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Univ. of Missouri Includes Wiccan, Pagan Celebrations in Religious Holidays Guide

February 20, 2013|7:15 am

The University of Missouri's release of a "Guide to Religions: Major Holidays and Suggested Accommodations" has created controversy over whether schools should take into account non-traditional holidays celebrated by groups such as Wiccans and Pagans when scheduling exams and other student activities.

Media outlets and personalities who have called out the college for putting Wiccan and Pagan holidays on par with Christmas, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are now being criticized by a group of Salem witches, according to NoBo Magazine, a local news publication for "North of Boston."

The coven of witches are upset over the comments made by Fox News guest Tucker Carlson last Sunday in which he said that Wiccans are a very small minority and shouldn't be included in the University of Missouri's policy that recently added Wiccans and Pagans to the guide's list.

"The bad side of Wiccanism [sic] is that, obviously, it's a form of Witchcraft," said Carlson, as reported by NoBo. "Every Wiccan [he's] ever known is either a compulsive Dungeons and Dragons player or is a middle-aged, twice divorced older woman living in a rural area who works as a midwife."

Some studies suggest that Wicca or witchcraft is America's fastest growing faith, although in most cases, it is not listed as a religion or faith of official record. However, activists of the practice have made inroads into government institutions such as the military, where some recognition to Wicca is now given.

"Witches come from every socio-economic and cultural background. We're doctors, lawyers, bankers, and even politicians. We're men, women, single people and families." said Laurie Cabot, one of the Salem witches interviewed by NoBo.

"America is a bubbling cauldron of different peoples and faiths and it is to our credit that our nation goes out of its way to respect those days that are sacred to us. Witches believe in respect for all faiths and Carlson's divisive rhetoric is out of step with American values," said Christian Day, who NoBo described as a "prominent Warlock and owner of Witchcraft shops Hex and Omen in Salem."

The university's guide reads, "The holidays and accommodations section of this guide is provided to faculty, staff and student leaders as an educational resource for the myriad of religious holy days celebrated at Mizzou. Not only does this section offer crucial information about dates and practices, we also hope that the information about recommended academic and food accommodations will be valuable to those planning classroom activities and other academic and co-curricular events."

Prior to last weekend, officials at the school told FoxNews.com that no complaints had been received in connection to the guide and that many found it "useful and informational."

"The information about the Wiccan and Pagan holidays has been in the guide since last fall," the statement to FoxNews.com read. "Please keep in mind that this is not intended just for faculty. This is an informational guide for anyone across campus (and beyond)."

Contact: alex.murashko@christianpost.com; @AlexMurashko (Twitter); Alex Wire (Blog)
Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/univ-of-missouri-includes-wiccan-pagan-celebrations-in-religious-holidays-guide-90390/