How state statistics and schools disrespect Spiritualist and Pagan minority religions
The CSO figures report that there were 3,350 Spiritualists in the country in 2022. That is, 3,350 people ticked the ‘other religion, if any’ box and wrote in ‘spiritualist’ as their religion.
Yet the marriage figures from the Central Statistics Office show that in 2022 there were 4,504 marriages performed in accordance with the rites of spiritualist religions. That’s nearly one in every five marriages last year.
The spiritualist religions whose registered solemnisers conducted these weddings are the Spiritualist Union of Ireland, One Spirit Interfaith Foundation, One World Ministers, Our Spiritual Earth, Entheos Ireland, and The Earth Spiritualist Tradition.
This means if you are married by solemnisers of any of these bodies, it is recorded officially as a religious wedding, despite there being more spiritualist weddings in 2022 alone than people of any age who told the census that year that they are spiritualist. Is that an accurate reflection of spiritualist religions in Ireland last year?
Pagans are also registered in Ireland to solemnise marriages in the religious category. Paganism is a recognised religion in Ireland. If you have a Pagan marriage it is recorded by the CSO as a religious marriage.
The recent CSO figures report that there were 3,809 Pagans or Pantheists in Ireland in 2022. The CSO figures from the 2022 statistics also state there were 2,816 marriages of other religious minorities. This includes Pagan marriages.
Last year a new public holiday was announced. February 1st is St. Brigid’s day. When schools celebrate Brigid they are not celebrating a Pagan Goddess. They are celebrating a Catholic saint who is supposed to have converted a dying Pagan Chieftain on his deathbed by weaving a Saint Brigid’s Cross out of reeds. State-funded schools celebrate that the Pagan Goddess was hijacked by Christianity and went on to convert dying Pagans.
This may seem to be obviously disrespectful to small religions in Ireland, but that’s not how the state sees it. As with many other areas, this is inclusion and diversity Irish style. It means that we will include you in Catholicism, or at best Christianity, and you are very welcome. You get to celebrate the conversion of dying Pagans, and so do all the other minority religions in the school as well as the non religious.