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Christians Are Getting Bolder About Crashing Pagan Pride Events

Last month, witches and pagans gathered for WitchsFest USA, an annual celebration of earth-based spirituality in New York City. It was disrupted, though, when about 30 Christian protestors stormed the event, marching through the venue while preaching into loudspeakers. Thanks to the noise and harassment, several vendors closed up shop and teachers were forced to cancel their classes.

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This article in The Washington Post, provided by Religion News Service, details what happened, stating that the protestors started on a street corner near one of the workshop tents, but entered the festival after event organizers moved the tent. One of the event organizers, Starr RavenHawk, said that the protesters made it clear that they were “collectively at war with us.” RavenHawk also added some chilling details about the non-response from the police:

After her security team asked the preachers to leave, RavenHawk called the police as she has done in past years. But, for the first time, the cops did nothing, she said …. “[The officers] treated us as if we were invading the Christians’ space, as if they had more rights than we do.”

Across the country, Pagan Prides and other festivals serve as a place where witches and pagans can put on public rituals, hold classes and workshops, buy and sell ritual supplies and other goods, and watch entertainment like folk bands and traditional dance troupes. It’s a way for pagans to gather in community, express their spiritual beliefs, learn from one another, and have fun.

Unfortunately, Christian hate groups have always been a fixture at witch and pagan gatherings to some extent. However, judging from harassment like the kind experienced at WitchsFest USA, these hate groups do appear to be getting bolder, especially when they seem to have the support of police.

The Washington Post article also has examples of other harassment and intimidation campaigns in recent years, including incidents in which Christian groups surrounded pagan groups and put threatening notes under the doors of the hotels hosting their events.

The Wild Hunt, a pagan news site, points out that Fox News unsurprisingly took the side of the protestors:

The FOX [coverage of the incident] downplays the threat protesters might pose by using terms that imply a slight inconvenience, like “annoyance” and “nuisance” but also seeming to infer that any type of occult spiritual practice is not serious or should receive the same protections as Christian – “witches and occultists just trying to have their fun.”

The uptick in harassment of witches and Pagans is part of a larger rising tide of white Christian nationalism. In June, a group of Proud Boys shut down a Drag Queen Story Hour at a public library. There have been shootings at synagogues and Black neighborhoods. To white nationalists (Christian or otherwise), this is a holy war on everyone who isn’t them, and thanks to Trump’s legacy of racist rhetoric and violence, they’re ramping up their attacks more than ever.

(image: TK )


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Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>