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Is it wrong to set requirements for membership in a group?

A follower on my blog once asked:

Don’t you think that inclusivity and making-space for other people (social politics) have a place in paganism? I often find that there is not enough of this intersectionality.

Truth be told, I’m not a supporter of mandatory and unconditional inclusiveness. My answer to her was:

Not every pagan group has to automatically open its doors to opinions that contradict the consensus views of that group, regardless of the pagan or other label it may ascribe to itself. A group is no “less” pagan (Wiccan, Druid, Asatru, etc.) because its membership holds Conservative or even National Socialist views, than if it holds (Left-leaning) Anarchistic or Socialist views. Each group has the right to decide its own membership requirements (gender, sexual orientation, politics, heritage, or whatnot), and it’s not any other group’s right to intervene, demanding that their own ideas apply universally.

There are plenty of groups into which I’d feel awkward shoe-horning myself, and I’m fine with it. I don’t need to adopt different views to appease any group of which I choose not to be a part, and neither is any of those groups expected to broaden its views to accommodate mine. This is the true nature of a free and “inclusive” society.

There’s a party to suit everyone, and it’s wrong to crash someone else’s, and to then expect them to change the rules for you.

I’m evidently not the only one who believes this. Back in December of 2o13, Joy and I spoke to Galina Krasskova, who commented that she wouldn’t allow atheistic pagans into her home or her rituals; that’s her prerogative, and she’s welcome to it.

If you’re new to paganism, or an old hand at it, recognize that your views may not be those of every other pagan in your tradition, or in the broader pagan community–there’s nothing wrong with differences of opinion, so don’t impose your “kink” on other people, pagan or not. Do what you’re doing, and where appropriate, agree to disagree.


Brian is an Animist, with Naturalistic-Pantheist leanings, exploring Transpersonal and Ecopsychology. He has a lifelong fascination with myth and folklore, comparative religion, herbs, beekeeping, and rites of passage.

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