England recognizes Druids! Actually, the Druid Network, which represents Druids in England, obtained official charitable status, which entitles it to tax breaks.
In its ruling on the group's application, the commission said it accepted that druidry was an "ancient pagan religion" in its own right involving the worship of nature, particularly the sun and the earth. [Could we get a capital "D" and a capital "P" please?]
Druid rituals involve "commonality of practice" across the faith including solar and fire festivals, ceremonies at various phases of the moon, seasonal festivals and rites of passage in life.
There had also been some official recognition already, it added, including a provision by Britain's Prison Service for the practice of druidry and the attendance of a pagan chaplain at services.
"The board members concluded that The Druid Network is established for exclusively charitable purposes for the advancement of religion for the public benefit," the Charity Commission said.
Druidry emerged in ancient Ireland and Britain and spread further afield during the Iron Age, especially into France, but became largely supplanted as Christianity took hold across Europe.
It has gained recent popularity because of its pantheistic nature and concern with ecology.
To reiterate my position: No religion should receive tax breaks. But as long as governments are going to subsidize the Abrahamic religions, Pagans should be getting the same treatment. And, you've just gotta love that it took England several thousand years to recognize its own indigenous religion. ;)
Picture found here.