This article appeared in ReligionLink.com in October 2009.
Pagans go mainstream: Wiccans and Druids and goddesses — oh, my!
Specifically, the number of Wiccans more than doubled from 2001 to 2008, from 134,000 to 342,000, and the same held true for neo-pagans, who went from 140,000 in 2001 to 340,000 in 2008.My comment:
Experts say the growth reflects not only increasing numbers of neo-pagans, but also a rise in the social acceptability of paganism. As a result, more respondents would be willing to identify themselves as followers of some pagan tradition. They also note that identification surveys do not fully measure the influence of neo-paganism. Many people use two or more religious identifiers — calling themselves Unitarian and Druid, for example — while others might adopt certain neo-pagan practices without calling themselves neo-pagan.
The upshot is that neo-pagans — such as Wiccans, Druids, Asatruar (from Heathenism), and various Reconstructionists — and neo-paganism have pushed further into the mainstream.
It could also be that Hollywood and the music industry's pushing of occult themes is a major contributor to the popularity of these occult religions/cults.
Update: Here's a particularly troubling development mentioned in this article.
In 2007, the U.S. military approved the pagan pentacle as one of 39 religious symbols veterans may request for their tombstones. Pagan groups say there are more pagans serving in the military than ever before.My comment:
This is giving official US government sanction to these groups as "religious" groups. I wonder if this required Congressional approval or if this was a rule approved internally by the military. Either way it shows how this agenda is progressing. At what point does it become required in the public schools to include pagan ceremonies as part of Christmas celebrations? Ironic, because having stripped Christmas of its Christian significance, the only thing left is pagan symbolism. If paganism is an official religion, then Christmas trees should not be allowed in public schools in order to maintain separation of church and state. If you ask me, this has gone too far.