last few weeks I’ve been listening to the developments in the search for the suspects.

 

I remember listening to NPR, and they had a segment talking about the last suspect being caught, and the guy on NPR spoke my mind. He said something to the effect of, “Oh, I hope he’s not Muslim.” Because I knew that if the suspects turned out to be  Muslim, it’ll only start another one of those anti-Muslim hate movements. People will start blaming Muslims again for being terrorists, when in fact it’s the extremist, radical Muslims we should be worried about. But not just extremist, radical Muslims, but extremist, radical PEOPLE in general.

 

This drives me crazy, because all the intelligent people out there know that being Muslim doesn’t make you a terrorist. That’s like saying being a Christian makes you a Westboro Baptist Churchgoer. It’s just something that’s so utterly false, but uninformed people start believing.

 

Speaking of Westboro Baptist Cult, I heard that they would be protesting at the funerals of those who lost their lives in the Boston Marathon Tragedy. This got my blood boiling. I see the WBC as either 1) crazy lunatics who actually believe what they preach, or 2) scumbags who use their lawyery know-how to sue people who get too angry at them and do something they could sue them for. Either way, they are lousy for doing so.

 

And something tells me it’s the former. They really believe what they say. If you would have asked me a year or two ago, I would have hesitated, because I thought “Who in their right mind could believe something like that?” But I’ve seen so-called Christians preach hate. I’ve been to Church services who preach intolerance and hate and a foaming-mouth disdain for others.

 

The preacher at said sermon said multiple times that the true “Christians” and the other religions can’t get along, because Christianity had to prevail, and any Christian denomination that preached tolerance was misleading and not the real true way.

I’m sorry, but if you follow a religion that believes it must ‘prevail’ over others simply because of the deity you believe in, I feel that these kinds of beliefs are what leads humanity down a road of destruction. If we keep up our stubborn “well, no, I’M right,” or “well, no, my GOD is right and the only real one,” there will be no healing our problems, because all we need is two people to say, “No, I’M right!” to begin to destroy the world of man.

And in recent news, also, the home of the pagan author Kyrja Withers, author of the “Tales of Rupert” children books, was shot at a while ago, with harassment from drive by cars and profanities shouted at them. This is the exact kind of crap I’m talking about. The ignorance and arrogance of the cretins who would ENDANGER LIVES because your beliefs are “threatened” by one of the most loving, positive, fun, carefree woman I’ve ever heard of, that’s just WEAK and utterly deplorable.

And sometime in January, I believe, there was the killing of Yana, a Pagan in Syria, where radical Muslims tortured her, proclaiming her a whore and a witch. This is what I’m afraid will happen to not just pagans, but to all walks of faith everywhere if we don’t learn to love and coexist. If we let hate fester underfoot here in America and the more “civilized” western world, what do you think the predecessor of the Westboro Baptist Church do?

I don’t care if you’re Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Pagan, atheist, Satanist, whatever. I will respect and tolerate you and your beliefs as long as you do the same. Because even with differing beliefs, we CAN get along.

We cannot hold hands if we keep pointing fingers!

We need willingness to listen. Willingness to listen to the other side. How many of you have offered to hear an opposing side’s argument? How many of you have been willing to read a book or go to a sermon or just talk about that which you don’t agree with?

And how many of you have been turned down–sometimes violently–when you offer a chance for the other side to understand? Even if you don’t offer them a chance consciously; perhaps they see that pagan symbol you’re wearing, or even if they inquire you about your beliefs.

This is what stops us from reaching our desperate need for peace, for if we can understand and listen to the other side, we can see why they believe what they believe, and we can ACCEPT the fact that they believe what they believe.

It’s not about being right. It’s about living together as a society without having to prove each other’s ideals “wrong”.

But enough negativity! This day is supposed to be about peace and love! Pagan youtuber Raven NightSong proposed making Beltane a “Beltane Peace Day,” a day to promote and to concentrate on peace. I think it’s a great idea.

You can find her video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhtFruQq_IY and my response here: http://youtu.be/cZ10q_Fa1u4

Being pagan, I have seen my fair share of negativity. But I also have seen an impressive display of positivity and curiosity. I’ve met atheists, Christians, a Mormon or two, and others within the pagan community, who have openly asked questions about my beliefs and who, upon realizing what I believe, smiled and understood–even if they totally disagreed. It’s one of the greatest feelings when two opposite beliefs come together in a moment of acceptance. It’s just wonderful.

Here’s MY invitation: Love, listen, question, understand, accept, spread peace and joy, and LIVE MINDFULLY.

There’s a Druidic Peace Prayer that goes:

Deep in the still center of my being, may I find peace

Silently within the quiet of the grove, may I share peace

Gently within the greater circle of humankind, may I radiate peace

This is something I strive for every day. Will you join me in finding, sharing, and radiating peace throughout our lives?

Peace,

Bran

 

Notes:

WBC Picketing victims of the Boston Marathon victims’ funerals:

http://www.examiner.com/article/westboro-baptist-church-to-picket-explosion-victims-funerals-petition-started

The story on Kyrja Withers:

http://wildhunt.org/2013/03/shots-fired-at-florida-pagan-authors-home.html

The story on Yana:

http://pncminnesota.com/2013/01/17/in-syria-and-egypt-pagan-voices-fall-silent/

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About paganbran

I'm a bard who uses my music and musings to spread ideas of Peace, Nature, and Stories. I walk a Buddhist path, and am a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, something of a strange mix that I've labeled "Bardic Dharma". I love reading and learning about any spirituality. I believe Peace is one of the most important ideals to strive for. We can't hold hands when we're pointing fingers.
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