Among American Pagans today, there are many opinions on raising their children in a predominately Christian society. While it is true that in general most Americans are more tolerant of other’s religious beliefs, there are, however, still those that are not so tolerant. It is because of those few less tolerant that many Pagan parents have a hard time in navigating between these two worlds. Even though, in general, Christians are concerned with how another religion may be raising their own children (out of misunderstanding of another religion) they need not fear. With even a little accurate information, these groups would see that most alternative religions are harmless to another’s belief structure. Ultimately, what is at stake in this conversation is freedom of religion as it pertains to family. I believe that it is really the Pagan parents duty to teach their children how to live in a world that may be less tolerant of their own beliefs. There is no one right way on the subject of childrearing, but there are plenty of ways not to raise your child. There are also many factors involved that must be taken into consideration and most of those factors differ from one child to the next.
In order to understand and eventually answer the question of how to navigate Pagan parenting in a Christian society, we first need some background information. Paganism is, “A general term for the traditional polytheistic religious traditions of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. The word was later applied to all religions other than Christianity, Judaism, and Islam,
and has also borrowed by many groups and people in the modern Neopagan revival, some of which claim connections to ancient Paganism.” (Greer, pg. 354). But what does it mean to be a Pagan today? As Greer points out, a Pagan is anyone who is not of the Christian, Jewish, or Islamic faiths. (Greer, pg. 354). More to the point, I will be discussing those who follow the nature-based traditions of Neopaganism. For many of us who are on this path, we worship the Goddess and the God; as opposed to that of Christianity’s one God. Much as it sounds, many Neopagans believe in the duality of the divine, that there are two or more supreme beings. In the case of Wiccans, the mother and the father. We hold nature in reverence and believe that all is holy and encompassing. With this in mind, we do not proselytize or preach our beliefs to others, rather, we let others find their way to us. We are tolerant and even accepting of everyone and their beliefs. There is no set doctrine in which we live b, but instead we have basic guidelines, such as “Harm None.” We worship in many ways both public and private. We hold ritual and meditate. All in all, we are in many ways very similar to the mainstream religious philosophies.
For many Pagan parents, it is a difficult question as to whether they should incorporate children into their religious practices and beliefs. “Children’s inclusion in...