CURRENT MOON

Friday, December 15, 2006

More Shoes Than Witches -- Whatever



Today's WaPo mentions Pagans, essentially in the usual gee-let's-throw-something-weird-into-the-article way that is essentially the only way that WaPo ever covers Pagans. In an article on the recently-released census report, WaPo notes that:

Membership in Wiccan, Deity, Druid and Pagan sects has been skyrocketing -- up from an unregistered blip in 1990 to more than 350,000 as of 2001 The article couples this statistic with the fact that: We love shoes, 2.1 billion pairs of them, almost all from overseas.

Thanks, WaPo. Fascinating analysis. Note the use of the word "sects," rather than religions. Cute. The report itself calls them "Religious Groups," which is what it calls every other group that it lists from Catholics, to Methodists, to Hindus, to Jews.

The report shows a total of 140,000 Pagans, which I consider to be an overall category, kind of like Christian, 134,000 Wiccan, which I consider to be a subcategory of Pagans (and 33 Druids, again, a group I consider to be a subcategory of Pagans). (I'm not sure what "Deity" means -- perhaps the number of people who identify themselves as believing in a specific diety, such as Pan, or Hecate, or Athena? But then wouldn't almost all religions -- Judiasm, Xianity, Islam, etc. -- fall into this category?) There are 629,000 Unitarians, and my guess is that a number of those folks are Pagans, as well, who find it easier to say that they're a Unitarian than a witch or a druid. To compare, there are 55,000 Scientologists.

It would have been fascinating if WaPo had bothered to do any reporting or analysis of these figures. Why the explosion? Are these religions actually growing at this rate or are people now more comfortable identifying themselves as members of these religions than they were during the earlier census? How many of these new members are Cradle Pagans who were born and raised in their current faith and how many were adult converts? How does the trend in America compare to Australia, where the growth has been almost explosive? How does the growth of Paganism, in general, compare to, say, Evangelicalism, or Atheism, or Buddhism? No answer. Witches and lots of shoes are just funny and weird and that's all that a piece on them is meant to be.

Bah.

3 comments:

spectral_ev said...

Some Pagans are probably showing up in the stats as Unitarians. There is a group, CUUPS- Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, and a lot of Unitarians who practice earth spirituality.
At this time of year it's good to be able to opt out of the Christmas buying hysteria and enjoy the Solstice.

Terry C. Redundant Poster said...

I remember a few years back when I was channel-surfing and Pat Robertson was yammering about the "evils" of Wicca (never mind that nature religions were around long before Xianity).

His son, Gordon, who seems more reasonable and rational than his father said he could understand the interest in Wicca because Christianity tends to treat women like second class citizens.

The look the Cryptkeeper gave his son was venomous.

Anonymous said...

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