Hi Bjoern-Erik Hartsfvang, first, let me say thank you for taking the time to read my story and comment here with your thoughts and questions, which I appreciate very much. I have edited the story to remove the phrase about “pagans.” To clarify, when I wrote this piece I intended its use ironically, as a word that most who profess to be Christian would immediately “get” because of the way it appears in the Christian Bible (Matthew 6:7, for example). Unfortunately, when I wrote it, I had failed to consider the valid points you make here, and I’d failed to consider any possible damage I might do in using the name that way — admittedly, a name (or rather, an entire faith tradition) that I didn’t know very much about to begin with.
I am truly sorry for having offended you as well as your faith in general. After re-reading, I realized my use of the word there was not only superfluous, but could also certainly be seen as offensive.
Thank you for pointing it out. I appreciate words that help to keep me in check and remind me that I always have more to learn. I don’t typically edit my pieces in this manner, but again, your point is entirely valid (and more importantly, heard). And, since I generally defend minority & marginalized communities — specifically, communities that tend to be misunderstood — I want to fully apologize and recant any notion I had that using ‘pagan’ here, with such negative connotations, would be a good idea at all.
I hope you’ll accept my apology, and I will do my part to learn more on this topic. I promise.