“So, throughout the years I've heard many arguments for both sides of this. I am pro-choice and have been told I'm not a true pagan because of that. So, are you pro-life or pro-choice? Why?”
I'm pro-choice. It’s nice to get that out of the way. I used to stumble over saying that out loud until I realized that the phrase is more about choice than it is about being okay with “killing” something. I believe that people should basically be left alone when it comes to their moral choices. I am ALL FOR CHOICE. The right to choose belongs to all realized, legal, law-abiding adults, and should not be taken away by the government.
Women have had control over their right to breed for thousands of years before "civilized" society made a thing of it. Whether it was religion who started the movement first, or simply some scorned male tribesman who was angry that his progeny was killed in the womb, we don’t know or care. It should not be a political issue; neither should birth control pills or pap smears or mammograms. Can you see prostate exams becoming a social/political issue? How would you like to see the right to choose what a man does with his sperm taken away? No one is ever going to be persecuted or prosecuted for murder if he flushes his sperm down the toilet, or wipes it up with a tissue and throws it away. There’d be no more “facials” in porn. Gods know we can't have that!
So let’s look back at a less modern society. Imagine you’re in a small tribe of people with limited resources. These people are “true Pagans.” The Wiccan next door might be the closest thing you will find to a “true Pagan” in your neighborhood, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. True Pagans predate religion. Paganism was not a religion, but a way of life. It was the honoring of the seasons, being grateful for the relief when the days started getting longer. It was the acknowledgement of spirit flowing between humans and plants and animals. It was the rituals they performed to ensure a good hunt and a productive harvest. These people didn’t need Google to identify their stones and their herbs and their animals. What would these true Pagans think of us with our online books of shadows and our Proudly Pagan bumper stickers on our automobiles? What would they think when they see us refer to Cunningham’s herbal for the magickal properties of mugwort? What would they think when we download and print a ritual for Solstice off of About.com? How about when that life-revering Wiccan next door tells them that she’s a vegetarian because “all life is sacred” while they pray to the spirit of the deer, thanking it for giving its life so that they can live? I’m going to point out right now that I’m against world-wide change towards strict vegetarianism as well, but that’s a topic for a different time.
None of us are true Pagans, so don’t let some asshole on the internet or in the checkout line at the grocery store or at your next vegan pot-luck try and shame you out of believing that people should have a choice. The problem here is that people forget more and more that true Pagans are the people who lived before all this religious nonsense; people who lived in and with nature. Where you stand on this issue makes you no more or less a Pagan at any given time. Let’s think back on those tribes again: There were all kinds of reasons to not breed or to back out of a pregnancy at any given time in the history of mankind: survival, food supply, climate changes, rape, incest, a more desirable mate showing interest, tribal population… I could go on. There are, and always have been herbs you can ingest that will force a miscarriage. Do you think our great, great, great, great grandmothers didn't use them? If so, think again.
If you’re concerned about being a true Pagan, concern yourself with living your life as true to nature and to yourself as possible. Now don’t get me wrong, using your cell phone to look up the properties of quartz while you’re shopping in your local metaphysical store isn’t going to make you not a Pagan. Paganism has evolved to accept technology because people aren’t stupid. When someone invents something that makes life easier, you use it because that’s what evolution demands. We sleep comfortably in beds at night, indoors, with heat and running water because it is man’s nature to become at rest. Seeking comfort is programmed into us by nature. So look up your spells online and buy your candles at Rite-Aid and buy your herbs at Market Basket, and don’t worry about what anyone else tells you. Truly believing in the interconnectedness of man and earth is inside your heart, not where you stand on your political issues. Be strong, stand up for your beliefs, and stand up for everyone’s right to choose what they want in their life, and who they want to be.
And while you’ve got that cell phone out, go ahead and refer to the definition of Pagan. Put that in their face if they feel the need to get in yours. What makes a Pagan? You do.