Wednesday 2 December 2009

Support McCollum!

There's a petition of Facebook to make Paganism a recognised religion in the UK. As far as health care is concerned Paganism is not yet, officially recognised

. . . references to religion and/or faith are taken to include the nine major world faiths: Bahá'í, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.

and yet there are a small number of Pagan chaplains working within UK healthcare.

In the US, where religion is taken so deadly seriously, a legal battle has been rattling on tediously for some time. Patrick McCollum is challenging prison policy that refuses to employ a chaplain that isn't Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or Native American. Now, Americans United are Cherry Hill Seminary are amongst a growing number of organisations helping Patrick move the case forward.

I recently contacted an American hospital chaplaincy group to ask how many Pagan members they had and received a frankly rude reply:

There are no Pagan chaplains.
Paganism is not a religion.

So I sent a few emails to American friends, who contacted the organisation and Patrick, and everything was wonderfully sorted out within 3 hours.

Religion is such a febrile subject in the US that individuals feel empowered to make policy statements based on their own prejudices - as the chaplaincy organisation, a Federal district judge and fairly disgusting prison staff have. The upside of this is that Americans also take their own individual social responsibilities much more seriously than we do in the UK, and the downside is that Christianity dominates, oppresses other spiritualities and religions in a manner than most people, many Christians amongst them, find repellent.

Circle Sanctuary have set up a site in support of Patrick and this cause. Light a candle, pray, chant, visualise, raise cones of power or whatever you do to send loving vibes to Patrick and to those groups supporting him. It's a full moon tonight - go to town!

Thanks to The Wild Hunt for their ongoing coverage of this and other Pagan matters.