Thursday, October 07, 2010


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).