TWH – Throughout the U.S., more and more cities and regions are electing to forgo the celebration of Columbus Day for Indigenous People’s Day. In 1994, the United Nations declared Aug. 9 to be International Indigenous People’s Day. The holiday was first proposed in South Dakota in 1989, but its first official adoption did not occur until 1991 in Berkeley, California. The Berkeley city council adopted the holiday in time for the 500th anniversary of the Columbus sailing.
One of my most vivid school memories comes from a history lesson I had when I was about seven or eight. From very early on, history had been my favorite subject. The books were always filled to the brim with colorful pictures, and the fact that the topic encompasses just about everything that ever took place regarding mankind drew my attention. That day at school, we were supposed to learn about the Renaissance and the 16th century. As I opened my book, my eyes met with a picture of a crowd laying waste to a church, breaking windows and tearing down statues.
TWH – Today marks Memorial Day in the United States. It is a day to honor the many men and women who have died in military service. According to a news report on ABC, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs together state that at least “1.2 million people have died fighting for America during its wars dating back 241 years.” The VA has a breakdown of the losses per conflict since the American Revolution. In a 2016 blog post, Druid John Beckett wrote, “Let us remember our warrior dead. Let us remember those who answered the call to do what had to be done and who sacrificed all they had. It is right and good to celebrate their courage and valor.”
Many Pagans, Heathens and polytheists have served and are serving in the U.S. military, and still others are members of military families.
TWH –The newest report on global trends in religion from the Pew Research Center, titled “The Changing Global Religious Landscape,” was released early last month. The data within that report suggests that the “rise of the nones” will be reversed by the disproportionately small number of children born to those who don’t identify with a religion, including atheists and agnostics. There are hints that the various Pagan and polytheist religions may increase in absolute number of adherents, but nevertheless result in a smaller percentage of world population. Overall, Muslim women currently have more children than those in any other category, which is a trend predicted to continue at least through 2060, at which time Islam is predicted to have more followers than any other religion on Earth. Data collected in 2010 led to the conclusion that people espousing no particular religious beliefs were more numerous than those of any religion, with the exception of Christianity and Islam.
UNITED STATES –Analysts at the Pew Research Center have released a second report parsing data collected during the 2014 Religious Landscape Survey. Where the initial report “described the changing size and demographic characteristics of the nation’s major religious groups,” this second one instead “focuses on Americans’ religious beliefs and practices and assesses how they have changed in recent years.” While the activities of those who belong to religious minorities, including those who fall under or near the Pagan umbrella, can at best be inferred from the data — out of 35,071 survey participants, only 605 are listed in the “other faiths” category, which was separate from the 92 identified under “other world religions” — the overall trends in the United States suggest a slow, generational shift away from any religious activity. However, among those who hold religious beliefs, the frequency and variety of religious activities has not appreciably changed since the first survey, conducted in 2007. Those interested in digging into the data have, for the first time this year, an interactive tool for combing through the results as well as the full report in PDF format.