There are a number of issues which come to mind when I think about the following story. Foremost is the dismissive attitude of the author. He starts off his story by pointing out that the placement of a Christian cross in a Pagan worship area is “hardly destructive behavior”. That immediately made me think of the reactions one would get here in Asheville if someone went around erecting pentacles at Baptist churches.
Then in the second paragraph he uses a phrase which always knots my brow. He desrcibes Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier as “a self-described pagan”. That’s a dismissive phrase which suggests there’s something wrong with being Pagan. I often wonder why these same people don’t refer to the subjects of their stories as “a self-described Christian” or “a self-described Jew”.
My point is that the issue at the heart of the story is the disrespect of a sacred Pagan space by Christians. That intolerance, at the core of why this is an issue to begin with, is self-evident in the dismissive attitude of the author in regard to the Pagans in this story. That is what most Pagans face on a daily basis.
A good friend once told me that the best way to understand an issue is to simply reverse the principals. If you’re a Christian and you don’t understand why this is such a big deal, imagine how you would feel if someone erected a large wooden pentacle in front of your church. What messages do you think those responsible would be trying to send you?
– Claire Mulkieran
Cross Placed at Air Force Pagan Circle
By Joshua Rhett Miller
Friday, February 05, 2010
A large wooden cross was placed at an Air Force Academy worship area for pagans and other Earth-centered religions, prompting an investigation by academy officials, though some caution that it’s hardly “destructive behavior.”
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said an Air ForceAcademy staffer spotted the cross — erected with railroad ties — lying against a rock at a worship area for pagan groups at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Jan. 17.
Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, a self-described pagan who sponsors the group that worships there, said the incident was similar to someone leaving a pentagram or a pagan symbol at the academy’s chapel altar and claimed he and others are victim of a hate crime. In an e-mail to Weinstein’s group, Longcrier said his group had been “thrown under the bus by the system we trusted” and that the “hate crime” has been ignored.