I’m an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church Monastery. That doesn’t mean a whole lot to some people, given that all one must do to become ordained is fill out a form on the ULC Monastery’s website. By that logic, even the Three Stooges could get themselves ordained, despite having no “theological training.” But the people who raise this objection are missing the real point here, which is for all religious viewpoints – including the lack of any religious viewpoint – to have legal backing in the United States of America. People should be able worship whatever the hell they want (including nothing, if that’s what they want), and they should be able to have weddings, baptisms and funerals that fit their views accordingly. If you want to have an atheist wedding where everybody dresses up like characters from Star Trek, then great. If you want your kids to be baptized in the name of Elvis Presley, so be it. If you want a traditional Viking funeral, nothing to it. It may strike some people as a “joke religion,” but the point is for all perspectives to have legal representation, no matter how small or “weird” they might be. The way I see it, this is especially relevant for Pagans, since many of us just aren’t able to pull together enough people and resources to start our own legally-recognized churches. The LV-426 Tradition in particular is indebted to the ULC Monastery for assisting us in assisting other like-minded Pagans in the areas where we reside.
However, it’s come to my attention that the ULC Monastery has recently published a post on its blog that is…problematic, to say the least. It’s about the Hellenic Polytheism movement in Greece, but there are some things about it that totally violate what I see as being the true vision of the church. I will just let the article speak for itself:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Hellenism movement has developed a testy relationship with the Greek Orthodox Church. In fact, recent reports indicate that several Christian churches in Greece have been attacked and vandalized by Hellenism followers. In one particularly unpleasant case, perpetrators targeted the Church of Zoodochou Pigis, breaking into the building and smearing feces over numerous statues inside. Messages written on the walls in charcoal included several anti-Christian comments, as well as a calling-card statement that read: “This one’s courtesy of Zeus.”
As evidenced by this strange act of vandalism, some worshipers of the ancient gods do not look favorably upon Christianity. Many view it as religion that violently usurped the rightful Greek religion practiced by their ancestors thousands of years ago. Looking back at history, they may have a point. The Romans conquered Greece in 146 BC. After the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, it began to slowly take hold in Greece, eventually becoming the official religion in the year 380 AD. However, it’s worth noting that Christianity was growing in popularity all over the world at this time, and would likely have taken hold in Greece anyway.
Link to original article
And here are some rather nasty statements that are included in the comments section, which I have not changed or altered here in any way:
July 1, 2016 at 6:27 pm
Apparently in the absence of any available employment there are many Greeks who have entirely too much free time.
July 6, 2016 at 11:32 am
These people are just hipsters joining the most recent trend. I doubt they are sincere. And as for the vandals, they should be aggressively prosecuted. Maybe if the Greeks spent more time trying to get a job the the country’s economy wouldn’t be such utter s**t.
July 6, 2016 at 4:10 pm
Did they will worship pedophile Zeus ? did they will do human Sacrifice ? its not the paganism practice by antik greek but NEO paganism, did they really believe in those “gods” or did they just celebrate their history ? i think its more ideological than religion, and say Christianism is a “oriental jew cult impose on greek” so why you worship greek god than most of them come from Egyptian Mesopotamian pagans ? and wich army force Greece to become Christian ? wich army force Constantin to become Pagan ? Greece is Orthodox Christian and thats All
July 11, 2016 at 12:26 am
Im From Mexico i feel You bro. Quetzalcoatl was a great god. a Flying Feathered Snake of wisdom we used to adere that awsome god…. now we adore a carptenter zombie……
(Please note that the last comment features an anti-Christian comment.)
As someone who takes his role as a minister and a priest of Seth-Typhon very seriously, I felt it was necessary for me to write a letter to the ULC Monastery Headquarters in Seattle, Washington. I have done so, and here is a copy thereof. (It’s slightly edited; the original version contains my home address, and I have removed that from this version.)
My letter to ULC Monastery Headquarters (Click to Read)
I would like to encourage other Pagans and ULC Monastery ministers to speak out about this. You can contact the Monastery directly here. Hopefully, if enough people complain about this, Headquarters will take our grievances seriously. However, I would like to implore everyone to please voice themselves as eloquently as possible. Please try to avoid using any expletives or ad hominem attacks. There is no reason for anyone to say anything like the horrid comments I’ve quoted above; that sort of thing just isn’t helpful, anyway. This is a chance for Pagans and polytheists to speak out against unfair treatment to an organization that is actually willing to listen.
And special thanks to The Dionysian Artist for first bringing this matter to my attention.