Friday, April 10, 2015

Wiccan Prayer Met With "Peaceful Protest"

The Poor Oppressed Christians sure hate the fact that other religions exist, and that real people actually follow them. I know that I shouldn't be surprised by this, as I write about it all the time, but it never ceases to amaze me how many supposed followers of Jesus think that treating non-Christians badly is the best way to embody his teachings.

This Thursday Deborah Maynard, a Wiccan priestess, gave a prayer at a meeting of the Iowa state legislature. Representative Rob Taylor made sure to attend the prayer, turn his back, and offer his own silent Christian prayer while it was going on as a form of "peaceful protest." Can you imagine what a stink that would have been if Taylor were not a Christian and Maynard was?

Many of his colleagues chose not to attend the daily prayer. But Taylor said that after praying over it, he decided the appropriate response would be to “be in the presence of a prayer, but peacefully protest.”

Despite his protest and the boycott by more than a third of the House members, Maynard thought it went well.

“It was kind of a rush,” said Maynard, 43, a project manager for a company she declined to identify. “It was awe-inspiring. It was humbling. A little scary to be the first one to do something like that in the state of Iowa and the third one in the nation.”

Maynard, a Unitarian Universalist and the leader of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, said her goal was inclusion.

I'm glad that Maynard wasn't particularly offended, but you know what? Those of us who who belong to minority religions are exposed to Christianity all the time. We don't whine, or walk out of the room, or put on a big show for the media to make sure everyone knows how intolerant we are. That isn't called being a Christian, it's called being an asshole.

It doesn't really bother me that Taylor decided to offer up his own silent prayer while the invocation was going on. If that's what he believes his religion compels him to do, so be it. What bothers me is the effort he put into making sure absolutely everyone, including the media, knew that he was doing it. Jesus had specific words for those who insisted on praying on street corners, and they were not kind ones.

For those members of this country's dominant religion who don't have experience with situations like these and are unsure of what to do, let me clue you in. What you do is sit there silently, and if you feel you must offer your own prayer do so in a way that draws no attention to yourself. Is that really so hard?

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