Still hot as Hell in Philadelphia this Labor Day Weekend, but welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" anyway! Here -- have an iced tea. You can sit right next to the fan, unless some bored deity drops in.
Speaking of deities, I'm freshly back from Philadelphia Pagan Pride Day, and what a great day it was! No protesters, just lots and lots of fun people in Clark Park, both inside and outside the event.
(Aside: The Proud Boys called Clark Park the "Belly of the Beast." If it truly is the Belly of the Beast, then I want to be a heaping hot plate of Beast food!)
The nice thing about living in a big city like Philadelphia is that we always get some first-class keynote speakers at PPPD. This year it was Diana Paxson, novelist and Heathen. And her talk really made me take a cold, hard look at the Independent Republic of Johnsonia.
In a nutshell, Diana Paxson feels that Pagans should not cede the American experiment to the Christian nationalists but should instead fight for the nation's civic religion. Then she explained what that civic religion is.
If you think about it, it's so obvious. America, being a pluralistic nation, has created a whole religion independent of any sect or creed. We have founding documents and iconic figures ("mighty ancestors"). We have holy days, and a Pledge of Allegiance that sounds a whole lot like an oath. We have hymns. And a flag that flies in both blue states and red states. Not only that, we have Lady Liberty out in New York Harbor, and the Goddess Columbia (I've interviewed her here before) whose statue graces the very pinnacle of the Capitol building.Rather than rejecting this civil religion, Diana Paxson suggests we embrace it, because it has dope rituals and is predicated on everyone being equal, which let's face it, most religions aren't.
Well, this fine lady already had me swayed pretty firmly, and then she sealed the deal. She told everyone to put off shopping for bargains on Labor Day and instead celebrate the workers, because Labor Day is a holy day! And boy, did I swell with self-righteousness, because I was already planning to do just that!
Ms. Paxson then led a ritual that touched on the same themes and included Lady Liberty as the deity of moment. And she again mentioned Labor Day as a time to honor all the workers, past and present, that have moved this country forward.
Gosh, I wanted to bake her a pie.
Now I'm feeling as if the ol' US of A actually needs me. I would call the government of Johnsonia into session with the prospect of dissolving the union, but I can't wrangle a quorum of squirrels in this heat.
Happy Labor Day, America!