Saturday, February 11, 2012

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE FROM THE PAGAN POINT OF VIEW

All this manufactured hoo haw over insurance companies paying for birth control for women even if the outfit they’re working for is church affiliated, got me to thinking. Dangerous I know. And it is manufactured. If the editorial in the Register Guard is accurate over half the states in the country require insurance companies to cover contraceptives. So, gentlemen, please take your outrage elsewhere.

Recently picked up a little volume on women in church history; Catholic church history so you know there is a bit of an inbuilt bias. The first is Prisca or Priscilla who worked with Paul. One of the early churches was in Ephesus, located in what is now Turkey. Ephesus was also the site of a major temple of Artemis with a well attended festival held every year. And every year the silver smiths did a land office business in little silver images of Artemis. Not content to mind their own souls, the church in Ephesus went after the pagans for their “obscene” images. The church, successfully minding other people’s business for nearly two thousand years.

Jump forward to the late fifth century. Newly converted to the Roman branch of the church by his wife Clotilde, Clovis of the Franks sets out to share the joys of his new faith with the people he rules; at the point of a sword. Here’s to you great great grand dad, four dozen or so times removed. You can choose your friends. All you can do with your ancestors is to try not the repeat their mistakes. Clovis was one of the original “my way or the highway” missionaries.

Surprising how many worshipers of the Old Gods chose the highway rather than convert, or kept as many of their old customs as they could for nearly a thousand years. No wonder the church made attending mass mandatory. At least many of the old ways did survive until they were caught between the hammer of the Reformation, the anvil of the Counter Reformation and the general you’re either with us or against us of European nation building. Even then, some folks on the fringes of Europe, the western highlands of Scotland and the western Isles, kept fragments alive well into the nineteenth century.

We don’t usually look at it from the pagan point of view, but I’m guessing that many of my unnamed and unknown pagan ancestors would have appreciated a little separation of church and state in their own time.

3 comments:

Lisa :-] said...

I personally am struck by the anti-feminine tone of abrahamic religions. These guys have felt threatened by women for millenia, and so have created a God who keeps women firmly in their place. I am certain the Creator did not intend for one-half of the human race to be trod upon by the other half...

JACKIE said...

Kathleen Norris said something along the lines of "the patriarchal men have never gotten over the fact that they needed a woman to get here."

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