Welcome to Monday and all the drama that can come with it.
Today I woke up to emails and notifications regarding a truly insulting and ignorant segment on Fox News Friends. It is not real news, just slag talk on TV.
The article is regarding the University of Missouri now including Pagan/Wiccan holidays on its official calendar. 20% was what one of the men on the TV show stated, but then later said there were 20 Wiccan holidays. For the record, Wicca only celebrates 8 annual holidays.
People across the internet are slamming the University for “catering to an insignificant religion”. There are a plethora of ignorant and bigoted comments running about from websites to discussion groups.
Some stated that universities should not recognize religious holidays and instead stick with secular ones. I’m not opposed to this at all, actually. Unless it’s a religious school I think this is the best course of action all the way around. This way no one group is discriminated against and no one can complain that another’s religion is being shoved down their throat.
Others are expressing that what the university has done is a wonderful example of interfaith. It’s too bad that a segment of the population will never view it as such and will always view anything that is different from their religious perspective as an attack on their religion and/or values.
As I said, the FNF broadcast is just slag talk. They’re rude, insulting, and perpetuating ignorance and bigotry. Sadly, some people believe this is actual news casting and real journalism. Never mind that the facts are incorrect.
At one point the female commentator states, “Right! And somehow if you’re Christian in this country (USA) you can’t say, Merry Christmas to somebody or else you’re trying to push your Christian faith on other people!” But it’s ok to slam, ridicule, insult and be a general jackass toward other religions because you think they’re not as good as your own. I’m sure Jesus would be so proud.
In a land where we are supposed to have Freedom of Religion it is still a constant battle to be allowed to have our religion, one that has been recognized by the US Government since 1985. People still worry about loosing custody of their own children, their jobs, their homes, and have been ostracized by their families because they’ve been associated with Wicca.
So with this recent news our community is, understandably, outraged. I don’t blame them. The characterizations and complete inaccuracies on this broadcast are greatly lacking in real facts about us and our faith.
On the one hand I don’t feel as though we should acknowledge this broadcast at all, much less with unbridled anger as many have expressed. To address this issue in such a fashion not only gives Fox more attention, it also makes them more money. In their business, it’s all about the ratings. The more controversy that gets stirred up, the more viewers they gain, the more money they make.
Yet at the same time I don’t think it should be ignored. There should be consequences for this poor behavior from a major media outlet. I am aware the Covenant of the Goddess is issuing some kind of statement. I have also seen that Circle Sanctuary and the Lady Liberty League are also considering some form of action. Witch School’s Rev. Donald Lewis offered a Fox News email for contact and suggested, “…to express oneself in calm, reasonable but firm language, and to avoid extremity -extremity tends to cause one not to be taken seriously.” I entirely agree with him on that.
There are also petitions being signed demanding Fox issue apologies to the Pagan and Wiccan communities. To be honest, even if we got the necessary signatures, I really doubt Fox would ever consider issuing an apology. Why should they? We’re not their target audience.
I’m offended by the depiction given about Wicca and pagans, but at the same time, I don’t really expect Fox to get their facts straight prior to going on the air. Historically they haven’t, so why should this story be any different?
Perhaps we should approach this issue differently? What are the legal ramifications of their comments about our religion and is there a legal recourse? Is this slander, hate speech, or anything of that nature? I’m not going to say one way or the other, I don’t honestly know, but it’s certainly something we as a community should consider.
Often times, in a situation where one person just doesn’t understand another’s point of view I request to put themselves in that person’s shoes to, hopefully, gain perspective.
I wonder, how would you feel if a major media outlet said similar insulting and inaccurate things about your community (based on your location, religion, heritage, gender, etc.)? You’d likely be outraged as well.
We might be a minority religious group, but that doesn’t make us second class citizens or insignificant as humans.
UPDATE 2/20/13 4:38pm (PST):