Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-rn2sj Total loading time: 0.483 Render date: 2022-08-08T15:04:19.395Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

A Political Profile of U.S. Pagans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 April 2021

Kathleen Marchetti*
Affiliation:
Dickinson College
*
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Kathleen Marchetti, Department of Political Science, Dickinson College, P.O. Box 1773 Carlisle, PA17013. E-mail: marchetk@dickinson.edu

Abstract

Although prior research has explored the demographic characteristics, religious practices, and beliefs of modern Pagans, their political attitudes and actions have yet to be studied in depth. Further, most extant research is based on non-random samples of Pagans which calls into question the generalizability of prior findings. This article examines Pagans' political attitudes and behavior using a representative sample of Pagans in the United States drawn from the 2014 Pew Religious Landscape Study. Descriptive and multivariate analyses show that Pagan religious identity shapes political views and behavior despite the varied and decentralized nature of Paganism. Overall, Pagans are relatively liberal and supportive of issues common across Pagan traditions like the environment and LGBTQ rights. However, Pagans are somewhat less politically engaged than non-Pagans as evidenced by their lower levels of party identity and voter registration.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Barreto, Matt A., and Bozonelos, Dino N.. 2009. “Democrat, Republican, or None of the Above? The Role of Religiosity in Muslim American Party Identification.” Politics and Religion 2 (2): 200229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BBC News. 2017. “Witches cast ‘mass spell’ against Donald Trump.” BBC News. February 25, 2017. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39090334 (Accessed September 25, 2020).Google Scholar
Berger, Helen. 2012. “Contemporary Paganism: Fifteen Years Later.” Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, 3 (1): 314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berger, Helen. 2019. Solitary Pagans: Contemporary Witches, Wiccans and Others Who Practice Alone. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berger, Helen, and Ezzy, Douglas. 2009. “Mass Media and Religious Identity: A Case Study of Young Witches.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48 (3): 501514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berger, Helen, Leach, Evan A., and Shaffer, Leigh S.. 2003. Voices from the Pagan Census: A National Survey of Witches and Neo-Pagans in the United States. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.Google Scholar
Berghuijs, Joantine, Pieper, Jos, and Bakker, Cok. 2013. “New Spirituality and Social Engagement.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52 (4): 775792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Botvar, Pal Ketil. 2009. “Alternative Religion—A New Political Cleavage?: An Analysis of Norwegian Survey Data on New Forms of Spirituality.” Politics and Religion 2 (3): 378394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brockway, Mark. 2018. “Home on Sunday, Home on Tuesday? Secular Political Participation in the United States.” Politics and Religion 11 (2): 334363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burton, Tara Isabella. 2017. “Each month, thousands of witches cast a spell against Donald Trump.” Vox. October 30, 2017. https://www.vox.com/2017/6/20/15830312/magicresistance-restance-witches-magic-spell-to-bind-donald-trump-mememagic (Accessed September 25, 2020).Google Scholar
Cadge, Wendy, and Davidman, Lynn. 2006. “Ascription, Choice, and the Construction of Religious Identities in the Contemporary United States.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 45 (1): 2338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, David E. 2004. “Acts of Faith: Churches and Political Engagement.” Political Behavior 26 (2): 155180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chouhoud, Youssef, Dana, Karam, and Barreto, Matt. 2019. “American Muslim Political Participation: Between Diversity and Cohesion.” Politics and Religion 12 (4): 736765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clements, Ben, and Gries, Peter. 2017. “‘Religious Nones’ in the United Kingdom: How Atheists and Agnostics Think about Religion and Politics.” Politics and Religion 10 (1): 161185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clifton, Chas S. 2009. “Earth Day and Afterwards: American Paganism's Appropriation of ‘Nature Religion’.” In Handbook of Contemporary Paganism Volume 2, eds. Pizza, Murphy and Lewis, James. Boston, MA: Brill, 109118.Google Scholar
Contractor, Cyrus Ali. 2011. “The Dearborn Effect: A Comparison of the Political Dispositions of Shi'a and Sunni Muslims in the United States.” Politics and Religion 4 (1): 154167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cookson, Catharine. 1997. “Reports from the Trenches: A Case Study of Religious Freedom Issues Faced by Wiccans Practicing in the United States.” Journal of Church and State 39 (4): 723748.Google Scholar
Cragle, Joshua Marcus. 2017. “Contemporary Germanic/Norse Paganism and Recent Survey Data.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies 19 (1): 77116.Google Scholar
Crowley, Vivianne. 2014. “Standing up to be Counted: Understanding Pagan Responses to the 2011 British Censuses.” Religion 44 (3): 483501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Curtis, Amber K., and Olson, Laura R.. 2019. “Identification with Religion: Cross-National Evidence from a Social Psychological Perspective.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 58 (4): 790812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Djupe, Paul A., and Gilbert, Christopher P.. 2006. “The Resourceful Believer: Generating Civic Skills in Church.” Journal of Politics 68 (1):116127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Djupe, Paul A., and Gilbert, Christopher P.. 2008. The Political Influence of Churches. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Djupe, Paul A., and Tobin Grant, J.. 2001. “Religious Institutions and Political Participation in America.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 40 (2): 303314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dobratz, Betty A. 2001. “The Role of Religion in the Collective Identity of the White Racialist Movement.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 40 (2): 287301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ellis, Emma Grey. 2019. “Trump's Presidency Has Spawned a New Generation of Witches.” Wired. October 30, 2019. https://www.wired.com/story/trump-witches/ (Accessed September 25, 2020).Google Scholar
Ezzy, Douglas, and Berger, Helen. 2009. “Witchcraft: Changing Patterns of Participation in the Early Twenty-First Century.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies 11 (2): 165180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fennell, Julie, and Wildman-Hanlon, Laura. 2017. “The Children of Converts: Beyond the First Generation of Contemporary Pagans.” Social Compass 64 (2): 288306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Finke, Roger, Martin, Robert R., and Fox, Jonathan. 2017. Explaining Discrimination against Religious Minorities. Politics and Religion 10 (2): 389416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Friesen, Amanda, and Wagner, Michael W.. 2012. “Beyond the ‘Three Bs’: How American Christians Approach Faith and Politics.” Politics and Religion 5 (2): 224252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gallagher, Ann-Marie. 2009. “Weaving a Tangled Web? Pagan Ethics and Issues of History, Race, and Ethnicity in Pagan Identity.” In Handbook of Contemporary Paganism Volume 2, eds. Pizza, Murphy and Lewis, James. Boston, MA: Brill, 577590.Google Scholar
Gilmore, Lee. 2018. “Pagan and Indigenous Communities in Interreligious Contexts: Interrogating Identity, Power, and Authenticity.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 20 (2): 179207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goodall, Janet, Williams, Emyr, and Goodall, Catherine. 2013. “Pagan Prayer and Worship: A Qualitative Study of Perceptions.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 15 (1–2): 178201.Google Scholar
Hainmueller, Jens, and Hopkins, Daniel J.. 2014. “Public Attitudes Toward Immigration.” Annual Review of Political Science 17: 225249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hale, Amy. 2012. “John Michell, Radical Traditionalism, and the Emerging Politics of the Pagan New Right.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 13 (1): 7797.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harris, Kevin A., Panzica, Kate M., and Crocker, Ruth A.. 2016. “Paganism and Counseling: The Development of a Clinical Resource.” Open Theology, 2 (1): 857875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hedenborg-White, Manon. 2014. “Contemporary Paganism.” In Controversial New Religions, 2nd ed, eds. Lewis, James R. and Petersen, Jesper A.. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 315330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hedenborg-White, Manon, and Gregorius, Fredrik. 2019. “The Satanic Temple: Secularist Activism and Occulture in the American Political Landscape.” International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 10 (1): 89110.Google Scholar
Hoverd, William James, Sibley, Chris G., and Atkinson, Quentin D.. 2012. “Group Size and the Trajectory of Religious Identification.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 51 (2): 286303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hughes, Michael M. 2017. “A Spell to Bind Donald Trump and All Those Who Abet Him.” Extra News Feed. February 16, 2017. https://extranewsfeed.com/a-spell-to-bind-donald-trump-and-all-those-who-abet-him-february-24th-mass-ritual-51f3d94f62f4#.ktf81gjfj (Accessed September 25, 2020).Google Scholar
Jensen, Gary F., and Thompson, Ashley. 2008. “Out of the Broom Closet: The Social Ecology of American Wicca.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47 (4): 753766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnston, Erin F. 2013. “I Was Always This Way…: Rhetorics of Continuity in Narratives of Conversion.” Sociological Forum, 28 (3): 549573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jorgensen, Danny L., and Russell, Scott E.. 1999. “American Neopaganism: The Participants' Social Identities.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 38 (3): 325338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kopko, Kyle C. 2012. “Religious Identity and Political Participation in the Mennonite Church USA.” Politics and Religion 5 (2): 367393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kraemer, Christine Hoff. 2012. “Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Paganism.” Religion Compass 6 (8): 390401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lang, Cady. 2018. “Here's Why This Witch Is Preparing for Midterm Elections by Hosting a Hex on Brett Kavanaugh.” Time. November 2, 2018. https://time.com/5442528/brett-kavanaugh-hex/ (Accessed September 25, 2020).Google Scholar
Lewis, James. 2012. “The Pagan Explosion Revisited; A Statistical Postmortem on the Teen Witch fad.” Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 14 (1): 128139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewis, James. 2014. “Becoming a Virtual Pagan: ‘Conversion’ or Identity Construction?.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 16 (1): 2434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewis, James R., Oman-Reagan, Michael P., and Currie, Sean E.. 2016. “The Religion of the Educated Classes Revisited: New Religions, the Nonreligious, and Educational Levels.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 55 (1): 91104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewis, James, Xinzhang, Zhang, and Utaaker, Oscar-Torjus. 2018. “Processual Pagans: Quasi-Longitudinal Approaches to Survey Research.” Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, 9 (2): 257265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Magliocco, Sabina. 2020. “Witchcraft as Political Resistance: Magical Responses to the 2016 Presidential Election in the United States.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 23 (4): 4368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McClure, Amy I. 2017. “Becoming a Parent Changes Everything: How Nonbeliever and Pagan Parents Manage Stigma in the U.S. Bible Belt.” Qualitative Sociology 40 (4): 331352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McShee, Sean. 2018. “Pagan responses to zero-tolerance immigration policies.” The Wild Hunt, July 3, 2018. https://wildhunt.org/2018/07/pagan-responses-to-zero-tolerance-immigration-policies.html. (Accessed September 20, 2020).Google Scholar
Peek, Lori. 2005. “Becoming Muslim: The Development of a Religious Identity.” Sociology of Religion 66 (3): 215242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Petrocik, John Richard. 2009. “Measuring Party Support: Leaners are not Independents.” Electoral Studies 28, 4: 562572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pew Research Center. 2014. “Religious Landscape Study.” Pew Research Center. https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/ (Accessed September 13, 2020).Google Scholar
Pew Research Center. 2016. “Pew Research Center 2014 Religious Landscape Study Background and Codebook Version 1.1.” Pew Research Center, December 1, 2016. https://www.pewforum.org/dataset/pew-research-center-2014-u-s-religious-landscape-study/ (Accessed September 25, 2020).Google Scholar
Reece, Gwendolyn. 2014a. “Prevalence and Importance of Contemporary Pagan Practices.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 16 (1): 3554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reece, Gwendolyn. 2014b. “Impediments to Practice in Contemporary Paganism.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 16 (2): 150177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reece, Gwendolyn. 2016. “Contemporary Pagans and Stigmatized Identity.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 18 (1): 6095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reece, Gwendolyn. 2017. “Pagan Leaders and Clergy: A Quantitative Exploration.” Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 19 (1): 2546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reid, Sian. 2009. “A Religion without Converts Revisited: Individuals, Identity and Community in Contemporary Paganism.” In Handbook of Contemporary Paganism Volume 2, eds. Pizza, Murphy and Lewis, James. Boston, MA: Brill, 171194.Google Scholar
Renser, Berit, and Tiidenberg, Katrin. 2020. “Witches on Facebook: Mediatization of Neo-Paganism.” Social Media + Society. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305120928514 (Accessed September 25, 2020).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schoettmer, Patrick L. 2013. “Zen and the Science of American Politics: Minority Religious Traditions and Political Engagement.” Politics and Religion, 6 (1): 164185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schoettmer, Patrick L. 2015. “Mobilization and the Masjid: Muslim Political Engagement in post-9/11 America.” Politics, Groups, and Identities, 3 (2): 255273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schwadel, Philip. 2020. “The Politics of Religious Nones.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 59 (1): 180189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Gregory A. 2005. “The Influence of Priests on the Political Attitudes of Roman Catholics.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44 (3):291306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snook, Jennifer. 2013. “Reconsidering Heathenry: The Construction of an Ethnic Folkway as Religio-Ethnic Identity.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, 16 (3): 5276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snook, Jennifer. 2015. American Heathens: The Politics of Identity in a Pagan Religious Movement. Philadelphia, PA, : Temple University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sommerland-Rogers, Deirdre. 2013. “Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors among Pagans.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 15 (1–2): 223249.Google Scholar
Strmiska, Michael F. 2018. “Pagan Politics in the 21st Century: ‘Peace and Love’ or ‘Blood and Soil’?.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 20 (1): 544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tejeda, Manuel J. 2015. “Skeletons in the Broom Closet: Exploring the Discrimination of Pagans in the Workplace.” Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion 12 (2): 88110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vencálek, Matouš. 2017. “Religious, Socio-Cultural and Political Worldviews of Contemporary Pagans in the Czech Republic.” The Pomegranate: Journal of International Pagan Studies, 19 (2): 233250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
York, Michael. 2009. “Pagan Theology.” In Handbook of Contemporary Paganism Volume 2, eds. Pizza, Murphy and Lewis, James. Boston, MA: Brill, 283310.Google Scholar

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

A Political Profile of U.S. Pagans
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

A Political Profile of U.S. Pagans
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

A Political Profile of U.S. Pagans
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *