Just when you thought it couldn’t get any dafter along comes a quango which pushes the boundaries ever further into la-la land. In England and Wales the Charity Commission have deemed it right and proper that Druids, with a couple of hundred adherents, should be granted tax breaks because they are an officially recognised ‘religion.’
Druids claim to believe in the spirits of places such as mountains and rivers as well as “divine guides” such as Brighid and Bran.
An organisation must be of public benefit to receive charity status. Hang around Stonehenge wearing your nightdress, hug a few trees, listen to the execrable music of Enya, feel at home in Glastonbury the weirdest town on earth, and that’s you sorted.
In this the Charity Commission are following the police who a few years ago decided that Druidry was an accepted religion and it’s adherents should be allowed time off for their ‘religious’ holidays.
Now, as a Christian what constitutes a religion is of little consequence to me, I despise the very concept of religion. Along with Barth, Kierkegaard, Ellul etc. I realise that Christianity is not a religion. A religion is what men and women create when they try to reach up and find God, Christianity is the opposite, it is what we receive when God reaches down to men and women. Christianity has no greater enemy than the insidious attempt to turn it into a religion.
One of the absurd consequences of contemporary religious relativism is its insistence that every creed be treated with respect. No offence must be given to any who proclaim their religious inanities. This leaves the field wide open. If the druids why not the Jedi? Why not create your own religion of the Benevolent Spaghetti Monster, gather a couple of hundred adherents and apply for tax exempt charity status?
I happen also to believe in religious freedom. If druids wish to hug trees let them, as long as they don’t frighten the horses or return to indulging in human sacrifice. Remember there was a jolly good reason why the Romans wiped out the original and real druids.
However, I do object to my taxes and those of my parishoners, most of whom are officially living in poverty, being used to subsidise the absurdities of the willingly delusional.