This week it has been announced that ‘[d]ruidry is to become the first pagan practice to be given official recognition as a religion’ in Britain. Recognition by the Charity Commission relates in the main to financial regulations, and indeed this rationale lay behind the Druid Network’s application.
However, an additional benefit of this acknowledgement means that after four years of discussion, druidry ‘will have the status of a genuine faith’. Although, viewed by many practitioners as the oldest religion of the British Isles, the news has been greeted with some pleasure. Despite having few paid up members, Phil Ryder of the Druid Network points to evidence suggesting that up to 10,000 individuals describe themselves as druids.
It appears very unlikely that Britain’s “newest” religion will benefit from tax breaks in the near future, but the recognition that ‘druidry offered coherent practices for the worship of a supreme being, and provided a beneficial moral framework’ can only increase interest in the druid faith.
The Social Ethic of Religiously Unaffiliated Spirituality
By Siobhan Chandler
(Vol. 3, February 2008)
Spirituality and the Body in Late Modernity
By Agata Dziuban
(Vol. 2, June 2007)
From A New Dictionary of Religions