Following Yvonne’s comment, I’ve uploaded the two podcasts I recorded on Pagan reburial in the UK to Box.net. You should be able to access them at:
The reburial of remains issue is live again and it’s interesting for a couple of reasons. One is the ethics of studying and storing human remains and the claims a religious community can make on the rest of society. This makes good headlines. The other requires a bit more thought. Do the concept of the Pagan (or Christian or Muslim) community make sense?
The current reburial flap is centred around a fringe Pagan group. From the podcasts you’ll see it’s not a mainstream Pagan position. Yet really what the public and the news media want from Pagans is simple and daffy stereotype. White robes, long beards, made-up names and lineages. We’ll skip pointing fingers at the dresses prominent Christians wear. The point is what makes a good story are people who play up to the stereotype. Enter CoBDO®.
CoBDO® is/are the the Council(s) of British Druid Orders. Back in the day when they were CoBDO® they were, if I understand correctly a minority group amongst Pagans. Since then CoBDO® have split from CoBDO West following a fight in a pub. I don’t know if CoBDO West is a registered trademark or not if they legally a CoBDO or not. Hence the vagueness over whether CoBDO is singular or plural. Anyway it’s all a big fight and the Judean People’s Front is hoping to stick it to the People’s Front of Judea by grabbing bones from a museum in Avebury for burial. Even if English Heritage do say the bones can be reburied, there’ll be a big fight to be had over whether it should be a CoBDO® or CoBDO West ceremony which is performed.
This is all a concern to the majority of Pagans who don’t feel the need to get involved in a big shouting match to make a point. By playing to the worst stereotypes of the media a small group of people is getting to define what it means to be Pagan. That’s why I found the two interviews with Yvonne Aburrow and Emma Restall-Orr interesting. You have two people from two different Pagan positions both with criticisms of this campaign. It’s a microcosm of a position taken by the media for all religions. Journalists and politicians are quite happy to talk with leaders of the Muslim community or the Jewish community, but is there a community and who gets to speak for all? Does acceding to religious requests mean that the government will be endorsing one form of a religion over another?
As for the content of the argument that the bones should be reburied, that’s an argument for tomorrow.Google+