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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

February 18th, 2013

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01:45 pm - Paganism on Fox News: Apparently, They Can't Count To 8
"Fox and Friends," a show where jokes always seem to fall rather flat if you're not white, Christian, and feeling particularly entitled about yourself, had a stellar show recently where things fell a bit flatter than usual. Thanks to ray716 for posting this over on Facebook:

The clip shows a few of the hosts picking apart a guide by the University of Missouri that the anchors claim is about when to schedule tests.

The article got even more interesting at the end, where one of their experts (Tammy Bruce, apparently credentialed on the subject because she has a narcissistic radio show entitled, "The Tammy Bruce Show") indicated:

It almost seems as though we’re looking for excuses for people to not have to take their commitments seriously. It’s beyond political correctness; it’s almost like an excuse to do nothing. It’s like societal nihilism, where nothing matters.

In other words, observing your religion is not already a commitment that you're taking seriously. It's doing "nothing." I'll just leave that statement alone, because it speaks of ignorance all on its own, and any person of any faith or practice will see just how insulting the statement is.

Now, here's the thing: the clip above, and most of the news stories don't actually describe the 20 holidays "Witches get." Initially, I thought perhaps it was the Eight High Days (which most any Pagan can name) plus the 12 Full Moons (which would be odd, since there are 13 "regular" moons on most lunar calendars).

So, because the "20" number didn't quite make sense, I went digging. . . and I found the actual "Major Holidays and Suggested Accommodations" document on the MU website (to say it took 10 minutes of Googling would be a stretch). Then I started counting.

Sure enough, the 8 High Days were there. This was no surprise, and for a concise definition of the High Days, it's not half bad. I might even suggest we add it as a resource for the ADF Dedicant Path, since there are so few quality resources out there for the High Days.

Anyway, there are 47 total holidays listed. Only 8 are listed as "Pagan/Wiccan." What this means is that Fox and Friends did some rough calculation and defined "Pagan/Wiccan" a bit more broadly than most people (or any respected news source) would: essentially, if it isn't Abrahamic, it's "Wiccan."

A quick count shows the breakdown is as follows:

  • Wiccan/Pagan: 8 holidays
  • Hindu: 5 holidays
  • Buddhist: 3 holidays
  • Baha'i: 3 holidays
  • Shinto: 2 holidays
  • Sikh: 2 holidays
  • Jain: 1 holiday
  • Taoist: 1 holiday
  • Confucian: 1 holiday
  • Jewish: 11 holidays
  • Christian (Protestant/RC): 7 holidays
  • Christian (E. Orthodox): 4 holidays
  • Islam: 3 holidays

Because of holidays shared by multiple religions, we can summarize it as:
Total Abrahamic: 25
Total non-Abrahamic: 22 holidays
Highest incidence: Jewish Holidays

Additionally, the guide is clearly not a policy about the scheduling of tests: it merely lets students and faculty know when personal religious commitments may not allow someone to perform their best on homework, exams, or papers due to personal religious observances that they may feel obliged to keep. . . because some people do consider their religious commitments to be things they should take seriously.

One should never let the facts stand in their way, I suppose, of a good "political correctness gone mad" story, but news agencies that can't count bother me a bit. Especially when the new agency suggests that religious observance is a form of being lazy, and then doesn't bother to check their sources before chatting about how outrageous it is on-air to a large audience.

Perhaps this is why the hosts of Fox and Friends felt no one could name "all 20" of the Wiccan holidays: they've decided that Hindus, Buddhists, and everyone who isn't them are all "witches." I wonder how they feel about that?

Now that's quality journalism, right there.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "The Hangout Gang", -JB

(3 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 18th, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
The transcript I read had one of the hosts saying "twenty percent" of the holidays listed were Wiccan, and then one of the other hosts started going on about "the twenty Wiccan holidays", which I think was the source of the confusion, though Fox News being Fox News I wouldn't rule out the possibility of it being intentional confusion.
[User Picture]
Date:February 18th, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
Indeed, that could change the number. 20% is almost accurate (it's actually 19.047%, plus change).

(edit: It's actually 17%. . . I had an incorrect denominator when I ran the first check)

Edited at 2013-02-18 07:02 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 19th, 2013 12:37 am (UTC)
I find it hard to expect better from Fox. There was a time I'd watch it during channel flicking, but I could never leave it on for more than ten minutes before getting too irritated to enjoy the stupidity.

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