Lux: Pagans United became the first non-Christian organization to meet in the Ferguson Chapel on campus during their first meeting on Aug. 29.
“It represents the breaking of a barrier,” Lux vice president and sophomore Alex Cannon said. “There are a lot of barriers that are up towards Pagans in the Bible Belt, that’s just part of the culture. So it really represents the breaking of some social barriers that allow for discrimination against Pagans based on their religion.”
Junior Ashley Hunter, president of Lux, said breaking this barrier benefits other organizations as well as Lux.
“The thing about the Ferguson Chapel is it’s non-denominational, but we hadn’t heard of any other groups besides Christian groups who were in it,” she said. “So we wanted to go ahead and make it be the first so that other groups—like Muslim prayer groups or Hindu prayer groups—can meet there to know that it was okay.”
Meeting in a unified place such as the Chapel allows members of Lux to establish a sense of community.
“You can have twenty Pagans in a room and it would be like being in a room full of twenty people with different religions,” Cannon said. “But we all come together and build a strong community based on worshipping together and learning from each other.”
Lux is fairly new to UCA, being only two years old.
“Already in the short time it’s been active it’s been a safe haven for people who don’t identify as Christian or are curious about different paths to get together and discuss,” Hunter said.
Lux is the Latin term for light and Hunter said it represents being in the light about Paganism and personal belief.
“It’s the idea that we are a light in the darkness specifically because a lot of people can’t be open about their religious views,” she said. “We’re public so that other people who can’t be don’t have to be.”
For Lux as a whole, light also represents providing a good example. By volunteering in the community and being transparent about their practices, Lux hopes to alleviate some of the misconceptions that exist about Paganism.
“We can show [people]‘Here, I’m Pagan. I’m not doing anything scary like sacrificing children or doing blood sacrifices. I am volunteering at an abandoned cemetery and cleaning up stuff. I’m gathering things to put in backpacks for the homeless,’” Hunter said. “So instead of going on what scary things they’ve heard about Pagans, they can see us as examples and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve heard of Pagans.’”
Cannon said she believes the more public Lux is, the less power any misconceptions will have.
More information on Lux can be found on their OrgSync page.
image via www.commondreams.og