Thursday, October 07, 2010

Libel

This article is as ill-informed, unpleasant and ridiculous a piece of claptrap as ever I have seen from the Daily Mail. It doesn't even qualify as journalism, as it contains only three facts, and one of those has incorrect conclusions drawn from it. The Druid Network has achieved charitable status. It does not represent the whole of Druidry (it is smaller than OBOD), and the Charity Commission is not the government, so it does not mean that Druidry has been officially recognised as a religion. The other facts are that there is an association for Pagan police officers, and Pagan chaplains can visit hospitals and prisons, but both of these were described in a vile and dismissive way.

Getting charitable status for one druid organisation doesn't make Paganism an official religion - there are no official religions in this country, with the possible exception of the established church. Pagans do not "dress up as ghosts". Paganism was not "tied up with" fascism - that old chestnut has been debunked several times over, most recently by the Independent pointing out just how involved the Catholic church was with the Nazis. And it's a bit of a rich irony for a Daily Mail columnist to be saying that, as the Mail is a notoriously right-wing paper and has bordered on fascist views in the past. Many Christians believe in the immanent Divine as well as the transcendent Divine. In case Melanie Phillips hasn't noticed, we have religious freedom in this country (fought for by Unitarians and other Dissenters). It doesn't undermine Christianity if other religions are treated with dignity - it raises the status of all religions. And Christianity is not the "bedrock creed" of this country - it was imposed by force. If anything, the bedrock creed of this country is tolerance, fairness, and pantheism.

Please sign the petition demanding an apology. I think it would have been better to go to the Press Complaints Commission, but then I think they have a ridiculous rule that the libel has to have been of an individual, and that named individual has to be the one to complain (which is a bit difficult if you're dead, like the poor guy who got libelled by the unpleasantly homophobic Jan Moir).

2 comments:

gurdur said...

Gave this post, and this blog and your other blogs, a bit of a plug on my blog in my blog post on Melanie Phillips, the Daily Mail, Paganism and Druidry. Cheers.

Good News Unitarian said...

I do not think Christianity was imposed on this country by force - there is a compelling message found in the New Testament that continues today to bring people in, and I'm sure would have then.

Certainly, the Roman Church may have been furthered by Roman rule from the 4th century, but Christianity arrived here through travellers amongst the Celts and Anglo Saxons in the 3rd century - and is said to have been transmitted through Welsh druidry.

It is also quite contradictory to slam the writer's claims about a Judeao-Christian heritage and then trumpet pantheism. Any claims about this or that being definitely our past, is simply an attempt to try gain extra validation over the present. Both you and the writer are doing that.

Britain clearly has a story of an intermingling of various faiths - those under the Christianity umbrella being the most predominant over the past 1700 years. But ultimately, what matters is now - how does this country, in all it's material wealth, retain a transformative sense of the other? Which religions can address the problems within the human soul in 2010, 2011?