SCA-religion-msg – 7/9/05


Thoughts on religion within the SCA.


NOTE: See also the files: religion-msg, crusades-msg, Blue-Feather-msg, non-SCA-part-msg, SCA-gays-msg, heretics-msg, p-relig-tol-msg, Islam-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at:


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at




Subject: Re: Jews in the SCA

From: david.razler at (David Razler)

Date: Wed,  4 May 94 02:52:00 -0500


MS>I understand this position all too well, for it is very close to how I felt.

MS>However, after a very long (and sometimes heated) discussion with William

MS>DeCorbie over the nets more than a year ago, I was forced to come to a

MS>different conclusion.


MS>If you react as if exposure to other's religious beliefs and feelings of

MS>faith is an affront to you, you are acting more bigotted than you should.

MS>The solution to true tolerance is if everyone can do anything they like

MS>a religious practice in front of each other, with no ill effect.


MS>Mind you, I am no more pleased when forced to be around overt displays of

MS>religion than I used to be.  It very strongly ain't my thing, and it makes

MS>me uncomfortable.  But I no longer feel morally correct to expunge it from





  The two issues that got intertwined here were 1)religion within the SCA

and 2) religion in government places.


  I'll comment no further here about the second, for it affects us not in

our world.


  As for #1, my comments were based on the utter tolerance of religion I

have seen within the SCA. At Pennsic, orthodox Jews place symbolic cords

around the entire site - thereby making all of Pennsic "within their walls"

allowing them to carry objects during their Sabbath. At the same war, as

usual, Sunday Mass was conducted on top of Hoard Hill. All manner of

religious services went on in out-of-the-way places (I don't personally

practice group prayer - but when I did I know I would rather have it in a

quiet spot than within the marketplace or battlefield.)

  Also, I wanted to point out that it is very, very proper within SCA

guidelines to act out one's persona's religion, from Master Cariodoc's

constant and historically accurate references to Allah, to the comical

pardoner who sells indulgences and redemption for all sins, signed by the

Pope in Rome and the Pope in Avingion - a parody, but also something that

did happen in period, according to soources from Chaucer to Tuchman.

  Beyond the persona - it is ALSO perfectly permitted within the bylaws (and

personally encouraged by myself and others) to perform medeval mystery plays

acting out Biblical tales, (see back issues of CA for scripts and details)

or give a lesson on how period Rosary beads were made. (I have no use for

the items themselves, but would love to learn the 500-year-old technology

that produced the stuning, detailed portraits of the Crucifiction, with

dozens upon dozens of figures and objects, all within a ball a few inches in

diameter.) I would love to discuss and learn more about religious practices

of the period because they were deeply ingrained into the lives we are

supposed to be re-creating.

   The Society bylaws were written to prevent in-your-face insults of one

faith by another or allow one force modern religious practices on others at

a Society event. On the other hand, they were also written to allow any

group or individual with good, historical information to share to do so,

whether by telling tales, holding classes, performing, taking on a persona

from penetant to Pope to Dolcinian, and the wearing of religious attire as

long as it is proper to period.

                                  Aleksandr the Traveller

                               [david.razler at]



From: afn03234 at (Ronald L. Charlotte)


Subject: Re: No religious insignia

Date: 12 Oct 1995 03:28:32 GMT


rudi3964 at wrote:

: Malaclypse the Younger (m-halton at wrote:

: > Quietly asked from a dark corner of Wurmwald, "What happens if you really

: > are a bishop?..."


: Then you probably have other things to do on weekends.


Actually, I know at least one Catholic Priest, and one Greek Orthodox

Priest who are long-time and active members, one is in fact a Laurel.


      al Thaalibi -- An Crosaire, Trimaris

      Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL

      afn03234 at



From: djheydt at (Dorothy J Heydt)


Subject: Re: Is SCA membership incompatible with Christianity?

Date: 15 Feb 1996 23:11:23 GMT

Organization: University of California at Berkeley


I can't imagine why it should be.  I've been a practicing

Catholic and an SCA member since the Year I (1966AD), and the

only problem I've found is that it's darned difficult to get to

Mass and Peerage meetings on the same Sunday morning.


Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin            Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West              UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable       djheydt at




From: swmyers at (SWMyers)


Subject: Re: Is SCA membership incompatible with Christianity?

Date: 15 Feb 1996 14:07:07 -0500


Dear Wayne,


While it may sometimes appear that overt Christianity is frowned upon in

our modern society, that simply isn't the case in the S.C.A.  Because of

our more liberal stance towards a wide range of religious identities, I

believe that non-Christian faiths feel a greater freedom to express

themselves within the S.C.A.  This may create a false sense that the

S.C.A. is more inclined towards non-Christian ideas. However, as an

organization, the S.C.A., quite correctly, takes no stance regarding a

person's faith.


With regards to the fealty issue... I have been in the S.C.A. for twelve

years now and have sworn a variety of oaths of fealty. When first

squired, I swore to a Knight.  And the same oath I swore when a I served

as a landed baron was used when I was made a peer.  I take my oaths very

(sometimes ludicrously) seriously, yet they have never threatened nor

impinged upon my relationship with God.  I am a Christian possessed of a

deep and abiding faith which, in many ways, I find the S.C.A. has



Put simply, membership in the Society is absolutely compatible with

Christianity if your faith is real.


Take care, BRAN TREFONNEN, Atlantia



From: Patricia Shanahan <Pshan at>


Subject: Re: Is SCA membership incompatible with Christianity?

Date: Sun, 18 Feb 1996 16:12:45 -0800


Arval d'Espas Nord wrote:

> If you find that the simple presence of these people makes it hard for you

> to participate in the Society, then I'm afraid you're going to have a

> problem.  Tolerance is one of the Society's strongest ethical standards.

> We do not exclude anyone based on his religion; that goes for evangelical

> Christians as well as neo-pagans.


> ===========================================================================

> Arval d'Espas Nord                                        mittle at


The SCA's basic rule on religion is to try to ensure that people can

fully participate in all the official aspects of an event without

participating in any religious ceremony. That does not necessarily mean,

for example, that all people will be comfortable in all campsites.


A good working rule for being considerate is, if you are considering some

religious activity at an event, think about how you would feel if a

follower of your least favorite religion wanted to do the equivalent

under similar circumstances. If the set up you are considering is such

that you could just choose to ignore it and still enjoy the event, it is

unlikely to be a problem.


I think, because of some combination of it being the dominant period

religion and the dominant modern mundane religion, Christianity is

somewhat favored in practice, though not in theory.


I am an atheist, and don't wish to participate in any religious ceremony

or prayer. I have several times had to decide what to do when, for

example, "God save the King and Queen" is used as a toast at a coronation

banquet. "Godess bless the King and Queen" would be equally offensive to

me, but has never come up as a practical problem.


[Agnes of Ilford, is, of course, a devout daughter of the church,

attending mass regularly and NEVER expressing any doubts. She also wants

to stay alive.]


Patricia Shanahan

Pshan at



Subject: ANST - Religious rights

Date: Tue, 20 Jan 98 15:32:58 MST

From: "Timothy A. McDaniel" <tmcd at>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


I shoulda known it would come up.  Start to discuss

religion in the SCA and someone raises the "freedom of

religion" business.


There is a distinction that needs to be made when discussing

discrimination in the SCA in the US.


It is quite possible to have a corporation in the US that

discriminates on the basis of religion.  For example, most

churches do.  It's even possible for those organizations to

be tax-exempt.  For example, most churches are.  Also

consider the Boy Scouts -- belief in some sort of god is

required for membership and authority.


The First Amendment as enacted applied only to the Federal

government -- note "Congress shall pass no law". The 14th

Amendment has been interpreted by the courts, based I think

on the discussion at the time of its enactment, to apply the

Bill of Rights to the states.  There are some civil rights

laws that apply some rights further -- e.g., most businesses

cannot discriminate in employment based on religion.


However, these are *statute laws*, not Constitutional

rights.  If you sue, it's based on the 1964 Civil Rights Act

as amended, say, not based on the First Amendment.

Furthermore, these laws cover only certain situations --

employment, public accomodations, and such -- and to certain

people and corporations.  I don't think the 1964 CRA

applies, for example, to someone who rents living space to

fewer than 4 people.  States may also make their own laws or

have their own constitutional rights and privileges,

expanding the range of rights that their inhabitants have.


All I'm saying is that First Amendment rights do not apply

to the SCA, since we're not a government.  Certain legal

rights do apply in some cases, but check with a lawyer for



I *suspect* that, if for some reason we wanted to, the SCA

could discriminate in some ways based on religion, as long

as it didn't affect paid employment, accomodations at

events, and probably some other categories.  I would

*certainly* check with a lawyer first, and I would rather

juggle nitroglycerine rather than deal with the tidal wave

of condemnation I'd get from the populace!  It would be

clean contrary to decades of our traditions.


If you want more info, I suspect ash-Sheyk Da'ud ibn Auda

would be a decent person to contact.  He's not a lawyer, but

he's worked for some years in a law office where they deal

with discrimination issues all the time (in the clients,

mind you!).  He had to consider religion discrimination

allegations with a case that arose while he was Laurel King

at Arms.


Daniel de Lincolia


Tim McDaniel.   Reply to tmcd at; if that fail, tmcd at

is work account.  tmcd at ... is wrong tool.  Never use this.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at