A Lesson In Tolerance


Mystic Faery Tarot by Linda Ravenscroft

A Tale of Caution

Today’s 12/17 Tarot Meditation Message received a comment on Facebook that generated a bit of interest. So much so that I received a few emails and FB message about it. I acquired permission from the comment poster to share what she said and to give a little tale that I hope answers some of the messages and emails I received.

Let me first put this in context.

The Facebook Tarot Meditation Promo:
Being a spiritual being isn’t measured by who yells the loudest or who degrades other beliefs the most. It comes from living your life in the every day actions according to what you believe. What you express to others is what you will receive back. If you want respect for your beliefs, you must first give respect to others and their beliefs. ~ Click the link to read all of today’s message.

Myranda’s Comment to the Promo Post:
Perfect for me. A “Christian” in my office overheard me talking to one of my friends who is a new pagan about Yule. The Christian felt the need to interrupt us and tell my friend she’s too young to listen to a devil worshiper and she needed to come with her “right now” and pray to God for protection. Some people are amazingly ignorant.

Myranda sent me a message late this evening telling me she was in tears and distraught at news she received, this Christian woman had been fired at work. Myranda was feeling guilty and was upset about that and about it happening right before Christmas. We exchanged a few messages and it was our discussion that prompted me to ask if I could share her tale for others who may face similar situations. And I’m honored that she welcomed the idea and agreed.

Myranda isn’t the only person this has happened to. I’ve heard from others and I have my own experience with something similar as well.

Over a decade ago I worked in a Fortune 50 company. I arrived early for a meeting and there were a couple of other people who did the same. A guy in the meeting knew Samhain was approaching and knew I was pagan. He innocently asked what I would be doing. We chit chatted briefly before everyone arrived and the meeting started.

During the meeting I was assigned to lead a task for the new project we were there to discuss. The VP assigned 4 other people to the team I was to head up. At the other end of the table was a woman, about my age, who as assigned to my team. She spoke up and said she would rather be assigned to a different team because she didn’t want to work with a devil worshiper (meaning me). I laughed it off. She didn’t offend me because I don’t define who I am by the ignorance of others. I looked at the VP and said it’s not a problem how about I get so-n-so to help us out. Ok, done, went on my way.

After the meeting the VP apologized to me and said he didn’t know what  that comment was about but he’d put a stop to it. I told him what I thought it involved and not to worry about it, I wasn’t offended by her ignorance and it was over as far as I was concerned.

But someone in the meeting was offended by what transpired and registered a complaint with Human Resources (HR). Today most companies, big and small, have “No tolerance” policies against discrimination and harassment of any kind and high on the list is harassment based on religion. It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t offended, someone else was and most companies, especially Fortune 500 companies have policies that require them to take action against the offender.

Later that afternoon I was contacted by HR who asked me a few questions to which I said over and over, I wasn’t offended it was a non-issue to me. Well it didn’t matter. She was fired first thing the next day.

It doesn’t matter how situations like this turn out. If the offender is put on probation, fired or receive a written warning. The person who was the target can often times feel guilty and overwhelmed by the result. This is what happened to Myranda.

There are two things you should remember if it happens to you.
First, the ignorance of others should not impact you in the least. You know who you are and what you represent. If someone else has an alternative idea about that, you can clear up their confusion and use it as a moment to teach with calm patience and compassion. Or you can laugh it off and walk away. But don’t let them get under your skin and push your buttons. You don’t need or require their approval. No matter who they are.

Secondly, there’s no reason for you to feel guilty. You didn’t control their comment or actions. You didn’t put some kind of virus in their soup that allowed you to control their brain. They are responsible for their own actions. And they are accountable for what transpires as a result of those actions. What you put out you get back applies to everyone, regardless of religion, and regardless of whither or not they believe in that concept.

Those that choose to live in ignorance and spew hate, disdain and live in intolerance make their own choices. If they continue their choice to live in ignorance after you try to explain and clear up their misconceptions, you’ve done all you can to show compassion and live up to your beliefs. Walk away and wish them well. But don’t feel you are some how accountable for the outcome of their choices. You can’t learn lessons for other people. No matter how hard you try.

This lesson isn’t only for those who attempt to persecute Pagans. Pagans also need to remember their teachings and the main concept of our beliefs. To respect all things, seen and unseen, throughout the Divine Universe. That includes respecting the beliefs of others, even those who persecute our beliefs. Don’t live up to the criticism about what they say paganism is. You can be an excellent example of how untrue those “devil worshiper” comments are. Live by example and show compassion for those who choose to live with hate based on intolerant ignorance.

I’m happy to say Myranda is feeling better this evening and while her compassion for the woman is touching, she isn’t feeling guilty this evening. And she’s proud of the young woman who was offended and who contacted HR at their office to register the complaint. Good for her. Sometimes remaining silent isn’t possible for some and when they see or are involved in an injustice they want to right it.

In this case Myranda explained that she, the young woman, HR and offender were called into a meeting to discuss the event. The young woman explained to the Christian woman how her comments were offensive and degrading, her attempt to “brain wash her” for the rest of the day was harassment, especially after the young woman said she wasn’t interested and the comments the offender made to other co-workers made her feel like a target.

In the meeting the young woman explained her beliefs and tried to educate the offender. Evidently the woman’s response was not acceptable. They ended the meeting and two hours later the woman was escorted out of the building.

I’ve written in my book and here on my blog about the change in the world’s energy. We are leaving the time of Survival of the fittest and entering the time of Survival of the most spiritual. It doesn’t matter what that spiritual path is, or isn’t if you’re atheist. What matters is how you live on that path, are you true to your beliefs, are you compassionate and tolerant of others and what they believe. Those who use their beliefs, or non-beliefs to persecute others will not fair well in this new time. The days of ignorant obedience are gone.

I hope this eases the heart of those who have faced similar situations. And I hope it shares as a warning to those on the other side who will be held accountable for their actions.

Additional Reading:

© Springwolfs Hanko

© 2013 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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