Witches and Halloween (Rant Rant Rant)

There are times when I hate this time of year.
How do you explain to your supervisor that comments like “lets burn the witch at the stake” are really, really offensive?

She is a Christian and I am Wiccan. She does not know what religion I am, I believe that religion should be kept out of the work place (thus discouraging discrimination). She posts bible verses in her office and goes to church three times a week.

This morning one of the ladies that I work with was decorating for the holiday. One of her decorations is an ugly, green faced, hooked nose, warts all over witch doll which hangs from the ceiling.

She asked for my supervisor opinion on where it should go, and my supervisor replied “It’s a witch, lets burn it at the stake.”
The lady who decorates then decided (all unknowingly, I hope) that it was to go right next to my office.

The damned thing has been staring at me with its beady little eyes all damned day. I finally asked one of the guys to move it. I don’t care where, as long as it isn’t staring at me.

So. The problem of the doll being next to my office is fixed, albeit temporarily. There is always the possibility that the lady-who-decorates will come back and move it to its original position again.

The problem of the supervisor. I wanted to rip her head off when she made her unbelievable comment, now I have calmed down a bit. Now I just want an apology. But then I end up with the inevitable discrimination.

Maybe I should make a little poppet in a white robe, make it a little cross, and hang that from the ceiling next to her office while making comments about feeding Christians to lions like the good 'ol days.

She turned me into a newt.

Quite frankly, I don’t see any way of telling her without bringing religion into it.

There are very many people out there with no real understanding of anything that isn’t a part of their own life, especially so different religions. She is probably one of those people. Not neccessarily being purposefully mean and offensive, just another person out millions with no clue.

Now, now; let’s not go fighting fire with fire.

I agree that such comments are annoying at best and offensive at worst. Moreover, were I in your position, I would feel hesitant about saying anything, as being branded as “the witch chick” can get you one hell of a reputation, especially where I live.

I can’t give you much advice, as I’ve seldom had to deal with this problem. If it helps, from what I understand the “witches” who were burned were by and large not Wiccan or any other sort of pagan, but innocent Christians who did nothing worse than perhaps look at someone the wrong way at the wrong time, or whose land was nice and convenient to steal. Thus, all of mankind, and not merely us Wiccan/pagan folks, should take offense at such a display.

The one bit of advice that I can give you is this: ask her if she thinks Jesus would approve of burning people at the stake, and if she seems non-hostile, inform her that the “witches” that people burned were innocent people, by and large women, that others just thought were witches, or who were accused falsely. Then suggest a nice, tasteful ghost display. This enlightens the woman to her offense without enlightening her to your religious beliefs.

If she doesn’t want to do it. . .well, honestly, the best you can do is ignore it. My thoughts are with you, though hug.

Personally, I think you’ve made a mountain out of a molehill. If no one knows you’re a Wiccan, why do you think these actions are deliberate?

If you have a problem with the witch doll being near you, just tell your supervisor that it was freaking you out and you moved it. No other explanation should be necessary. My ex-girlfriend was freaked out by clowns. Some people are freaked out by spiders. Just move it, don’t make a big deal about it, and move on.

As for the “burn it at the stake” comment, I never would have thought of that as offensive, but I see your perspective. However, I can guarantee you that any one with zero contact with Wiccans would EVER see the offense in it, either. The intention to offend was not there, if that helps.

Try actually communicating with your supervisor. You’d be suprised how much easier it is than waiting for everyone to read your mind.

sigh I’ve gone through this before, and there’s no easy answer. You either ignore it and get irritated everytime someone makes a comment like that, or you confront it, and risk discrimination. Plus, butting heads with a supervisor when it’s avoidable isn’t usually advisable, especially if she’s the unapproachable type.

Perhaps talking to the supervisor and approach it from the feminism angle? Like…it was all about oppression and destruction of womenand you find that offensive that she’d buy into that? It doesn’t really tackle why you’re upset, but it’d leave religion out of it entirely.

Or you could go with a graphic description of what it’s like to be burned alive with a really good disgustingly graphic picture of what that’d be like, complete with skin melting off. =p
Never again the Burning Times.

Well we did do the nose…

And the hat…

But she IS a witch!!

Build a bridge out of her!

sigh I’ve gone through this before, and there’s no easy answer. You either ignore it and get irritated everytime someone makes a comment like that, or you confront it, and risk discrimination. Plus, butting heads with a supervisor when it’s avoidable isn’t usually advisable, especially if she’s the unapproachable type.

Perhaps talking to the supervisor and approach it from the feminism angle? Like…it was all about oppression and destruction of womenand you find that offensive that she’d buy into that? It doesn’t really tackle why you’re upset, but it’d leave religion out of it entirely.

Or you could go with a graphic description of what it’s like to be burned alive with a really good disgustingly graphic picture of what that’d be like, complete with skin melting off. =p
Never again the Burning Times.

Um…I’ve no idea how that happened, sorry for the double post made quite some time after my original.

mutters about needing to stop having 12 windows open at once and improper usage of the back and refresh buttons

Counter-rant aimed at ignorant Wiccans:

Maybe you should get over it because you’re not a witch.

Those persecuted ‘witches’ of old, upon which the modern stereotype is based were not ancient Wiccans. They were hysterical rantings of superstitious people who conflated the Paganism of old with non-existent Satanism.

There’s no such thing as ancient Wiccans. Wiccanism was not passed down in an unbroken and invariable chain of tradition from mother to daughter from time immemorial. Wiccanism is a modern reinterpretation of pre-Christian Paganism.

The Wicked Witch of the West is not an example of religious bigotry.

Call yourself a ‘witch’ all you want and look dumb. Unless you’re mixing Satanism in with your Paganism, you’re not a witch (not that witches ever truly existed in the first place).

Learn the history of your own religion, for pete’s sake.

Oh please. First off, modern wicca has little or nothing to do with the “witchhunters” of the past. Wicca, as practiced today, is barely fifty years old. Nobody ever hunted wiccans. No Wiccans were ever burned at the stake.

Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with your own history:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_hist.htm

Why the Wiccans insisted on calling themselves “witches” is beyond me. But they did, and because they purposelly linked themselves to 15th Century boogeywomen, I don’t have much sympathy for you when you lament that link. The witches of the 15th and 16th centuries were not Wiccan. That religion didn’t even exist. And no, they weren’t Celtic Pagans, either. The Celtic Pagans converted back in the 7th and 8th centuries. In most cases, “witches” were simply women with mild psychological problems that the superstitous considered “possessed by demons”. A whole mythology developed around this sociological phenomena. Read The Crucible for a better understanding of why some people were burned.

With the age of reason, fear of witches evaporated. The figure of the witch became a caricature of evil. Something to have fun with.

Look, I’m sorry that your religion decided to name itself after the same Saxon word that gave us “witch”, but YOU did it - not the Christians. We had the ugly green hag on the broomstick long before y’all decided to recreate a religion that fell extinct over a millenia ago. We’re not stupid, we know that wiccans aren’t that type of witch. But naming yourselves after one of our boogeymen and then expecting us to give up that boogeyman simply because you named yourselves after it is a bit selfish.

Wow, simulcounterant!

What Cecil had to say:

Thank you, moriah and Monkey.

Poppy, get over it: not everything is about you.

When that scenario happens to me, I just tell them I find that sort of thing quite personally hurtful because my 9x great grandmother was hung for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 (which is actually true). That usually shuts them up.

You could claim the same thing about an ancestress. Or even an ancestor. More than one man was executed for it too. Heck, I doubt if they’ll check.

I DONT think that the actions were deliberate, nor did I say that I felt the actions were deliberate. What I feel is offended that the comments were said at all. Saying that ANYONE deserves to be burned at the stake is highly offensive to me. It shows just how incredibly insensitive that person is.

Due to my religion and how I was raised I may have more of a problem with the comments than others. But then I have had people tell me that I was a really nice, sweet girl, and that they would be happy to be friends with me- IF I WAS CHRISTIAN.

Nice way to write off most of the world, folks.

So, maybe I am sensitive. The sensitivity has been earned.

I do understand that the beast knows not what comes out of it’s mouth. I still dont think that ignorance is much of an excuse.

Spoken like a person who doesnt know that if I did try to communicate with her, I would be the first one on the list for the next round of lay-offs. It’s called prejudice. And it happens wether or not it is legal.

moriah and A Monkey With a Gun

Maybe you should re-read my post. I called my self Wiccan, not a witch. I am Very familiar with the origins of today’s interpretations of earth religions. Hell, when I was little I helped fold the goddamned pamphlets and lick stamps.

http://www.toteg.com

That still dosent mean that I am or should be comfortable with my boss saying that witches, or anyone else for that matter, should be burned at the stake.

Saying that I am not a witch, so why should I care, and also implying that I dont know my religious background is so incredibly rude and holyer than thou.

Oh, and Lissener… Its a wonder! Really!?! I SO didn’t know that! :rolleyes:

Well, if it is true that you are offended because of the violence of the image rather than because of your religion (and frankly, I’m not convinced of that) you are still being ultra-sensitive.

True, no one should be burned at the stake. I think we can all agree on that. I think that we can also agree that no one should be stabbed through the heart with a wooden stake or shot with a silver bullet. Those things are pretty violent, too. But it’s Halloween. Get over it.

Your boss didn’t say she wanted witches to burn at the stake, she said that the office needed to burn like witches at the stake. Would you be offended if you belonged to the Sierra Club and your boss had said “Let’s make like a tree and leaf?”

I apologize for my above comment. Upon re-reading the OP, I see that that is not what her boss said.