Responding to Troy Davis’ Death: Community Responsibility

The death of Troy Davis, a recently executed and very likely innocent man, has sparked discussion and writing from my friends in other faiths. But, as far as I can tell, no Pagans are writing about the situation.

Being un-organized is one of the Pagan community’s defining characteristics. Liberated from rigid perspectives, we can move intuitively, shaping a practice and our perspectives organically. With no system of transference, education and spiritual development must come from each of us – deeply personal by definition. We are responsible for ourselves.

So, what do we lose?

Although we are a diverse community, the importance of the Earth and the recognition that we are pieces of a whole – whether that whole is divine, biological, or some combination – is a common idea I find across modern earth religions. Theologically, the execution of a potentially innocent man (seven of the nine witnesses later recounted their testimony, and clemency was still denied) should spark outrage among furious Pagans everywhere.

And perhaps it did. Perhaps many of us, independently, signed petitions and challenged those around us to see the imminent injustice.

But what could we accomplish as a community? And is there anyone out there writing on the death penalty from an earth religious perspective?

So much of what I see online and in the average bookstore is focused on spells without much theo(a)logical grounding; and too often a false history. At best, you could make the case that most of that writing revolves around identity formation, which is a consequence of the lack of organization.

I won’t deny that I found the earthy path as a teenager. It took time to develop a religious understanding and identity, and that is important work. I don’t want everyone to think the same, or lose the potential and significance of the personally developed. But we cannot stop there. We need to move forward, grounded in our ideas and practices, towards social justice and community responsibility. We need to put our voices out there, calling for equality and humanity.

Because we are earthy. Because when you are a piece of the whole, a human on Earth, a soul in the Divine Nature, being responsible for yourself demands community engagement.

2 Comments to “Responding to Troy Davis’ Death: Community Responsibility”

  1. Thank you for post…
    As a Pagan person I know have to wonder are the Burning Times going to be revived now?

    • Well, the Burning Times, as I understand it, is a wide and not particularly clear term. But, thinking about it, I wonder if the death penalty in the States is like a long, slow Burning Times…one of the major campaign points in the effort to prevent Davis’ execution was “I am Troy Davis”: the idea that we could all be executed in a case with similar, as in little, evidence. So…sort of yes.

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