The Pagan community most often singles out the Midwest and the South as inhospitable areas for Pagans. Living in the Midwest my entire life, I've yet to understand why that area is so frequently targetted. After spending three weeks in the South, part of it deep within the Bible Belt, my count of harassment or persecution remains, well, non-existant. This is not to say problems never happen. They do. I'm just continuing to say that it doesn't happen as often as some would like you to think, and that I continue to strongly suspect that it has more to do with the disposition of the individual Pagan than that of the would-be persecutors.
My fingers swell in the heat, so before I left with the Red Cross I removed all my rings, including my wedding ring. After much debate, I decided to bring along a single piece of jewelry: a pentagram pendant about an inch wide. I don't want to ever wear it as an exercise of advertising my religion, much less looking for trouble, but it also was my one link to my regular life, and I likewise don't like tempering my choices of apparel based on what someone else might think. Nevertheless, I will confess a little curiousness as to how it might be received, and if it caused trouble I would have tucked it under my shirt. (My purpose for being there, after all, was to comfort the clients, not start a debate in religious toleration.)
I will say that I ended up having very little contact with clients. However, I did exist within the cities of Montgomery Alabama and Beaumont Texas for three weeks. People saw me on the street, in resturants, and at hotels. I'm sure many did not even notice my pendant. But unless Southerners are somehow less aware of their surroundings than other people, it stands to reasons that many people did notice it - and yet they said nothing.
Only twice was I recognised for what I was: once as a Pagan and once a Wiccan. Neither person expressed a problem with the revelation. Several times I was asked if the pendant meant anything, and I would explain it symbolized the unity of the four elements with Spirit. A couple times this conversation turned into something deeper, but the rest of the time it did not. Twice I was asked if I was Jewish. ("Nope, one point short of a Jew," I'd respond.)
No one expressed a concern that the symbol was Satanic. One person asked if it was Satanic if it was "upside down" (quotes used here because there really is no such thing as an upside down pentagram anymore than there can be an upside down triangle.) A former Catholic, now non-denominational Christian, started a long conversation about what I believed in, as did a born-again (not Twilight, described in my previous post). The only vaguely negative reactive I got the entire time was from the born-again, who, after I explained that I had left the church and that I was polytheist, asked me how I thought I was following the commandment to "worship no god before me." And that simply left me baffled, not insulted. That came from ignorance, not spite. (Hello, not a Christian, not a Jew, not even a Muslim, not interested in your commandments, along with half the world's population!)