Britain extends formal charity status to Druids

Giving a “form of legitimacy” to Druidry, Britain has recognized the practice as worthy of charitable status – meaning it has met the tests for what constitutes a religion.

“There is a sufficient belief in a supreme being or entity to constitute a religion for the purposes of charity law,” declared the Charity Commission for England and Wales in response to the Druid Network’s application.

The decision will give the neo-pagan religion, known for its cloaked worshippers at Stonehenge … and other sites, tax advantages and is expected to lead to broader acceptance.

“This has been a long hard struggle taking over five years to complete,” said the Druid Network, which is based in England, in a statement on its website.

Druidry and various strains of neo-paganism have been long misunderstood and conflated, says Druid Network founder Emma Restall Orr, but …

“The Charity Commission now has a much greater understanding of Pagan, animist and polytheist religions, so other groups from these minority religions — provided they meet the financial and public benefit criteria for registration as charities — should find registering a much shorter process than the pioneering one we have been through.”

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