Journalist Sam Freedman has an insightful piece in his column On Religion for the New York Times about the growing acceptance of Paganism. Pagans around the world celebrated the holiday of Samhain this past weekend. Samhain – the autumnal new year for pagans – falls on the same night as the secular holiday, Halloween. As Freedman points out, American society has become both more aware and more accepting of paganism in recent years. Over the past decade, there’s been a dramatic growth in paganism and followers of this religion can now be found in the ranks of the military chaplaincy and the lecture halls of major universities – even on the air waves. NPR’s Margot Adler is a best-selling pagan author. Freedman also credits pop culture icons like Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for “defanging” the Pagan faith.
Unfortunately – alongside the optimistic tone of Freedman’s piece comes disturbing news of a lawsuit in which a Pagan woman was fired because of her Wiccan faith. The Connecticut woman lost her job at Bath and Body Works after asking to take vacation time in October to celebrate Samhain. She was told by her manager, “I will be damned if I have a devil-worshipper on my team.” Read more about the case here.