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Interfaith in the Pagan Community

By Carol Kirk

We talk a lot about how we need to engage in interfaith work to bring peace and harmony among the religions of the world. Generally when we are speaking to this we are talking about Pagans working with Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, etc.; in other words, working with members of religions that do not fall under the Pagan umbrella. All of this is important work that badly needs doing. And it is vital that Pagan voices be heard in any discussions about how the religions of the world can learn to get along with each other. However, I wonder whether our emphasis on interfaith as being between Pagan and other isn’t missing a critical element that warrants some serious consideration.

We toss around the word “Pagan” as if it were a single spiritual belief system when in fact it is an umbrella term for a wide variety of religions with often highly different beliefs and practices. Many Pagans and non-Pagans alike equate being Pagan with being Wiccan because Wicca is perhaps the most publically known of the family of Pagan religions. In fact the tendency to conflate the two words, Wicca and Pagan, was the source of serious discussion on a panel at Pantheacon in 2014. This panel discussion was presented in an article in The Wild Hunt. The “Wiccanization” of Paganism has caused resentment in other groups that is undermining our sense of having any sort of Pagan community.

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