Pagan symbols not to blame for NIU

By Sharon Cabana

Recently in the news, there’s been much ado about the tattoos the NIU shooter, Steve Kazmierczak received at one of the tattoo parlors in town. Last week, a report in the DI detailed the tattoos, including a pentagram. As a Pagan student and practicing Witch, I thought it important to respond to any questions or concerns that might arise about that particular tattoo.

Over the years, due largely to Hollywood movies, the pentagram has been mistakenly associated with Satanism and “black magic.” However, the pentagram’s history dates from Babylonia at approximately 3,000 B.C. and has since been incorporated into several different religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints. Its association with Satanism began sometime in the 19th century in response to it’s prevalence among magicians. Use of the pentagram in the Church of Satan stemmed from the founders of the church deliberately inverting all religious symbols (including the cross and pentagram) in their practice. In its contemporary manifestation in Neo-Paganism, Wicca, and Paganism, members will use the pentagram to represent the five elements. It is a sacred symbol of respect, and represents the bond many members of these religions feel with the Divine, the Earth, and each other.

Finally, Paganism does not condone, promote, or advocate violence in anyway. In fact, we are still persecuted by law, close-minded individuals, and the churches that refuse to understand us. Even our prisoners in the court system are not allowed to practice their faith. The actions of Steve Kazmierczak have nothing to do with Paganism or our beliefs.

As always, I recommend that if you have questions, talk to a Pagan. We’re here on campus in the Pagan Student Association to answer any questions anyone has about who we are and what we believe.