Monday, April 14, 2008

Important Salem Wiccan Discussion: Part II

Salem forum: Witches more popular, less scary

Here's a follow-up to story to my post about the Salem Panel:

...Throughout the evening, the panelists described a mainstreaming of their religion that they never dreamed possible. Today modern paganism is the 19th most popular religion in the United States, said Adler...Nial Hartnett, a witch who lives in Danvers, wondered if this growing acceptance is a good thing, "...I wonder if we are in danger of losing who we really are, the mystery and the magic," he said...But Hildebrand insisted that the freedoms gained to practice their religion will be lost unless they work within some official structures, like the federal government. Adler agreed the community is not "as edgy" as when she began practicing 35 years ago. "There are compromises one makes," she said. "There are gains and there are losses..."

As pointed out in the recent Pew survey on religion in the USA, our numbers are growing rapidly and we are now approximately 1.4 million strong. So, it looks like we are going to be 'mainstreamed' whether we like it or not.

"...Wicca has exploded as far as numbers," said Hildebrand...There are now Wiccan-based charities, Wiccan-based AA chapters and Wiccan groups adopting highway beautification projects. Pagan studies courses are offered in major universities...In spite of the gains, Hildebrand mentioned she still gets calls from parents in custody disputes where religion is presented as an issue, and from workers afraid of coming-out-of-the-broom-closet for fear of losing jobs...

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