Druidry recognised as religion in Britain for first time
2010 10 03
By Martin Beckford | Telegraph.co.uk
Druidry has been recognised as an official religion in Britain for the first time, thousands of years after its adherents first worshipped in the country.
The Druid Network has been given charitable status by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the quango that decides what counts as a genuine faith as well as regulating fundraising bodies.
It guarantees the modern group, set up in 2003, valuable tax breaks but also grants the ancient religion equal status to more mainstream denominations. This could mean that Druids, the priestly caste in Celtic societies across Europe, are categorised separately in official surveys of religious believers.
Supporters say the Charity Commission’s move could also pave the way for other minority faiths to gain charitable status.
Phil Ryder, Chair of Trustees for The Druid Network, said it had taken four years for the group to be recognised by the regulator. “It was a long and at times frustrating process, exacerbated by the fact that the Charity Commissioners had no understanding of our beliefs and practices, and examined us on every aspect of them. Their final decision document runs to 21 pages, showing the extent to which we were questioned in order to finally get the recognition we have long argued for,” he said.
Emma Restall Orr, founder of The Druid Network, added: “The Charity Commission now has a much greater understanding of Pagan, animist, and polytheist religions, so other groups from these minority religions – provided they meet the financial and public benefit criteria for registration as charities - should find registering a much shorter process than the pioneering one we have been through.”
In its assessment of the Druid Network’s application, the Charity Commission accepts that Druids worship nature, in particular the sun and the earth but also believe in the spirits of places such as mountains and rivers as well as “divine guides” such as Brighid and Bran.
The document lists the “commonality of practice” in Druidry, including its eight major festivals each year; rituals at different phases of the moon; rites of passage and gatherings of bards on sacred hills, known as “gorsedd”.
All charities must now demonstrate their benefit to the public, and Druidry was said to qualify since its followers are keen to conserve Britain’s heritage as well as preserve the natural environment.
The document even addresses the claims made by the Romans about Druids committing human sacrifice, but finds “no evidence of any significant detriment or harm” arising from modern beliefs.
It notes that although there are only 350 members of the Druid Network, a BBC report in 2003 claimed as many as 10,000 people followed the ancient faith across the country.
Membership of the Network costs £10 a year but ritual ceremonies such as that marking the summer solstice at Stonehenge are open to all.
Article from: telegraph.co.uk
quango - Wikipedia
Druid - Wikipedia
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge June 21st, 2010
Revellers at Stonehenge celebrate Summer Solstice
The Naval Observatory change the winter solstice on 21-12-2012 at 11:11 to 11:12 - Why?
Christian Sun Worship - Winter Solstice at The La Seu Cathedral in Palma, Mallorca
Pagan festival focuses on nature-based beliefs
Wiccan priestess defends upcoming pagan festival (Video)
A Witch Living and Practicing as a Pagan in Avebury (Video)
Easter - Christian or Pagan?
How Pagan Worship Became Christmas
Pagan Police Group UK
Pagan PC: I don’t want tree worshippers standing between me and chaos
What’s Witchcraft? 6 Misconceptions about Wiccans
Latest News from our Front Page
Mad Science: ‘Genetically Modified Micro Humans’ to be ‘Farmed’ for Drug Testing by 2017
2014 09 12
Developers of artificial micro-humans, or ‘mini GM humans,’ are hoping to release their technology on the market by 2017. No this isn’t a sci-fi joke. Scientists are developing artificial humans in the same vein as GM plants with the hope that these creations will replace the need for using animals in laboratory testing.
Artificial humans will be ‘farmed’ with interacting ...
Friends of Rape: How Feminist Liberals Help Sex-Crime to Flourish
2014 09 12
Deafeningly. That’s how liberals would have reacted if the victims in Rotherham had been Pakistani, the rapists White and the cover-up organized by the Conservative party and its allies in the right-wing media. If the scandal had been like that, the Guardian would have boiled with righteous wrath and indignation: “The horror of it. At least 1,400 victims subject to ...
How NASA Plans to Open ’Air Highways’ for Drones
2014 09 10
If Amazon and Google are going to take their drone delivery operations public, what’s going to ensure they do it safely? Air highways and specialized drone corridors designed by NASA scientists, apparently.
Even if the Federal Administration Administration isn’t sold on the idea of commercial drones flying throughout the country, NASA is.
The agency has quietly been working on an air ...
Ancient Egyptians documented animal extinctions
2014 09 10
"What was once a rich and diverse mammalian community is very different now," the study’s lead author Justin Yeakel said.
Some six millennia ago, 37 species of large-bodied mammals roamed the deserts and river valleys of modern Egypt. Today, there are only eight. And as new research shows, ancient Egyptian art has helped tell the story of ecological loss in North ...
Internet Payment Network Paypal To Start Accepting Bitcoin
2014 09 09
EBay Inc. (EBAY)’s PayPal service will start accepting bitcoins, opening up the world’s second-biggest Internet payment network to virtual currency transactions.
“We’re announcing PayPal’s first foray into bitcoin,” Bill Ready, the chief of EBay’s Braintree unit, said at Techcrunch’s Disrupt SF conference yesterday. “Over the coming months we’ll allow our merchants to accept bitcoin. On the consumer side it will be ...
|More News » |