Last December I reported on an effort spearheaded by Oberon Zell to get Pagan (in the religious sense) capitalized in both the Associated Press Stylebook and the University of Chicago Press’s Manual of Style.
The first is used mainly by journalists (when they remember), the second by writers and editors for university presses and other publishers of serious nonfiction books. Both are periodically updated.
A new AP Stylebook is out and receiving comment. Apparently 200 new religious terms were added. Has anyone seen a copy yet? Even Terry Mattingly at Get Religion says he has not yet seen one, but Emma Green at The Atlantic has and makes some comments, such as this:
“Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost” are both capitalized, but the former is the preferred usage, spirits being the more acceptable metaphysical entity. “Satan” is capitalized, but not “the devil.” Also noteworthy: “Voodoo,” the religion, is capitalized, but “voodoo,” roughly meaning “shenanigans,” is not, “especially when ascribing magical solutions to problems, as in voodoo economics.”
Anyone can buy either one of these books, of course, and more writers should. My copy of the AP Stylebook dates from 2004. Time for an update? But I am more of a Chicago guy these days.