Polytheist.Com Update — Release Delay: A Stand Against Abuse
Our long-awaited and very exciting launch of Polytheist.com — a new online hub dedicated to Polytheist community dialog, discussion, theology, writing and movements — was delayed briefly early this week due to some technology related issues, which have since been resolved. However, while we prepared for our launch, a very disturbing thing took place that rippled across various spiritual, magical, and religious circles on the internet. Amidst one of many online controversies and disagreements, a prominent leader, voice, and business owner of the occult and broad pagan community both online and in the cities of Salem, MA and New Orleans, LA, took it upon himself to “dox” a few dozen internet users involved in the other side of an argument, taking actions to release their public identities to the internet (and stripping them of their pseudonyms, magical aliases, and religious names). When one of these — who is one of our columnists here at Polytheist.com — communicated that she employed an alias online in order to protect herself and her young children from a violent predator, this prominent community leader and business owner responded with a statement of bemused sadism so vile I will not repeat it here.
What followed was several days of important community dialog, at least two radio shows dedicated to discussing this (and other recent issues in religious and spiritual leadership unbefitting of our — or any — communities), and innumerable blogs, Tumblr discussions, and private discourses around the subject of exactly why using the language of violent sexual assault against another human being — especially a woman who has just expressed very real concerns for the physical safety of her young children — is never, ever going to be okay. It doesn’t matter how angry you are. It doesn’t matter what “led up to” that point. It is never acceptable for anyone — especially a person claiming titles of leadership and influence — to say these things.
Our community took to the internet and championed this message. An apology was issued, a response to the apology was issued, and — most importantly — the victim of this criminal and morally unforgivable act was heard, respected, honored.
I got to know this courageous woman more closely than I could have expected to, over the last few days, and spent a lot of time in conversation and support with her. I saw fear, stood witness through terror and tears, and watched a person I am proud to count amongst this site’s growing team, champion herself and the rights of all women, mothers, children, and survivors of all stripes. I watched integrity happen, and I watched this set of transformations take place in a backdrop of humility, hesitation, concern, shame, dignity and a torrent of frantic emotions around a transition from hidden anonymity to public spectacle and “outed” identity.
This last word is an important one: identity. It is what this site is all about, in some pretty literal ways: space for the right to differentiate and self identify our religious selves, practices, movements, communities, in safety and unmolested dignity, grace and foundational respect. The very act of stripping a person or a group of their right to identity is counter to everything in Polytheist movements and efforts, just as it is counter to basic human rights. It is a disgusting violation unbecoming of any community in any land or context anywhere in our world. Assaults on identity are used in torture and interrogation and confinement practices to fundamentally strip a person of their own human dignity, Will, and voice. These assaults will never be tolerated on our watch. As a hub providing space for Polytheists of a diverse set of configured identities and places — including two columnists who are literally absent freedom as they write from present terms in state prisons — we will endeavor to champion the cause of the rights of devoted Will, and of voice, and of the gods-given and gods-guarded dignity of identity.
In light of all of this, we have delayed the launch of our site, in order to not allow its unveiling to distract from the important discussions that happened around this very important issue and the events associated with it.
Please join us early next week as we take our site live, with an initial release of ten Polytheist columns, which will each be updated in weekly and monthly intervals. Our bold and diverse team of regular columnists is over two-dozen strong, and these voices will join the site in sequence following our initial launch, with new and exciting columns slotted for release in regular intervals.
– Administrative Team of Polytheist.com
webmaster @ polytheist (dot) com