Friday, June 13, 2008

On the Fence

It seems some folks in Des Moines are a little upset over some “graffiti” and the author of such graffiti is a little annoyed that he’s being bothered over it.

According to the Des Moines Register, Ryle and Rachel MacPebbles, members of the American Pagan Church (something I was not aware even existed until I read this store. Learn something new every day!) put up a fence awhile back and painted some “pagan symbols” on it. Looking at the picture I see a Pentagram, algiz/eolh and raidho/rad. I am not sure about the raidho symbol though, it could be something completely different. Anyway, a Pentagram is a general protection symbol. Algiz, the elk, is a shield symbol, also for protection and warding, but it also symbolizes awakening, enlightenment and connection to the Gods. Raidho is the wagon (or chariot) and is generally a protection while travelling or finding your way symbol. I’m not sure it’s one I would’ve chosen to put on a fence.

Anyway, so the neighbors are complaining and the town is demanding that the symbols be removed under their graffiti laws. According to the article, City law defines any “inscription, drawing, picture, letter, number, symbol or other written communication”, which makes sense. But the MacPebbleses say that their religious rights are being violated.

I dunno. I think I would be annoyed if someone wrote “Jesus Saves” in spray paint on a fence I had to look at every day. I am disturbed enough that I must occasionally drive by a certain church with a particularly disturbing Big Dead Jesus displayed in front of it. (I mean, why does he always have to be dead and bloody and wearing a loincloth. That’s morbid and not appropriate for public viewing!) But then again, I probably wouldn’t complain. I am not an asshole. A bitch maybe, but not an asshole. I think people should be able to do what they want on with their own property. I mean, I’m not complaining about the neighbor’s teenager’s eyesore car that sits out by the road, making the perfect backdrop to my rose garden, covered in spray paint declaring that she’s a senior even though it drives me fucking nuts. Maybe I should, but I imagine her parents have already exploded over that one…

The symbols, if you look at the picture, aren’t like artistic or pretty in any way. They are spray painted. I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time taking the Pagans’ side on this one. I mean, you can spray paint the symbols on the inside of the fence and they’ll be just as affective and not annoy the neighbors. If it were me, the symbols would have been carved out of wood or something. I mean, well, it would offend my personal sensibilities to have something spray painted on my fence. I’m just not that kind of redneck. There’s no reason Pagan symbols can’t be pretty and attractive. And besides, making them by hand puts your energy and intent in them and makes them more effective. It takes two minutes to spray paint a symbol on a fence. Man, I think I’d feel like a thug just doing it. You can hang carvings and other ornaments on fences without violating ordinances, usually, and it doesn’t look like graffiti.

Anyway, the MacPebbleses are going to take this thing all the way to court. They are going to contact the ACLU. But I don’t think they have as much of a case as they think they do.