A report in the Christian Post contends that the number of witches (and Wiccans) has dramatically increased since the 1990s, to the degree that there may be at least 1.5 million witches in the United States, which is higher than the 1.4 million mainline Presbyterians.
“[T]he practice of witchcraft has grown significantly in recent decades; those who identify as witches has risen concurrently with the rise of the ‘witch aesthetic,'” reported the Christian Post in October, citing data from Quartz, a Trinity College study, and the Pew Research Center.
Between 1990 and 2008, the number of Wiccans in the United States grew from 8,000 to 340,000, according to three religious surveys conducted by Trinity College in Connecticut. In addition, the Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that 0.4% of the population — 1 to 1.5 million Americans — “identify as Wicca or Pagan.”…
Author and Christian radio (“My Faith Radio”) host Carmen FowlerLaBerge, referencing the Quartz data, tweeted last month, “As mainline Protestantism continues its devolution, the U.S. witch population is rising astronomically. There may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches, 1.5 mil, than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) 1.4 mil.”
Yesterday, I blogged about some poor soul complaining about all the straight males who don’t believe in astrology, which apparently is enjoying something of a renaissance amongst women and the LGBTQ community (“Women and queer people are drawn to astrology because it offers community and refuge, something to lean on during a time in which religion has taken a backseat. In a heterosexual patriarchy, cis-het men arguably have less to seek refuge from. It is during times of significant stress that people turn to astrology, after all.”). It’s also, of course, the case that, oppression or no oppression, the general decline in mainstream religious commitment and expression is counter-balanced by the rise of all sorts of other alternative and esoteric beliefs. As with astrology, so with Wicca and paganism. As G K Chesterton once mused, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in everything.” Everything, meaning small “g” gods and other invisible forces and powers.
Says author Julie Roys, quoted in the above piece, “It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly postmodern… No longer is witchcraft and paganism satanic and demonic, it’s a ‘pre-Christian tradition’ that promotes ‘free thought’ and ‘understanding of earth and nature.'” Paganism blends into nature-worship (Gaia and so on), becoming a perfect spirituality, if not necessarily always a religion, for those particularly environmentally conscious. The consanguinity between Wicca, witchcraft and Goddess worship on the one hand and some aspects of feminism on the other has been much acknowledged for decades now by all concerned and needs no further comment. Not surprisingly we are now witnessing spectacles like witches (including the fellow traveller and a sadcore songstress Lana Del Rey) casting spells against Donald Trump.
To each their own; here at The Daily Chrenk we believe in freedom of conscience and religion (or no religion), as long as your religion doesn’t start motivating you to commit crimes and harm others. This the essence of religious tolerance; but it does not mean I have to think all religions equally valid and worthwhile and enthusiastically approve them all. Nevertheless, say goodbye to your Presbyterian neighbour and say hello to the Moon-worshipper next door. Though I eagerly await the arrival of pagan charities and welfare organisations to replace the declining Christian social service.