Estimates of the number of Wiccans
the U.S., between 2007 & 2011.
Part 4 of seven parts
A Wiccan pentacle symbol superimposed on a Maiden/Mother/Crone symbol
The Washington Post listed Pentagon data as including
1,511 Wiccans in the Air Force and 354 in the Marines -- for a total of 1,865. 1 Data for two larger branches of the military,
the Army and Navy, was not included. Some Wiccans estimate that there are at least 4,000 of their members in uniform
-- approximately midway between the number of Jewish and Muslim service members. However,
many Wiccans are reluctant to reveal their religion because of ridicule, harassment, discrimination,
or worse. 2 The Chaplain Corps refuses to include Wiccan priests in its service,
claiming that the number of Wiccans is too small. However, Jews and Muslims
are represented by one or two dozen clergy.
Neela Banerjee, writing about Wicca in the New York Times, commented:
- "Wicca in the civilian world is largely a religion in hiding. Wiccans fear losing their friends and jobs if people find out about their faith."
- " 'I would love to be able to say ‚Accept us for who we are,‚ but I can‚t, mainly because of my kids,' said [an unidentified] suburban mother, who agreed to talk only on the condition of anonymity. 'Children can be cruel, and their parents can be even more cruel, and I don‚t want my kids picked on for the choice their mommy made'."
- The mother worries that because most people know little about Wicca, they will assume that she worships Satan. The Christian Church taught this belief during the "Burning Times" in the Middle Ages, when suspected Witches were burned at the stake in Catholic countries, and hung in Protestant countries. She fears that her family and friends will abandon her and that the community will ostracize her.
David Steinmetz, professor of the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School, said,
"Wiccans have so many things stacked against them, from what the Bible says about the practice of magic to the history in this country of witch trials, that the image of them adds up to something so contrary to the consensus about genuine religion that still shapes American society."
She interviewed Helen A. Berger, a sociology professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Berger commented about the ARIS survey in 2001, saying:
Josh Kinball, a reporter at Christian Post, quotes the book's authors as giving their opinion that:
"The number of [Wiccan] adherents are doubling every 30 months." 5
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Alan Cooperman, "For Gods and Country" Washington Post, 2007-FEB-18, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Alan Cooperman, "For Gods and Country: The Army Chaplain Who Wanted to
Switch to Wicca? Transfer Denied," Washington Post, 2007-FEB-19, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Neela Banerjee, "Wiccans Keep the Faith With a Religion Under Wraps," New York Times, 2007-MAY-16, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
U.S. Religious Landscape Survey 2008," Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life,
Page 12, at:
http://religions.pewforum.org/ This is a PDF file.
Josh Kimball, "Wicca Experts Encourage Christians to Engage America's 'Fastest-Growing' Religion," Christian Post Politics, 2008-SEP-21, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Latest update: 2016-OCT-20
Author: B.A. Robinson