I was not expecting to make any friends when I posted my series on libertarianism. I expected to make some enemies when I posted my opinions on libertarianism and the occult. The last thing that I expected was to find myself in an actual dialog with members of the Church of All Worlds. I spent this morning on the telephone with CAW’s communications officer. What can I say? The man is very good at his job. He managed to change some of my opinions of Church of All Worlds.
I am not going to retract my opinion of CAW as a political entity. I still believe that Church of All Worlds is part of the reactionary wave that hit the nation during the Reagan years and looks to seek answers in a past that never happened. This goes along with my opinion that religion and the concept of god/dess is a reactionary belief. I think the world would be a much better place without the concept of divinity. I would also be more receptive to the entire CAW concept if they would just cut the religious aspect out of it.
The founder of CAW sent me an email which denied that CAW was a libertarian church. The founder says one thing and followers say another. This is a basic problem with religion in America. The followers always take the ideas of the founders and “Americanize” them. The CAW I was introduced to was a bastion of American concepts like the Protestant Work Ethic, sin, and libertarianism.
I am not going to change my stand on polyamory. I feel strongly that HIV and STDs make polyamory a dangerous idea. I also think that polyamory is extremely sexist. It puts the weight of the risks on the women. The closest I will come to an agreement on polyamory is to agree to disagree.
I spent this morning speaking to the CAW Inc. communications officer. He explained that there is no copyright on the name Church of All Worlds. There are other entities calling themselves Church of All Worlds. From what I understand, they may be splinter groups of the original CAW. These splinter groups even share the same meeting grounds as CAW Traditions. There may even be a CAW or two which have nothing to do with the original CAW. The original CAW went out of existence some years ago. It is returning under the name CAW Inc. The original founders and many of the original members are involved in CAW Inc.
In my blog entry about Libertarianism and the Occult, I mentioned that I was in contact with people who had been sexually assaulted by members of CAW and on CAW meeting grounds. I have been assured by The information officer from CAW Inc. says that such behavior was never condoned by the original CAW. Such behavior will not be tolerated by by the board of directors of CAW Traditions Inc. He also stated that CAW Traditions Inc. will do their utmost to to prevent sexual abuse and to prosecute abusers if caught.
CAWInc. is in the process of recreating the CAW concept and correcting past mistakes. While some of the people I had bad experiences with were indeed members of the old CAW, they are not members of CAW Inc. The information officer doubts that they will ever become members of CAW Inc. The spokesman was very enthusiastic about how CAW Traditions Inc. is dedicated to creating a safe environment for everybody. I am happy that they are receptive to the idea of creating structures to protect people from abuse.
I hope that we can keep the lines of communications open. There are more things I would like to discuss with CAW Inc. We never touched on the subject of victim’s rights and the difficulty of intervening in child abuse. However, for the time being, I am willing to believe that the members and board of CAW Traditions Inc are innocent of sexual abuse, harassment, and molestation. My experiences with some of the past members of CAW were pretty ugly, and left a very bad taste in my mouth. I think that this colored my post about libertarianism and the occult.
I have taken my blog post about Libertarianism and the occult offline. I will be rewriting it soon. I also invite a representative of CAW Inc. to write an article on Positive Sexuality and to post it on my blog. I want them to include contact information so that interested parties will get in touch with the CAW Traditions Inc. I may not agree with CAW Traditions Inc. and all it stands for, but if people are going to get involved in polyamory, I would rather they get in touch with them instead some other people I could think of. There are many things that CAW and I are going to have to agree to disagree on, but fair is fair. After all the drama we went through, it is only right that I give CAW a chance to tell their side on my space.
Belief in the occult is neither fascist nor Libertarian. My purpose here is to not place disbelief on anybody’s religious or spiritual beliefs, but to bring into question many of the political beliefs expressed by some occult groups. Quite often belief in the occult goes hand in hand with oppression. The Treaty of Versailles triggered a renewed nationalism in the German people. German Rosicrucians reexamined the ancient German myths and ancient runic alphabets to create a revived Teutonic religion that celebrated German history and culture. Many Nazis came out of these alternative religions, but the religions themselves were not fascist.
The Sixties gave rise to a pagan renaissance in the United States, now called Neo-Paganism. The mainline and Pentecostal churches’ open support for the Vietnam war and the Nixon Administration gave rise to a matriarchal paganism that was imported from England. Neo-Paganism became a direct challenge to established religion when a psychotherapist calling herself Starhawk published a book called The Spiral Dance. Starhawk introduced a consensus-driven religion without dogma or hierarchy. This idea proved so popular copycat books were picked up by mainstream publishers. Starhawk’s Wicca took the country by storm.
Without structure or form, Wicca became another victim of the American religion. As independent Wiccan covens popped up across the country, people imposed the familiar structures of the American Religion upon it. Not able to understand the lack of hierarchy, “High Priestesses” become absolute dictators. Not being able to understand a religion without sin or enforced morality, both concepts are replaced with “The Three Fold Law.” The High Priestess is the absolute judge as to what is and what is not a violation of the “Three Fold Law.” Starhawk’s Wicca has as great a potential of being a tool of oppression as it does of being a means of liberation.
It only makes sense that Libertarianism would find suitable mates amongst the Neo-Pagans. Libertarians claim to be about Liberty, but actually protect and defend corporate oppression. Many Neo-Pagan groups claim to be about liberation actually reinforce the American Religion. These Libertarian Neo-Pagan groups include rigid conformity and morality, the absolute belief in a mythic history, and a rigid hierarchy. They pretty much reduce their mother goddess to Jesus Christ in drag.
One such Neo-Pagan group which I have had a chance to observe first hand is Church of all Worlds. CAW predates Starhawk by a good ten years. It began around the time that Buckland and Sanders were introducing the idea of Paganism. It was based on the book Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. Starting out as just another sex, drugs, and rock and roll cult of the Sixties, CAW jumped on the Neo-Pagan band wagon after The Spiral Dance. In the late Seventies they joined in with Karl Hess’s New Left, and now call themselves a “Libertarian Pagan Church”.
Rather than adopt the anarchist consensus-based structure proposed by Starhawk, CAW has a very rigid Freemason-like hierarchy. They have a rigid morality based on polyamory and group sex. Unfortunately, it is a morality based on patriarchal male dominance. Bisexuality is encouraged amongst the female members, but not the males. Women having sex together is a turn on for many men. Women also do not have the same rights to turn down sex as men do. I know several women, some underage, who had been sexually assaulted at CAW events, and it was the CAW women who were most active in protecting the perpetrators. That is certainly rigid conformity in morality. CAW insist on the literal truth of their matriarchal mythical history, and apply the Three Fold Law as another incarnation of the Protestant Work Ethic. In other words if something bad happens to you, it was because you disobeyed the High Priestess or did something to piss off the group.
What I find the most interesting about CAW is their insistence that the rest of the world hates them. They treat the rest of the world as Evangelical Christianoids simply because we are not interested in their version of the true faith. The fact of the matter is that most of us don’t give a fiddler’s damn who they pray to or who they screw. Rather than to stand up for their legal rights, CAW members prefer to consider society “evil” and the government the “black empire” and drop out of society.
This dovetails nicely with Libertarian thought, which also sees the government as evil. Neither Libertarians or CAW members feel any responsibility towards their fellow citizens or the government that is supposed to be representing them. They see any sort of structure as a threat to their freedoms. It never occurs to them that they can work to change these structures. We will go into this in more detail as we examine the protection of corporate power in the next post.