Pagan Precedent

Church, State, and School


Meet idolatry's new best friend, the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Falwell's devotion to defending religious expression in public school has helped young pagans spread their spiritual beliefs during the Christmas season.

In September school officials at Hollymead Elementary School in Albemarle County, Virginia, denied students permission to distribute fliers for their vacation Bible school. The Liberty Counsel, a Falwell-affiliated religious rights group, wrote a strongly worded letter, and the county school board reversed its rule. "We're pleased the school changed its policy so quickly and correctly," Mat Staver, the group's founder and chairman, told the Charlottesville Hook. "The law is clear—when schools allow the distribution of secular material, they must accommodate religious material."

Staver noted that Muslims and Jews also could use the school's flier distribution system. "The First Amendment is not just for the Liberty Counsel," he said. But he didn't mention pagans, who were soon distributing fliers that pointedly asked, "What else are people celebrating in December?" and invited students to join in a "Pagan ritual to celebrate Yule."

Parents have complained, and school officials say they'll revisit the policy.