The following is the result of discussion amongst the BDO Circle of Elders and is intended to clarify the Order's position on racism, adding our voice to the growing number that stand firm in saying that it has no place in our spirituality.
Following recent events, publicity surrounding neo-Nazi and ‘alt-right’ groups in the US, and concerns among Pagan organisations and individuals regarding the position of various groups in relation to racist, fascist and neo-Nazi ideologies, the BDO wants to add its voice in condemning all manifestations of racism and to clearly state that as an organisation it does not and will not tolerate any form of racism or racial abuse within its membership or affiliates. We stand with all groups, even where we may disagree with them on other issues, that are targeted by racist, fascist and neo-Nazi organisations, whether inside and outside of Paganism.
Because we are called the 'British' Druid Order, a few misguided souls have leapt to the mistaken conclusion that we have some sort of nationalist agenda. The gods forbid. From our origins in the 1970s, our primary aim has been to rekindle the sacred fires of Druidry as a pagan, animistic spirituality that, according to Druids of the 1st century BCE, originated in Britain. By offering access to this richly diverse, ancient native European spirituality we hope, among other things, to lessen the need felt by some folk of European origin to appropriate native spiritual traditions from other cultures, often misrepresenting them as well as angering those whose ancestors maintained them, often in the face of extreme repression by earlier generations of Europeans.
As Druids, we work with folk of many traditions and cultures and have shared ceremony with Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians, Sami, Shinto, Asatru, Heathens, Wiccans, Christians, Buddhists, Bah'ai and many others.
Those who come to us in search of narrow-minded nationalism are quickly disabused of the idea. Most leave equally quickly. If they don't, and attempt to spread hatred, we remove them. A few stick around and have their ideas radically changed by association with us. To abandon long-held predjudices and adopt new ways of looking at the world is neither easy or comfortable and we applaud their courage.
For the record, we also vehemently oppose any and all discrimination, abuse or hatred based on a person’s gender or sexual preferences, mode of dress, hairstyle or religious affiliation.
“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” ― Kofi Annan.