July 5, 2003
Dear OATH (Organization of African Traditional Healers):
Thank you for your very informative letter regarding the Organization of African Traditional Healers. We have examined our subject headings and classification in the area of African diasporic religions and made a few changes in addressing your concerns.
The Library of Congress classification system places these religions in the general religion classification according to the place where the religion is practiced. The individual religions that you mentioned are included under religions of North America. There is also a specific classification number for comprehensive works on African religions practiced in America.
The classification of these religions has never been linked to the classification of paganism or Satanism in the Library of Congress classification system. The existing captions in the classification schedule could be interpreted as treating these groups as cults. We are making some minor adjustments to the captions to allow these groups to be treated as religious movements instead of as cults.
We have also examined our subject headings for the specific religious groups that you mentioned in your letter and the groups mentioned in article 2.3 of the OATH document *Name Mission & Bylaws* that accompanied your letter.
The Library of Congress does not have subject headings for all these groups, but we do have existing subject headings for Vodonism,Ifa, Candomblé and Santeria. The headings for Ifa and Candomblé currently contain the term *cult* We will be changing that term to *religion*
We hope that the above changes to our classification and subject headings will provide more acceptable treatment for these religious groups.
Director of Cataloging
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