Melissa Gold (right) holding a Canadian flag, her certificate of citizenship, and her copy of Hesiod and Homer.
Melissa Gold, a fellow member of Hellenion (a recognized church of Hellenic Pagans) affirmed her oath of citizenship on her copy of Hesiod and Homer this week – possibly a first in North America.
Hellenion’s Press Release:
“Hellenion is delighted for Melissa Gold, who was recently able to undertake her Canadian citizenship ceremony while holding a volume of Hesiod and Homeric Hymns. We celebrate with her that she was able to mark the moment of being able to participate fully in her country’s democracy while maintaining her Hellenic principles. In these times all of us are regularly reminded how precious the rights of religious freedom and tolerance are, and salute the government of Canada for their on-going commitment to these principles. We hope more countries will soon enact laws to extend religious freedom to all their citizens. All the best to Melissa and her family.”
From Melissa’s interview with Pagan+politics:
PNC: This gets to something that may be a bit controversial in our wider religious community, the idea that Pagans could have a holy book and why we would swear or affirm an oath on one. Which book did you choose and why did you choose that one?
Melissa: I wanted to make a point that Hellenic texts could logically be part of a citizenship ceremony in lieu of touching an altar of Zeus, which was a traditional way to make oaths in antiquity. I had brought a Loeb volume containing the works of Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, and the Homeric Hymns. Those texts represent some of the earliest writings about Hellenic spiritual practice and mythology, which underlie most of what was done in ancient times along with the epic poems and give us inspiration and direction today.
PNC: Did it give you pause to be choosing a book, knowing you may be setting an example or precedent for Hellenics?
Melissa: Yes and no. While I realized that some people might regard my particular choice as a precedent, I suggest that anyone in a similar position choose whatever is of importance and significance to them. If it helps anyone to have the works of Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns be known as a precedent, that’s great; but polytheism is inclusive and therefore many other choices would be just as good. There is no one right choice as in monotheistic societies. – Full article at The Wild Hunt
My heart goes out to everyone who suffers from teasing and bullying. They are forms of persecution, and it’s treated far to lightly in our culture when its targeted at children and teenagers. Teenagers are already going through a difficult transition point in their lives, a point at which they are establishing their identity. It’s an especially vulnerable time to be subject to attacks on that identity. Continue reading →
Protestor holds a sign against proposed Islamic center
Remember folks, religious tolerance applies to all religions. It doesn’t mean endorsing their creeds, liking what they do, or -gods forbid- agreeing with others’ beliefs. It means allowing them to practice their faiths. Ideally, it means trying to understand why others believe what they believe; but at the very least, not being a jackass about it by persecuting believers of other faiths.
This applies not only to Christians with respect to Islam and to us, as polytheists. It also applies to us and our behavior towards monotheists like Christians and Muslims.
What do you think of (and feel about) the building of Islamic Cultural Centers? Should we be tolerant if and when we are not tolerated?