Pagans and Quakers may seem like an odd couple. But Pagans are a growing movement within the Society of Friends, especially in its liberal branch.
Quaker Pagans combine the Friends tradition with practices from Wicca, Druidism, Shamanism, and other nature-based belief systems. There are Quaker Pagan conferences and congregations. Some Quaker Pagan blogs are emerging online.
Quakers lack a hierarchy, central authority and a specific creed (some of the reasons why Paganism can thrive within it). In contrast, Catholicism has a strong hierarchy, centralized authority, and firmly prescribed practices and beliefs. However, there’s also a blending movement with Catholicism, especially in the United States. Sometimes called “Cafeteria Catholics,” these men and women pick and choose among these religious prescriptions, designing their versions of this religious tradition.
For all their differences, Quaker Pagans and Cafeteria Catholics have something in common: Each is the result of competing American values. Strong religious faith is an abiding American value. It competes with the values of freedom, autonomy and choice. The result can be Quaker Pagans, Cafeteria Catholics, or any number of variations that arise when competing values collide.
What do you think? Should Americans be free to express their religious and spiritual yearnings as they see fit? Would it be better for Americans to hold true to the traditional teachings of established faiths?
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