11/6/07

Yes West Virginia. Colleges are Promoting Paganism

What many neocons have been claiming for years - colleges promote paganism - is now official policy in West Virginia.

November 4, 2007
At a University in West Virginia, New Protections for Pagans
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHARLESTON, W.Va., Nov. 3 (AP) — At Marshall University, pagan students are now allowed to miss classes to observe religious holidays or festivals.

A new policy makes the university in Huntington, W.Va., with an enrollment of about 14,000, possibly the only college in the country to protect pagans formally from being penalized for missing classes, although many institutions have policies intended to protect students of every faith.

One Marshall student, George Fain, took advantage of the policy on Thursday, missing class in observance of Samhain, a pagan and Wiccan holiday honoring the dead.

“I think we may have opened a door,” Ms. Fain said of the policy. “Now that we know we can be protected, that the government will stand behind us and we feel safe, it’s going to be more prevalent.”

The decision to allow pagan students to make up missed work is an extension of existing policy toward members of other religious groups, said Steve Hensley, the dean of student affairs at Marshall.

“I don’t think there are a lot of students here who have those beliefs,” Mr. Hensley said, “but we want to respect them. It was really just a matter of looking into it, and deciding what was the right thing.”

Students are responsible for establishing that they are religious believers and that the holiday in question is important to their faith by filing a written request with Mr. Hensley.

Paganism experts say they are not aware of any other university with such a policy.

Some universities have blanket policies that allow students to be excused for any religious holiday. Lehigh University in Pennsylvania has had such a policy for about eight years, said Lloyd Steffen, a religion professor and the university’s chaplain.

Such an accommodation for pagan students is rare even in Britain, the birthplace of modern paganism.

“Nobody yet gets any holiday for pagan festivals in the United Kingdom,” said Ronald Hutton, a history professor at the University of Bristol. “It seems to be an American original.”

Marty Laubach, a sociology professor at Marshall and an adviser to a group of pagan students, said he had seen fliers advertising pagan meetings ripped down by others.

But actions like the university’s decision on absences encourage pagans to be more vocal, he said.

“You’ll have more people now who are willing to say, ‘These are my beliefs,’” Professor Laubach said. “The American neopagan movement is a lot stronger than you think.”

3 comments:

Bryce said...

That was interesting, Tzvee.
One minor question:

"What many neocons have been claiming for years... "

You could've said "Christians" or "religious folks", so why did you choose "neocons"?

TOR Hershman said...

Speakin' of mildly witty insights in Judasim and West Virginié, here's a lill' film/research moi done did @ YouTube - "AMEN (hotep IV, that is)"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7iQRFP_e90

TOR Hershman said...

not to mention judaISM