Today’s column comes to us from our international columnist Lyonel Perabo. Lyonel holds an M.A. in Old Norse Religion from the University of Iceland and resides in the cold, Arctic city of Tromsø in Northern-Norway (69° north), where he works in the tourism industry, principally as a tour-guide, as well as a writer. His personal research focuses on local history from northern Fenno-Scandinavia, the Viking Age, and circumpolar religions, among others.
The Wild Hunt’s weekend section is always open for submissions, Please send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. I doubt any reader of The Wild Hunt has heard about Knut Arlid Hareide and the political party he helms. Why would anyone need to, indeed, unless they happened to be a fellow compatriot of his? Yet, Hareide is, in some ways, quite important.
Last month, Wild Hunt Managing Editor Heather Greene reported on the new Stylebook put out by the Associated Press, pointing out that despite a large number of new definitions and entries regarding religion, the influential guide for working journalists neglected to include any entries relating to the modern Pagan movement. “The 2014 AP Stylebook does indeed have an expansive in-depth chapter on religion which includes definitions and details on a variety of minority religion terminology such as Brahmin (Hindu) or gurdwara (Sikh). The guide includes short informational entries on Baha’i, Buddhism and other non-Abrahamic faiths as well as minority sects of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It says that Christmastime is one word and suggests using Hanukkah as the standard spelling for the Jewish holiday. However, it says nothing about “Paganism.”
In fact the updated religion chapter makes no mention at all of modern Pagan or Heathen religions.
First off, some of you may have noticed that I was interviewed for an Associated Press article concerning the decision by Marshall University to allow excused absences for Pagan holidays (which I blogged about previously). “By specifically including pagans, Marshall is taking an important step toward recognizing the validity of their beliefs, said Jason Pitzl-Waters, an authority on paganism who edits the Wild Hunt Web site, a blog about religion, politics and culture. ‘That’s part of the struggle for modern pagans,’ said Pitzl-Waters, a pagan. ‘Even though modern paganism has been in the public since the 1950s, a lot of people still see it as a rebellious teenage activity, not necessarily something you do as a religious observance’ … ‘What binds [modern Pagans] together isn’t our theology, necessarily,’ Pitzl-Waters said.