A Washington state school board has banned Halloween activities.
The district says Halloween celebrations and children dressed in Halloween costumes might be offensive to real witches.
“Witches with pointy noses and things like that are not respective symbols of the Wiccan religion and so we want to be respectful of that,” said Hansen.
The Wiccan, or Pagan, religion is growing in the U.S. and there are Wiccan groups in Puyallup.
Number eight on the district’s guidelines related to holidays and celebrations reads as follows: “Use of derogatory stereotypes is prohibited, such as the traditional image of a witch, which is offensive to members of the Wiccan religion.”
“I do lots of things that are not revolving around wearing a black outfit and stirring a cauldron,” said Wiccan Priestess Cheryl Sulyma-Masson in an interview with ABC News where she explained that Wiccans (or Pagan Clergy) celebrate nature, not Satan.
A Puyallup School District internal email dating from October 2000 warns that “the Wiccan religion is a bona fide religion under the law, and its followers are entitled to all the protections afforded more mainstream religions. Building administrators should not tolerate such inappropriate stereotyping (images such as Witches on flying brooms, stirring cauldrons, casting spells, or with long noses and pointed hats) and instead address them as you would hurtful stereotypes of any other minority.”
Via the Daily Outrage who also has a round-up of recent legal victories for Lucifer.
Ok, its a bit of a laugh, those crazy Yanks etc. But the serious point is that legislation to protect the sensitivities of religions will certainly bring these sorts of questions up. Are the Scientologists a bone fide religion? We might not think so but they certainly do and they have never been shy about going to court to try and force the issue. We might not have British witches complaining about stereotyping but you can be sure that similar arguments will come forth from other religions – the poor old Jovvo’s have faced decades of negative stereotyping in the UK and the way some people get rid off their unwanted arrival on the doorstep could surely be taken as hatred by some.