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Author Topic: Terms for the UK Census  (Read 6759 times)
SleepyRedGirl
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« Topic Start: February 22, 2011, 03:39:33 pm »

I accidentally spent £4 on the Kindred Spirit magazine. I do that every year or so.

This issue there was a brief article on the upcoming UK census, written by author William Bloom. I have no idea of his work, maybe some of you do. The argument of the article is for the non-denominational-but-spiritually-aware to list themselves as 'Holistic' in the religion gap of the census.

Mods, please remove if my quoting is too excessive to fall under Fair Use.
'people genuinely do not know what word best describes their beliefs or approach to spirituality.'
'Holistic means everything is connected and interdependent'
'This will then, for example, support all those ... who are ready to present spirituality in a more modern and relevant way.'
[/b]

Introducing an already established umbrella-term as an alternative to sef-identifying with the term 'Pagan' (particularly for those who are less... deity-focused, if you'll excuse my ambiguity) - pros and cons?

On the face of it, IMO, umbrella-terms and preconceptions are not going to go away yet, so I don't mind courting them where necessary. 'Holistic' could be a viable umbrella-term for beliefs and approaches that don't tie in inherently with a religious worldview, for those who have 'pagan' spiritual leanings but not the structure and definition of a pagan religion.

UK readers - admittedly this is just a one-page article in a glossy rag, but do you predict that 'Pagan'/'Holistic' will get a good showing on the census this decade, or will we all write 'Jedi' again?

I don't mean to start a cyclical rehash of the pros and cons of umbrella definitions, rather the viability of a distinction between 'pagan' spirituality and pagan religions. Would the hassle in pushing a new definition be worth the potential benefits?


Off-topic from same mag:
I don't want to have to read this in a book review:
'An academic of huge integrity ... keen to distance herself from the waffly, New Age mumbo jumbo ... she sweeps away the doctrine, hang-ups and patriarchy of religion to the former magical, animistic Matriarchy.'
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RandallS
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« Reply #1: February 22, 2011, 04:23:22 pm »

Introducing an already established umbrella-term as an alternative to sef-identifying with the term 'Pagan' (particularly for those who are less... deity-focused, if you'll excuse my ambiguity) - pros and cons?

In the US, at least, the term "holistic" by itself really has no association for the average person, not even the average Pagan. I have no idea about how the word is used/seen in the UK. I don't know if this is good or bad -- or something that would not really matter.

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« Reply #2: February 22, 2011, 04:51:39 pm »

In the US, at least, the term "holistic" by itself really has no association for the average person, not even the average Pagan. I have no idea about how the word is used/seen in the UK. I don't know if this is good or bad -- or something that would not really matter.



I'm predicting that the greater part of the response will be 'Who cares and what are you on about?', but I thought I'd borrow some space to test the water.

'Holistic', as I've found it used, carries connotations of awareness of something aside from the material and scientific and repeatable cause-effect pattern. In the UK the mind first jumps to alternative therapies and inclusive spiritualities. New-age stuff, to use another laden label.

'Pagan' (in my experience) does lead the mind to religion: depending on the mind in question, that could be anything from 'historical mythologic religion' to 'Has that King Arthur being dicking around Stonehenge again?'

In the UK at least, 'holistic' is definitely interpreted as a spiritual / lifestyle classification whereas 'Pagan' has so many facets of meaning that it is blurred into uselessness.

Sorry if I'm coming across as vague again Randall, I'm really not articulating as best I should.
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« Reply #3: February 22, 2011, 05:11:10 pm »

In the UK at least, 'holistic' is definitely interpreted as a spiritual / lifestyle classification whereas 'Pagan' has so many facets of meaning that it is blurred into uselessness.

Then it might work in the UK just fine. Fortunately, we don't have the census problem in the US as the US Census doesn't ask what religion you are. The government isn't supposed to care and can't spend tax dollars supporting religions anyway (so there is really no reason to ask on census forms here).
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« Reply #4: February 22, 2011, 05:16:37 pm »



How is the PF's 'pagan dash' campaign going?  I've been reading a lot of argument on GB boards about whether the accuracy of people writing Pagan- followed by their particular path is better or if they should go with just plain Pagan for it's total numbers. 

I've read comments from someone involved in data correlation that there are a lot of potential answers (holistic among them) that will be counted as pagan this year instead of 'other'.  I'm not sure about that, though.  It sounds like it might just be wishful thinking on the PF's part.

I've also read comments that the annoyance factor of so many people writing Jedi is one of the reasons this will be the last time the census will be done in its current format.  That last one might just be the specific poster's pet annoyance, though, since it is only the format and delivery system being changed, rather than no more census at all.

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« Reply #5: February 22, 2011, 05:18:47 pm »

Then it might work in the UK just fine. Fortunately, we don't have the census problem in the US as the US Census doesn't ask what religion you are. The government isn't supposed to care and can't spend tax dollars supporting religions anyway (so there is really no reason to ask on census forms here).

We are asked but the section on Religion we aren't obligated to answer. A huge percentage leave it blank, or like last census, use the blank space for a laugh.
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« Reply #6: February 22, 2011, 05:26:56 pm »

How is the PF's 'pagan dash' campaign going?  I've been reading a lot of argument on GB boards about whether the accuracy of people writing Pagan- followed by their particular path is better or if they should go with just plain Pagan for it's total numbers. 

I've read comments from someone involved in data correlation that there are a lot of potential answers (holistic among them) that will be counted as pagan this year instead of 'other'.  I'm not sure about that, though.  It sounds like it might just be wishful thinking on the PF's part.

I've also read comments that the annoyance factor of so many people writing Jedi is one of the reasons this will be the last time the census will be done in its current format.  That last one might just be the specific poster's pet annoyance, though, since it is only the format and delivery system being changed, rather than no more census at all.

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Couldn't tell you, to be honest. I've not registed with the PF and I'm not active on any GB-based pagan communities. I was pondering over that point myself, whether to favour quantity or quality. Quantity being 'Pagan the umbrella term' or quality being 'Heathen because it is specific' - just to remind myself when I reread this thread in six years time.

I doubt they will be more printed options with tick boxes, particularly in a minority classification like pagan denominations. It sounds like wishful thinking to me, though I wouldn't mind being proved wrong.

Writing Jedi - no, we can't resist a little geeky subversion. I'm wonder if this decade has had a particular fad religion that we'll be encouraged (in chain SMS) to write.
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« Reply #7: February 23, 2011, 01:37:25 am »

We are asked but the section on Religion we aren't obligated to answer. A huge percentage leave it blank, or like last census, use the blank space for a laugh.

I wrote Witch (Pagan) on mine last time and my hubby wrote Jedi. I was completely serious-he obviously wasn't. (We do have a Jedi Temple in the UK, same as you do in the US, but I have no idea how popular it is.) There are a lot of titles of religion that you can put on the census, and by that I do mean serious ones (There is a list on the govt. websites somewhere), but it isn't compulsory to put anything. I think that is why the numbers never seem to add up......
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« Reply #8: February 24, 2011, 01:15:48 pm »

I wrote Witch (Pagan) on mine last time and my hubby wrote Jedi. I was completely serious-he obviously wasn't. (We do have a Jedi Temple in the UK, same as you do in the US, but I have no idea how popular it is.) There are a lot of titles of religion that you can put on the census, and by that I do mean serious ones (There is a list on the govt. websites somewhere), but it isn't compulsory to put anything. I think that is why the numbers never seem to add up......

I don't know anyone who wrote Jedi, but I guess it's quite close to writing 'Who cares?'.
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« Reply #9: February 25, 2011, 04:07:06 pm »

Introducing an already established umbrella-term as an alternative to sef-identifying with the term 'Pagan' (particularly for those who are less... deity-focused, if you'll excuse my ambiguity) - pros and cons?
That's actually the first I heard of the 'Holistic' thing. What I've seen about the UK census so far was off of here.

http://www.pagandash.org/

In which, pretty much for the sake of statistics, are encouraging pagans to put down 'pagan.' So far, the oppositions I've seen is from those that object to the word pagan, preferring Heathen, or whatever. The other was from those that weren't comfortable revealing their personal religious beliefs without remaining anonymous.

Anyway, paganDASH seeks to solve the umbrella term issue by encouraging those 'x' "other religion, and put 'PAGAN-<your path here> in the census, ex. PAGAN-Druid(Wiccan, Heathen, Polytheist, e.t.c) I wouldn't mind for the sake of statistics. In the Republic of Ireland for example, the amount of pagans is just an assumed fraction of those that answered "other religion", "pantheist," or "not stating" in the 2006 census. As far as which is which, they look towards the active neo-pagan movements, mainly in Ireland Celtic Polytheism, Druidry, Wicca, and The Fellowship of Isis. Apparently there were around 10,000 registered Pagans in Australia's 2001 census, and after a kind of campaign similar to this, put the numbers to about 70,000! 

I'm going to do it anyway. Although there's a Tri-colour here by my name, I live in Northern Ireland. I'm not trying to make a political statement or anything, but since the U.K is a Sovereign State, and not a country, I like placing emphasis on my cultural affinity. Believe it or not, since I'm originally from the States, some of my friends have asked me, "I thought you lived in Ireland, and not England?" because it says Béal Feirste, UK on my Facebook.  Roll Eyes Some people actually do see the Union Jack, and only think of England, not knowing being "British" also means being Scottish, Irish,&Welsh.
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« Reply #10: March 03, 2011, 08:22:42 am »

That's actually the first I heard of the 'Holistic' thing. What I've seen about the UK census so far was off of here.

http://www.pagandash.org/

In which, pretty much for the sake of statistics, are encouraging pagans to put down 'pagan.' So far, the oppositions I've seen is from those that object to the word pagan, preferring Heathen, or whatever. The other was from those that weren't comfortable revealing their personal religious beliefs without remaining anonymous.

Anyway, paganDASH seeks to solve the umbrella term issue by encouraging those 'x' "other religion, and put 'PAGAN-<your path here> in the census, ex. PAGAN-Druid(Wiccan, Heathen, Polytheist, e.t.c) I wouldn't mind for the sake of statistics. In the Republic of Ireland for example, the amount of pagans is just an assumed fraction of those that answered "other religion", "pantheist," or "not stating" in the 2006 census. As far as which is which, they look towards the active neo-pagan movements, mainly in Ireland Celtic Polytheism, Druidry, Wicca, and The Fellowship of Isis. Apparently there were around 10,000 registered Pagans in Australia's 2001 census, and after a kind of campaign similar to this, put the numbers to about 70,000! 

I'm going to do it anyway. Although there's a Tri-colour here by my name, I live in Northern Ireland. I'm not trying to make a political statement or anything, but since the U.K is a Sovereign State, and not a country, I like placing emphasis on my cultural affinity. Believe it or not, since I'm originally from the States, some of my friends have asked me, "I thought you lived in Ireland, and not England?" because it says Béal Feirste, UK on my Facebook.  Roll Eyes Some people actually do see the Union Jack, and only think of England, not knowing being "British" also means being Scottish, Irish,&Welsh.

Gah, I'd be late to my own funeral.

Thanks for the link, and the info. I was only a little 'un when the last census came round, so I'd not put much thought to it till now.

Normally, I wouldn't use the word Pagan without an attached explanation, but the census is statistics. I'll say it for the numbers.

Re: the Union Jack... Oh dear. It's difficult to ignore Scotland, Ireland and Wales but it can apparently be managed!
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« Reply #11: March 03, 2011, 04:16:32 pm »

Re: the Union Jack... Oh dear. It's difficult to ignore Scotland, Ireland and Wales but it can apparently be managed!
I don't know if it had anything to do with our American education or not, but apparently so  Grin
So according to them "British" is synonymous with England, and everyone in the UK has the same "British accent."  Cheesy

I don't feel too bad though, being that I've seen it over here too. You'll find Nordies referring to Northern Ireland as "Britain", especially in July, not knowing that Britain is only England, Scotland, and Wales, hence why it is The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, that used to be The United Kingdom of Great Britain&Ireland when most of our Irish ancestors arrived in yankee land off of the boats.
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« Reply #12: March 03, 2011, 04:41:45 pm »

I don't know if it had anything to do with our American education or not, but apparently so  Grin
So according to them "British" is synonymous with England, and everyone in the UK has the same "British accent."  Cheesy

I don't feel too bad though, being that I've seen it over here too. You'll find Nordies referring to Northern Ireland as "Britain", especially in July, not knowing that Britain is only England, Scotland, and Wales, hence why it is The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, that used to be The United Kingdom of Great Britain&Ireland when most of our Irish ancestors arrived in yankee land off of the boats.

Oh well. Of course I get odd looks when I tell folks that my company sent me to the wrong country to catch a ship. I was supposed to go to Scotland but ended up in Cornwall.

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« Reply #13: March 03, 2011, 05:26:21 pm »

I don't know if it had anything to do with our American education or not, but apparently so  Grin
So according to them "British" is synonymous with England, and everyone in the UK has the same "British accent."  Cheesy

I don't feel too bad though, being that I've seen it over here too. You'll find Nordies referring to Northern Ireland as "Britain", especially in July, not knowing that Britain is only England, Scotland, and Wales, hence why it is The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, that used to be The United Kingdom of Great Britain&Ireland when most of our Irish ancestors arrived in yankee land off of the boats.

Ah well, I confess I have broad-brushed 'American accents' in conversations so I'll let that slide! And my Geography isn't exactly top-class. I'm probably no better.
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« Reply #14: March 22, 2011, 02:45:55 pm »

How is the PF's 'pagan dash' campaign going?  I've been reading a lot of argument on GB boards about whether the accuracy of people writing Pagan- followed by their particular path is better or if they should go with just plain Pagan for it's total numbers.

There was a huge panic a week or two ago because the Census Office told us that the PaganDASH option wouldn't work, and that anything written after the dash would be ignored.

Then when members of a UK based witchcraft and Wicca organisation called them up to clarify, they were told a completely different story. Shortly after that, a rival Pagan dash site sprang up contradicting the original PaganDASH site.

Finally it's been sorted. A new category called 'other - pagan' has been organised by the Census Office. It means that those who use the PaganDASH option will be counted as Pagans and also as members of their individual paths. Those who prefer just to put their individual paths will also be counted as Pagans.
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