If you follow me on tumblr [click here for my blog], you may have seen a post that asks those who wear pentagrams and pentacles to recount their weirdest and/or rudest encounters with fellow humans.
I reblogged it and added my own anecdote to the post, but I am going to post it here for non-tumblr users to see.
Here it is:
I live in a village that is an hour away from the closest city, a city that is very dear to me.
In my village, everyone knows everyone else, whether the connection is direct or by varying degrees of separation, so I don’t tend to have any trouble with the people here.
My city, however, is a vastly different story.
Due to the size of the city, and its importance to my country, the population is huge and therefore, so is the cultural mix within it.
However, you only really ever see Christian and Catholic preachers – they come in different forms: some have booths set up along the main shopping street; some wear sandwich boards and holler at you through megaphones, their words incomprehensible. Some have little booklets lined up on portables shelves, and others wonder in droves, targeting individuals like prey.
Once upon a time, as I walked alone down the main hgihstreet with my earphones in, a man with a sandwich board and a megaphone stepped straight into my path. I stopped abruptly, muttered an apology and tried to pass him on the left.
He stepped sideways and blocked me.
Panic started to set in at this point, because I tend to avoid confrontational situations and this felt like it could turn into one of those.
I took out my earphones and went to ask the man if he would would kindly step aside.
Instead, as soon as my ears were devoid of music, he started talking. But, he wasn’t talking. His voice was raised – not yet a shout, but close – and he was reciting something.
I don’t think it was a Biblical passage, but it went like this: “She is only a child; cleanse her soul and bring her forth to the kingdom of our Father. Lift her from condemnation!”
Naturally, I felt awful at this point because I was being singled out and shouted at/to in a street that lead off from a public square, was lined with shops and banks and eateries, and had a tram stop running down it. The place was absolutely brimming with people.
I said that I was in a rush and had to go and (I will admit to being rude by doing this), I used my elbows to work my way around him and the other people passing by.
As I squeezed past him, he reached out and touched the pentacle that hangs from my tattoo choker (if you look through my tumblr you’ll see the choker in photographs of me) whilst saying, “Condemned to Hell be those within whom Satan works.”
I walked away as quickly as I could, red faced and angry. I was scared, and felt humiliated. I have always wondered why, if he thought I was a child (I was 20) he deemed it justifiable to subject me to that whole shit show.
I never saw what was written on his sandwich board. Or I did see it, and have forgotten the minuscule details of the whole encounter.
I would first like to say, that I am not being rude or trying to tarnish the reputation of Christians and their denominations. It just so happens that this whole debacle happened because a preacher of that faith approached me.
Whilst I was in the city that day, I saw a booth that said “Islamic Literature”, and two or three groups of Mormon missionaries.
There are two reasons why this whole thing has stayed with me since it happened.
- Although it is likely that the preacher did not mean to come across as aggressive, his blocking of my path, raised voice and eventual invasion of my personal space came across as such.
This was exacerbated by the fact that I was alone, clearly had earphones in and have a lot of anxiety surrounding confrontation and sometimes, even just social interaction.
- You cannot make assumptions about people like that. You have no right to demonize and humiliate people simply because you want to make often radical assumptions about something you see.
Assumptions can be damaging. Assumptions hurt. Assumptions spread false information if they’re shouted loud enough.
There is nothing wrong with Satanic witches, traditional or LaVeyan, – let’s make that clear – but there is a lot wrong with condemning innocent people to Hell; with scaremongering and hateful comments.
The lesson here, it to engage your brain before your mouth. Think about what you’re doing, and who can be hurt through what you say.