ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Is a ‘Persecution Complex’? And Why Is it Bad for Wicca?

Updated on August 25, 2016
WiccanSage profile image

A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

One thing that surprised me the most when I first started using the internet was that so many people—even others in the magical and Pagan community—saw Wiccans as a bunch of whiny, defensive crybabies out of touch with reality. The Wiccans I had long known in my coven and from Pagan gatherings were not like this, so I didn't understand it.

It doesn't take much looking around to figure out how this perception came about, though. It’s the result of what many of us call the “Persecution Complex”, and it's been made worse by a lot of irresponsible authors (both in print, or self-published on the internet). Not everyone has it; but those who do are a vocal minority who are damaging our community’s image in a way that embarrasses many of us.

What do you mean I can't dress like this for work?

Don't persecute me just because I'm Wiccan!
Don't persecute me just because I'm Wiccan! | Source

Wiccans With a Persecution Complex

Have ever known one?

See results

What Is a Persecution Complex?

Once you begin reading books and websites about Wicca, start hanging out in Wicca chat rooms and message boards, you will inevitably come across some situations like this:

  • My boss wants me to work on Yule because it’s so busy, but then he closes for Christmas! This religious discrimination in the workplace is against the law!
  • There’s a Christian church in my town that were handing out tracts saying Wicca and Pagan religions are wrong! This kind of hatred is why 13 million Wiccans were killed during the burning times! They’re still persecuting us!
  • My parents won’t let me wear a pentacle or buy Wiccan stuff for my room! They make me go to church with the family on Sundays! They’re taking away my constitutional right to freedom of religion!

Not to mention, sometimes you buy a Pagan CD thinking you might get some good music, when instead there is track after track of Pagan rebel songs talking about Christians raping and pillaging us in the past.

I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s the kind of thing that makes me totally cringe. It’s the poor, wounded, angry bird attitude, The person who is convinced the only reason he does not get his way is that there is a conspiracy against his religion. Just the act of someone disagreeing, or – Goddess forbid—disliking Wicca is seen as a universal injustice, a wrong that needs to be righted!

If You Are Wiccan...

Did you ever have a Persecution Complex?

See results

You Might Be a Victim When...

There have been cases of real wrongdoing. People have:

  • been singled out and banned from doing things in public places that other religions are allowed to do
  • been fired, denied a job, apartment, etc. because of their religion
  • been taken to court to have their custody of their children challenged
  • abused or thrown out of their home as children
  • been picketed or run out of town for trying to open a religious-based business
  • been jailed, tortured, put to death

These are just a few examples of very real cases of oppression, discrimination and persecution that unfortunately still occur today. So I don’t mean to say that everyone who complains of unfair treatment is just being overly-dramatic. When someone has a legitimate complaint, it’s not a Persecution Complex.

Now THIS Is Persecution


When You’re Not Really a Victim

A Persecution Complex is when people make a stink over non-issues. It’s when someone misinterprets the reason for not getting their way as being due to their religion. It’s when a person A thinks that person B should put his own religious beliefs aside when person A is around. It’s when a person invokes things that happened a long time ago, or things that never actually happened, as ‘proof’ to make another group look bad.

For example:

  • Unless you explicitly outline it in your contract, your boss is not under law obligated to give anyone holidays off
  • It's not wrong for private business owners to decide what image they want their employees to project to their clients
  • While public schools may not be allowed to discriminate about who is allowed to wear what religious symbols (they either have to ban them all, or allow them all), private schools certainly are allowed to do so
  • people saying they don't like your religion, thinking it's wrong, thinking it's a threat to society, etc. is not discrimination; it's free speech
  • if someone doesn't feel comfortable with different religions being practiced in their own home, they have every right to ban it. Unless you legally rent a room/apartment from the person, it is their business and right to ask you to cease and desist
  • the Constitution guarantees the government can't take away your religious freedom; it does not mean your parents can't expect you to attend church or prohibit you from attending Wiccan events or reading Wiccan books

One of the worst effects of the Persecution Complex is when someone distorts history to have a chip on their shoulder and justify their own hatred and prejudices -- like when Wiccans invoke the 'burning times' to paint Christians as villains. How many Wiccans were killed during the ‘burning times’? None. Wicca didn’t even exist back then. There were not millions of Witches killed (it was around 60,000 at most). The vast majority were not Witches or even Pagans—they were mostly Christians, victims of mass hysteria. Not to mention, Pagans burned accused Witches, too. The word ‘witch’ was never associated with good people until almost the 20th century. But even if ancient Christians burned Witches-- how does that make modern-day Christians responsible for it?

Save Accusations for the Real Thing


If You're Not Wiccan...

Have you ever known a Wiccan with a persecution complex?

See results

How It Hurts Our Community

A Persecution Complex makes the individual look like an uninformed, hypersensitive drama queen, but the whole attitude reflects badly on our community. Standing out there crying persecution, oppression or discrimination is self-appointing oneself a spokesperson for our entire religion. When a Wiccan accuses Christians of burning us and trying to kill us, it makes people think this is some kind of Wiccan teaching. If a Wiccan is basically the boy who cried wolf, it makes us all look bad.

We are not required to hold sabbats or esbats on specific days the way Jews have to observe Rosh Hashana or shabbos. We’re not obligated to wear pentagrams the way Muslim women are obligated to wear head coverings. It’s not against our religion to sit through a Christian prayer or church service the way it might be against a Christian's religion to sit through one of ours. When a Wiccan expects special consideration at work, at school, or even in the home, when they’re not even really necessary, we look unreasonable. When Wiccans dress up, donning pentagrams the size of dinner plates and what looks like renaissance garb, don’t be surprised at the negative attention it might bring. This would be the equivalent of a Christian going to a majority-Wiccan country (if there were one) in a white loincloth while carrying a giant cross. It practically screams, “Go ahead— say something about me! I dare you!”

When someone does, crying persecution just makes you look like a fool.

Mostly, it’s just irresponsible behavior. It belittles and detracts attention from legitimate cases of discrimination and persecution. Wicca is certainly not the only religion to have members with a Persecution Complex, but no matter where it comes from it’s never a good thing. Intellectual dishonesty and false accusations are exacerbating the problems between people of different religions, not helping them. Everyone needs to think long and hard before pointing any fingers because we have a responsibility to our society and to our community to treat such accusations very seriously. That includes thinking carefully about them before making any.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)