Sidney / CHU would leave no doubt as to where he / they stood, finishing his quote of Tobias' hysterical query

" What lengths will they go to target pagan folk? " (*)

and following with the comment

" CHU has checked this site named THE ALMOND JAR ( and this quote is indeed true. Moreover, his site is rather `Anti-Wicca' in nature, consider the following quote:
'Wiccans remain barred from the Shrine, even as visitors, for historical reasons.'

Notice that Sidney doesn't bother to mention what those historical reasons were, even though the relevant link was already in place in CHU's own guestbook. Continuing to quote the Almond Jar, he writes

'Our openminded Eastern Orthodox and Catholic neighbors are welcome to come to the festivals. In many ways, I think they will find themselves at home.'

Again, if you haven't checked out our Christo-Pagan section, do. The resemblances between modern Catholicism and Graeco-Roman "Paganism" are striking, in many ways. This is not surprising, considering where and when it was that Christianity grew from being a small sect with little history of its own, to a full-fledged religion with a rich heritage going back for centuries: the Roman Empire.

The notion of religion as being a thing divorced from everyday culture is an Anglo-Saxon quirk that has never been shared by the peoples of the Mediterranean basin. Depending on location, one "Pagan" religion or another would have saturated the local culture. It worked its way into the work of the classical philosophers, including those of the Platonic school. Any even marginally well-informed student of the subject of Early and Medieval Christian history will be aware of the role that Classical Philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, played in the development of the philosophy of the Pre-Byzantine schism Christian church, a role which continued well past the time of that schism. But, as the next line showed, CHU wasn't especially interested in being well-informed :


Now, how many times was it, that these people had already been told that the Shrine was not a Wiccan group? Hadn't they, themselves, already acknowledged visiting our main page, where one can see a link to an article entitled "Where we differ with Wicca", a comment "repeat, we are not a Wiccan group", not to mention the quote you've already seen above (several times, in fact) about Wiccans no longer being welcome in the Shrine for historical reasons? Or the further emphasis found elsewhere that we were not a magical group of any kind, and hence not "witches"?

At some point, one has to struggle to not ask "are these people deaf or are they just stupid?". How hard can it be to grasp the concept that "Pagan" isn't a synonym for "Wiccan" or "Witch"?

" The conclusion from all this? Antistoicus/The Almond Jar is nothing more than yet another clandestine MISSIONARY OUTREACH TO PAGANISM. It is pro-Catholic yet anti Wicca!

I guess that the answer is "pretty hard, if you're a member of CHU". The question remains unanswered - why does the fact that, under some definitions, we could be called "polytheistists", oblige us to do business with the Wiccan community? Why is that particular non-Judeo-Christian religion entitled to such a privileged position ?

" It claims to revere the old gods and Christ (at the same time) in a typical theocratic mish-mash of `pic `n mix' spirituality. "

Do Tobias, Gertrude and Sidney even know what the word "theocratic" means? Let's look it up.

" Theocracy. noun. 1. A state, polity, or group of people that claims to be governed by a god, as Israel, Islam or the papacy. 2. Government by ecclesiastics, or a state so governed, such as the papacy [<THEO- + Gr. krateo,rule]

- Theocratic or ical adj "

In other words, this adjective refers to regimes such as Iran under the Ayatollah Khomeini, places not exactly renowned for their acceptance of theological diversity. Now, take a good, careful look at what one of CHU's primary criticisms of the Shrine has been : that we won't be good sports about the whole thing, and start believing only in the deities they tell us to believe in, or at least in the combinations of deities they personally find accepable.

As New Agers are fond of saying : Pot. Kettle. Black.

Pic 'n mix? As in, we examine the various belief systems we see, and then decide, for ourselves, which aspects of each we agree with, and which we don't, instead of just finding some authority, past or present, and let it or him tell us what to believe? Yes, we are absolutely "guilty of that crime". We think for ourselves. When others speak, and seem to be saying something worth listening to, we will listen, and we will think about what they have to say, but the judgment that, in the end, determines what each of us will believe will be, and should be our own.

This is precisely what Tobias, Gertrude, Sidney and CHU have had a hard time accepting - that this is a discussion, and not a test of wills. If they had made valid points, that would have been something for us to think about. But all they did was grow abusive, and expect us to let ourselves be intimidated into believing as they told us to believe. That is evangelism at its worst. When CHU continues by saying

" The silence from Chaney and Antistoicus speaks volumes and strongly indicates that CHU has upset their little applecart. "

one begins to see just how little regard for the truth it has, and how foolish, indeed, we would be to invest any trust in these strangers at all, let alone the reckless trust that one would be engaging in, were one to let a total stranger do one's thinking for one. Silence? Come again? I was posting there for 3 1/2 weeks. How pathological a liar does somebody have to be, in order to lie about a fact that easily confirmed?

" They will of course, like many others instead now be seeking to sell their Christo-spin to others in the pagan community - don't let it be YOU! "

Again, notice - he doesn't discuss, he makes demands. I haven't cut anything out of his 'argument', in the portion which I've responded to so far, I've merely interspersed it with my responses. Not that I'm necessarily planning to bother to respond to any more of it, because a lot of it just seems to be more of the same, and I'm thinking that I've already made my main point. Some will, in that "hipper than thou" tone some of us have so come to love to hate, ask us why, as Christo-Pagans, we don't just let in the New Age community and talk things over with them and let them participate in what we do. "You don't know what you're missing until we try", they'll say, the words going in one ear and coming out the other as we explain that we have tried. And that is maybe the main issue - that the words do go in one ear and come out the other, and that any attempt at discussing anything with a group of absolute relativists practicing an ego-based religion is futile, because the people we're talking with will never really be listening to even so much as a word of what we are saying. To do so would not be in their nature.

Speaking of ego based religions ... I mentioned that I would get back to the point of why somebody's fixation on the subject of "SRAM" ("Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth") was so interesting. Strictly speaking, that would really not be a Pagan issue, because Satanists aren't Pagans, not even in part, not are Pagans Satanists. But take a good careful look at the logo going into Sidney's page and you'll notice that it is a goat's head inside an inverted pentagram. Pick up a copy of the Satanic Bible, take a good look at the logo of LaVey's Church of Satan, and you'll find that the resemblence is striking, so much so as to border on the realm of copyright violation. Going in further, one finds an article honoring Baphomet - a demon familiar from standard Christian folklore (the one associated with sexual perversion, if I recall correctly). As of the time of this writing, no articles could be found on that site honoring any recognized Pagan deities.

The conclusion should be obvious - Sidney's claim to be a Pagan is a sham. The boy is a Laveyan Satanist wannabee, which gives his posturing as the outraged defender of pagan purity an ironic twist: while we may be only half Pagan, he isn't Pagan at all. He's a total outsider who is attempting to co-opt a community of which he is not legitimately a part, in the hope of manipulating it into fighting some of his fights for him, and discovering that its own communication-stifling ettiquette has paved the way for him as he does so, as it has with so many with demonstrable hidden and dishonorable agendas in the past. Like, say, men who want to squash the development of free and independent Pagan presses by defaming those who would start them ... at about the time they've taken to embezzling community funds - and find that even after the facts come out, their efforts at defamation still see public support in the Pagan community. If this community is frequently defrauded, it is only so because it is often the main accomplice in its own defraudment.

In one ear and out the other ... I've grown so tired of banging my head on the proverbial wall as I tried to reason with the community that I'm scarcely inclined to continue. If I ever do, I won't be doing so for at least another few years. In the meanwhile, until I have upload a little more material, assuming that I ever bother to do so, click here to visit our main page, where the material covered will be a lot more interesting than Sidney's bigotry, including a little Christo-Pagan material. Unless, that is, you'd like to return to the Blue Ribbon or Anti-censorship webring, right now.

(*) How far will we go to "target" them for what, Tobias? The absence of an invitation to one of our events?