Commission Finds Widespread Distrust of Pagans in Australia

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 21, 2011 — 41 Comments

The Australian Human Rights Commission is publishing a new report today on attitudes towards religion, and the results don’t seem to be very favorable for religious minorities in that country.

“Distrust of Muslims and hostility towards homosexuals and pagans remain widespread in Australia, a new Australian Human Rights Commission report to be published today says. […] genuine religious differences have not become any easier to manage. Pagans (nature-based religions, such as Wicca) in particular claim to face prejudice and discrimination.”

The Pagan Awareness Network in Australia has issued a press release on the matter, noting the many challenges that adherents to modern Pagan faiths still face.

“This is something we have been saying for years,” Pagan Awareness Network President David Garland said today. “Imagine going to the Family Court during a bitter custody battle and having to explain under cross-examination that you practice Wicca, or Druidism, or another pagan spirituality. Imagine the stress, fearing you will lose custody of your children simply because you follow a minority religion. Or imagine being at school, and being ordered to take off the five-pointed star you wear around your neck because it is supposedly an “occult symbol”, while your Jewish classmates can continue to wear their six-pointed stars. Not to mention the Christian kids with their crosses, Muslim girls with their headscarves and all the other religious traditions out there. It is absurd that existing anti-discrimination laws don’t protect pagans in this kind of situation.

There were rumblings about this uneasiness towards Pagans in Australia back in September of 2010 when the commission issued a draft of the survey results and gained attention for the stark animus some Australians had towards Witches and Pagans.

Hilda Simpson argues that Christian groups should not be forced to hire ”practising homosexuals, promiscuous heterosexuals or believers in witchcraft”. Witches, pornography supporters and homosexuals dismay Glen and Joy Vonhoff, while Gail Osmak identifies ”fortune telling, sorcery, witchcraft [as] of real concern”. C. L. Miller is more trenchant: ‘‘It would be an egregious mistake to treat the malignancy of witchcraft and its occult devil-worshipping practices as if it were a benevolent, benign and misunderstood belief system … The original anti-witchcraft laws were based on authentic reasons, not whims.”

While some tried to explain away the anti-Pagan remarks as a glitch in the data due to a surplus of “elderly church leaders who happen to be male and anti-Muslim and gays and pagans and witches,” it seems the concern was real enough to make an impression in the final report.

The 2006 Australian census found that there were around 30,000 Pagans in the country, making them a significant religious minority. Or as Pagan Awareness Network puts it: “Pagans outnumber the Sikh, Jain, Quaker and Taoist communities in Australia combined.” Pagans from and in Australia recently made a major impression at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in late 2009, but have also faced a seemingly regular barrage of scorn, hostility, and prejudice from politicians, religious leaders, and media pundits. We shouldn’t forget that despite the fact that Australia currently boasts an atheist Prime Minister, the country’s two dominant political parties participated in an 2010 election-season event that was closed to non-Christians and broadcasted only to Christian churches. So there’s clearly a lot of work to do before modern Pagans, and other religious minorities, are treated with the respect and dignity they are entitled to.

It remains to be seen what recommendations the Human Rights Commission might make to the government on its findings, if any. Once a copy of “Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia” is posted to the Australian Human Rights Commission web site, I’ll update with more information and a link.

ADDENDUM: You can download the commission’s report, here.

Here’s a brief excerpt from their section on Paganism in Australia.

“Paganism is an umbrella term that covers a number of nature-based spiritual traditions. The consultations and submissions revealed significant areas of concern regarding paganism and pagans’ ability to practice their faith in Australia. Pagans believe that the lack of information or understanding of their faith complicates issues; many in the wider community assume that Satanism is a part of paganism, when it is separate and distinct.Recognition was raised as the biggest issue that underlies other matters. According to the Pagan Awareness Network, there are approximately 30 000 people in Australia who follow a pagan or nature-based religion, andthis is confirmed by the 2006 Census, which also shows the significant, recent growth of paganism.”

The study also notes that improving attitudes towards indigenous religions may also benefit modern Pagan faiths.

“Indigenous people’s freedom of religion and belief need to be protected in the same way as those of other groups. At one time recognised as legitimate religions and spiritualities, Indigenous religions and spiritualitiesare now swept up in the blanket-dismissal of pagan religions and beliefs, and are officially disparaged anddiscriminated against by some religious groups in Australia. Coming to appreciate Indigenous religions and spiritualities may assist these groups to re-examine the basis for and practice of their dismissal of pagan spiritualities, which include most of the earth-based, nature, and Wiccan spiritualities current in Australia.

These quotes are just from a cursory scan, I’ll no doubt have more to say on this later.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • I honestly wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m honestly not. I’d like to think my fellow Aussies are a good lot, reasonable even but sometimes, well.

    Old habits die hard, I guess. It seems worse out in rural towns though, in mine we have a population of maybe 12k max and at least eight functioning churches. More than one of which is full of people keen on spiritual warfare (The Anglican church has been particularly guilty of this, in my town. And the Lutheran church, I believe, has a woman who is convinced every other person she meets is possessed by a demon or some such, including a woman with schizophrenia who they’ve convinced off her med’s a few times.

    …Let’s not start on the people in my mother’s homegroup who thought Christchurch and Japan got it good from god for who knows what. Sigh. Ye olde bigotry lives!

    So that there are a lot of people who might want us to up and vanish, at best? Not surprised.

  • a new report today on attitudes towards religion, and the results don’t seem to be very favorable for religious minorities in that country.

    “Distrust of Muslims and hostility towards homosexuals and pagans remain widespread in Australia,

    Homosexuality is a religion? Or was the survey about religious attitudes towards all sorts of topics? Finally, I wish writers who capitalize "Muslim" (which is an umbrella term for a variety of sects) would also capitalize "Pagan," which is also an umbrella term for a variety of sects.

    • Rowan Waterston

      I also love how they capitalized Satanism, but not Paganism.

    • apollodorosh

      I dislike the use of the term "pagan" and "paganism" for this very reason. "Paganism" isn't an actual religion, as it just is an umbrella term for a whole variety of religions and traditions.

      Paganism is not a religion of itself, it never was, and never should be, and therefore should not be capitalised in the same way and for the same reason as Muslims or Satanism. Because Islam actually IS one religion with many different sects and denominations, whereas paganism is not a religion of itself at all.

      Paganism is an umbrella-term, which stands on the same level of classification as the term "abrahamism", which is used to speak about Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These are each separate religions with many denominations and sects.

      But in the case of paganism you have Wicca, Hellenismos, Natib Qadish, Eclectic Neopaganism, etc, which are all different religions and traditions alltogether (though this might be arguable for Eclectic Neopaganism).

      • Crystal7431

        And then some Pagans have no particular tradition or category at all and thus are just Pagans. Not everyone feels the need to categorize themselves into tiny boxes and yet they're still valid.

        • apollodorosh

          That's like saying *everything is "magic(k"*, which makes it so generic and all-encompassing, the concept becomes meaningless.

          Could you give an example?

          • Come on you two, it should be common sense that traditions need both grounding and innovation. One can't live without the other. Sheesh.

          • apollodorosh

            Did I suggest otherwise?

          • Hm, no- er, maybe not.

        • Crystal7431: "Not everyone feels the need to categorize themselves into tiny boxes"

          That's an extremely good point. The modern obsession with hyphenated-Paganisms multiplying like mushrooms, or, worse, like warring Protestant sectoids, is ridiculous.

      • All of the capitalized terms used as religious designations are "umbrella terms". Early Christians did not agree on whether Jesus was divine, human, both or neither. They did not agree on whether he ever really lived, or whether he ever really died. And those who believed that he both lived and died did not agree on whether he came back or not. There was also no agreement on what their "scriptures" were, whether they were Jews or not, whether they should be circumcised, baptized, both, or neither. And yet we call them all Christians. Why? What did they have in common? No one can say what it is that so-called "Christians" today all have in common either.

        Why is it that you wish to apply one set of rules to Paganism, Apollodorosh, without bothering to apply the same rules to all religions? Even the most superficial examination of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism (to give just four examples) reveals that these are all "umbrella terms". What is it that makes them any different from Paganism?

        • apollodorosh

          Chrisian shave in common that they believe in Jesus Christus as the Messiah, independent of whethe rhe was divine or not, really lived or not, etc. That is the core belief. For muslims this would be the revelation of the Qor'aan to Mohammed (even if it wasn't yet written down during his lifetime). For (religious) Jews this would be the belief in YHWH as only God, and the ten commandments he gave to Moses. Buddhism has the teachings of Siddharta Gautama Buddha. I do acknowledge that is isn't so easy for Hinduism to identify a central idea… Or perhaps I just know too little of this religion to identify one. Same goes for Taoism and Shintoism, etc.

          For further argumentation it might be helpfull by what standards you decide what is a pagan religion and hwat is not? What is your understanding of "paganism" and the criteria for being a "pagan" religion?

          • I think part of the trouble with defining paganism is that the definition has been written by a Christian pen. Consider these definitions:

            Paganism Pa"gan*ism (-[i^]z'm), n. [L. paganismus: cf. F. paganisme. See Pagan, and cf. Painim.] The state of being pagan; pagan characteristics; esp., the worship of idols or false gods, or the system of religious opinions and worship maintained by pagans; heathenism. [1913 Webster]

            Pagan Pa"gan (p[=a]"gan), n. [L. paganus a countryman, peasant, villager, a pagan, fr. paganus of or pertaining to the country, rustic, also, pagan, fr. pagus a district, canton, the country, perh. orig., a district with fixed boundaries: cf. pangere to fasten. Cf. Painim, Peasant, and Pact, also Heathen.] One who worships false gods; an idolater; a heathen; one who is neither a Christian, a Mohammedan, nor a Jew.
            [1913 Webster]

            In other words, anybody who doesn't worship according to one of three Abrahamic faiths is a pagan. Clearly anybody can see that "pagan" didn't have the cultural significance in 1913 as it does today in 2011, but the the definitions are still largely the same. Some references are coming up to speed and acknowledging the gross bias in naming everything that is not Islam, Judaism, or Christianity in a pejorative sense, but for the most part "pagan" is (outside of our community) still synonymous with infidel.

            Of course, paganism is often used to describe polytheistic faiths, so I don't see why Christians shouldn't also be called pagans – they worship a triune god, some worship Mary, and others also give special significance to saints and angels.

            My impression is that the trend outside of the Christian community is changing rapidly in favor of a positive modern interpretation of the word pagan, but within the Christian community I'm not sure there'll ever be a distinction.

          • Subtext of these definitions is people close to the land=ignorant. A view that sadly lives on today. As someone descended from mostly peasant stock, I fing that view…interesting. 😛

          • Nick_Ritter

            "Subtext of these definitions is people close to the land=ignorant."

            Indeed, either ignorant or stubborn. The latter is, in a certain sense, true: while it took longer for rural populations to adopt Christianity originally, it is also taking longer for various forms of Paganism to make headway in rural areas now because of the stubbornness to which rural people tend to cling to Christianity.

            I do not intend this as a slight, as I am of stubborn rural stock myself. I think that my religion is most at home in farmland and wilderness; I just wish that our sorts of religions could tap into that rural stubbornness again, to our own religions' benefit.

          • Hee hee. Interesting point. 🙂 I do try to make my stubbornness work in the right kinds of ways, and not the wrong ones. 😛

          • Ainslie: "Subtext of these definitions is people close to the land=ignorant."

            As everyone knows, the epithet "Pagan" has always been applied to the greatest thinkers, writers, scientists and artists of the ancient world. Of course there is a great deal of cognitive dissonance involved in how Christians use the term "Pagan", but Christians have always had an astonishingly high tolerance for cognitive dissonance (otherwise their heads would all have exploded long ago).

          • apollodorosh: "Chrisian shave in common that they believe in Jesus Christus as the Messiah, independent of whethe rhe was divine or not, really lived or not, etc. That is the core belief….."

            The most important thing for you to know, apollodorosh, is that Christians themselves completely reject your assertion of a commonly shared "core belief". The fact that people who call themselves "Christian" have no common "core beliefs" is precisely why they have spent the last two thousand years savagely murdering each other.

          • apollodorosh

            Well I know enough christians who don't reject the premise I gave.

          • Actually, you do not know "enough Christians" to make your baseless assertions universally applicable to all Christians. Obviously. (You would have to know every Christian who had ever lived.)

            The closest thing to a unifying principle shared by all Christians is that they "self-identify" as Christians. The problem with that, though, is that there is one rather critical group that gets left out of that schema: Jesus and all of his disciples, who, as everyone knows, "self-identified" as Jews.

          • apollodorosh

            Just like I have to have seen every raven (Corvus corax) in existence in the whole of time and space to say "ravens are black", huh? With that premisse science would be impossible.

          • Jack Tyler

            Actually the scientific perspective would be to say, "According to the evidence available (i.e. all the ravens we've observed so far are black) we can say that it appears that ravens are black." Then if you observed some birds which were otherwise undeniably ravens yet which were not black you would modify your "ravens are black theory" to be "ravens are black most of the time". Science isn't "we've proven this", science is "at this time and based on these methods and this evidence this seems to be the case at least most of the time if not all the time."

            Likewise, that some Christians you've known have asserted that all Christians everywhere and throughout all time have one set of unifying principles isn't surprising. That's what every competing sect of Christianity has tried to say, except with the likely caveat: By unifying principles we mean our preferred interpretation that is making our leaders personally wealthy and powerful. You wouldn't take a used car salesman's word for it that his way is the only way to sell cars and that he's the best used car salesman around. Why do the same for certain sects of certain religions?

            You might think that there is no such thing as capital P worthy Paganism because it is not One Right Way or One Right Understanding but that only means that capital P worthy Paganism is More Than One Right Way and More Than One Right Understanding. I understand why that could seem daunting from an academic perspective, you might actually have to learn what those people believe and practice rather than project the pet theory that won you tenure unto them (or in the case of a student think for yourself rather than be allowed to be taught your opinions by your professor). Gods forbid!

            By the way, when dealing with a group of people it is generally considered to be in poor taste to tell them that their preferred method of self-determination is stupid or non-existent because you personally don't understand or like it. It is also considered impolite to insist on referring to said group of people with your terminology for them. In other words, whether or not your believe in capital P worthy Pagans it won't kill you to capitalize and it might even earn you some friends.

          • apollodorosh

            Let's ask a raven how he defines his species shall we?
            What is a raven is defined by scientists. And you'd actually be suprised who often ethnic groups (including religious identity) can be defined by outsiders. It is the job of a scientist to listen to the people he is studying to understand how they view themselves, but it is equally important to take distance from them and to show connections these people themselves would not necessarily acknowledge, but which are there nevertheless. If we just observe that is not science, we also have to interpret.
            In the case of Christianity that would be the belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah (regardless of other elements). If you don't believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah then you simply are not Christian, period. Believing in him as a prophet (like in Islam) does not make you Christian, believing in his historicity doesn't make you Christian, etc.

            And for your personal attacks, I do not have a pet theory and I do think for myself. I have made observations about "pagan" religions and don't see evidence that would justify them all being shoved into one big umbrella that should be capitalised; and in response to your last remark: I wish I could write "paganism" in subscript in this comment…

            Now, we'll have to agree that we disagree, I'm not going to waste any more time on this discussion just to be denigrated.

          • First of all, apollodorosh, you have provided no basis, other than personal anecdotes, for your own unverified personal gnosis regarding the definition of "Christian."

            Second of all, you are laboring under the delusion that there is agreement on what the words "jesus" "christ" and "messiah" all mean. Without such agreement, then your definition of "Christian" is built on sand.

          • Jack Tyler

            Since knowing some people who are Christian is the standard for understanding all Christians I'll simply counter with the fact that I've known self-identified Christians who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah but nevertheless believe he is their god. I also know Christians who believe that he is the Messiah who know the ones who don't and they think of them as Christian as well. I guess the truth about who is and isn't Christian is more ambiguous than what you'd like to think.

            If you're looking for an operational definition I'd say that those who self-identify as Christian are Christian is the most all encompassing as you can get. You see being that Christians are people and ravens are not Christians get to identify themselves as such where as ravens are identified as such by people. Because all of these neat little labels are made by people for people. Thus it is not inappropriate to allow people to label themselves.

            In my experience the people who have a problem with allowing people to label themselves are usually the ones who label others for their own benefit. As in those people over there aren't allowed to label themselves because they're too stupid to do so, or they're not really people like how we're people. Sounds more like a political agenda than science to me.

            Speaking of political agendas perhaps your problem with capitalizing Pagan has less to do with whether you've known any Pagans or would define them as such and more to do with an attempt to cause their erasure by denying their existence. Of course it really could be that you just don't see any evidence for Paganism or Pagans and that's fine, everybody is after all entitled to their opinion.

            I suppose that would apply to me too though and my opinion is that you've got no right to your opinion so I guess we are done here.

  • People should be free to criticize Paganism all they want, and to hold whatever opinion they wish of any religion. Also, everyone should be perfectly free to distrust anyone they wish to for whatever reason. Why shouldn't they?

    Having opinions is one thing. Discriminating against people, or in any way treating people unfairly based on religion, is another matter altogether. A "Human Rights Commission" should not be concerned with policing people's opinions.

    And what about atheists who distrust and denigrate everyone who belongs to any religion at all?

    • Ursyl

      Those are good points, and true. But it is opinions that lead to actions. People who do not have negative or hostile opinions about people of whatever minority group seem to me to be less likely to actively discriminate against them.

      Opinions lead to votes too. And as we've seen in America, votes lead to laws promoting discrimination.

    • This is the most correct one yet Apuleius

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    This is kind of surprising. I've always thought of Australia as a decent place, thoroughly rooted in Enlightenment values that manifest as liberal democracy. Maybe the Aussie Pagans on this board can enlighten me: Is there an equivalent in Australian law of the US First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion?

    • Wefneck

      Nope, all we have is a "no religious test for public office rule". Our constitution has no provision for freedom of religion. However our anti-discrimination laws are reasonably strict, unless you happen to be a religious (ie christian) organisation in which case there are exemptions. The only thing really protecting Australians from widespread religious discrimination is the cultural tendency towards not really speaking about ones religion in public. However with the rise of charismatic type churches though that is starting to change in some sections of society.

      • Um… that's not quite true. Freedom of religion is the only thing our constitution DOES protect, although it's an interpreted right (through High Court decisions) not starkly stated. To the OC, your first amendment is much wider and our constitution does not include a "bill of rights" like yours and certainly not in that language. We don't have a right to free speech, for example…

        • Thaiis Thei

          Actually it is pretty clearly stated.

          116 Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion

          The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion,
          or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free
          exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a
          qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

          • While the Australian Constitution has Chapter 5 Section 116, this does not over ride State based laws. This was evident in the anti Witchcraft laws in Australia staying in place until 2001 in QLD and 2005 in Victoria. The only State or Territory in Australia that has Freedom of Religion in its laws in Australia in Tasmania. This may be seen as being forward, however Tasmania was the last state to repeal laws that made homosexuality illegal.

            I think the idea of what the constitution protects is the most misunderstood. The reason it works is that the Government can not recognize a religion, there for it can not make one unrecognized either. This causes issues when we talk about having a religion recognised like it is in the US and having things like Chaplains. Only institutions are recognised in Australia, and Paganism does not fit into the model that the Government wants institutions to fit into, or has not managed to as yet.

  • As the author of the Pagan Awareness Network's submission to the Human Rights Commission for this report on freedom of religion in Australia, I need to point out that this outcome was possible in no small part because individual Pagans had the courage to stand up and tell their (often distressing) stories of discrimination and harassment. I'd like to thank everyone who did so. The consequences of having the difficulties we face placed on the public record at this level may be far-reaching, and hopefully positive.

    An interesting irony is the finding on page 81 of the report that "people of pagan belief reported high levels of prejudice, discrimination and a lack of recognition of their beliefs. Reports of hostility and discrimination were validated by the sentiments expressed in some submissions." It is nice that Christians were so willing to assist the Pagan Awareness Network in making its point!

  • Nyx

    I guess the 2009 Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne didn't make a dent.

  • Just for the record, without dismissing the concerns of this report, there are Christians like myself in Australia who affirm freedom of religion and count Pagans as friends. Having met David Garland on a number of occasions I find him a likable fellow and want to extend the welcome mat to any Pagans who wish to dialogue on how to work together for a more harmonious future.

  • apollodorosh

    There is no need to get snappy.

    And off course labels matter. If you can not define what you do then how can you justify what and why you do it? You are correct in the fact that labels should not make you loose sight of the greater picture. Furthermore I'am an archaeology-student so it is very important to have labels to classify things. Humans simply can not operate in this world without labels, the trick is to use them wisely and not to loose sight of the greater picture, and of those who don't really fit in anywhere, or only partially.

    As far as you're concerned, you'd have to explain what you mean by "semi-reconstructionist". And I would say from what I understand from your made-up label that you are Gallo-Roman oriented Neopagan, just not an eclectic one. Since Celts where animist that goes hand in hand with "Gallo-" as well without having to say it again.

  • Andras Corban-Arthen

    The current situation in Australia is not much different from what's taking place in many other Western countries, and has been happening in the U.S. for decades: a social dynamic in which increased secularization, widespread apathy among followers of mainstream religions, greater visibility for minority religions, and the mobilization of frightened and angry right-wing religious extremists, combine to create certain tensions & problems. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, and I, for one, see this news item in a much more positive light than how it might come across at first blush.

    I imagine that ten, twenty years ago, an Australian Human Rights Commission Report would not have addressed the same kind of distrust and uneasiness toward pagans, for the simple reason that pagans would not have had nearly as visible a presence in Australian society as they now have. The current "negative attitudes" toward paganism in Australia are, ironically, a by-product of the important efforts that so many pagans in that country have carried on in recent years to bring their practices out of the proverbial closet, thereby making them more noticeable and prone to attacks. Among them, pagans such as Glenys Livingstone, with her work on PaGaian Cosmology; or Linda Ward's engagement in interreligious dialogue; or up-and-coming young pagan authors such as Gede Parma; or Fabienne Morgana's performance of rites of passage as an official Civil Celebrant; or the culture-transcending music of the incomparable Wendy Rule; or the indefatigable labors of David Garland, Gavin Andrew and the other members of the Pagan Awareness Network to engage in public education and help protect the civil rights of pagans in Australia. These people have every reason to be proud of themselves, as the rest of us have every reason to be very proud of them.

    Those of us who've done similar kinds of work in this country over the past 30-40 years know the pattern only too well: 1) at first, they don't see us at all; 2) eventually, when they finally start to see us, they get very nervous; 3) when we eventually stand up and get in their faces, they start to freak out and push back (as they seem to be doing in Australia); 4) when we don't budge, and the sky doesn't fall, they slowly back down & relax a little; until 5) they start getting used to us, begin to see what we have to offer, and gradually open their doors. It's just a matter of time for Australian pagans, and Australian paganism is in very good hands.

  • I tend to agree, I think the large Pagan presence at the Parliament raised a number of eyebrows in local interfaith circles here in Australia. My guess (and it is only a guess) is that this resulted in the researchers and authors of the Human Rights Commission report taking issues of discrimination more seriously than they might have otherwise. Some of the wordings contained in the report do seem to give a nod to the themes explored by Pagans at the Parliament, including the desire of many of us to foster links with indigenous traditions around the world.

  • apollodorosh

    "Gallo-Roman implies syncretism. ?I am not syncretic."

    Celto-Roman then (regardless of the fact there was no such thing as a Celtic people, Celtic language, or Celtic religion).

    "they perpetuate a snotty Pagan pissing contest that divides us instead of bringing us together."

    So basically your saying that people can not possibly come together without using umbrella terms to describe themselves? Names and words have meaning an they matter. Because right now what is to stop me from categorising you with a soft polytheistic Azteco-Japanese Eclectic Neopagan who practices traditional Italian witchcraft? You two would be doing and believing completely different things, so would it be right to just say you are the same by labeling you "PAGAN".

    Contrary to what you think using labels to differentiate different traditions and practices isn't diminishing or denigrating, on the contrary, it shows the huge variety there is out there, in contract with a general term that hides that variety and different colours and shades of colours out of sight.

    And now I'm going to leave this discussion. I tried to have a civil discussion with you, but you keep snapping at me, and I will suffer no more of it.

    • apollodorsh wrote:
      Celto-Roman then (regardless of the fact there was no such thing as a Celtic people, Celtic language, or Celtic religion).

      Is mian liom go n-aontaíonn.
      (In other words, "I wish to disagree". In Irish Gaelic. You know, one of those Celtic languages that don't exist, along with Scots Gaelic, Manx, Brythonic, Welsh, etc).

      Here are some resources (since you claim to be a student) that you may wish to investigate: