Friday, May 08, 2009

Tolerance (and Pagan Gatherings)

Before I get into the questions, I need to tell the story of what sparked this topic.

A poster was griping on a local pagan email list today. She's been to a large outdoor festival held on private property over the weekend, and was annoyed that the owners of the property/organizers of the festival had the audacity to limit the smoking areas to two small portions of the property. These areas were also inconvenient for her as she as mobility issues.

I've probably not made myself a lot of friends on that list for pointing out that (a) the property owners can set any rules they want and (b) smoking is not a civil liberty and I'm tired of hearing smokers whine about being discriminated against.

This got me thinking about larger issues of "tolerance" in our communities. I've heard of folks equating intolerance with not allowing wide-spread smoking, or public drunkenness. I've heard of folks getting bitchy because someone got offended that their children were running unsupervised and amok during a ritual or gathering.

So my questions are:

Do we have to allow anything and everything at our gatherings in the name of "tolerance"?

Conversely, if we set limits (no public drunkenness, nudity only in certain areas, no smoking, etc) are we unnecessarily curtailing someone's rights/freedoms?

I don't like the idea some folks have that anything goes in pagan communities (or non-mainstream communities, to be more broad about it) simply because we're not mainstream. Many of our paths emphasize personal responsibility, or hospitality, or both... how is either virtue served by being inconsiderate to others (sometimes to the point of completely disrupting the gathering or ritual)?

Am I just being a heavy? Have other folks had similar run-ins with folks with the same sense of "entitlement"?

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