Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Unfounded Attack on Druidy

My letter to the PCC following Melanie Philips' article in the Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1317490/Druids-official-religion-Stones-Praise-come.html

I am writing to make a complaint under Clauses 1 (Accuracy) and 12 (Discrimination) of the PCC Code of Practice regarding Melanie Phillips’ article in the Daily Mail on 4th October titled Druids as an official Religion? Stones of Praise Here We Come.

Aquarius PR has worked as PR consultants to The Druid Network (and its predecessor the British Druid Order) on a pro-bono basis for over 10 years. We do this partly because we feel we want to help counter the highly prejudicial views and misunderstandings about Paganism, views along the lines of those that have been so crassly espoused by Melanie Phillips in her article. However, it has been a long time since we encountered such an wholly irresponsible, inaccurate and discriminatory piece of journalism.

Anyone unfamiliar with Druidry reading Ms Phillips words may well conclude that Druids are fascist, communist nutters who dance naked around stones worshipping the sun; people who are left-wing, selfish, irrational, and determined to undermine ‘the bedrock creed of this country’ (whatever that might be). That they are only “a curious remnant of Britain’s ancient past, a bunch of eccentrics who annually dress up in strange robes at Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice.” This is a deeply inaccurate and misleading portrait of Druidry.

The Charity Commission spent over four years carefully debating whether or not Druidry is a religion. Ms Phillips swiftly dismisses these deliberations from her position of ignorance, making the nonsensical and ill-mannered claim that instead Druidry is a ‘cult,’ because to qualify as a ‘religion’ there must be a ‘supreme being that exists beyond the Earth and the Universe.’ On these grounds, nothing whatsoever would qualify as a religion - not Buddhism, which has no Supreme Being, and no other faith either, given that the existence of such a Being cannot be proven.

The prejudicial hatred that poured from Melanie Phillips’ pen is shocking. To suggest the decision of the Charity Commissioners to recognise Druidry as a religion is ‘malevolent’ and ‘beyond absurd;’ to describe Druidry as ‘totally barking mumbo-jumbo’ that is ‘historically tied up with both communism and fascism, precisely because it is a negation of reason and the bedrock values behind Western progress,’ is clearly discriminatory because these statements have no basis in fact.

I trust you will take appropriate action.

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