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(Thanks to Logos for the link)

Americans United for Separation of Church and State reports on an interesting case that backfired on the Religious Right.

A public school in Virginia didn’t allow for religious material to be distributed to children. That is, until a church couple wanted to distribute a flier advertising Vacation Bible School in the students’ backpacks.

The school told them no. So they went to Liberty Counsel, a group affiliated with Jerry Falwell. Liberty Counsel must have sent one hell of a scary letter to the school because it reversed its policy.

So the religious fliers were distributed.

Enter the Pagans.

In response, locals from a Unitarian-Universalist congregation made the best use of the new policy. They distributed a flier of their own. It said:

“Have you ever wondered what ‘Holidays’ refers to? Everyone knows about Christmas – but what else are people celebrating in December? Why do we celebrate the way we do?”

“… we’ll explore the traditions of December and their origins, followed by a Pagan ritual to celebrate Yule.”

“Come for one or both parts and bring your curiosity.”

Guess who didn’t appreciate this gesture…?

Read the piece by Rob Boston (of Americans United)– the part about the bloggers is hilarious. Boston concludes his piece with an amusing story and some words of wisdom:

[A] conservative Christian blogger in the county complained about finding the [Pagan] flier in her child’s folder. Apparently unaware of Falwell’s role in bringing it about, the blogger who goes by the name Cathy, noted disclaimer language at the bottom of the flier noting that the event is not connected to the school and wrote, “They [the school officials] aren’t endorsing or sponsoring this? Then it shouldn’t have been included in the Friday folders. The Friday folders have never been used for any thing other than school work and school board and/or County sanctioned/sponsored programs.”

She then fumed that a “pagan ritual” is “an educational experience my children don’t need.”

Well, Cathy and Jeff, it’s a new day. Your pals Falwell and [Liberty Counsel founder Mat] Staver have opened up this forum, and now everyone gets to use it. Isn’t that what you wanted all along – freedom of religion? That freedom means all religions – even ones you don’t happen to like.

[tags]Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Religious Right, Christian, atheist, Virginia, Vacation Bible School, Liberty Counsel, Jerry Falwell, Rob Boston, Mat Staver[/tags]