Answering Email: Why I “Don’t Celebrate” Yule and Ross Douthat Doesn’t Know What “Pantheism” Means

Being a well known Republican Pagan means that I get my share of criticism from people who like to anonymously carp about something that is usually boring and/or inconsequential. More annoying is that often these people prefer to carp either in email form or on some blogspot blog I don’t want to link to because while the owner may be willing to quote me at great length he just can’t bring himself to link to me.

Mainly these people tend to be Wiccans of some stripe playing a gotcha’ game to prove I am in fact not a pagan at all but a Christian pretending to be a pagan for some mysterious motive that they’re never quite clear about. Unless there is some other point to make in these instances I rarely bother getting worked up over them because I have no interest in what the “online neopagan community” thinks of me. I am not a Wiccan (though I was once as I’ve pointed out before) and since I’m not looking to pick up an obese Gorian who speaks Tolkien’s Elvish and suffers from some sort  personality disorder my travels through the online pagan community are more focused on causes rather than socialization.

But, I have gotten some interesting questions put to me about some recent events so that I thought the answers to would be instructive for both my pagan and non-pagan readers so here we go:

One question I get, usually in the form of an accusation or an attempt to “expose” me as a “secret Christian” double agent, is that although I always put up a post about Halloween I never have posts about the other Sabbats. Also, I rarely use the term Samhain (pronounced Sow-en not Sow-een) which thus proves something or the other. I will completely scandalize Wiccans now by admitting I refer to February 2nd as  Candlemass  not the more politically correct Imbloc and I do indeed think that candles made on that day are better than others.

How do I explain these outrageous revelations? As for the terminology I use, I was first introduced to Witchcraft by books on Witchcraft not Wicca. This was in the mid eighties when the so-called Occult Underground was still vibrantly un-P.C. and not overrun with the infamous “tent women” as Israel Regardie would later call them. Thus, Paul Huson and Anna Riva have influenced me more than Starhawk or (shudder) Silver Ravenwolf. As to why I am more public in my celebration (or Hallowmas as we used to call it) the reason is two-fold.

The first is that it is The Grand Sabbat, the first day of the Witch’s year. It is in truth to me what Christmas is to the Christians, the holiday most representative of my entire religious experience. The second and perhaps more important reason I am more public about my Halloween revels is that it is also an American tradition.

Halloween is unique for pagans because it is a holiday that has both religious and cultural significance. Halloween as it is celebrated is uniquely American and many of the things we love to do on that day are traditions that come from this country. It is, like Christmas, something that can be shared with people of other faiths just as Christians you know will be sending you a gift this time of year. My favorite part of Halloween is in fact handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Yule is not the same, nor are the other Sabbats. I find it interesting that the same people who cry online about “Christian privilege” and having Christianity inflicted on them by the right wing are eager to bore those same Christians with their holiday schedule. I’m sure the world is as interested in hearing about the other seven Sabbats (and 12 Esbats) that I celebrate as I am in hearing about what people gave up for Lent.

In other words, I don’t blog about Yule for the same reason I don’t blog about my banana pepper plants (which came in quite nicely this year) or the fact that I recently lost 30lbs when I got back into exercising, switched to diet Coke and stopped sitting on my now not so fat ass. It simply doesn’t concern anyone and most people wouldn’t care if I told them.

Halloween, as an American cultural expression increasingly under attack, is something we should keep in the public sphere not just for us but for all Americans. What I did on Yule is simply religious minutia only of concern to a sub-section of pagans who celebrate Yule (all don’t by the way) so I don’t bother discussing it on Red Alerts.

The Wild Hunt had a nice Yule post which makes more sense since that blog is specifically about religion. I prefer The Pagan Temple’s interesting Yule posts concerning divination and a good post on the war on Christmas from a pagan perspective.

In a similar vein, I still get the occasional “why do you hate Wiccans” email/comment/note nailed to my door with a cheap “made in China” athame and the short answer is that I was one.

The longer answer is that Wicca is the bush leagues of occultism that most people outgrow if they’re at all serious, but that answer is actually unfair to the many Wiccans who were serious about their craft and have been overshadowed by the liberal arts college set who think Wicca is some sort of unholy combination of identity politics and group therapy. Therefore, to be more precise, I don’t hate you if you’re a Wiccan unless you insist I actually call you Black Dragon FireCat while lecturing me on the inherent misogyny of pronouns or think that your Harry Potter replica wand actually works. There are Wiccans I respect, even some online. To Know, Will and Dare for example is a Wiccan blog which I think gives quite respectable advice about Wicca to people with questions. The unfortunately semi-retired blog Hecate’s Crossroad was run by a Wiccan and I think quite highly of the author.

But my criticism of Wicca comes from my experience with Wiccans which is remarkably similar to what S. Jason Black and Dr. Christopher Hyatt describe in their book Urban Voodoo:

For example, we have had many experiences with the Wicca community in southern California. These groups were invariably dominated by extremely obese, loud women – Israel Regardie used to call them “tent women” – whose goal at any gathering seemed to be to push people around. This was usually accompanied by the sort of verbal moralizing (”that’s black magic” or “he’s incurring bad karma”) that many of us can remember from Sunday school. These people claim to be nature mystics, but the clinical obesity, poor hygiene, chain smoking and chronic bickering tell a very different story. Jason was once shown a particularly pompous and moralizing article in a “Neo-Pagan” magazine and in annoyance, he asked (about the author), “Does she weigh four hundred pounds?” His friend replied in some indignation that he knew her and she was quite thin. Looking at him in the eye Jason asked, “What’s wrong with her?” After a moment’s silence: “Well, she’s kind of cross-eyed and has a neurological disorder.”

It is not our intention to be cruel here, merely to point out some unpleasant truths about the “New Age” or any other movement.

I feel likewise.

Which brings me to supposed conservative Ross Douthat who I had never heard of, but that could be because I don’t read lefty rags like The New York Times which even communists like Charles Johnson thinks are traitors. He wrote a piece on Avatar and Hollywood’s “Pantheism” which has sent many a pagan to the swooning couch but whose effect on the pagan community is best illustrated by Jason Pietzl-Waters response which though eloquent (and of course steeped in the same sort of sweeping generalizations about Christians he claims Christians have about pagans) misses the point entirely. What Douthat describes in his piece as Pantheism is not Pantheism at all:

At the same time, pantheism opens a path to numinous experience for people uncomfortable with the literal-mindedness of the monotheistic religions — with their miracle-working deities and holy books, their virgin births and resurrected bodies. As the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski noted, attributing divinity to the natural world helps “bring God closer to human experience,” while “depriving him of recognizable personal traits.” For anyone who pines for transcendence but recoils at the idea of a demanding Almighty who interferes in human affairs, this is an ideal combination.

Indeed, it represents a form of religion that even atheists can support. Richard Dawkins has called pantheism “a sexed-up atheism.” (He means that as a compliment.) Sam Harris concluded his polemic “The End of Faith” by rhapsodizing about the mystical experiences available from immersion in “the roiling mystery of the world.” Citing Albert Einstein’s expression of religious awe at the “beauty and sublimity” of the universe, Dawkins allows, “In this sense I too am religious.”


Pantheism offers a different sort of solution: a downward exit, an abandonment of our tragic self-consciousness, a re-merger with the natural world our ancestors half-escaped millennia ago.

Wrong. Had Douthat bothered to consult a reputable scholar of religion he’d have found that what he describes isn’t Pantheism but a new- agey combination of Animism, “personal development” and Unitarian-Universalism style pseudo-religion. Oh, have I never mentioned before that Unitarian-Universalism isn’t a real religion? It isn’t.

Pantheism is a term used by academics like myself to describe a tradition in which there is one god who manifests as multiple gods or in some cases things. Some Hindu traditions are Pantheistic, in that all the gods (and reality itself) are thought to be manifestations of the supreme deity. The Upanishads touches on this idea quite beautifully.

Much of what Douthat complains about is what we would term monism. This is the idea that there is an impersonal absolute that gives life to the universe, as opposed to monotheism which puts forward the idea of a personal absolute. Taoism is the tradition in Comparative Religion we most often use to illustrate monism. And it is this dumbed down monism combined with quasi-nature worship that Douthat is talking about. In that respect I agree with him. I don’t like the smorgasbord religion of Hollywood, where they take the easiest to achieve ideals of every tradition that doesn’t directly criticize their callow lifestyles and blend it into a gray and lifeless gooey mass of do nothing feel goodery designed to make self-righteous moralizing about carbon offsets seem less trivial and asinine than it is.

But Douthat misses that point in his zeal to attack a non-existent religion that is only promoted by an online scam called the Universal Pantheist Society and a bunch of morons who are pissing on the graves of every Comparative Religion academic in history by making up a religious tradition out of thin air.

Pagans Against Child Abuse Announces Campaign Against GLSEN

Pagans Against Child Abuse has announced its campaign against GLSEN. While PACA has mostly concerned itself the safety of children online, the outrageous actions of GLSEN are so irresponsible that PACA cannot stay silent. Pagans Against Child Abuse is concerned that GLSEN is promoting pedophilia as homosexuality in a program seemingly designed to make victims out of confused and naive gay teens who are being taught to think of their exploitation by adults as some sort of homosexual rite of passage.

PACA has just launched a campaign against GLSEN and is dedicated to stopping GLSEN’s pro-pedophile agenda from being forced on any other vulnerable students. Support PACA’s efforts to stop GLSEN from harming more children by joining the Pagans Agains Child Abuse Ning network. All are welcome regardless of religious or political affiliation.

Victimless Crime File: “Gay” Wiccan Stoner Traded Child Porn Online

Gay Wiccan Stoner Pedophile

And thus we see another case of Wicca attracting the wrong type of people by putting out the wrong kind of signals like the 35-year-old barfly who shops at Forever 21 and wonders why her baby daddies (plural, of course) don’t pay child support.

28-year-old Darin Steele, better known on MySpace as Southern Witch, claimed he was a gay Wiccan who loved getting high. Of course by Wiccan he meant he was an overgrown man-child who smoked pot in his mother’s basement while watching reruns of  Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And by “Gay” he meant he was a degenerate who traded child porn online with other pedophiles:

BRISTOL, Va. – Someone in Bristol lifted a photograph of a naked young boy off the Internet in July, police said, then sent it to a online friend via e-mail.

Investigators tracked the activity to a home on Island Road, and on Wednesday arrested Darin Steele, who posted his $2,000 bond a half hour after he was booked.

Steele, 28, is charged with one count of production, financing or possession with intent to distribute sexually explicit items involving children, a class 5 felony.

Bristol Virginia Detective Sgt. Steve Crawford said investigators seized more than 300 CDs and several computers from Steele’s home for analysis. Depending on what they find on the disks and hard drives, additional possession charges could be pending.


The photo depicts a young boy, between 10 and 12 years old, fully nude and in a sexual position.

The transaction was flagged by a monitoring branch of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It was sent to the Bedford County, Va., Sheriff’s Office, which operates Operation Blue Ridge Thunder, a task force that investigates Internet crimes involving children. There, they were able to find screen names, and translate those into real people with real addresses.

Steele lives at his mother’s house on Island Road. She answered the phone Wednesday but declined to comment on Steele’s behalf.

In other words, he was neither gay nor a Wiccan, just a sad pervert who claimed to be both to make people think he was harmless. I should put forward that any “Witch” worth his salt would be able to conjure up enough money to move out his parents’ basement. Also, gay men don’t trade pictures of little boys anymore than straight men trade pictures of little girls.

Sorry my Wiccan friends, but if you let people think you’re “open minded” about sexual deviance and drug use this is who you’re going to get. Gays are doing a better job distancing themselves from perverts who want to use gays to mainstream all manner of perversions, though they are undermined by the gay left’s unseemly associations with NAMBLA, etc. But Wiccans aren’t even trying to not look like a group of gullible people willing to believe anything and associate with anybody.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that chronic marijuana use leads to mental illness. A basement dwelling 28-year-old who decorates his MySpace with pictures from a television show aimed at teen girls is likely not in his right mind. But of course if pot was legalized this story would have turned out different in some magical way I’m sure.

Here’s the cache of his deleted MySpace and here’s his bebo account.

h/t D.K.O.M.S.

Gay-Bashing, Child Raping “Conservative Christian” Derek Logue Claims Pagans Have No Morals!


More specifically, convicted child rapist Derek Logue is claiming that Pagans Against Child Abuse, of which I am a member, is hypocritical because as Pagans we “reject the legal, god-given boundaries of sexuality” unlike people like him who have been convicted of raping an 11-year-old girl.

Before we go any further, let’s learn a little about Derek Logue. From Wikisposure:

Derek W. Logue, aka “thefallenone”, “fallenone”, or “F1”, is a registered sex offender[1] and active RSO activist who currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is classified on the public registry as a “sexual predator.” In 2000, at the age of 24, Derek was convicted of 1st Degree sexual assault of an 11-year-old child in Alabama. He served three years in the Bullock County Correctional Facility in Union Springs, Alabama and moved to Ohio following his release. A psychological evaluation described him as, “self-centered, self-indulgent, and passively-dependent upon others.” That’s a fairly accurate description of Derek. ately, Derek has put most of his effort into maintaining his own website because he doesn’t work well with others. In fact, Derek doesn’t really care about anyone but himself. In one breath he will claim that, “he is rehabilitated,” then in the next he will make statements eluding to the fact that his 11-year-old child victim deserved what he did to her because, “she was corrupt long before I met her.”

In his “FallenOne” guise, Logue runs a hysterical (in both senses of the word) Web site called Once Fallen dedicated to crying about how unfair it is that dangerous predators are put on registries designed to keep them from working in summer camps and promoting his self-published screed which is dedicated to crying about how unfair it is that dangerous predators are put on registries designed to keep them from working in summer camps. I won’t link to his so-called book. I don’t recommend anyone buy it since it’s literally a rehash of his online writings which he circulates widely. Aside from all the weepy tirades about oppression, Once Fallen is otherwise known to dabble in Alex Jonesian conspiracy theories and to break Godwin’s Law with reckless abandon.

Logue also seemingly has a new venue in the supposedly Conservative but very much Christian online abortion called The Cypress Times where publisher John Winder not only allowed him to write a pro-child rapist agi-prop piece filled with lies and misinformation but then shut down comments that took the author to task:

Added: November 24, 2009. 01:40 PM CST
Further Commentary on This Article Is Closed
If you wish to continue the dialogue with Mr. Logue, I would suggest using the links he provided in the article. Commentary here is now closed due to it’s inflammatory and mean-spirited nature.

John G. Winder – Publisher, The Cypress Times

Yes. We couldn’t have mean spirited commentary directed at a man who raped a little girl and then claims to be a victim of an un-Christian American society. Think I’m making that up? Here’s a quote:

Our society is so plagued by myths, mistruths, and misconceptions, I could write a book about it. Actually, I did write a book, entitled “Once Fallen,” a look at the “other side” of this issue, along with a free fact based site on sex offender laws and issues ( Over the course of my research, I found we have forsaken programs that work in favor of fear-based and anger-based legislation.


Exploitation of children goes far beyond abuse, as many organizations are selling fear and anger to the masses while reaping the benefits. There is no incentive to offer a rational solution to this crisis, because a solution means loss of business.

Sadly, many churches and “Christians” also jump on the bandwagon; many churches deny services to sex offenders, who are also in need of God’s giving grace and salvation. Recently, the Jefferson Hills Christian Church in Imperial, Missouri sponsored a series of billboards asking, “What’s Forgivable?” The general consensus in the local media was only sex offenders were unforgivable [12]. Some even stated sex offenders deserve “The Mark of Cain.”

But the Bible is very clear on forgiveness, on God’s giving grace, on repentance, and penance. With the exception of Christ, virtually every great Biblical hero fell short and committed great sins. Even mighty King David had one of his most faithful servants killed to hide the fact he impregnated his servant’s wife. God gave punishment, but after David repented God granted mercy and favor upon him. God even granted mercy to the first biblical villain, Cain; the “Mark of Cain” was not a scarlet letter, but a mark of protection from would-be vigilantes exacting revenge for his crimes. Cain was also allowed a wife and founded a city.

Don’t you see? By not allowing Derek to sneak around children we’re defying the sweet baby Jesus who even now weeps in horror at the commonsense steps society uses to protect children from people who prey upon them sexually. What kind of monsters won’t forgive poor, tortured Derek Logue? We evil Pagans of course, who Logue has some rather odd notions about.

Logue also blogs under the name “Warped Ohio,” which in true sexual sadist fashion is a handle he created to mock a well known sexual abuse survivor. Using that handle he vomited forth this swirling mass of lies and venom directed at me and several other Pagans (and people he thinks are Pagans) who have recently had the unmitigated gall to forget all about him:

Most AZU members, like Dodia Fae, BRD, and Rob Taylor, claim PAGANISM as a religion. Paganism does believe in free love, does not believe in lifelong marriage (instead opting for a one year long “handfast”), and other assorted sexual beliefs not mainstream in the eyes of Americans. It is ironic, then, they formed a group called “Pagns Against Child Abuse.” That’s like saying “Klan Members Against Lynching” or “Al-Qaida Members Against Suicide Bombings.”

I just found it ironic in light of Taylor-trash’s recent article:


How ironic. AZU goes into a place, makes outlandish accusations, then cries about getting “banned:”

In any case, it is disappointing, but not surprising, that a popular gathering place for Wiccans would become a place that welcomes child rapists and ended up banning every member of PACA who spoke out against the grooming of children by adults. What is surprising is how openly vicious the Wiccan members of PaganSpace were toward child advocates. Women who criticized men in their 40s, 50s and in one case 60s for sending sexually suggestive cartoons to girls as young as 14 or 15 were told they were acting “Christian” and PACA itself was said to be endangering children.

“The offenders themselves, still quite active on PaganSpace as of this writing, were allowed to threaten and harass PACA members, including women, after they were tipped off to the fact that many had been reported to the proper authorities.

Cry us a river, Taylor.

At any rate, they’re part of a religion that rejects the legal, God-given boundaries of sexuality, so what do they expect? But then again, with AZU its a matter of hating people, NOT about protecting children. Hate groups are no more religious than businesses that sell private information. PACA is no more religious than the “White Knights.”

Says the man who raped a child. I should clarify a couple of things for Derek and any of his new friends from The Cypress Times who need some remedial instruction in Paganism, morality, and how the two intersect.

While there may be some Pagans who embrace “free love,” it is not a doctrine in any of the dozens of religious traditions that make up modern Paganism. “Free love,” polyamory, or any other sort of odd sexual fetishes are no more prevalent in Paganism than in any subculture where one may run into women who try to make up for their lack of physical attractiveness and social graces with amorality and promiscuity. In other words, Wiccans, for instance, are no more likely to throw caution and self-respect to the wind and become the permanent third wheel in some 40-year-old nerd’s Gor fantasy than P.E.T.A. workers or the ladies from Code Pink.

I have never heard of this one-year handfasting doctrine but I do know of quite a few “handfasted” Pagans who were legally married in the ceremony. I myself am legally married and have been with my wife almost 20 years, though admittedly we weren’t handfasted, we simply ran by the justice of the peace on our way to a New England honeymoon. But let’s say for a second that both Logue’s charges about Pagans were true and I was some free wheeling hippie sex cultist marrying women for one year stints while having orgies every full moon.

So what?

Why would adults having consensual sexual relations, no matter how distasteful others may find it, invalidate those same adults’ work to protect children from predation by degenerates like Logue? Is it part of Logue’s “God-given sexuality” to equate raping children with adults having consensual sex? Is it the Christian view that Pagans having sex with each other is the same as adults raping children?

Logue’s new found Christianity is amusing. A one time Devil worshiper and admitted animal abuser who cut himself, Logue spends his time on the Internet writing messages like this to women who took issue with the false claims he made in his Cypress Times article:

 Unlike the3 cunts at AZU I reference everything. My website’s full of them. Unlike this trash. Learn to read you dumb fucking cunt. Fuck off. When you tell me your source where you read Patty Wetterling has a sex offender son, I’ll give you what you want. Or you can give me your address and I’ll give you a CD with every reference. You’re not scared, are you? How does it feel to be thoroughly ignored and ridiculed by everyone in the real world?

Doesn’t sound very Christian does it? More importantly it sounds like a threat from a person who has yet to repent from his sinful ways. I may be mistaken, but during my academic studies of Christian religions I was told by reverends and other clergy who taught courses that what was requisite for Christians to receive forgiveness was for them to repent and repudiate their sins. Derek Logue has done neither but continues to operate a Web site dedicated to minimizing his crimes and normalizing child sexual exploitation. Logue has never repudiated this statement he made about his victim:

My victim was a follower. She acted different away from her sister. Anyways other people got in trouble over her. Today she’s either 16 or 17. She has a GIRLFRIEND now. She has the reputation of being wild and of loose morals. A regular Lolita enjoying her illicit relationships…I have at least some buffer in knowing she was corrupt long before I met her.

These are hardly the words of a man seeking forgiveness.

But Logue is not really the issue here. I’d have probably ignored his tirades if it weren’t for the entrance into this little drama of John Winder’s The Cypress Times. Winder shut down the comments on Logue’s piece because they were “inflammatory,” but he didn’t remove the piece itself which is riddled with demonstrably false information. I must say I did not see the comments so I am in no position to say they were or were not heated or intemperate. But were they more intemperate than Logue’s trail of outrages?

Winder claims to run a Conservative Christian magazine which is now palling around with a man who is actively working to have the age of consent lowered. I would ask Winder, what would his Jesus do in his shoes? Would Jesus allow a man to bear false witness against his neighbors and more importantly his victims? Would he not demand that Logue truly repent?

I’m interested in what Winder’s online operation was thinking when they allowed Logue to use their forum as a platform for his nihilistic agenda. I’m more curious as to why they stopped opposing views from challenging him. The Cypress Times has run anti-gay and implicitly racist posts including a piece declaring Episcopal Churches apostate and describing Africa as “a continent known for the practice of witchcraft and other demonic activities, a continent that was for years an intense focus of Christian missionary zeal due to its pervasive spiritual darkness from which it earned its ignoble nickname “The Dark Continent.

Clearly The Cypress Times doesn’t shy away from “inflammatory” language. Why are they shying away from the truth? Why provide cover for this degenerate to spew his venom? My only answer is that like Logue, Winder has a very different definition of Conservatism than I do.

Update: Oy! Derek Logue went and Freeped himself. Or at least The Cypress Times decided to. Publisher John Winder responded to my request for a statement by emailing me this steaming pile nonsense wrapped in faux patriotism:

I wrote an article called:  The Monster Next Door:  The Plague of American Sex Offenders

Mr. Logue disagreed with the content, tone, and information in my article and submitted an Op/Ed piece of his own:  The Myth of Monsters:  The Plague of Sex Offender Panic

Mr. Logue was “allowed” to write the Op/Ed because The Cypress Times supports Free Speech.  We support it in deeds and action, not merely with lip service.  We support it even if we don’t agree with the content.

I also am a firm believer in the sanity, rationality and intelligence of our Christian readers.  None of whom would fear Mr. Logue or his words.  None of whom would be fooled or taken in by the words that ring less than true no matter how well written nor in what form presented.  Mr.  Logue was successful in stirring up quite a number of supporters for his piece, but not a one I suspect from our core 184,000 readers.

In terms of the Christian perspective on Sex Offenders, pedophiles, etc., I can only offer my-Christian perspective.  All sinners are to be forgiven.  But forgiveness comes ONLY after repentance.  The unrepentant do not get God’s forgiveness.  There is no promise or hope offered to the unrepentant.  It is my wish as a Christian that everyone would come to know Christ, to turn from their sin, repent and be saved….even a Pedophile.  That’s difficult to swallow at times, particular given the horrific nature of a pedophiles crime, but I cannot expect or ask forgiveness for my sins, if I am unable to ask the same for my fellow man.

Thanks for your inquiry.

God Bless,

John G. Winder

The question then is why Winder shut down the comments if he is such a strong believer in free speech?

Update: Logue responds! With racism and a long winded misstatement of the facts. Of particularly amusing note is this portion where Logue accuses me of being a commie!

Poor Robbie Taylor. A man so confused to his identity, he can’t even identify with a race, religion, or sexual orientation. Perhaps that is why he feels the need to bash people with his incessant communist/ zionist rants.

Ha! I’m Biracial, a polytheist and straight as an arrow for future reference. I just happen to think of myself as American first, tolerant of others’ religion (when they deserve it) and supportive of Gays. But I thought long time readers would get a kick out of me being called a Communist. I’m to the right of Pinochet!

I am a proud Zionist however.