Prison Inmates, Ex-Felons, and the Pagan Community

February 17th, 2013

ex-offenderAs many of you know, my wife and I serve our Gods through prison chaplaincy. Together, we carry Light and Joy into the dark and barren places to lift the hearts and spirits of those who are lowest. It is a mission that normally is never thought about in the larger Pagan community, but one that is slowly rising in the community conscience. Recently, Nels Linde of the Pagan Newswire Collective was kind enough to interview me about this topic. I’ll be leading a discussion at Paganicon on Saturday, March 16, 2013 about the role of ex-felons in the Pagan community, as they are released from the prison system. If you’re able to attend, I highly recommend it, as there are thousands of Pagan prisoners who will be released within the coming years into our community.

I also invite you to comment on this topic below. How do you feel about the role of ex-cons in Paganism in general? Is your group open to those who were formerly incarcerated? How do you screen visitors and those who request to become a candidate for membership in your group?

I’d like to use your comments in my discussion, so please indicate if you do not want them used.


One Response to “Prison Inmates, Ex-Felons, and the Pagan Community”

  1. marie Says:

    While I am a proponent of volunteer work, I must admit that I have never – and would never – consider working with prisoners. Especially considering that prisoners are in prison for a reason.

    And, honestly, if an ex-convict wanted to join our coven, my vote would be a firm ‘no’. Considering that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, I wouldn’t feel safe around someone who had spent time in prison (especially if the person was a violent criminal).

    This has been great food for thought. I didn’t realize I had such a strong prejudice against prisoners and ex-convicts, but reading this blog post caused an immediate, strong reaction in me. I usually challenge myself to get past any hangups I have with certain groups of people, but I don’t see a problem with this one. Considering that I am a single woman who travels around town alone, I think steering clear of convicted criminals is the smart thing to do. Having said that, I think it’s great that you and your wife choose to minister to these people. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it, right?

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