In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

Category Archives: Politics

Violent Self-Defense and Violent Activism Aren’t the Same

In an editorial on Gods & Radicals from this month, Rhyd Wildermuth criticizes the American middle class for being afraid of violent protesters like Antifa and the Black Bloc anarchists, who incited the violence and destruction of property that occurred at UC Berkeley last month. According to Rhyd, nonviolent protest “is a strategy that coddles the concerns of the middle classes, especially their fears.” He also contends that “coddling” the middle class in this way is precisely how we’ve ended up with Donald Trump as our President. Rhyd then talks about how Antifa and Black Bloc groups are “breaking the spell of police invulnerability,” demonstrating to the American people that the state does not own a corner on the market of “legitimate violence.” Finally, he wraps up his editorial by questioning why he and his fellow resistance fighters should care about trying to win over the middle class. After all, “What good are allies too worried about what their neighbors might think if they risked arrest to change the world?”

There is much truth for us to consider in this editorial. For one thing, Rhyd points out that minorities and the poor have long been victims of police brutality, and that it is unreasonable to expect them to resist nonviolently when they are attacked. When some asshole in a uniform is busting your head in with a nightstick, wouldn’t you want one of your friends to come over and fight him off? I certainly can’t argue with that. If I were homeless and defenseless and some crooked cop were coming after me for no good reason, you’d better believe I’d do whatever I could to protect myself (which admittedly wouldn’t be much).

But that’s not what happened at UC Berkeley this month. It’s not what happened at the Presidential inauguration in January, or at the anti-Trump rallies back in November either. These were not situations in which minorities or the poor were being brutalized by the police. These are situations where peaceful anti-Trump protests were hijacked by assholes who specifically went there to commit violence, as well as to provoke further violence from the police. They even attacked innocent civilians who weren’t doing anything harmful or illegal, pepper-spraying them in their eyes and busting their ribs. And while it’s hard to be sure without knowing their identities, I’m willing to bet that many of these vandals are middle class themselves.

Don’t get me wrong; Milo Yiannopoulos is a major asshole, and he can go eat a bag of dicks for all I care. The peaceful protesters at Berkeley had every right to go out there and protest him being allowed to speak at the university. (Why an institute of higher learning would even want a devolved right-wing mutant to speak there in the first place, I’ll never know.) But we can react to jerkolas like Yiannopoulos in ways that will disturb people and make them think, but which don’t involve harming or threatening anyone physically. If spending a night in jail is one’s measure of success for these things, why not take some notes from Femen? Strip naked in public for everyone to see, and take a big ol’ dump on Donald Trump’s portrait. (“Dump-n-Trump!”) Lots of people will think it’s horrible and crass, and one will definitely be punished by the system for it somehow (starting with arrest, jail time, some restraining orders, and probably lots of fines). But people will certainly notice it, and they will certainly talk about it afterwards. I have much more respect for that sort of thing than I do for smashing windows, attacking people, or setting cars on fire. Do we want to take a stand against the system in a way that actually involves some personal risk? I say do it in a way that doesn’t involve forcing that same level of risk on everyone else; otherwise, one is just as much of a tyrant as the people one claims to fight.

At the end of the day, resorting to violent self-defense and staging a violent public demonstration are two different things, and we can appreciate one while rejecting the other. I side with the innocent who experience dubious “justice” at the hands of our police and government, but I don’t side with turning an otherwise peaceful public situation into a riot. It would be one thing if these people were to patrol their neighborhoods like those real-life superhero groups, looking for situations where police officers are brutalizing minorities or the poor. If they were inserting themselves into those situations to try and save the victims’ lives (despite any physical or legal repercussions), that would be far more commendable than upstaging nonviolent protests.

I’m All Out of Bubble Gum…

I can't even believe this is a thing that happens.

I can’t even believe this is a thing that happens.

John Carpenter Is Fighting With Internet Nazis Over His Cult Classic They Live

Sweet Seth O Mighty! So this happened a month ago already, but it’s still one of my happy thoughts for this week. Thank you, John Carpenter, for being so awesome!

“I’ve come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass…And I’m all out of bubble gum.”

Approved by none other than the Maestro himself.

Approved by none other than the Maestro himself.

Editorial: An Open Letter to Pagan Leaders

I don’t necessarily agree with everything Rhyd says here, but the ultimate message is so dang important right now, I’m rebloging to boost the signal (to whatever extent my limited sphere of influence can allow). Thank you sir for a fantastic post.

GODS & RADICALS

MAYBE YOU’RE the high priestess of a coven or the chief druid of a grove. Or you find yourself at the head of a Pagan seminary, a news site, a blog portal, a Pagan convention, a witch tradition. Maybe you’re the owner of a publishing house or a witch-shop, a teacher of seminars or on the board of a non-profit. Or maybe you’re just an activist or a well-known writer with a huge audience. Regardless of how you got there, whether or not you ever intended to find yourself in a position of ‘leadership,’ you’re there.

I won’t talk about the responsibility such influence comes with. You probably see it already. If you’re like me, it maybe even scares you a little. You maybe didn’t ask to be here, and definitely not during the rise of far-right nationalism in the United States.

Most of you tend to lean towards the…

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Contra Islamophobia

From Pixabay.com

From Pixabay.com

I didn’t start this website to discuss politics, and I know it annoys some people when I do. But I find myself caring about that less and less each day. I shouldn’t have to keep silent on political issues just because I also happen to be religious; hell, no other religious person on Earth does! Even those who are involved in the tax-exempt church racket will often pontificate to the masses about public policy whenever they can, despite the fact that it really should cost them their precious 501(c)(3) status. Well if they can do it, so can I; I’ve got nothing to lose but readers, after all. And if you’re the kind of reader who’s offended by what I’m going to say next, you’ll probably be much happier reading something else anyway. (Might I recommend Mein Kempf?)

Well, the white nationalist dinosaur that calls itself “Trump” has vacated its oily bowels all over the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (and his scat will probably splatter on some of the other amendments before we’re through). I know we have to protect ourselves from groups like DAESH, but there are certain lines that just shouldn’t be crossed. I find it difficult to accept that we are now living in an America where people can be turned away from our borders simply for belonging to a particular faith. Hell, many of the people who were targeted by Trump’s executive order have already earned their green cards, and many are even married to U.S. citizens (and have children). Naturally, Trump and his cronies claim that this has nothing to do with Islam, but that’s a crock of shit if I’ve ever heard one. He called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his election campaign, and that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. The fact that the order is phrased to focus on nationality rather than religion is just an attempt to make it sound legal. What else should we think when Trump says he will prioritize Christian refugees from the same seven countries that are on his list?

The Trump Administration also announced on Thursday that it will be re-structuring the government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program to focus exclusively on Islamic extremism. Until now, the CVE has targeted not only jihadists but also white supremacists who create terror right here on American soil. The purpose of the initiative is to identify and deter any group that subscribes to a violent ideology, regardless of whether it uses Allah, Jesus, or Fred Flintstone to justify its heinous acts. There’s always room for improvement, of course, and I’m certain the CVE program is no exception to this rule. But choosing to ignore white supremacism is completely unacceptable, especially given that more Americans have been killed in domestic right-wing attacks than in jihadist attacks since 9/11. I guess victims of white supremacist terror will just have to fend for themselves while our government continues to detain, deport, and otherwise punish innocent immigrants who have every right to be here.

If that doesn’t seem tragic enough to you, it’s pretty self-evident that Trump’s anti-Islamic actions will also fuel jihadists as they seek new recruits. Muslims across the world are watching this situation with baited breath, and some who have been sympathetic to the United States up to this point are probably starting to think we might actually be “the Great Satan” after all. This will serve only to make DAESH’s lies seem much more attractive to those who are without hope. Even worse, the jihadists will be galvanized by the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes that is almost sure to follow this current spectacle. Just look at what happened when Trump won the election in November; people all over the country started vandalizing mosques (among other things). It’s funny how Trump, the Republican Party, and even the Trump supporters who “aren’t racists” had absolutely nothing to say about that bullshit while it was happening. And that was nothing but the racist white contingency flexing its muscles, collectively punching the air in victory. Now that Trump has made it clear that he means to outright ignore the threat of domestic right-wing terrorism, what do you suppose will happen next?

You might be wondering why I care so much about Muslim Americans. After all, were I to live in a Muslim majority country that applies sharia law to its non-Muslim citizens, I’d probably be fined, taxed, mocked, tortured, enslaved, or even beheaded for being a kafir or “infidel,” right? Well, maybe. But in a 2013 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, in which more than 38,000 Muslims from 39 Muslim majority nations were interviewed face-to-face, a global median of roughly seven-in-ten Muslims (72%) stated that violence in the name of Islam (e.g., suicide bombings, targeting civilians, etc.) “is never justified.” This literally means that most Muslims around the world do not sanction religious violence, which is certainly consistent with my own experience. My area has one of the largest Muslim populations in America, and we have yet to suffer any jihadist attacks (thank all the Gods). As a matter of fact, the Muslims I know are all doctors, nurses, EMTs, or other important public servants. If there should ever be a jihadist attack in my area (Gods forbid), a large percentage of the wounded would likely be treated and nursed back to health by Muslims. So if you ask me why I care about prejudice against Muslims, it’s because I accept my Muslim neighbors as valued members of my community.

But there’s another reason why I seethe at these contemptible policies. As a Pagan devotee of Seth, I worship the very Divinity of otherness. In my preferred spiritual language, Seth is God as someone who was marginalized from His own family since the moment of His birth. He has been vilified by the beautiful and the powerful, and He understands better than anyone what it’s like to be an outcast. But Seth refused to stay that way; He rebelled and changed the structure of His family forever, and He did so in ways that made each of Them better in the end. Seth then formed His own adopted family during His quests across the expanse of the unknown, and our job is to do what He does within our own spheres of life. This means two things to me personally:

  • Ritually smiting the Chaos Serpent (i.e., battling evil and injustice, both within and outside of myself, with words of power and symbolic deeds)
  • Upholding Ma’at in Deshret as well as in Kemet (i.e., promoting peaceful cooperation and dignified treatment of others across as many cultural, ethnic, political, religious, sexual, and social intersections as possible)

Seth is the Divine Foreigner, and as one of His ambassadors in this world, I can’t just remain silent as I watch my country devolve into a xenophobic horror show. Yes, Islam does teach that I will roast in hell (or Jahannam in Arabic) for all eternity just because I don’t worship Allah; and yes, I am very resentful of that teaching. I don’t like being told by anyone that I’m going to be punished just for believing differently than they do, no matter how good a person I might be. But the truth is, Christians are the ones who’ve been handing me that bullshit for my entire life, not Muslims. The Muslims I’ve met have all been kind enough to mind their own damn business and leave me alone; not one of them has ever been confrontational with me about my Sethianity. As a Pagan American, most of the ill treatment I’ve received for my faith has come from other white people who were born right here in the States and who claim to follow Christ. And while most of the trouble these people have given me has been nonviolent (though there have been times when I was afraid for my life or for someone else’s), it hasn’t been any less traumatic. Here in America, there are plenty more ways of intimidating and silencing people than just killing them. (Hell, just ask Donald J. Trump; he’s been keeping many of us awake at night all week!)

My point here is not to demonize white Christian Americans, but to point out that all Americans are just as capable of evil as any Muslim immigrant. This goes for every human category, including Pagans. What really needs to happen is for the good-hearted people in each category to band together and take a stand against this foolishness. Trump’s travel ban is not going to help anything; in the long run, even conservatives will see that it’s only made things worse. (Sutekh be praised, some of them already do.) I pray to Seth, Jesus and Allah that this nonsense is reversed somehow before DAESH or even the goddamn Ku Klux Klan can figure out how to capitalize on it.