It’s the day before Halloween so the news outlets are knocking themselves out running “your next door neighbor, the pagan” stories chronicling the rising numbers of pagans, particularly Wiccans, in America, and neo-paganism’s acceptance as a cool new religious choice. I just finished reading an ABC News article that does its best to prove both of those points. Did you know that Wicca is a much more accepting, religiously tolerant, environmentally conscious, and gender and sexually affirming religion than your traditional, oppressive, misogynistic brand of Christianity? Aside from the coming out stories of middle-age housewives, confused teenagers, and gay men who cast salt circles in their backyards wearing black bathrobes or nothing at all, the one fact that struck me so powerfully about this article was the demographic number – .3%. That is the general estimate of practicing pagans (Wiccans, but also worshippers of the Norse gods for example and other flavors of neo-paganism) in the United States. Let me shake you up by pointing out the Pew Forum’s most recent survey of American religious groups estimates the total number of Orthodox Christians at
Yes, that’s less than 1% of 305.5 million Americans. What is the matter with us, my fellow Orthodox Christians? I am actually very pissed off and discouraged that we, the keepers of the ancient Christian faith, the witnesses of the fullness of the Gospel, the inheritors of the first Christian communities established by the Apostles, have only a .3% numerical significance in this country over the pagans!
Each of us individually needs to recommit ourselves to evangelism and the spreading of our faith. If our relationship with God and his Holy Church means so much to us, our zeal has got to translate into hard numbers. At this rate we aren’t going to see 1% before the end of the next decade. Where do you think the pagans are going to place?