Is This a Real Religion?

The United States does not determine what is or is not a religion, much less what counts as “real.” However, this country has recognized Wicca as a serious organization for several decades: it has been included in the military chaplains’ handbook since 1975. In addition:

  • Hundreds of Wiccan covens and other Wiccan organizations have gained the same tax-exempt status as Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, and other houses of worship.
  • Wiccan clergy can perform legal marriages so long as they fill the same requirements as other clergy, which varies by state.
  • U.S. law treats discrimination against Wiccans the same as discrimination against other religious groups.

Dictionary definitions of what constitutes a religion generally include:

  • Organized service and worship of a god, gods, or the supernatural
  • Personal commitment or devotion to a religious faith or observance
  • Institutionalized system or personal set of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.

Many Wiccans fit all of these descriptions. The rest fit some combination of these descriptions.

While there is a great amount of variety of beliefs within Wicca, there are distinct beliefs that unite us and rituals that we generally hold in common. Many of us practice as solitary, so Wicca is not always a particularly organized religion, but it most certainly is a real religion.

2 Comments to "Is This a Real Religion?"

  1. Peter Wise's Gravatar Peter Wise
    August 16, 2015 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Hi, I have noticed that some modern scholars of religion and folklore such as, Owen Davies and others have suggested that European paganism did not survive into the present day and some have even suggested as regards Wicca, that it’s not possible for “outlawed” or suppressed religions to survive in a hostile environment when clearly there are examples of this, Voodoo and Santeria being among the most obvious. I don’t understand why Dr. Jenny Butler and Davies and more insist that Paganism couldn’t have survived in some form in Europe. Could you please speak to this point? Thank you. Blessed Be.
    Here is an example of European paganism that is still active today:

  2. Lydia's Gravatar Lydia
    January 17, 2016 - 3:47 am | Permalink

    When I was explaining the religion to my friend he was like, “Oh! So you are all just a bunch of over the top egalitarians and ecologists.” He wouldn’t give up this stupid point until I told him who we worshiped, which of corse was very difficult. It was saddening but in a way a little bit funny!

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