The Pagans Are Coming! The Pagans Are Coming!

I like to imagine the preshow meeting going something like this:

Ed:  Our anti-gay routine has been feeling pretty stale lately.  I mean, Bryan's compared them to Nazis like a million times, and we've worked the pedophilia, bestiality, and fecal matter angles half to death.  NOM's got the "they're coming for your children" angle covered.  What can we do to keep this fresh and interesting?  What possible tone can we take that will be something new, something they haven't heard before?
Buster:  Hmm.  You're right.  Let's see...we could try to work patriotism in there?  Paint gays as anti-American.
Ed:  But we've done that before, too.
Buster:  Oh!  I know!  We'll use the patriotism angle, but we'll make it about the Founding Fathers, specifically.  Nobody can argue about the Founding Fathers, criticizing them is totally off-limits and everyone knows it, right?
Ed:  I just don't know if that's enough, though.  It's not scary enough.
Buster:  Scary?  What could be scarier than un-American Americans everywhere?  It worked for McCarthy, didn't it?
Ed:  Yeah, but...oh!  Oh, I got it.  We're talking to a really fundamentalist Christian audience here, right?
Buster:  Of course.  We've alienated pretty much everyone else who ever existed.
Ed:  Well, what is this kind of Christian scared of?
Buster:  ...non-Christians?
Ed:  Bingo, buddy.  Bingo.  So we'll make it about being unChristian!  Not just generically anti-Christian, cause that's been overplayed too, we will make it about...PAGANS.
Buster:  Ooh, I like that!  Paganism.  It calls up mental images of the decadence of Rome...
Ed: ...and specifically, the fall of Rome.  So we associate the gays with paganism, everyone thinks of Rome and falling empires, and bam!  Scared shitless and ready to do what we tell 'em.
Buster:  Falling empires...that's deep, man.
Ed:  Thanks.  So, that's our thing, then?  Founding Fathers and paganism?
Buster:  Yep.  Let's do it.

Two middle-aged white men sit behind microphones and self-righteously mansplain at each other and the viewer.  Relevant quote from 2:03:
Buster:  Dr. Gary Gates at the Williams Institute, an arm of the UCLA School of Law, [says] an estimated 3.5% of all adults in the United States identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and an estimated 0.3% of adults recognize themselves as transgender.  Ed, your thoughts on those figures first?
Ed:  Well, 3.5%, of course, includes bisexuals in that estimate. [Yes, because they were measuring lesbian, gay, AND BISEXUAL, it was right there in the quote.  I'm not sure I see the problem here.]  Um, most of the recent surveys in this country show that those who self-identify as homosexual men or women is lower than that [with Very Serious Concern Troll Face].  It's actually closer to 2.5%.  But some people say, well, you're just arguing over a few percentage points.  [Because you are.  Actually you're not; you're arguing over a single percentage point, and it looks very much like you're doing so just to make the queer community seem as small and easy to dismiss as possible, as if bisexual people somehow don't count as part of that community.  Which makes you even more of an inane jackass.  But do go on.]  But the point of, the point we take issue with, is not the percentage, it is the ideology behind the normalization of sexuality.  It wouldn't matter if it was 20% - if it was 20% we'd be in big trouble [yes, you would be; bigger communities have more voting clout, usually, and you'd have a lot harder time trying to stuff that many people back in the closet] - but um.  We're talking about a return to pagan sexuality, a pagan view of sexuality, that says that it doesn't matter with whom you have sex, and uh, that God's laws do not apply to us and there are no absolutes when it comes to sex.  And, frankly, even if you are not a Christian, you do not believe the Bible, or you have no real Christian viewpoint in this - we are talking about a departure from the view of our Founding Fathers, who held to the "Laws of Nature and Nature's God," as it says in the Declaration of Independence! 
You know, the Founding Fathers (and can I just say, I'm ridiculously over that phrase and the patriocentrism it's got going on?  Ugh ugh ugh.  There were women involved in the founding of this nation, asshats) used the phrase "the Laws of Nature's God" to refer to freedom and self-determination as an independent nation.  IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH TEH GAYS OR TEH BUTTSECKS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.  It wasn't about sexuality at all.  Y'all have seized on this one tiny phrase, taken it out of context, twisted it, and are milking the everloving fuck out of it to try to promote your Dominionist aims.  For the record, it's part of a much longer sentence, called the preamble to the Declaration of Independence - you may have heard of it? - which goes like this:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
In this context, they're talking about more of a philosophical question of rights and freedoms and such, in contradiction to such philosophies of governance as the whole divine right of kings thing.  It's not about Christianity.  It's not about the Bible.  It's about countering the idea that the Creator (science hadn't really gotten to the point of explaining how we could come into existence without a creator being, therefore it was assumed almost universally that there was *some* kind of Creator.  This does not mean they all believed in the Bible or Christianity; most of the FFs were actually Deists.) had endowed certain special people with the divine right to rule, and replacing it with the idea that the Creator had endowed all people* with the divine right of self-determination and self-rule.


Ahem.  That aside (she says, three paragraphs and much swearing later), I am cracking the fuck up at the whole "zomg pagan sexuality" thing.  This is...meant to be a problem of some kind?  In case ye olde mansplainers were unaware, there are actual, real, live Pagans in this country.  PRACTICING A PAGAN SEXUALITY ALREADY.  So.  Shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted, and has already jumped the fence and is in its partner's paddock and they're getting it on, to stretch a metaphor uncomfortably far, is not particularly effective here.

I'm also not getting why the idea that "God's laws don't apply to us" is such a thing to be afraid of.  Shouldn't a particular deity's laws only apply to those who have chosen to follow that deity in some way?  One of my favorite fantasy novels** takes place in a culture in which there are four main sub-deities, and when a person comes of age, they choose which one of them to be a devotee of, and there are different codes of law that apply to followers of each.  Like, one character is struggling at one point with whether she should marry a guy from a different sect, because he wants her to marry him under the laws of his deity, which removes her right to divorce and makes her property his after they marry, while she wants to marry under the laws of her deity, which allow for free divorce and equitable division of property.  This makes sense to me.  I have never, and probably will never, understood why the laws of one religious tradition should apply to those not of that tradition.

Lastly, let me correct a misconception here.  Saying that pagan sexuality has no absolutes when it comes to sex is deeply incorrect.  This pagan, at least, has precisely one absolute when it comes to sex: consent.  Affirmative, explicit, overt consent (in whatever form that takes for a given partnering) must exist prior to and during all sexual activity.  That's it.  That's all.  And I even like to think this is an absolute we could agree on (although sadly I'm probably wrong)!  So I propose an experiment:  Let's try out this "pagan sexuality/pagan view of sexuality" that you're so afraid of.  Based on the single absolute I've put forth here.  Give it, say, ten years?  Of this as the sexual norm.  See if the Universe disintegrates or the Earth spins from its axis or anything catastrophic.  If so, I will personally buy billboards all over the nation proclaiming how right you were.  If not, you have to STFU and quit using my religion as a scare tactic to make people hate my sexuality.  Okay?  Okay.

Edited to add: Now that you've read the post, look at the title again.  Am I the only one who giggles and goes "Damn right, we are" at that? ^_^
*In the sense that "all people" meant at the time, which is to say, all white landowning males, more or less.
**Talyn, by Holly Lisle.  Trigger warnings for rape, sexual abuse, and torture.  It does, however, pass the Bechdel test, multiple times over, and while the main love pairing is hetero, it involves them as equals sharing their different skills to defeat the Big Bad, so.  Pretty awesome.  Magic and war and infiltration. 


Jayle Enn said...

Someone really needs to shove those guys in a huge, fabulously gay wicker effigy and... I dunno. Tow it to Burning Man, or something.

Jadelyn said...

Lol, I'll admit, that's an entertaining mental image.

ladyneeva said...

You know, part of that whole scary pagan sexuality thing of it not mattering who is having sex with whom because it's their business not ours? Part of it... means that we won't be taking away their rights to have a perfectly boring vanilla heterosexual male dominated relationship if that's what they both want.

Heck, my evil scary pagan sexuality would probably put those guys right to sleep it's so vanilla. And there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that... the difference between my plain vanilla sex life and their plain vanilla sex life is that I am neither ashamed of nor proud of mine and I'm neither shocked by nor jealous of anyone else with any other kind of sex life.

Which is actually a pretty great way to live, because I don't need to waste precious hours worrying about what anyone else anywhere is doing with their sex organs. Frees up entire days to do vastly more important things like stare at my toes and contemplate them.

VijiiS said...

I like your take on the preshow meeting, but I doubt they'd've sounded half as articulate as you imagine. In my head it's more like

Ed: DUR, since we don't like gays, they can't be Christians.
Buster: Then what are they Ed?
Ed: Hmmm... I know! They must be PAGANS!

You know, Pinky and the Brain style. Minus the actual brain.

Sonneillon said...

I sent this to Jason Pitzl-Waters hoping he'd do something with it.  He hasn't, but I'm glad you have.  This isn't the only time references to paganism have come up, btw.  Check out this video, for example, about how environmentalists want to return to a 'darker paganism'.

I really wish that we as a community were making more noise about our name being used this way.

CaitieCat said...

"The Pagans are Coming! The Pagans are Coming!"

...as often as they can, apparently, and with pretty much whom they please, an it please them too. 

Oh noez.

Jadelyn said...

Isn't it amazing how much more productive you can be when you're not constantly caught up in paroxysms of rage and concern-trolling about what's going on in other peoples' beds (or cars, kitchen counters, laundry rooms, hot tubs, etc)?

Jadelyn said...

One hopes their plans will work out precisely as well as the Brain's always did. ;-)

Jadelyn said...

Wow.  I don't watch many videos on RWW, I just read the analysis, and the phrasing of "dark paganism" slipped by me on that one.  Fuck.  It's like, pagan and paganism are not actually meaningless words you can just use as shorthand for "SCARY BAD PEOPLE" and "SCARY BAD PEOPLE'S BELIEFS".  There are *actual people* represented by those words, those identities being appropriated in this way.  Grarr smash. 

I might shoot off a thing to Wild Hunt too, maybe see if multiple tip-offs will prod him into covering it.  His audience is a lot bigger than mine, I'd like to see it get more coverage.

Jadelyn said...


It's a terrible fate, all this pagan coming.  Clearly, the earth must be saved from us.  ^_^


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