Monday, September 13, 2010

Karen Tate and Politically Honorable Goddess Worship

Ok, I am in love with Karen Tate. Her weekly radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine (available online at her website), connects millions of women and men to feminist religion from all angles; her e-books on sacred Goddess places worldwide inspire many a pilgrimage, and now she has written the most awesome article in L.A.'s the Examiner: Reconcile Your Spirituality With Your Politics; Goddess Is A Democrat.

I love Karen's article, not because of any deep love I feel for the Democratic Party ("I don't belong to an organized party; I'm a Democrat" - Will Rogers), but because if you believe in a world of social justice for all people of all colors, sexes, orientations, classes, abilities, ages, religions, cultures, languages - well if you believe in social justice for all people, then you have no choice these days but to speak out against the right wing of the Republican Party as it exists today. Naming the Goddess - or God - as a Democrat might seem extreme, but given how Republicans are acting these days and how we ARE a two party system, well then even deities have little voting choice.

And I have Karen's permission to publish her article here, and my thanks to her. We are coming up on another election season, and the "let corporations rape the world any way they choose" Republicans hope to make gains in the November elections. No matter where you are religiously - Christian, Pagan, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, Humanist, Animist, Shinto - whatever you are if you've been reading this blog you need to get out and stop Republicans from winning this fall. Read Karen, and get active!

Reconcile Your Spirituality with Your Politics - Goddess is a Democrat

* August 25th, 2010 3:35 pm PT

I wrestled for sometime with whether to write this article. I almost wrote it when Sarah Palin hit the national stage and we learned her Church deemed the Queen of Heaven aka Goddess, a demon, and Evangelicals were at war with Goddess revering folk. I almost wrote this again when there was so much humbug on a previously friendly Pagan/Progressive Christian listserve I belonged to that suddenly, in the climate of Palin, became very anti-women’s rights and anti-Pagan. I almost shared these ideas again when Pagans on another listserve were more worried about what color candle to use on their altar than share political ideas that might advance our spirituality. Several asked why they should care if the Bible gives men and religions license to oppress women. (Slap hand to forehead!)

I guess I can say I was steadily getting filled up to my eyeballs with apathy, ignorance, intolerance and oppression. Then come the Tea Baggers wanting to take back their country from "big government" yet seemed to care little about corporate strangleholds on our democracy or that their movement was funded by the self interests of corporations. And more recently the ginned up controversy of the Ground Zero Mosque which is not on Ground Zero at all. Now, today, I read on the internet a cab driver got stabbed for being a Muslim and a Muslim group was prevented from renting a space for worship services based on a bogus excuse that was thinly veiled bigotry. And I suspect once this kind of intolerance and discrimination is let out of the bag, this is only the beginning.

Elders and spiritual leaders from all walks of life have been telling us we are teetering on the edge of a knife and with the right push, we’ll fall either way. Considering that, I don’t want to be complicit by my silence with those others standing mute. If by speaking out I can perhaps be that metaphoric 100th Monkey to help stem the tide from tipping toward more oppression, inequality, war, intolerance and hate, let me try. And particularly as a Pagan, a member of a fast-growing spirituality perceived to be in the religious minority in this country, with a history of being oppressed by Christians zealots, I would think other Pagans would be concerned enough to speak out too. Can you imagine the anti-Pagan hate that would be conjured up by The Right if in the near future some disturbed Pagan commits some crime in this climate of religious intolerance? We already have to suffer the discrimination of tier one versus tier two religions. I will not be one of the quiet lurking in the shadows as hate-mongers set the tone. The escalating lies and hate-filled propaganda have pushed me over the edge. My hair is on fire and the only way to put it out is let loose my sacred roar!

So, agree with me or not, here goes....Goddess is a Democrat!

I’m not alone in my views. Riane Eisler has said it. Starhawk has said it. If Goddess had to choose between the current two major political parties, she would choose voting for Democrats. Others elders and leaders too numerous to mention have supported this clear choice by either their word or deeds which reconciles our spirituality and politics. If our country, our world, is to move forward it has to break the shackles of war for economic gain, ignorance, racism, bigotry, homophobia, plutocracy, exploitation and sexism. We have to start caring if everyone’s boat floats, not just the boat rich white conservative men and women book passage on. We have to worry about The Many and not The Few. That means if you are a Goddess Advocate, an environmentalist, a feminist, if you want a caring culture, a culture free of war and one of advancement and enlightenment, societies who value science as well as spiritual freedom, where people aren’t constantly being duped to vote against their economic interests, or their rights are taken away to satisfy religious dogma - then you cast your vote for Democrats. It is really that simple.

No, the Democrats are not perfect - far from it! Especially the Blue Dog, Faux-Democrats. I’m not happy the more sweeping change I voted for has not come yet, but we can’t dig ourselves out of catastrophic circumstances over night, especially in the face of such overwhelming obstructionism, lies and propaganda working against Democrats. And as reasonable citizens, you do not throw a tantrum and get even for your disappointment and switch sides and vote for the people mostly responsible for causing the cataclysm! People tell me, " I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, I’m an Independent." Great. But given the two choices we have in our political system, you usually have to cast your vote one way or the other, Democrat or Republican, and today’s Republican leaders are a dangerous bunch. They are either ignorant and intolerant with no sense of compassion, economics and history or they are hypocrites and liars who care little for you and me and care everything for the richest 2% of the country and people making $250K annually. They talk about wanting smaller government and less interference in our lives until it comes to telling people who they can marry, what is tolerated in the bedroom and what women can and cannot do with their bodies.

And then there are the issues of social justice. If there is to be social justice in this country, it will not be promoted by Republicans. This is the party that let people die in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina. This is the party that belongs to Fox News and vice versa. Bush broke the sacred oath of trust between himself as Commander in Chief and our armed forces by sending poor and middle class men and women into a bogus war which many believe was really an excuse to pad the pockets of the military industrial complex and oil companies. He’s been caught on tape saying the way to revive an economy is war. George Bush and his cronies gave this country a black eye around the world, making us less safe and his party is doing it again now with this Ground Zero Mosque issue. The GOP says they want to distance themselves from Bush, but the Bush policies are in their blood. It’s who they are.

In fairness, I should say, probably not all conservative Republicans are of this ilk, but if there are any Republicans wearing white hats where are they? They are letting the crazies run their party figuring the end justifies the means. They rarely, if ever, dispute outright lies spun to further polarize our country. Their silence leave people like me thinking when you do find homophobes, racists, those who would dumb down Americans to steal their vote, those who would take reproductive rights away from women, those employing fear to control, whether they’re scaring white people about those different from them, about terrorists, the French, or people of different religions, they will more than likely be Republicans. They are the ones that would balance the budget on the backs of the poor by taking away Medicaid and Social Security or privatize it so their rich cronies can find a loop-hole to steal it in another Wall Street crash - OOPs!. They are quick to say the poor are lazy rather than admit the inequity in our society that holds some people back. I’ve heard some say they think wealth is a gift from God and greed is perfectly okay while believing the flip-side of this is poverty is a punishment from God for the sins of the poor. How convenient that theory to justify subsidies for corporations and ignore people! Yet they are the ones who always vote to de-fund education - maybe because an informed electorate employing critical thinking, with a sense of fairplay, not hate and fear and a sense of white entitlement, will not vote for their vision of the future.

Bottom line. Pagan or not, do you want to be responsible for perpetuating the power and ideology of these people? People who are galvanizing a movement based on lies and non-issues used to divide people and make us hate each other. People always ready to fund a war while Americans go to bed hungry. People who are against reform of Wall Street-run-amok and demonize the idea healthcare for all. They believe in people working more and more for less and less to fund insatiable greed. Perhaps once there was a time when Republicans could sit down with Democrats and work out some equitable compromise. Not anymore. The Republicans of today are a mean, selfish, ignorant, racist and homophobic bunch. That’s not just my opinion. Just turn on the news. That’s who they have speaking for them. They won’t approve unemployment benefits for people who lost their job in the economy they helped destroy, but they can twist themselves into a pretzel to try to protect big corporations from having to follow safety and environmental regulations and help the rich get richer while the corporate and political vultures pick the meat off the bones of the poor and ever-shrinking Middle Class. The media will not say it because it’s considered politically incorrect, but let’s shine the light on this. This is a culture war. Make no mistake.

I could lament the death of the American Dream for the Middle Class. I could cite statistics about how women make 70 cents on the dollar and most retire in poverty. Or how wages of the Middle Class have been stagnant for years while the richest in the country have gotten more powerful and wealthier. How CEO’s used to make 50 times as much as their employees and now they make 350 times more than their employees who are getting less and less benefits and salary. I could cite how other countries of the West take so much better care of their people with real family values, not lip service, but corporate interests in the U.S. have convinced their sheeple this sort of social justice reflects that scary word - socialism! History, truth and statistics are not on the side of Republicans and if you aren't making $250K a year, you shouldn't be either.

To conclude, if you are a Pagan or a Goddess Advocate, I suggest you vote for people who promote ideals and laws geared toward values that run parallel with our spirituality - ideas that promote the highest good for The Many. That’s you and me. As a formerly oppressed religion and an Earth-based spirituality, you must stand for equality, balance and fairness in our legislation and for environmental and economic sustainability - not people who work against that! By Her many faces across continents and cultures, Goddess Spirituality represents diversity. Likewise, I believe Pagans should embrace diversity. I, for one, don’t want to live in a narrow little conservative box with tight corners filled with hate and fear. I want to live in a spacious, rich and diverse world where there are lots of ingredients in our cultural gumbo. It’s really so much more delicious than plain white bread.

So please, consider supporting and helping people with ideals that will help us fall from that tipping point of the knife onto the side of peace, tolerance, equal rights for all including religious freedom and human rights, which includes a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. No church or state should legislate a women’s reproductive rights lest she is a slave to her body! You push back and speak out against those who throw these ideals under the bus. And you go out and vote for Democrats and take three people with you because the Wolf is at the door and we cannot afford to have this crop of Republicans setting the tone for what this country stands for. We are better than their ideals. We need to be raising the bar and setting the tone, direction and values for a better world. It’s really that simple.

-Karen Tate

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