Paganism, Just Another Religion for Military and Academia

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In both guises, as an individual practitioner and a credentialed expert, Mr. [Michael] York embodies the increasing mainstream acceptance of Pagan religion. From academia to the military, in the person of chaplains and professors, through successful litigation and online networking, Paganism has done much in the last generation to overcome its perception as either Satanism or silliness.

“Academically, it’s much more open and accepted and respected,” said Mr. York, 70, who retired five years ago from the faculty of Bath Spa University in England. “And on a more personal level, we don’t proselytize or anything like that, but most of my friends know that I’m Pagan and most of them are not, and we can discuss it. They understand that there is a Pagan spirituality, and the misconceptions about it have diminished.”

Because the federal census does not ask about religious affiliation, and because ridicule or discrimination tended to keep Pagans closeted in the past, statistics on the number of adherents in the United States are imprecise and probably too low. Still, the recent growth is evident in surveys done in 1990 and 2001 by the City University of New York.

Over the course of those 11 years, the survey went from tabulating 8,000 Wiccans nationally — that branch of Paganism was the only one to turn up — to 134,000 Wiccans, 33,000 Druids and 140,000 Pagans.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsWicca / paganism

Posted October 31, 2009 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

An appropriate article for the feast of Samhein, which begins tonight at sunset. It is an important festival for Druids and Celtic Pagans, and is one of the eight annual festivals, often referred to as ‘Sabbats’, observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is strongly related to the types of activity conducted broadly in other cultures on Halloween as a festival of the dead.

Churches that have attempted to replace Halloween observances with a “Harvest Festival” have unwittingly provided a more pure observance of this pagan feast, which has its roots in just that—a harvest festival. In Irelend, the pagan goddess Mongfind (“fair mane”) is honored on this date.

October 31, 3:21 pm | [comment link]
2. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

On this All Hallows Eve, our family provides candy and Christian tracts to all the visitors to our home.  We also remember the saints of God that have gone on before us.

Both the Old and New Testaments speak of pagan worship and practices:

“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to The Lord, and because of these detestable practices The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before The Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-13 NIV)

In The New Testament

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit The Kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV)

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” (Revelation 21:8 NIV)

The word of the Lord.

Hat tip to

October 31, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
3. Lutheran-MS wrote:

They are just plain nuts!

November 1, 1:45 am | [comment link]
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