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The Persecuted Majority
This month's article is by our very own Goddess of Giggle!
Have you ever noticed how trendy it has become to be a member of some "persecuted minority"or another? I have. And it's driving me up a wall!
As a poly, pagan, bisexual I am faced with an onslaught of woeful and bitter diatribes from my peers about their persecution by mainstream society. So then, why does it seem to me that just about everyone between the ages of 13 and 30 is being persecuted in some way?
The pagans complain about how they are persecuted by the Christians. The bisexuals are persecuted by straight as well as gay people. Blacks by whites, women by men, goths by preps, swingers by polyamorous, polyamorous by monogamous. You name it; nearly everyone seems to be suffering persecution by someone else.
Perhaps the world has gotten too populated. People are losing their sense of individuality. There's nothing new under the sun anymore. And in this culture of guilt and judgment, we seek acknowledgement of our individuality through the eyes of other's condemnation. Has it come so far that we are actually seeking out this condemnation and persecution? In all the time that I have spent as a pagan practitioner, or a polyamorous person or bisexual and very open about all of them, I can't recall receiving anything more than a harsh comment or a nasty look. Is this how we define persecution now?
I realize that there are people out there who lose their jobs or are forced out of their homes or lose their children because of their beliefs. But this really could happen to anyone, regardless of whether or not their beliefs fall into the mainstream. At that point, is this really about persecution of a group or groups, or is it a lack of compassion and acceptance in our society in general? I have seen many a pagan person denounce all of Christianity as evil and even verbally attack a Christian person who merely expressed curiosity about paganism. The assumption was that the Christian person would simply use the information to persecute the pagan. I have seen polyamorous people express disgust in monogamy as a whole. No group seems to be immune to the ill behavior that is construed by some as persecution.
Everyone likes to feel special, but in a world where there are so many people doing so many different things, it is harder and harder to find anything unique about ourselves. Enter persecution complex. If I am persecuted, then surely I must be different. Some grain of my personality must be very alien to anyone else. If I am misunderstood, then I am unique. Yet, human beings are social creatures, no matter how large our population gets. So, while we hope to find some bit of uniqueness within ourselves, we have a great need for acceptance and community. These people gather together with the idea that they are somehow different and special as human beings and yet part of a group. But the larger the group becomes, the less individual they feel. It would seem that whenever people with a common belief or interest gather together to affirm their own validity, they find no satisfaction. Validation is not something that can be found in a church, or a coven, or a poly community, or a BDSM club. It comes from within. So, as this dissatisfaction grows, and the need for community overrides the need for uniqueness, these groups turn their focus outside and begin to tear down others. Hence, the persecuted become the persecutors. And the cycle goes ‚round and ‚round.
Now, however, this cycle has apparently looped on itself so that everyone is being "persecuted" by someone else. So, how do we stop the cycle? Well, there are two essential keys to that. First, we stop being so damned touchy about everything. You are not injured if someone gives you a nasty look. Try smiling at them. The world doesn't end if you lose your job. Just move on from it. Now, I'm not going to say for one minute that you shouldn't fight like the dickens if someone does something that harms you financially or interferes with you family (i.e. by taking away a child) but let's not go overboard and claim that if someone calls you a slut, they are doing you damage. You know yourself better than they do. You know that you have a moral code and that you aren't out to harm anyone -- or are you? And that brings me to the second point. Check yourself out. Are you scowling at people who do things differently from you? Are you talking down to them like you are somehow evolved for your choices? Do you frequently point out that wrong-doings of Christians in the past or the frequency of divorce and remarriage (serial monogamy) in monogamous folks? In the end, the best and most effective way for you to change the world is to change how you view it. You have no control over other people, only yourself. So, end persecution by starting with you.
Of course it is entirely possible that you really like being part of the Persecuted Majority.
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