February 18, 2013
For Immediate Release
Barneveld, WI - The Lady Liberty League denounces the ignorant and unprofessional statements made by Fox News commentators this weekend. The statements, made by Fox personalities including Anna Kooiman, Clayton Morris, Tucker Carlson, and Tammy Bruce were in regards to the University of Missouri's 2011 decision to include Wiccan and other holidays, along with the holidays of other many other faiths, in that university's "Guide to Religion."
We are deeply disappointed that Fox's leadership would chose to allow such ill-informed statements on the air. The commentary of the Fox News personalities over the weekend betrayed not only deep ignorance about Paganism and Wicca but also a fundamental distain for the nature of religious diversity in the United States and the establishment clause in the US constitution.
Paganism and Wicca (not "Wiccanism" as stated by Tucker Carlson) are contemporary religious practices that include an honoring of the Divine as immanent in Nature. Nature religions are growing in significant numbers not just within the United States, but significantly in the UK, Australia, South America, and Europe. The Lady Liberty League (LLL) is a program of Circle Sanctuary founded to dispel misconceptions and combat discrimination against Pagans, Wiccans and other Nature religion practitioners.
Rev. Selena Fox, Executive Director of the Lady Liberty League said, "In 2006 and 2007 Fox News was among the media sources that covered the quest to have equal rights for Wiccan and Pagan US Military veterans, and they did so in a factual and respectful manner. We are extremely disappointed at the ill-informed and disrespectful tone of their coverage about academic accommodation of Pagan and Wiccan holidays. We hope that Fox News will adopt and stay with a policy of respect for diverse faiths and philosophies in the USA."
The Fox News personalities, and others making similar arguments, seem to assume that because a religious faith is in the minority, that it should not be accorded equal rights or respect.
What they fail to realize is that the same protections granting Pagans at public universities fair treatment are what, for example, prevents a public school teacher from telling a child that she 'isn't really a Christian' because of the way she was baptized, and which prevents the government from banning the sale of bread during Passover. In the United States our government is not allowed to favor one religious practice over another and that is a good thing for everyone. Our founders knew very well the suffering that religious wars had inflicted in Europe and they worked to ensure that their new United States would be a place where people were free to worship and still coexist with one another.
We applaud the work done by the University of Missouri and by numerous other colleges, universities and public school systems across the country, to extend respect and understanding to all religions practiced on their campus. We are disgusted by the attempt of Fox News employees to belittle their efforts and to go for a cheap laugh at the expense of people and religions they obviously do not understand. We should expect better of American journalists.
Labels: fundamentalism, interfaith, Pagan issues