Fox and Friends

I cannot believe I have to criticize the news media for not doing research, but on Sunday Fox and Friends’ hosts showed how ignorant they can be.

They were doing a segment about the University of Missouri’s decision to excuse Pagans for their holidays. This includes excusing them from taking tests. I am not sure if the Pagan community at UM asked them to or not, but that is beside the point.

The biggest problem is the outright, uneducated untruths the hosts were stating. By making statements without doing the proper research, the hosts of Fox and Friends are helping spread the ignorance and fear surrounding a truly wonderful and legitimate religion.

One host stated that Wicca is a form of witchcraft. He could not be more wrong. Wicca is not a form of witchcraft.

A common saying in the Pagan community is “not all Wiccans are witches and not all witches are Wiccans.” Wiccans and Witches both fall under the umbrella of Paganism. Like Christianity, Paganism encompasses a large number of different religions. Some people who are actually witches, like me, call themselves Wiccans because they feel it is safer. ‘Witch’ carries with it some very nasty connotations, the biggest being that witches worship the devil.

For the record, we do not even believe in the devil, let alone worship one. Pagans, whether they are Wiccans, Druids, Heathens or, yes, Witches, practice an earth-based religion that reveres the Earth and the bounty she brings to us all.

Then he said Wiccans celebrated 20 holidays. What? Really? I would like to know what the other 12 are then because I am missing out on some fun times. Last time I checked we had eight major holidays throughout the year spread about six weeks apart.

He asked how many pagans could actually name all the holidays they celebrate. Let me take a crack it. First we have Samhain or Halloween, which is our New Year and the final harvest of the year followed by Yule (Winter Solstice), Imbolc (Groundhog Day), Ostara (Spring Equinox), Beltane (May Day), Litha (Summer Solstice), Lughnasadh (Lammas) and finally Mabon (Fall Equinox).

During the program, one of the male co-hosts discounted Wiccans as a bunch of people who played Dungeons and Dragons. He also said we were “middle-aged, twice-divorced” women who “liked a lot of incense.” Well, I stand guilty as charged on one account. I like incense. I have not played D & D since I was in fourth or fifth grade and I have never been married. So who is he talking about exactly? Making a joke about something you know absolutely nothing about is offensive and tasteless and Fox News should be deeply ashamed for allowing it to happen.

The final straw came when one of the hosts said he could not take a religion seriously if Halloween was its most sacred holiday. I can see where he would think that this is funny. After all, most people run around in costumes, knock on doors and ask complete strangers for candy. He is using that as a basis for his myopic view of a day that is as sacred for us as Christmas or Easter is for Christians. I do not think he knows what the holiday truly means, nor do I think he took the time to do any research on the subject.

Halloween is the most sacred holiday for us because it is the last harvest of the year. In the past, the last of the crops were brought in and people made preparations because they did not know how hard winter was going to be. Time also was spent reflecting on the past year and ancestors were remembered. Some families even set an extra place at the dinner table in honor of long dead family and friends.

One piece of advice from a journalist to whatever you would call the people at Fox News: Do a little research before your ignorance really starts to show. Real journalists do research before they put pen to paper or open their mouths.

 

6 Comments

  1. Well written, Denise. Like you, I am a witch who generally refers to myself as a Wiccan. The only possible explanation I could come up with for the other 12 holidays they mention is full moon. But even if that’s where that came from, they’re off, because there are 13 full moons in year. If one wanted to be petty, you could say Christians have a lot more holidays (holy days) average 4 Sundays a month for 12 months, that’s 48 holidays right there.

    Playing D & D and liking incense? Well, I do like incense. I play games similar to D & D, I also play video games, am involved in theatre, make/repair jewelry, do a variety of yarn crafts and a bit of sewing. None of which has anything to do with my religion. They are just things I personally enjoy.

    Assuming you are correct about his reasoning for disdaining Halloween as the most sacred holiday, one could say the same thing about Christmas. To an outside observer, it’s all about receiving gifts, buying some for others so you don’t feel guilty about it, and putting on a gaudier display than the neighbors. Shoot, most people don’t even call it by it’s full name! How does that have anything to do with Christianity? (This is not my actual personal opinion of the holiday, but what I think a truly impartial outsider would see.)

    A good piece of journalism should be based on facts. If it is based on opinion, that should be clearly stated, and not taken as fact. Bashing and degrading others who have differing opinions is not journalism. It is slander, defamation.

  2. I totally agree with Alathe, and i also play D&D-esqu games and enjoy burning incense. But i am pretty sure i would play those types of games and enjoy my home smelling nice even if i weren’t Pagan.

    Being a Witch myself I find the assumption that all witche’s most sacred holliday is Samhain an annoyance. I personally am more fond of Beltane. I try to never miss either Samhain or Beltaine. I believe them to be equally important. Samhain, as you stated above is big because its our last harvest and our preparation for winter, but on the other side of that coin, Beltane is our “prayers” if you will, for a fertile season. I personally see Beltane as an equal with Samhain. Two sides of the same coin.

  3. Nice piece. One point of order, though. Halloween is a Christian holiday created by the Church to displace the Pagan sabbat of Samhain. Wiccans celebrate Halloween like Native Americans celebrate Columbus Day. Wiccans don’t do Halloween; we celebrate Samhain. BB.

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