As the author of the The Never King, I’ve received a number of really intelligent questions about its underlying themes and beliefs. Furthermore, several readers have suggested that I start a blog in order to address them. So here it is. In the coming weeks, I’ll try to answer your questions and also give you a chance to react to what I and others write. Furthermore, I’ll solicit your suggestions for dealing with some the issues that I’m encountering in writing the second book of the trilogy, The Gudeman’s Croft. That might well include providing you with excerpts from the early drafts.

However, I’d like to kick off the blog by commenting on the news on the Fox website that the University of Missouri recently added eight “Wiccan and pagan” holidays to their list of religious “holy days.” The purpose of the list is to designate days on which exams and other major student activities shouldn’t be scheduled. According to the article, some people have criticized the move because Wicca and other neo-pagan faiths are “fringe” religions. Although I’m not a Wiccan or other kind of neo-pagan, I take exception to calling them “fringe” religions. The truth is that nobody knows how many neo-pagans there are. One reason for that is that they generally don’t form big organizations. On the contrary, they usually practice in small groups. (There are even solitary practices.) Another reason is that neo-pagans are often all but invisible. For example, when was the last time you passed a neo-pagan church or temple in your town? When was the last time that a neo-pagan knocked on your door or approached you on the street in order to try to convert you? And if Wicca is a “fringe” religion, why does the U.S. government now allow pentagrams to be carved on the tombstones of military veterans who are buried in national cemeteries?

Yes, there are some religions in this country that have far too few members to justify putting their holidays on a list like the University of Missouri’s. However, Wicca and other major neo-pagan faiths aren’t among them. At least that’s my opinion.