Dealing with Ignorance

Unfortunately, most of those who discriminate against Wiccans, Witches, and Pagans are people with Christian beliefs. This page is aimed mainly towards Christian intolerance. My apologies go to the tolerant Christians, whose kindness should not be ignored.

If you ask someone what they think of Witches or Wiccans, it's quite possible they will say something like "devil-worshipers," "evil," "sent from Satan," "working black magick," or even "they have black cats and put spells on people." These statements are not true. But many do not know this, thanks to passages in the Judeo-Christian Bible, medieval Witch Burnings, Christian perversions of Pagan deities and sabbats, popular Hollywood movies, etc. Many people discriminate on Wicca and Witchcraft for these reasons. They are ignorant of what Wicca and Witchcraft are. So they discriminate against us. Being teens, sometimes we're prejudiced against by our peers and by our families and even our friends. This page is about how to deal with people who are ignorant about Wicca and Witchcraft.

What can you do about this? Well, we can't change the world's opinions, but we can do our best to educate others about our religion, without imposing our beliefs on them. Online, especially, you will most likely get in confrontations with people accusing you of all sorts of nasty things. We've both dealt with this, and we have some tips on how to handle this prejudice. Some will work for some people, some won't. However, these techniques have worked for us in the past.

For Everyone

Don't try to convert them or force your beliefs onto her/him. Keep in mind that you just want to get she/he off your back. You are probably not going to change anyone's mind. Second, don't get into a fight. If people want to be ignorant, it's his/her right, but it doesn't mean you have to listen to she/he. It's better to let she/he believe what she/he wants and change the subject or leave than escalate it into a name-calling religion-insulting war that will never be won. And don't announce the fact that you're Wiccan to everybody you meet, unless you want to have to stand up for your religion and deal with accusations. It's not like you shouldn't be proud of your religion, but there's no denying that lots of people have wrong ideas about Wiccans and Witches. You don't want to start fights. Leave people be; that's what you want others to do to you. Taking it further by insulting the Judeo-Christian Bible if she/he is Christian will just lead to more prejudice. And it's sinking to their level. On that note, don't reverse everything they say onto them. Don't sink to their level IE: Getting all dark and Goth-like is your business, but it doesn't really help your case. Most people consider anyone who wears a cape to be a nut.

Dealing with People You Don't Know (anything goes)

Ignore the person. What can they do to hurt you? So some weirdo you hardly know thinks you're a Satanist. You know better. Laugh and just walk away (or, on the internet, leave the chat.) Tell she/he you would be glad to discuss Wicca with them once they have been a bit more educated about it, and refer them to our site. Tell she/he that if they can think of a reason why Wicca/Witchcraft is evil that isn't based on a some religious belief, you'll listen to them. Try to educate she/he a bit on what Wicca is and isn't. (Andromeda once taught a Christian teenager who thought Witchcraft was the work of the Devil all about how it isn't, of course, it doesn't always work. Some will just refuse to accept the fact that Wicca is a positive religion that has nothing to do with Satan.) If she/he say something such as, "Witches sacrifice children," simply say, "Prove it."

Use a Classic Retort

"Who would know more about Wicca/Witchcraft, a Wiccan or a Christian?"
"I think I'd know if I was worshiping a divinity from another religion."
"You think Buddhists are Satanists, too."
"Your God, your rules, you burn in hell."
"If you want to think that I'm evil, that's your business."
"It's really a shame that you're ignorant. You aren't even trying to understand me! You're not trying to listen to what I'm saying. All you want is to persecute me."
"Do you judge everyone by their religion?"

Dealing with Family Members (high on tact)

Remember that family members are often just worried about you. They care about you, and want to make sure that you're all right. In some cases, they may actually know what Wicca and Witchcraft is all about, but they're not sure if you do. Get the scoop on their religious views. In OpalWitch's case, her parents are Jewish, but they do holidays and ceremonies for the tradition and heritage, not the religious equivalent. Get them to read up on Paganism, Wicca, and Witchcraft. It can't hurt. We definitely suggest getting books that:

  • A: you've been reading, so that you're sure that the book is okay and so that your parents are sure that you're not actually reading a totally different book saying different stuff, or
  • B: give them books specifically designed for family members.

If this is your parents that you're talking about, go to this page. It's written by Silver RavenWolf.

Strangely, this situation has come up before. If you're staying with relatives and they're pressuring you to go to their Church on Sunday, you can find a pretty good way out by asking them if you can go to a Unitarian church. Unitarians are very open-minded people who have respect for all religions.

Sometimes siblings tease and taunt. Just ignore them. OpalWitch is living proof that ignoring harassers works. Or, there's always blackmail to keep 'em quiet..

Dealing with Friends (high on manners)

Any good friend should realize that a person's personality is what matters, not their spirituality. But if you've just come out of the broom closet to your friend, and they're skeptic, here's some stuff that may help.

Ask them to just, straight out, respect your spirituality. Promise to never bring religion up, to never bug your friend about their religion, or to make offensive comments about any religion at all.

Ignore their comments. It could just be teasing.

Remember: Just because people around us are ignorant doesn't mean we have to listen to their crap. Approach each situation calmly — you can't think clearly otherwise. Try to remember that these people have grown up believing the wrong things — hate their ignorance, not them. But overall, don't get into a fight.

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