The Wiccan Rede states that you should strive to "Harm None." Karma and the Law of Attraction teach us that whatever we put out, we get back. The Judeo-Christian texts teach that we "Reap what we Sow." Nearly every faith or philosophy in the world has a similar teaching. Not because they are attempting to control the actions of individuals, but because there is truth to it. If we put out good, we get good back, put out negative, get negative back. And while many in the Pagan or Wiccan community feel the Wiccan Rede applies only to Magick, I believe nearly all are in agreement that the Law of Attraction extends beyond our magickal doings and in to our mundane life. For me, however, I rarely draw a line between the magickal and the mundane, for isn't there magick in all we do? Are we not putting energy out with every thought and action?
Now, it may be argued that since jokes are humorous, that they create positive energy. And to some extent, that's not a wrong assumption. Laughter is without a doubt positive energy, if not one of the MOST positive forms, second, I would say, only to Love. But, when jokes are in poor taste, is positive energy the ONLY thing we're putting out?
Recently, I've been seeing a growing number of "humor" posts (pictured) on Pagan Facebook Pages, Blogs and other Social Network Posts that have, for me, brought this issue up over and over again. Many see these posts as something harmless, meant only to be funny. And at first glance, I will admit I found myself laughing. But then I had to ask myself, is this something I would feel comfortable showing my Christian husband? In all the cases, my answer was clearly - NO!
Now, my husband is not one who shys away from questionable jokes! He works in a factory with a bunch of men and often comes home with jokes that are less than appropriate. Last week he came home with this gem:
"What do you say to a woman with two black eyes?"He found this joke to be hilarious! I, as a woman, didn't find it so funny. And let me be CLEAR that my husband is not only NOT the type that would abuse a woman, but he's put his neck out more than once to protect a woman who he believed was being abused. Real world abuse is NOT something he finds funny. But jokes on the subject he laughs at on a regular basis. He once told my mother "Wife beating should be an Olympic event" again, of course, he meant it as a joke and doesn't actually believe it -- But my mother as an ex-battered wife, didn't see the humor.
"Nothing, you already told her twice!"
I don't see this situation as any different! I would say it's rare that you'll find a Pagan who is truly intolerant of Christians. BUT, there are those out there who fall in to that category, unfortunately. Even more unfortunate are the amount of Pagans who are intolerant against Muslims & Jews. But even that, is not something I would say is common. In fact, I would say, as a whole, the Pagan community is extremely tolerant of other beliefs and faiths. Which is why I find it so shocking that these types of "jokes" are seen as acceptable. But just as my husband would never support abuse in any way, even though he finds "abuse jokes" to be funny, I'm sure most Pagans who find these jokes funny, don't support intolerance in any way.
The question though isn't so much "Are these jokes funny" but whether "should they be "told" in the first place?" To the average woman, my husband's jokes aren't funny. To an abused, or formerly abused, woman, they are downright offensive! My husband however, simply means them to be humorous. Jokes about Pagan "superiority" are, I'm sure, not being told for anything besides humor. But how do, or would, those outside the Pagan community find them? Sure, they might smile, maybe even brush it off as "silly" but I would guess that most don't find them very funny. And they are undoubtedly offensive to many.
So the next question that needs to be asked is "If humor is meant to put out positive energy, and it's causing harm at the same time, is to really humor?" The bigger question is, if it's causing harm, should it be done in the first place? For me, it all goes back to the flow of energy, positive & negative. If we're supporting (or even creating) jokes or "humor posts" that offend or otherwise create negative energy, even if they're funny to us, what type of energy are we going to get back? Not to mention the type of image we are putting out, representing not just ourselves, but the entire community.
So why is it important to put this out there? Am I not just getting these posts MORE attention by posting them here? And does this mean that we shouldn't ever comment or joke about the actions of others?
All valid questions! The simple answer is I'm putting this out there, not in an attempt to get them more attention, but to make a statement against them. I suppose I don't see it any different than posting a picture of a sex offender in an effort to say "Stay away from this guy." And it's important to put out there because I believe it's not something people tend to think about before they do. It's easy to click "Share" and move on, never considering how your action will affect others - or you. And while I have no doubt that most people would never "share" a post about abusing women or that contain racial jokes or that joke about disabled people, most people don't consider posts or jokes like these in the same bracket. The fact is though, they are! They show a lack of understanding and tolerance.
Now, I'm not saying we can't, or shouldn't ever joke about actions or groups or even other individuals. People ARE funny. And there are those times when groups or actions of them are universally humorous. Actions which are foolish, extreme or done in an effort to create drama, at least in my opinion, are fair game!
If you're putting yourself out there to be a target, don't get offended when you become one. BUT, people should not become targets simply because of what faith, social group, gender or race they belong to.
So yes, there are times when someone or even an entire group may become the butt of a joke or two. It happens. Hell, even I find the fact that WBC is picketing Jeff Hanneman's funeral to be rather hilarious! And yes, I'm laughed about it. But it's their action, not their beliefs that I find humorous. I guess I see that as "earning" a laugh. I mean, I fell at the store the other day because I wasn't paying any damn attention and I fell over a stack of cans - and yes, it was funny. So I laughed, and the other people in the isle all chuckled as well - I earned the laugh. So laugh. Go ahead. My actions were joke worthy, make a joke! But to make a joke about ALL women based solely on my fumble, would be in poor taste. Again, when we take the same type of action out of the world of religion, the point becomes clear.
And then there are the jokes - which are mostly what we're disgussing here - that are meant simply to raise one group up by tearing others down. Again, if we look at this outside of religion, the point is clear. No one would support a joke about how Whites are better or bigger than Asians, so why support jokes about how Pagans are superior to Christians? Would it, or does it, not offend YOU when Christians make such jokes about Pagans? Would you readily support Anti-Pagan jokes at work or school? And how would it make you feel to see or hear it going on? I know I wouldn't be okay with it! And I'm not okay with it when I see it online. So how can I be okay seeing it from "my own people?" If anything, I find it more upsetting when I see it coming from Pagans, because it's not something I would want anyone to associate me with!
In an ideal world, this wouldn't be an issue. We would all happily live in peace. We would all love one another without prejudice. There wouldn't be all this anger and hate between races, cultures, backgrounds, faiths... We would all live in equality. Unfortunately, that's an ideal, not a reality. But that doesn't mean we need to stop trying.
And obviously, none of us are perfect. We're all going to have times when we slip up. The point is though, that we try! Think about our actions, and how they affect others, BEFORE we do them. Remember that all of our actions put out - and return - energy.
And remember, too, that our actions don't just speak to how we feel, but also reflect upon our community as a whole. I don't know about you all, but I am SO tired of the "All Pagan's hate Christians" belief.
Anyways, I hope I made myself clear here without to much run on. I guess this is a subject that just slapped me in the face. The entire community is always talking about the lack of tolerance, peace and positivity in others... But we forget how important it is to have those things in our own lives. So when I see something that seems to so clearly work against those things, I feel the need to speak up! I just hope someone is listening!