I’m probably gonna kick myself later for bringing this up in the midst of a Mercury retrograde, but I feel compelled to say what needs to be said, so there it is and I’ll accept what it becomes.
As I’m sure there isn’t anyone out there that isn’t aware of what’s gone down in the last few days, our country spoke through vote and our president was re-elected for another term. Considering the popular vote was nearly cut in half between the two primary candidates, it makes for half of a happy country, and half of a very unhappy country.
This has brought forth many strong emotions on both sides, some of elation, others of disgust and just about everything in between. I’ve seen the discussions and remarks, and for the most part, I understand where folks are coming from on both sides. As before the election, I continue to agree with some things and disagree with others. However, there have been a couple issues that have come forth more prominently post-election, and I feel the need to address them here. This particular post is in regards to the accusations of religious oppression on Christians by the current government through the HHS (Health & Human Services) Mandate that states privately owned businesses are required to provide free contraceptives & day after type medications as part of their health plans for “preventative health services”.
As a Wiccan, and a liberal (if I must put a political label on myself), you may be surprised to hear that I feel this mandate is unconstitutional, or at the very least unfair, towards private business owners running their businesses according to their chosen faith. As far as I can tell, these businesses are not violating the rights of their employees by choosing not to offer birth control/day-after pills. They are not stopping them from using birth control or having abortions, nor are they making threats to reprimand them if they do. If they were, this would be a different situation entirely, and doubt this would be getting handled through this kind of action by the government. Now, what some of them are doing, is refusing to allow birth control as a method for treatment for women’s reproductive issues such as heavy periods, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and other such disease because of the owners religious convictions, and THAT I feel is a violation the employees’s right and should be fought accordingly, but the HHS mandate does not address this specifically, it’s about “preventative services”.
Businesses should be allowed to run their businesses as they deem fit, as long as it is not violating anyone’s constitutional rights. Last I knew, there is nothing in the constitution that states people have a right to free birth control from their employers so they can keep from getting pregnant or have abortions. They have the right to take birth control and have abortions, period. Their employers have nothing to do with that. If I, as a Pagan business owner, wanted to give my employees the 8 sabbats of the year off work, or placed stones and crystals around my workplace, or placed a copy of the Wiccan Rede in my front lobby, I would be seriously pissed if the government told me I had to stop doing these things or be fined. As long as I’m not discriminating, I should be allowed. If people considering working for me do not feel comfortable with these things, they can choose not to take a position with my business, even if that choice is because of my religious beliefs.
So, what is this post all about then? Well, since the election (and some before), this particular issue has generated a LOT of negativity from Christians towards not only our government as a whole, but against those not of Christian faith. For the first time truly, Christianity be being bullied by someone else large scale. But you know what? Christianity, as a whole, has been playing the part of the bully for *centuries*, and for the first time, the bully is getting bullied back. Take a bit of advice from someone that comes from a faith that is often bullied by mainstream religions. If you want to be taken seriously, stop crying and whining, and pointing fingers looking for someone to blame, otherwise presenting yourself as a stubborn toddler that’s throwing a tantrum because they aren’t getting their way. Fight for those things you believe in, but for YOUR god’s sake, fight your fight with some dignity, and show some respect for those that oppose you.
Those of other faiths have learned that if they want their voices to be heard, they have to show some respect for those that oppose them. In reality, most Pagans do not hold any ill will against Christianity as a religious belief system. The issues with Christianity stem mostly from their need to prosthelytize and how they make people feel inferior for not agreeing with their beliefs, along with the declaration that Christianity is the only “true” religion. Most Pagans generally believe that all religions are the same at their core, instilling ethics and principles that all people should live by, i.e. “Do unto others as you would have done to you”. You might want to take that into consideration, now that you’re on the other side of the fence.
Everyone should fight, by any legal method possible, for their rights when they are threatened. But seriously, Christianity, if you want the rest of us to start showing concern for your current situation, perhaps it’s time you started showing a little tolerance and respect for us and our struggles, don’t ya think?