A pagan priest has hit back at recent criticism of the Temple art project in Londonderry for its supposed pagan origins.
The Temple project involves the burning a 20-metre carved wooden tower in Londonderry this weekend, along with personal notes left by members of the public seeking to leave past hurts behind.
Reverend Graeme Orr, a Presbyterian Minister in Magheramason, said in an email circulated with other Ministers this week that he was very concerned about the Temple event because of its supposed pagan origins.
Pagan priest Patrick Carberry, who visited Londonderry for an event at the Everglades Hotel this week, said that the burning of notes of intention does indeed pre-date Christianity but said the Rev Orr’s suggestion that paganism leading to Satanism was without cause.
Mr Carberry has hit out in recent weeks at the persecution of what he called a sizeable pagan population in Northern Ireland in recent times, pointing to the theft of a sculpture of the Irish sea god Manannán Mac Lír from Binevenagh by apparent Christian extremists as evidence.
Responding to Rev Graeme Orr’s comments, Patrick Carberry said: “I speak on my own behalf and the Order of the Golden River.
“The comments made by Rev Orr are made without understanding of our belief.
“He can read whatever books he likes but, as with the Bible, all you get are different view points so one would have to ask how many books or articles Rev Orr has based his opinion on, if any.
“The belief of burning notes of intention go back well before Christianity.
“However, Rev Orr seems to believe that people can’t think for themselves.
“This is true when you have to control people as a lot of faiths do.
“Any hint of the loss of this control causes panic and statements referencing the occult, Satan and even orgies are made to cause people to fear old religions without any just cause.”
“The only way to find out about someone’s religious beliefs is to talk to them, this is something which will not happen because it would be seen as admitting other faiths exist.
“Myself and a friend are members of the interfaith forum to do just that, learn and talk to others about their faith and ours.”