in the Bud
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Join the ACLU (www.aclu.org), People for the American Way, and/or Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Think of how much clout we'd have if thousands of us Heathens and other Pagans did. Soon as I land a job in my field (graduating soon), I certainly plan to.
Keep a lawyer on retainer, or at least have one picked out and informed that if anyone ever gives you or your family legal problems over your religion, you'll be there with cash in hand. Keep lawyer money on hand, or pay a retainer fee ahead of time before you spend that tax refund! Pre-paid legal services may well be something you might want to buy into. Local yokels make some threat, you hand them your lawyer's card, their jaws drop....end of matter in lots of cases!
Join the local Unitarian Universalist Church. Interesting, stimulating, no creed. Pagans, liberal Christians, atheists and agnostics; strong commitment to social justice and tolerance. Excellent cultural events, yummy potlucks, good place to troll for potential new Heathens! Lots of solid Pagans attend UU Churches. Good place for your kids to learn about other religions in an academic, non-dogmatic sense. Ignore the PC types you may run into, and you'll have a lot of fun while working for a more tolerant community, nation and world.
If in or about to enter a mixed marriage, sign an agreement (pre or post nuptial) about the kids' religious training, including in the event of a divorce. If you came to this religion after starting your family, discuss your children's religious training with your spouse or ex-spouse. If they want to fight a battle for the kids' souls, remind them that the most common outcome of such doings is atheistic kids, and that you could live with that a lot better than your kids' other parent could! Few of us sit up at night worrying that someone will freeze in Niflhel for not believing in the Aesir and Vanir!
Remember you are mortal. You may not live to see your child grown up. I know of at least one Heathen child that is being raised by Bible-thumping grandparents because the parents did not designate a legal guardian to raise the child in the event of their death or incapacitation. This could, I believe, be done in a Last Will and Testament or as a separate document. Get thee to a lawyer! Be sure that the legal guardian(s) have copies of the appropriate documents, and that you take out some life insurance with them (or your child or children) as the beneficiary, so that they will have enough money to carry out the responsibilities with which you have entrusted them.
There will be religious problems for our community from time to time, but also keep in mind that most of us live in free countries, and try to avoid the paranoia, alienation, and apocalyptic thinking that I have found to be all too common in the larger Pagan Community. Talk over these things with your groups and on Heathen email lists. While no one can do or would even want to do ALL of these things, all of us can do some of them. Be prepared in advance .
last modified 08/11/2004