There'll always be an England

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 24, 2005

I know me rights. And I has me spiritual needs, see, same as anybody else. And the next screw what gets in me way stands fair to cop it nasty, see?

Wands, wine, and tarot cards, but not nudity, may be allowed in Pagan acts of worship in prison, says the [U.K.] Prison Service's first written guidance on Pagan worship. ... Requests for a Pagan chaplain must be made through the Pagan Federation Prison Manager, say the guidelines. Hoodless robes may be permitted during private and corporate worship, but "skyclad" (naked) worship is not allowed. A risk assessment must be carried out first if prisoners are allowed to have tarot cards.

Prisoners may use flexible twigs as wands and set up a desk or small table as an altar. The use of incense is also allowed, as is wine. "Individual consumption will be one sip only. As part of the ceremony, the Pagan Chaplain may also anoint the prisoner with wine on the forehead. The Pagan Chaplain will then use a small quantity of wine for libation." The wine may then be poured into a small sealed container, on to earth in a flowerpot, or into running water.

Outdoor worship is encouraged: "a quiet, relatively undisturbed area (e.g. any grassed area) is ideal where available," as is personal worship in a cell. This may include chanting, and reading of religious texts.

The guidelines refer to the importance of finding out which Pagan tradition or denomination is followed. Different traditions have different emphases, and prisoners may opt out of prison duties for two of the eight annual pagan festivals.

Pagan weddings may be carried out by an approved Pagan chaplain or community elder, but "would require also a Register Office ceremony to be valid under English Law".

Then again, maybe there won't always be an England ...

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 27, 2005 4:16 AM ET USA

    Although I agree that Christianity is preferable to Paganism, many people turn to Paganism because of the hypocrisy of some Christians. Paganism is preferable than outright hedonism & can lead to Christianity. Pagans don't believe in the existence of Satan. They worship one or more deities, none of whom are like the Christian God. Pagans aren't Satanists & shouldn't be considered as such. Pagan worship might inadvertently invoke Satan (cos our God isn't invoked) but 'tisn't intended to do so.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 24, 2005 8:02 PM ET USA

    "This may include chanting, and reading of religious texts." Shouldn't that state that their services may include reading from "pagan texts"? For, isn't paganism the opposite of religion. Religion worships a deity; certainly Satan does not qualify. A leader, yes, but not a deity.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 24, 2005 3:04 PM ET USA

    They are inviting a "problem" for which Christianity is already the solution. Inviting the Devil never seems to be the problem, but try getting him to leave once he is in... They will truly regret this "experiment."