Bing Crosby suddenly unavoidable? Scent of cut pine in the air?
Must be time again for the Pagan Solstice Social.
Diane Dahm of Greenfield, spokesperson for the local pagan group Promise of Iris Pagan Outreach, says recognition of those who adhere to any of a variety of Pagan faiths is improving -- a bit. Those Pagans who reveal themselves at school or work can still expect to hear at least two questions, she says: "Are you in a biker gang?" and "Do you believe in God?"
Attendance at the second annual Social may help answer such questions. (For those playing along at home, the answers are "No" and "Yes, yes, yes and yes.") There aren't any traditional Pagan holiday dishes, Dahm says; in fact the potluck dinner, music, dancing and decorations will resemble your average Christmas party, she says, down to the decorations on a tree. After all, Pagans got to that one first.
Admission to the Social this year is a donated item for Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter in Kittanning; Iris members spend their year volunteering at charitable events, to show that Pagans are just plain folks. But Dahm realizes that may be an uphill battle in an era when the phrase "moral values" stands for only one variety of religion.
George W. Bush, after all, said back in 1999 that he believed Wicca, a variety of Paganism, was always synonymous with witchcraft, and that the military ought to stop recognizing Wicca as a religion. What are the chances that we'll see a Pagan president in the 21st century?
Says Dahm: "I don't think that would happen any time soon."
Dec. 11, Friends Meeting House, Oakland; Promise of Iris Pagan Outreach, www.promiseofiris.org.