Personally I'm glad to see our fearless moderator has stepped in and clarified some issues regarding copyright and the nature of discussion here. I for one appreciate the mature discussion that takes place here, without the descent into "flame wars" which happens so often on internet discussion boards. I hope we can keep this board that way. Now on to the purpose of this thread (which is a continuation of some of what I think were key ideas of a previous thread which was starting to stray...) In the vast majority of religious communities, people who are in positions of some authority as priests, teachers, and elders are expected to uphold certain minimal standards of behaviour. In communities that are structured around very clear hierarchies, there are mechanisms in place to at least try and ensure these standards are maintained. If a priest, for instance, does something which is considered a poor example for a role model, those higher up in the hierarchy usually administer some sort of reprimand. Even in the secular world, teachers who fail to uphold the dignity of their position as role models can be stripped of their teaching credentials by their professional organizations. Within Wicca and frequently in the larger Pagan community, though, we don't have the same system of hierarchies. Some groups, some traditions do have established hierarchies of authority, and can deal with these sorts of things among their own members. But as a whole, Wicca and the Pagan community does not have a central authority, or even a central scripture. This can be a weakness of our community, but I personally also consider it to be one of our greatest strengths. Perhaps because we don't have the central authority in Wicca or in the larger Pagan community, those who present themselves as leaders, teachers, or elders have to be more self-regulating than those in the same role in mainstream, hierarchical communities. We don't have the higher-ups in our community necessary to keep us in line. I would suggest that because this is the case, when we do slip up and act in ways that are not worthy of the respected positions we would like to claim, we should try extra hard to publicly make amends for our mistakes. If we want the respect of our students, our peers, the rest of our religious community, and indeed people outside our religious communities then we have to work hard to be worthy of the respect which we seek. Respect isn't earned by having a specific title or lineage, by having a certain number of hours, days, or years of practice behind us, by having any number of "students" who have learned from us. Respect is earned by being worthy of respect, by showing respect to others, by modelling maturity, wisdom, and grace. Respect is earned by being a positive role model for the spiritual ideals of our community, for being a living example of spiritual maturity. Students are to be respected for their desire to learn, their continued efforts to better themselves, their attempts to master and truly understand. Just my opinion, of course!