I am a Gatekeeper

I have been hearing a new word in polytheistic circles lately, and it’s a word I am really starting to dislike. OK, it’s not really a new word, but it is a word being used in a new way: “Gatekeeper.” To be more precise, it is “Gatekeeper” used as a pejorative.

This word represents a new and pernicious effort of the uber-Universalist types. Universalists have always believed that everyone has the right to declare themselves a member of our tradition, no matter who they are. Lately, however, it seems they are not content with having their own views, but must also attack everyone who does not believe exactly like they do.

Which brings us to the whole “Gatekeeper” thing. It is the term they are using to attack anyone who tries to hold standards for entry into our traditions. If, for instance, a level-headed Tribalist happens to mention that no, you cannot worship Marvel Thor and Marvel Odin and call yourself a heathen, or you cannot believe that the gods are really alien astronauts and call yourself a heathen, then the uber-Universalists start screaming “Gatekeeper!” like it meant “Nazi.”

Good grief. Uber-universalists to the left of me, Folkies to the right… I feel like I’m up to my armpits in fascists these days.

Well, I am proud to call myself a Gatekeeper. Our religion, like any religion, needs standards. You want to be a member? You have to earn the right. That includes a fair bit of learning. Too lazy or self-important to do it? Try the Unitarians. They take anyone.

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5 thoughts on “I am a Gatekeeper

  1. […] We should all be gatekeepers for our traditions. That is what a devout person does: keeps the trash out.  What kind of traditions will we have if we open our doors to everyone, regardless of whether or not they uphold the tradition’s values, honor the tradition’s Gods, or wish to contribute to its future. Traditions require boundaries and it is the sacred responsibility of every single member of that tradition to protect them. WAyland Skalagrimsson wrote about this recently here and it’s worth a read: via I am a Gatekeeper […]

  2. ganglerisgrove says:

    well said. As i posted on my blog (sharing this), it is the sacred obligation of every member of a tradition to protect and guard it’s boundaries. we’re not unitarians. We have standards.

  3. If we are for everything, then we are for nothing. I agree with Gatekeeping. I believe the Universalists have their place but so do the Restrictive people.

    From the book, “The Gift of Fear,” the author writes that if the person disregards boundaries or the word “no,” they are someone to avoid since they disregard your personhood. They want to be in charge and in control.

    When religious traditions set up boundaries, they deciding their collective personhood. Their sacred entity. Saying “no” is a sacred thing.

  4. caelesti says:

    I’ve been part of numerous Pagan & other groups over the years- it’s no surprise to me that the ones that last & continue to be successful (as in they have effective rituals, ethical leaders/members, teach students that become good leaders/clergy/layfolk and/or parents of children they raise polytheist/pagan.) have more structure and boundaries. Those that include anyone with very little requirements as to membership & participation quickly burn out or implode. Many people unfortunately give up after only one such attempt, and don’t really learn from the experience. Gatekeeping is misunderstood as arbitrary exclusion & bigotry and while sometimes that may be a factor, it’s more typically expecting people to behave decently and follow within the group, what the tradition entails or does not entail. And amazingly, even UUs have some boundaries!

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