American Samizdat

Friday, December 08, 2006. *
A group of Pagans in Albemarle County, Va., was recently given permission to advertise their multi-cultural holiday program to public school children - and they have the Rev. Jerry Falwell to thank for it.

The dispute started last summer when Gabriel and Joshua Rakoski, twins who attend Hollymead Elementary School, sought permission to distribute fliers about their church's Vacation Bible School to their peers via "backpack mail." Many public schools use special folders placed in student backpacks to distribute notices about schools events and sometimes extra-curricular activities to parents.

School officials originally denied the request from the twins' father, Ray Rakoski, citing a school policy barring "distribution of literature that is for partisan, sectarian, religious or political purposes."

A Charlottesville weekly newspaper, The Hook, reports that Rakoski "sicced the Liberty Counsel on the county," and the policy was soon revised to allow religious groups to use the backpack mail system. Liberty Counsel is a Religious Right legal group founded by Mathew Staver and now affiliated with Falwell.

[What a great idea! I think it's a brilliant use of the limited time and funding and resources of tax-funded schools to make sure that all religious groups get equal time in public schools. Now that we've got Christianity and Paganism down, that just leaves Babism, Bahai, Gnosticism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Ayyavazhi, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Atenism, Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Manichaeism, Yazdanism, African Traditional Religion, European Religions, Near Eastern religions, Native American religions, Pacific religions, African diasporic, religions, Non-revealed religions, Syncretic religions, Entheogen religions, Western magical / esoteric groups, White-supremacist religions, Black-supremacist religions, Alien-based religions, Parody or mock religions, Esotericism, Mysticism, Magic, Organizations promoting Ecumenism, and did I forget any? Make sure that every one of them gets a backpack mail, because that's what public schools are for. Because there isn't enough optional religion already from our places of worship, or enough non-optional religion from our parents, currency, mass media, holidays or employers. Got to make sure that there is not a single moment of the day or night when religion is not present. And if we use tax-payer money to feed it to trusting young minds, all the better. Forget all that science or secular humanism stuff - what has that ever done for anybody?]
posted by Trevor Blake at 11:02 AM
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