I have to give a big public thank you to Missy Harper, a friend of many years. Shortly after it came to light that folk were finally starting to object to something I objected wildly to several years ago, she provided a link to a discussion of Mental health, Substance abuse, and other matters withing what the article calls the pagan community. It begins:
“There’s an elephant in the room. Pagan communities allow completely inexcusable behavior by leaders, teachers, and group members. There’s a range mental health issues (particularly untreated mental illness) that we don’t talk about that add to this problem.” – From Pagan Activist
I should first disclaim that, due to my own challenges, my attention span is far too short to have taken in and retained the whole of the article. So while I can not say I agree with every word, I do want to point people to the article and say that I think that in overview, the author of this article is now one of my favorites.
I see the issue as one far beyond what folk tend to call the “pagan community”. I do not want to use a title like “liberal” for fear of bringing this into the political realm, but I do think we have approached upon a hot topic in political circles. As our society advances and evolves, we have embraced tolerance as if it is an all together good thing. I think often tolerance simply goes too far. Sometimes, being tollerant of a person’s actions actually harms the person to whom tolerance is extended.
I am reminded of a young lady who claimed to hear voices in her head. One new age guru told her it was Freya speaking to her. He recommended street / illegal hallucinogens to improve the level and clarity of communication. A responsible shop keeper in the area recommended she immediately seek medical attention. She listened to the shop keeper for a time, saw a doctor, and improved her life dramatically.
Ah, but the inappropriate tolerance is not limited to any one community. Years later, she saw a different therapist who concluded that since hearing voices was tolerated by her religious community, it could not be used for psychological criteria. She was removed from the medication and returned to making decisions based on what the goddess in her head advised. Her live did not improve.