Druidry to be classed as religion by Charity Commission
By BBC NEWS - BBC NEWS WEBSITE
Added: Sat, 02 Oct 2010 11:47:32 UTC
Thanks to Hammert1me for the link
Comment by Richard: I see this as an excellent opportunity for ridiculing the very idea that offering "coherent practices for the worship of a supreme being" is among the specified grounds for charitable recognition and therefore tax-free status. Druidry is no more ridiculous than Christianity or Islam. Will Pastafarianism be next? The previous test case of the British charity commission – in this case the decision went against – was Scientology. Lawyers working for would-be charities can't move a step without learned mentions of the Scientology Precedent. I'm quite sure the Druid Precedent will now be much cited. Maybe it will be the beginning of the end for the very idea that religious belief, per se, has any connection, one way or the other, with eligibility for charitable, tax-free status.
Druidry is to become the first pagan practice to be given official recognition as a religion.
The Charity Commission has accepted that druids' worship of spirits arising from the natural world could be seen as a religious activity.
The decision to grant the Druid Network charitable status will also give druidry valuable tax breaks.
The commission says the network's work in promoting druidry as a religion is in the public interest.
Druidry was one the first known spiritual practices in Britain, and druids existed in Celtic societies elsewhere in Europe as well.
Turning seasons BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott says that with concern for the environment growing and the influence of mainstream faiths waning, druidry is flourishing more now than at any time since the arrival of Christianity.
Druidry's followers are not restricted to one god or creator, but worship the spirit they believe inhabits the earth and forces of nature such as thunder.
Druids also worship the spirits of places, such as mountains and rivers, with rituals focused particularly on the turning of the seasons.
After a four-year inquiry, the Charity Commission decided that druidry offered coherent practices for the worship of a supreme being, and provided a beneficial moral framework.
A statement on the network's website welcomed the decision and said: "This has been a long hard struggle taking over five years to complete."
The decision will also mean that druidry will have the status of a genuine faith.
Senior druid King Arthur Pendragon, told the BBC News website the organisation had had to "jump through hoops" to meet the commission's requirements.
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