Though I have not blogged about the case, I am a supporter of Rifqa Bary, the teen runaway who fled her militant Islamist family after converting to Christianity. It is not my purpose to cover that case here, but please see the great work Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs have done on getting Rifqa’s story out.
Deirdre Hebert, the host of Pagan FM, which I am only aware of through some contact Pagans Against Child Abuse had with her in the past (more on that later) is not a supporter. Someone emailed me a comment she made that said Rifqa was a runaway who was merely afraid her parents were going to “freak out” on her so she should be returned home. In that thread she also claimed only “fundies” cared about this. My comment back was simply this:
Deirdre – She wasn’t afraid her parents would “freak” she was afraid they’d kill her. Literally. Honor killings are a serious problem
Our comments, of course, went to our Facebook profiles and you can see the debate that ensued with Deirdre when see decided to “educate” me about the “indoctrination” of Rifqa by those evil Christians. She also claimed I was a criminal. At some point she decided to do take this conversation to the emails and began a long private correspondence with me by sending me an email with the subject line “Stop Being a Fucking Moron and Listen and Read” which is too long to reproduce but I will forward to anyone who wants to read through. In it she makes several points that I want to use to illustrate the intellectual vapidity and rampant amorality of the leftist mainstream neo-pagan movement:
1) Christians “indoctrinated” Rifqa to hate poor innocent Muslims. Christians also committed more atrocities than poor innocent Muslims and I am a secret Christian for not wanting Rifqa sent back to the parents who blinded her and threatened to kill her.
2) Rifqa Bary is a liar and all children who claim they are abused should be left in the homes of their alleged abusers until we’re sure they are actually being abused.
3) I insulted her out of the box by writing the sentence above (which readers can see is simply mild disagreement), thus the venom she vomited on me over a day and a half was well deserved.
4) Myself and people like me are the cause of her immaturity and inability to agree to disagree sans meltdown.
5) Anyone to the right of George Soros is a fascist and I should get my news from the known anti-Semites at Media Matters.
Her first point is at odds with the facts, Rifqa herself, and a quick perusal of any site that aggregates news involving Muslims such as Religion of Peace. This is politically correct posturing based largely on ignorance of Islam and inexperience with both Muslims and American Christians. The racism of Islam regarding Black Americans was exposed in my coverage of the Sandra Hall murder, and the innate misogyny of unreformed Islam is so blatant that one need not argue the point. The idea that Islam is being smeared by those evil Christians and Jews who spread Islamophobia is utter nonsense. Muslims cause Islamophbia with every call for Jewicide, endorsement of wife-beating, every forced conversion,Â every honor killing and praise for terrorism.
But Hebert’s rosy fantasy about Islam is actually a symptom of a larger problem with the neo-Pagan community and the cosmography they have cobbled together using neo-Marxism as a guide. Her latter three points are also simply expressions of this world view wherein the world is divided into progressive and “regressive” camps and the “regressive” is de facto evil and at fault for all conflict. Hebert’s charge that I “insulted her first” came after she deleted the conversation on her page in a transparent attempt to alter history for her fellow ideological travelers who she knows will never view my page or this post. This, of course, came after she herself trolled a news story with a series of insulting quotes aimed at the Christian supporters of Rifqa. They, however, deserve derision – they are “fundies” after all.
The idea that Rifqa simply must be lying about her parents, and that risking the girl’s life to prove some cheap political point about “radical Christians” is acceptable is the depraved indifference of Dierdre Herbert that I want to point out, as it isn’t unique to Herbert but it is a feature of the modern neo-Pagan movement whose mainstream is on the very fringe of leftism. There have been dozens of honor killings in America. There have been hundreds of Muslim-driven acts of violence, vandalism and mayhem often targeting the very moderate Muslims Deirdre Herbert claims to be defending. But she instead sides with radical Islamists in an attempt to be on the “right” side of this issue. Herbert doesn’t actually care if Rifqa is in danger, but is interested in peddling a made up version of the story in which Christians lure a teen to their cult compound and turn her against her loving parents.
She has gone so far as to claim I was “advocating breaking the law” by supporting Rifqa’s struggle to stay alive.
This is a far cry from my first contact with Herbert, which happened after the Pagans Against Child Abuse exposure of child exploitation being facilitated and covered up by the owners of PaganSpace. Again through emails (which I will make available to anyone interested, Deirdre Hebert and I came up on opposite sides of the issue, with her claiming I was promoting “vigilantism” for promoting the idea that adult Pagans be alert for predators in our midst who use the loose structure of the various faiths within to prey on teens who make up the majority of new converts. In other words, we should report men who attempt to lure teens into sexual situations under the guise of “worshipping the goddess” to the police, and remain vigilant against what is a threat to the legitimacy of neo-Paganism. PACA was, in Hebert’s estimation, “ruining reputations” for no good reason.
Hardly the stance one expects from a person so concerned with law and order in the Rifqa Bary case. Unless Hebert has had an extreme change of heart since our first contact (and after our discussion I don’t think she has) it would seem that Herbert’s guiding philosophy is to simply take the position of the Left on any argument, then attempt to find reasons to prove the position she has already decided is right. These reasons will then always boil down to me and anyone to her right simply being a fascist. PACA itself has been branded a “conservative” group because in modern neo-Pagan morality it is seen as something Conservative Christians are involved in, so for the modern Wiccan (as an example) even attempting to work against criminality is anti-Pagan.
The anti-Conservative, anti-Christian/Western stance that is considered part of Pagan identity (which is no longer a religion but a sub-culture) is at the root of Pagan support for Islamism in general and the parents of Rifqa Bary in particular.
This pretension, this moral cowardice and herd instinct masquerading as free thinking would be little more than an inconvenience to right-leaning Pagans and a source of amusing anecdotes for non-Pagans. But this attitude has consequences. There is an indifference to actual suffering in the neo-Pagan movement that has long, long ago crossed the line into being depraved. One in ten Pagans I dealt with directly after the PaganSpace exposure even cared that grooming of children was going on. Some claimed it was acceptable, that I was simply a “prude” for not being OK with some 50-year-old claiming a 14-year-old girl needed to service him sexually as part of the worship of whatever goddess he was pretending to serve. Deirdre simply didn’t care at all, instead branding our efforts “too militant” for her to be at ease with.
Here’s a quote from an eamil she sent to one of the PACA members:
I was emailing Rob a bit. I’m going to be spending more time on your web site. I definitely respect the mission of protecting children. I come from a family directly impacted by child abuse from a clergy member, and your mission is very important.
What puts me a bit ill at ease is that PACA has seemed a bit militant in methodology. While I understand the philosophy of erring on the side of safety of children, I tend to be on the side of caution, seeking to cause harm to no-one.
I know that the incidents with Pagan Space was well-intentioned, and that the way things turned out weren’t entirely your fault, but it is sad that there aren’t better ways to handle things.
We’re militant … in our methodology of quietly observing sites to see if any grown men are publicly making sexual advances to minors. Our methods for finding perverts at PaganSpace consisted of simply joining PaganSpace and reading the forums. We threw caution to the wind by alerting the owners to problems, and the authorities to anything illegal. PACA has in fact helped shut down several child porn trading sites on the Ning networks. But I guess that doesn’t “harm none” in Deirdre’s estimation.
Modern neo-Pagan morality is the same as leftist morality. It is based on identity politics and the breakdown of tradition. It replaces debate with smears and attacks (like the Dominionist smear of Sarah Palin, and the death threats I received for defending her) and refuses to acknowledge the suffering of real victims of crime or oppression if doing so would put them in conflict with some leftist canard. Thus, Rifqa Bary cannot receive support from Deirdre because to do so would mean she sided with Christians and against Muslims, who despite their open promotion of the extermination of Witches and Pagans are held in higher esteem than the American Christians whose companies make our grimiores and altar supplies. Child predators cannot be purged from Paganism because to do so feels too much like supporting sexual morality, something even “Horrible” Herman Slater ran afoul of when he had the temerity to state that gays should be monogamous until the AIDS crisis blew over. The fact that he was himself a gay man who died of AIDS has not stopped modern neo-Pagan myth from claiming he was some sort of radical right homophobe.
It turns out he was simply right, and trying to keep others from dying.
Rifqa Bary will die. Or as Muslim supporters of the Rifqa’s parents have stated publicly “the Christian bitch must die.” No matter how the case turns out, it is more likely than not that she will suffer the fate all apostates from Islam eventually do. My hope that this won’t happen will not stop the family and their supporters from making attempts on her life. Deirdre Herbert is indifferent to that.
Pagan teens are going to be raped and exploited by people who the rest of the Pagan community allows to do so. Horrendous abuse by a “Druid” claiming that sexual exploitation was part of his religion has recently been in the news and a degenerate with a history of domestic violence killed his girlfriend recently because she broke a promise to him making her a “Warlock” (and thus marked for death) in line with the hokey mythology Wiccans pass off as history. Both these crimes could have been averted if there were more Pagans willing to be “militant” in policing our own community.
Deirdre is indifferent to that as well. Instead, she’s invested in the comforting lie of universal brotherhood, that the essential goodness of every individual can be fostered by ignoring their criminality. Instead, she is invested in the leftist lie that Wahabbist Muslims can be tamed and kept as pets by White liberals if only the Right would stay out of it. A transcript she sent me of her recent show says pretty much that. It simply isn’t true and organizing our support around that faulty premise will lead to mountains of dead apostates, but there is an indifference to that fact that is at the very least depraved.
In both these instances, Hebert was willing to allow children to suffer in order to hold true to some elusive principle she is unable to define. Deirdre Herbert advocates the passive acceptance of evil, and worse, attacks those of us who will not accept evil as not being “real Pagans.”
Deidre Hebert is an example of a larger trend. Pagans have morals, and have always had morals. The Deirdre Heberts of the world would do well to remember that Western Civilization, which includes the Judeo-Christian tradition, is built upon the great Pagan empires of old. Though many neo-Pagans these days may not believe in the literal existence of the gods (more’s the pity), for those that do there is no god or goddess who supports standing by and allowing the weak to be exploited and murdered while extending your compassion to the murderers and rapists. Not in Western tradition anyway.
It is Deirdre Herbert and her betrayal of the freedom of each individual to choose their god (even the Christian one) that is truly militant and anti-Pagan. It is Deirdre Herbert, and the neo-Pagan community’s indifference to child exploitation that is an affront to the very gods she claims to serve as clergy for.Â This is not open-mindedness or a desire to “harm none” since people will definitely be harmed by the inaction she wants Pagans to take with regard to child exploitation or Islamic imperialism. It is depraved indifference, and its acceptance among the wider neo-Pagan movement will ultimately destroy the movement from the inside.