This weekend I had interaction I had with a woman who visited my shop and, identifying herself as Christian, felt entitled to question my beliefs in a rather abrasive manner. After, I shared a TikTok mocking the experience, captioned “When they come into your store, question your beliefs, & hit you with a ‘g-d bless’ on the way out.“
@hedgewitchbotanicals When they come into your store, question your beliefs, & hit you with a “g-d bless” on the way out. #witchtok #hedgewitch #pagan ♬ original sound – Victoria Sethunya
While the video was shared in jest, in all honesty this is occasionally an issue. While I don’t mind explaining that no, I don’t worship the devil, and no, I am not a Wiccan but I do identify as a witch, sometimes the questions take on a more aggressive attitude, and I have been called satanic, etc. These are things I generally laugh off, but it seems that there has been a rise in such nonsense, and a recent article in the Washington Post caught my eye for this very reason. In a piece entitled “Pagan and witchcraft festivals confront growing Christian harassment,” journalist Heather Greene discusses some of the ways in “[Christian] opponents of witchcraft and paganism have become more aggressive and even dangerous.”
I recognize that I have an incredible amount of privilege to publicly identify as a witch, not simply within the broad historical context of persecution, but in our current time as well—as recently as January 2022, news accounts highlight the dire conditions faced by the hundreds of Ghanian women falsely accused of witchcraft. While I try to temper my anxieties with the reminder of this privilege, the reality is that the Christian extremism of the far right is a legitimate issue in America, and I do worry, particularly as a queer femme in a small, conservative community.
So, what’s the solution? I am sorry to disappoint, I honestly don’t have an answer. More than anything, I guess I wanted to share my experience simply to start a conversation, and to ask: friends, fellow witches, public pagans—have you experienced similar harassment? If so, how do you generally respond? Let’s discuss and be a resource for each other! 🖤
P.S. Please note, this is decidedly not an attack on all Christians, don’t come at me with that “war on Christianity” nonsense, kthxbyeeeee!