Pagans Proselytize in Public Schools Thanks to Jerry Falwell

Albemarle County Virginia public schools allowed pagans to distribute flyers in the backpacks of school children inviting them and their families an event this weekend where they can learn about and participate in pagan yuletide rituals. Some outraged Christian parents objected. But the delicious part of this story is that a threatened lawsuit by Jerry Falwell's Liberty Counsel legal aid group is the reason the pagans can issue such invitations through the public schools. According to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, this is how it all came about:

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.

So some enterprising local pagans thought if it's good enough for the Christians, it's good enough for us. After all, religious freedom is for everyone. Whole story here.

Kudos to Pamela Friedman for the tip.

Disclosure: I am a resident of Charlottesville and my last formal religious affiliation was with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Church (back in 1975). Also I am not a pagan--not that there is anything wrong with that. Happy winter solstice holiday to everyone!

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  • ||

    Happy Festivus to you too, Ron.

    IMHO, this "backpack mail" isn't a forum made available for free speech, but an arm of the school used for school business. Ergo, no God stuff.

  • ||

    Go, pagans, go! As a devotee of Odin, the All Father, I support you wholeheartedly.

    BTW, Christians, you should be careful what you wish for.

  • ||

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Falwell heard about that!

  • ||

    And a Salubrious Saturnalia to all!

  • ||

    I hope they reenact the good old days when packs of early Christians were hunted down by their pagan tormentors and subjected to burnings, death by animal attacks, staked out and consumed by ants, and had they skulls cut open while they were still alive to see if there were spirits lodged in their heads causing such behavior. Then maybe "outraged parents" will learn the difference between persecution and flyers being handed out.

  • ||

    So some enterprising local pagans thought if it's good enough for the Christians, it's good enough for us. After all, religious freedom is for everyone.

    You haven't got the White House memo, didn't you Ron? "[R]eligious freedom is for everyone..." UNLESS YOU ARE A SATAN-WORSHIPIN' PAGAN, CHRIST-KILLING JEW, TERRORIST MOOS-LIM, OR WORST OF ALL, A GOODLESS COMMIE AY-THE-ST!!!!

  • ||

    A Merry Newtonmass to all!

  • ||

    I am really curious what a southern pagan is like.
    "Y'all gotta embrace the spirit of the goddess."

  • ||

    Mmmmm...... petard.

  • ||

    Oh, just admit it, Mr. Bailey. You wouldn't hold this opinion if you weren't in the pocket of Big Backpack. Why not just put a Jansport ad right smack in the middle of the post?

    Sheesh.

  • ||

    "Oh, just admit it, Mr. Bailey. You wouldn't hold this opinion if you weren't in the pocket of Big Backpack. Why not just put a Jansport ad right smack in the middle of the post?"

    Why do I have this feeling that many libertarians have watched too much Monty Python?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Many public schools use special folders placed in student backpacks to distribute notices about schools events and sometimes extra-curricular activities to parents.

    Excuse me, but "placed in"? Does this imply the school officials place them inside the backpacks, themselves?

  • Bazil||

    In Zeus I trust.

    May your holidays be filled with herculian strength, dionysian wine and orgies and care free joyousness of pam.

    May Odin's Beard bless America.

  • ||

    Akira, you allright? Deep end, for sure.

    Anyway, second to the default libertarian position on public schools, I'm kinda with Joe on this. If you absolutely must have state education, let's at least make it as neutral as possible.

  • ||

    Also wanted to say that I'll be distributing flyers for my next performance art piece. I'll be taking a shit on the local Ten Commandments display, smearing it until it obscures all of them except 6 and 8, then doing an interpretive dance to that Decemberists tune I keep hearing.

  • ||

    You know, when BushCo starting pushing all their faith-based bullshit, I said to my Bush apologist friend, wait until the Muslims start hoping on the same gravy train--that will be a sight to behold.

    Looks like the pagans beat them to the punch, but it will indeed be a great day when Muslims beging to pick the fruit sowed by Falwell and Co. I want a front row seat for that one.

  • ||

    I hope they reenact the good old days when packs of early Christians were hunted down by their pagan tormentors and subjected to burnings, death by animal attacks, staked out and consumed by ants, and had they skulls cut open while they were still alive to see if there were spirits lodged in their heads causing such behavior.

    To be fair to modern day pagans, the slaughter of early Christians had as much to do with paganism as the Bush agenda has to do with Christianity. It was the Roman state, bolstered by a (coincidentally, I'm sure) newfound devotion to the god Jupiter, that instigated the slaughter.

    I'm always glad to see pagans getting mentioned in the press. I would consider myself more of a transcendental humanist, or maybe a gnostic pantheist, and not keen on organized religion one bit. I'll definitely come to their mass if they are ever allowed to use mushrooms as a sacrament, though.

    Fuck, can you imagine that? Talk about a fundy's worst nightmare. They let the UDV use ayahuasca because it tastes like shit and vomite mixed together, so they don't need worry about their children giving up Christ. But mushrooms? You can't have religious ceremonies around MUSHROOMS! Why?

    Because it feels good. Fucking puritans.

  • Ryo||

    I question the very idea of this "backpack mail". While it might save the school money and thus taxpayers, I'm willing to bet it's a very lossy delivery mechanism. Anything I was given in charge of passing on to my parents would never make it to them, regardless of how important (or unimportant) it was. The sole exception being field trip permission slips which had no problem getting through.

  • thoreau||

    Well, he's definitely not in the pocket of Big Earth.

    With his techno-optimism and interest in space travel he might be in the pocket of Big Mars or even the biggest of them all: Big Saturn.

  • ||

    May your holidays be filled with herculian strength, dionysian wine and orgies and care free joyousness of pam.

    Orgies? Where do I sign up for your church?

  • wingnutx||

    I'm printing up 10,000 X-day pamphlets to fedex to this school district for distribution.

  • ||

    I'm so glad I got through school before the invention of the backpack. Those things will kill you.

  • ||

    I question the very idea of this "backpack mail". While it might save the school money and thus taxpayers, I'm willing to bet it's a very lossy delivery mechanism.

    If my son is an example, it's a very lossy system indeed. Not that I'm complaining...

    I'm with joe. I don't understand why any church/political crap would find it's way into "backpack mail" at all. The most "out there" stuff I've seen in the local school bundle relates to non-religious/non-political after school activities. I'd be pissed is the churches were handing out crap, or there were flyers for political issues.

  • ||

    billl,

    "Those things will kill you."

    That's why, if it weren't for dishonest Big Backpack shills like Bailey, we could have a serious discussion and get those things banned for the sake of our children.

  • ||

    We cannot allow this. It is fucked up. We may have the rite to religion, but only if it is not some thing that some may be offended by. Yo gots a right to free speach but not if politically incorrect.

    Wuzupp is Juanita man!!!

    Stay the course

  • ||

    Orgies? Where do I sign up for your church?

    Just some friendly advice. Take a look at the congregation before you sign anything.

  • ||

    May your holidays be filled with herculian strength, dionysian wine and orgies and care free joyousness of pam.

    Orgies? Where do I sign up for your church?



    Right next to the STD screening station, Jozef

  • ||

    Santorum's kid just starting crying again. Crying bitter tears for little baby Jeebus.

  • ||

    the joyousness of pam? sure, it's a great cooking spray and all, but let's not go overboard.

  • ||

    Henry means me when he says Bush apologist. But he forgets that Bush is the one that said that Islam is a religion of peace. So, I'm sure he's down with it. On the other hand, pagans are clearly loony. I mean, who is their god? What miracles has he/she performed? Worshiping plants? animals? water? Part of a well-balanced diet maybe. But not worthy of a religion.

  • ||

    rac

    Your liver would be especially tasty with some fava beans and a nice chianti

  • ||

    I'm curious how Ron got along with the Unitarians in Charlottesville.

  • ||

    Which is worse, a well-marbled liver, or a well-marbled left anterior descending artery?

  • ||

    Run a marathon and find out.

  • ||

    Mr Bailey,

    You were a UU?
    Good for you!
    I am too!

  • Warren||

    Sweet
    This must be the Friday fun post

  • John M. Joy||

    I had considered joining the UU church at one point. Trouble is, I don't know if I could reconcile it (my beliefs, especially political) with positions taken by the UUA.

    Thoughts (from former/current libertarian UUs)?

    JMJ

  • ||

    the joyousness of pam? sure, it's a great cooking spray and all, but let's not go overboard.

    Cooking? Ha! Combine it with a game of Twister, and you're sure to have a Merry Christmas.

  • ||

    JMJ,

    There is a small contingency of libertarian UUs. It is fun to converse with intelligent, thoughtful, knowledgeable folks about politics even if their views don't always jibe with mine. When we don't agree, the discussions get better, and they always stay civil. Respect for people is one of the few tenets of UUism.
    I recently was having a conversation with a member of our church about Wal-Mart. He said something about labor practices. I got to ask him if he was talking about the foreign labor making the products they sell or the domestic labor they employ, and then made the case for why Wal-Mart was good for workers in both cases. I was able to make it clear that I did care about the workers welfare. We were in a group meeting, and I think that, at the very least, some members of our group gave the issues more thought. They aren't all knee-jerkers.
    That being said, my congregation is not the same as the other congregation near my home. The other one is more involved in "social action," and seem a little more hippie/socialist. Each congregation may have a different flavor, so you may find one church more to your liking than another. Some are more humanist, some Christian, some pan-religion, some more spiritual, and so on.

  • ||

    joe,

    IMHO, this "backpack mail" isn't a forum made available for free speech, but an arm of the school used for school business. Ergo, no God stuff.

    If they've opened the "backpack mail" to organizations not affiliated with the school then it looks like a public forum. For example, how would one differentiate it from say a bulletin board open to public commentary, notices, etc.?

  • ||

    I'm curious how Ron got along with the Unitarians in Charlottesville.

    Given that the Unitarian Church is pretty much the Democratic party at prayer. Or would be if they bothered to pray. (I once attended a service at the same Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, in which a good chunk of time was taken in distributing letters calling for the impeachment of Richard Nixon and urging the members of the congregation to sign the letters, type in their names and addresses, and send the letters to Washington. I don't recall whether this was after Watergate hit the fan, or whether it was just general rage at the Vietnam War, Spiro Agnew, and putting Howard Phillips in charge of the Office of Economic Opportunity.)

    BTW, it occurs to me that letting Falwell's people and the Wiccan both distribute their literature is exactly the right outcome from a First Amendment standpoint. There shouldn't be a doctrine that holds religious speech (along with with commercial speech and--since McCain-Feingold--political speech) as somehow worthy of *less* First Amendment protection than, say, Ulysses.

  • ||

    Yes! Now I get to sacrifice a water buffalo in the Law School!

  • ||

    Given that the Unitarian Church is pretty much the Democratic party at prayer.

    Not only are there other libertarians at my church, not everything is about politics. Sometimes you have to think about coffee hour.

    And, you liked Nixon and the Viet Nam war? It was before my time, but analogous to current events. I am not a Democrat. I would sign statements, in fact, I have signed statements condemning the war and GWB.

  • ||

    This is a good thing, i think.

  • ||

    BTW, it occurs to me that letting Falwell's people and the Wiccan both distribute their literature is exactly the right outcome from a First Amendment standpoint. There shouldn't be a doctrine that holds religious speech (along with with commercial speech and--since McCain-Feingold--political speech) as somehow worthy of *less* First Amendment protection than, say, Ulysses.

    Yes. exactly.

  • ||

    rac, you raise religious prejudice to an art form.

    I mean that. That was brilliant.

  • ||

    Zeno,

    The school choosing to pass out information is not the equivalent of opening up the backpack folders as a public forum. Schools are, in one sense, information-passing-out machines. Think about lectures, handouts. Schools have access to information, and they make choices about what to pass out and how to do it. That's what schools do.

    And the school is not just allowed, but required, to avoid performing its information-passing-out function for "partisan, sectarian, religious, or political" purposes, because it is a government entity.

    The statement that "shouldn't be a doctrine that holds religious speech...as somehow worthy of *less* First Amendment protection than, say, Ulysses" doesn't apply. By the process of putting the information into the folders and having the kids take the folder home so the parents can get that information, they are making it their - the school's - speech. As such, it sure as heck can be censored from promoting a sect or religion. The school would be violating the establishment clause if it used its government function to further a religion.

  • ||

    Merry Sol Invictus!

  • ||

    I'm a UU, too. While we have a *very* active green movement with reverent viewings of "An Inconvenient Truth" and a social justice movement that comes across as a leveler movement sometimes, our congregation isn't quite large enough for those who don't toe the party line to feel overwhelmed.

    Recently, we had a Veteran's Day service where Vietnam Vets recalled getting spit on by war protesters and getting disparaged by the UU church at the time. This service was very well received with much sympathy for our many members who were and are in the military.

    My wife, who strongly believes in the death penalty, is heavily involved in the planning for the upcoming "Season for Nonviolence". There is at least one other member active Libertarian family that I know of.

    Overall, I have found that UUs tend to be willing to discuss ideas with respect. There are exceptions, but they prove the rule.

  • ||

    "...the policy was soon revised to allow religious groups to use the backpack mail system."

    Does this include, say, atheists from using the system to promote atheism? How about if someone established a group that argues that religion is evil, would such a group be able to use this system to promote anti-religious causes? If not, it's still not fair, and it's still a violation of the separation of church and state.

    And even if it allowed such things, I don't think it's a good idea. Because it would cause students to face different religious or anti-religious bias depending on where they live, what religious groups are in town, etc. Either religion should be kept out of public schools altogether, or if you must expose them to religion, all views on religion should be equally available no matter where you are.

  • ||

    joe,

    The school choosing to pass out information is not the equivalent of opening up the backpack folders as a public forum.

    It could be. It depends on the facts, who is involved, etc. However, the mere medium does not preclude such a judgment.

    Think about lectures, handouts.

    And if the school chose to allow lectures by outside groups then it may create a public forum in doing so. Indeed, there are number of court cases where that very activity was found to be a public forum.

    And the school is not just allowed, but required, to avoid performing its information-passing-out function for "partisan, sectarian, religious, or political" purposes, because it is a government entity.

    From what I can tell you are confusing the "Lemon Test" with the public forum case law. While related, they follow different tracks.

    Anyway, again, it depends on the facts at hand. Clearly though the school could create a public forum via these backpack handouts if chose to do so by passing on information from other parties. All that it would need do is do it in such a fashion that is non-discriminatory. That's one of the central positions of the Supreme Court on the matter.

    By the process of putting the information into the folders and having the kids take the folder home so the parents can get that information, they are making it their - the school's - speech.

    Unless they open the folders up to other parties, which is perfectly appropriate under the rulings of the Supreme Court. If a municipality can create a public space where it "celebrates" the holidays and opens it up to other parties to do the same thing then why the same thing isn't possible with these packets. I may not agree with them, but the Supreme Court's decisions are fairly clear that such forums are permissable.

    As such, it sure as heck can be censored from promoting a sect or religion.

    It isn't doing so if all parties are allowed to enter and comment in the forum.

    The school would be violating the establishment clause if it used its government function to further a religion.

    Only if it was discriminating against a particular religious belief, and then only if it was doing so in an effort to target that particular religious belief.

  • ||

    joe,

    To be more succint...

    The Supreme Court has found no EC violation where the state does not:

    "sponsor … [the religious] expression, the expression … [is] made on government property … opened to the public for speech, and [the] permission … [for use] is requested through the same application and on the same terms required of other private groups." Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board v. Pinette, 515 U.S. 753, 763 (1995).

  • ||

    Actually, instead of me butchering it, let me just quote it in full:

    Quite obviously, the factors that we considered determinative in Lamb's Chapel and Widmar exist here as well. The State did not sponsor respondents' expression, the expression was made on government property that had been opened to the public for speech, and permission was requested through the same application process and on the same terms required of other private groups.

    To be found here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/94-780.ZO.html

  • ||

    Rimfax,

    Our congregation has had the viewings of Al Gore's movie, too. My wife thought it might be interesting. I've avoided it because I'm afraid I'll snicker throughout it while I think of the South Park episode.

    I go to Unity Temple in Oak Park. Where are you a member?

  • ||

    "rac, you raise religious prejudice to an art form.

    I mean that. That was brilliant."

    Religious prejudice is not only fair, it is desirable. Religions are belief systems, and belief systems are ALWAYS open to scorn and attack, however grounded. It makes no sense to say it is perfectly fair to attack belief systems grounded upon a purported study of history and economics (Communism) or culture and nationalism (fascism) but NOT those based upon the alleged utterances and "inspired" writings of magical invisible beings. Various religious bullshitters have pushed this "get out of accountability jail free" card forever, but piss on them--they are just looking for a free pass.

  • ||

    Somehow, it's very appropriate to discuss Al Gore's movie in a religious context. His followers sure as hell get vicious towards anyone they consider a heretic.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Please, somebody explain to me why anything Al Gore says is considered news. He's bragged about being a tobacco farmer. He's demonized the trobacco industry. He has demonstrated that he is a career politician, no more , no less.

  • Larry A||

    Jeff Riddle, pastor of Jefferson Park Baptist Church in Charlottesville: "If the school allows the Baptist or Methodist church to send home a note to its students about Vacation Bible School, it also has to allow the Unitarian Church to send home a note about its 'Pagan ritual to celebrate Yule'….This kind of note adds weight to the argument that it is high time for Christians to leave public schools for reasonable alternatives (homeschooling and private Christian schools)."

    Because they can't stand the competition?

    There is a small contingency of libertarian UUs. It is fun to converse with intelligent, thoughtful, knowledgeable folks about politics even if their views don't always jibe with mine.

    As a concealed handgun instructor I get asked to do talks and debates on gun-related subjects. The only two religious organizations to take advantage of this were the Presbyterian-related university and the local UU congregation. The university program was killed before it got off the ground, but the UU discussion, a part of their ongoing program, was a well-organized and educational event. Impressed me.

    The school would be violating the establishment clause if it used its government function to further a religion.

    To further a religion. The establishment clause is. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." The school therefore has two choices. It may prohibit any religious fliers on campus, or it may allow all religious fliers on campus. To me the more Constitutional choice is to allow any religious organization (including anti-religious ones) free access into the marketplace of ideas.

  • ||

    I go to Unity Temple in Oak Park. Where are you a member?

    Oh, wow, isn't that the Frank Lloyd Wright building? Oh, wow!

  • ||

    Is that sarcasm?

  • ||

    Zeno,

    "It could be. It depends on the facts, who is involved, etc. However, the mere medium does not preclude such a judgment."

    Yes, it does. Teachers putting notices into folders for kids to bring home to their parents has never - never - been a public forum, but an operation of the school.

    "Unless they open the folders up to other parties..."

    Again, you're ignoring what a school is. When they hand out text books, that is information submitted to them by, say, Houghton-Mifflin. Should Jerry Falwell be allowed to force them to hand out his pamphlets because they hand out English grammer books that aren't produced by the school? Of course not.

    Although I agree with your last part - if the school had a forum that it used to provide religious information, it could not discriminate against religions.

    To respond succinctly, putting notices into backpack folders, and ordering the kids to give the folders to their parents, IS "sponsoring" that information.

  • Talldave||

    Freedom of religion, not from religion.

    The school is not prohhibited from doing anything. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" -- is a schoolteacher Congress?

  • Talldave||

    And for that matter, is a pamphlet a law?

    The militant atheists ran the church out of society in Europe, and look where it's gotten them: the secularists are dying out while the mosques are filling. Islam is winning converts, not losing them to atheism; demography suggests the post-Christian secular experiment is a nihilistic fantasy whose success is inherently self-destructive. Does anyone think the emerging Muslim majorities are going to play by the secularists' rules, rather than vice versa?

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

  • ||

    No one was talking about running church out of society. Public schools isn't society. Churches won't die out just because you take religion out of schools. They might for other reasons. And I wasn't aware that militant atheists ran the chuch out of society in Europe. Where'd you get this info? And where'd you get this info about Islam converts? All this is news to me.

    Oh, and schools are prohibited from doing lots of things. Too many to mention. But if you want some examples, they may not kill students, may not rape them, may not kidnap them, may not force them to eat tuna fish sandwiches . . .

    And freedom of religion includes freedom from religion also. Why should atheists be denied the same rights of expression and association as religious groups? No reason whatsoever.

  • Talldave||

    "Public schools isn't society."

    Well, it's where the majority of society spends 40 hours a week for 15-20 years being told how to think.

    And of course it's not just the schools or the Nativity scene in the public square. Government continues to grow, and the secularists belive religion isn't allowed to hold the hand of government in any way, shape or form: the logical conclusion is less and less religion will be allowed. Again, if you want to know secular society turns out, take a look at Europe. Japan may be xenophobic and technophilic enough to survive its demography issues, but old Europe is disappearing beneath the rising tide of a confident faith.

  • Talldave||

    "Why should atheists be denied the same rights of expression and association as religious groups? No reason whatsoever."

    Who says atheists can't send home pamphlets too?

  • dhex||

    some religious groups are more insecure than others, perhaps. or, to use a more modern description, "wussy." i find it hard to parse falwell's lack of historical perspective in this case otherwise, unless they're just down with "i know a real religion when i see one."

    "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."

    this is a particularly strong meme, i must say. it's fun to spring on people at parties when they've had a little too much to drink. you get that classic "boggleboggle" effect that makes social interaction so worthwhile.

    i am reminded of the morbidly obese folk who get "terrorist hunting permit" bumper stickers for their trucks. man, the first time i saw that was like the first time i saw a "our god is an awesome god" or a "senseless acts of kindness" bumper sticker; you think "thank zog, i've finally lost my mind. no more waiting around for the big scene, the cops and the tasers and the restraining orders. nice and calm, in a parking lot on route 17...this isn't so bad."

    but then you realize the owner is probably serious.

    the world is a very rough place sometimes.

  • ||

    joe,

    "Teachers putting notices into folders for kids to bring home to their parents has never - never - been a public forum, but an operation of the school."

    Are you appealing to tradition? How would the federal courts ever manage to reform this backward country and its backward laws if they had to defer to government policies which were backed by tradition?

  • ||

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

    I'm no expert on these matters, but "Give me liberty or give me death," sounds pretty suicidal to me.

  • ||

    joe,

    As I wrote it depends on the facts; the mere medium though doesn't seem to preclude by itself this from becoming a public forum or a limited public forum.

  • ||

    Thank you, TallDave, for taking off the mask. You want to use the public schools to advance Christian religion. Sorry, the US is not a Christian version of Iran, and we don't do that.

    BTW, you do know that about half the countries in western Europe have official state religions, right?

    Mad Max,

    "Are you appealing to tradition?" No, I'm categorizing the practice based on its use as a medium through which the schools provides information to parents.

  • ||

    BTW, you do know that about half the countries in western Europe have official state religions, right?

    That is an excellent point to make, joe. And one that needs to be made far more often.

    The right wing myth of "militant atheist" Europeans is every bit as silly as the left wing myth of "enlightened, cultured, tolerant"
    Europeans who spend all their time at art galleries and the opera and enjoying gourmet food.

    Europeans tend not to believe in God in the same way as American fundamentalists do. Church attendance is low and outward displays of piety are considered in poor taste.

    Atheism may be far more prevalent than in the US but among the Europeans I know there is a tendency to believe that there is some kind of deity. They just don't spend a lot of time thinking about it.

  • ||

    Isaac Bertram,

    There are a number of majority atheist European countries.

    FWIW: http://www.pitzer.edu/academics/faculty/zuckerman/atheism.html

  • ||

    Is this the thread where I get to slam the damn fool pagen who first thought it was a good idea to bring a tree into a house? And how come the Dawn isn't washing the sap off my hands?

  • ||

    Because Dawn is water-based, and tree sap isn't water soluble. Use an oil-based cleaner like mineral spirits or baby oil, or buy an abrasive soap like Lava or one produced with citric acid.

  • ||

    Shem, what makes a soap molecule a soap molecule is that part of the molecule is water soluble, and part is lipid soluble, allowing the soap molecules to surround oily/ lipid stains and carry them away in water. that's true of Dawn and any other detergent, by definition.

  • ||

    Thanks for the link, Zeno. Interesting stuff.

  • ||

    biologist-Pardon me, you're right. Tree sap is actually a type of latex, which makes it vulnerable to oil-based solvents. I misunderstood a friend's explanation as to why I couldn't use oil on latex.

  • ||

    "'Are you appealing to tradition?' No, I'm categorizing the practice based on its use as a medium through which the schools provides information to parents."

    Whew! For a second there, I thought you'd gone conservative on us!

    Now that we've disclaimed reliance on tradition, what's the relevance of the fact that "Teachers putting notices into folders . . . has never - never - been a public forum" until the courts got involved? I mean, you could just as well say that marriage was never -- never -- considered a same-sex institution in the U.S. until activist courts got involved. Or that released-time programs and school prayer were never considered a breach of the "wall between church and state" until activist courts started saying otherwise.

    Remember the SWAT principle -- Slavery Was A Tradition! That slogan will stop the mouths of those pesky conservatives!

  • ||

    I suppose I could explain, again, why folder mail isn't a public forum, but I'll pass.

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