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  •  Maybe (2+ / 0-)
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    bevenro, marykk

    But I've lived in Massachusetts all my life and I've never heard of "Fall Festival". I took my kids to "Halloween" parties at their elementary school as recently as three years ago (they're now in Middle and High School). I'm not saying some hyper-sensitive school administrator somewhere in Mass might not have re-branded "Halloween" as "Fall Festival", but it's not the norm.

    Massachusetts has a very strong streak of "live and let live" when it comes to individual religious and sexual preferences.  Even people who are very conservative in their own personal behavior tend to treat other peoples' behavior as none of their business.  There are exceptions, of course, a few loudmouthed bigots here and there; but reticence in publicly judging other people is the norm here.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 04:37:55 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Well, my best friend for 30 years (0+ / 0-)

      has a ten-year-old and her school in Reading calls it a Fall Festival these days.

      I am a New Englander born and lived there a fair number of years, along with Baltimore, Syracuse NY , NYC and FL and GA.  I think the schools are afraid of ruffling feathers these days--and down here in the SOuth it's been like that for 30 years.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 07:15:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll ask about this (0+ / 0-)

        my sister-in-law works as a teacher's aid in Reading.  First I ever heard of it.

        I've lost my faith in nihilism

        by grumpynerd on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 07:27:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am inclined to take her word on it. (0+ / 0-)

          She has no reason to lie.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 07:36:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's a bit (0+ / 0-)

            well, melodramatic isn't it?  I never said she lied. I was thinking perhaps that this might have been on one overzealous principal.  In Massachusetts, principals have considerable autonomy. While they are ultimately answerable to the local school board, there are legal restrictions on the degree to which a school board can micromanage a principal.  If a principal decreed that Halloween would be called "Fall Festival" then it would happen in that school, because it'd be too much trouble for anyone contest.

            I think you are over-eager to cast us in the role of oppressors of neopaganism. It's like Fox's "War on Christmas" -- it doesn't exist. I can assure you, most people here don't care enough to victimize Wiccans.  The ire is saved for battles over budget (e.g. should players pay for participating in football)

            I've lost my faith in nihilism

            by grumpynerd on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 02:28:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was raised Catholic. And I live in the American (0+ / 0-)

              South where I can assure there is not a lot of warm fuzzies from fundy Christians.  Until you have walked in MY shoes in GA, you really don't know what you're talking about. Let me see--car keyed with "Jesus Hates WItches" over a bumper sticker.  Followed around Hobby Lobby for the crime of wearing a pentacle (I assure I was dressed as well or better than the Baptist patrons) AN ex-BiL using our religion to get a TRO--yup, it happened; judge threw it out of court and explained the first amendment to BiL--but having it thrown out wasn't a given; lots of fundy judges would have granted it.  All those things happened.  YOU may consider it oppression but it sure made me feel like a second-class citizen.

              Frankly I was surprised to hear that even in reasonable, mostly tolerant Boston, the "Fall Festival" crap had taken root. It may well be one idiot principal. But that even one would feel like kowtowing to the Christian Right does not make me feel happy. When I lived in Maine (91-94, 2001-3)
              never worried about this bullshit.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 08:28:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm sorry you are mistreated in GA. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not talking about GA, though. I'm talking about MA. I can tell you from first hand experience "Fall Festival" has not "taken root" in MA. I've literally never heard of it and I have two school-aged children and plenty of nieces in nephews in towns around Boston. Believe me if any of them went to a school where the principal banned Halloween on religious grounds I'd have heard about it.

                I don't expect you to be happy that even one principal taking an anti-pagan stance, but if your standard is that there must be no bigots at all, even in private, then you'll never be satisfied. Here at least if you were treated the way you were in Hobby Lobby you could call the state AG's anti-discrimination office and you would get help.  So while I feel for you in your bad treatment down there, I think it's a bit of an overreach to say it's just as bad everywhere, and to lump MA in GA when it comes to religious tolerance.  Here private bigotry is socially marginalized and discrimination against non-Christians in public accommodations is outright illegal.

                I doubt a principal in the Boston area would have the nerve to take a publicly anti-Wiccan stance. It seems more likely that "Fall Festival" is a ham-handed attempt at inclusiveness, since Evangelicals are a tiny, negligible political bloc.

                I've lost my faith in nihilism

                by grumpynerd on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 01:47:39 PM PDT

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                •  I never said it was as bad in MA (0+ / 0-)

                  as in GA. I simply said if even one school in  the mot liberal state has been gotten to--it's a tad scary to someone who GREW UP in Connecticut. And I don't know why they called it Fall Festival because I cannot think any reason other than parental complaint that they would change the name. ESPECIALLY since Halloween as celebrated in America is a purely secular holiday. For Wiccans,. it is Samhain, and unlike fundies, we don't proselytize.

                  As to a principal not caving--well, I can tell you that there are some active fundies in your area. Salem has a long Halloween celebration, rather touristy. But for years, the local Wiccans held an open circle to which anyone can come. After several years of having it disrupted by the local fundies, they had to move it indoors and make it invitation only. ANd why shouldn't I expect no bigotry? CHRISTIANS do, and if someone violated their beliefs, in the tiniest way, the fundies maike sure the whole nation hears about it.

                  I also doubt strongly that if I reported it to the AG, had the Hobby Lobby incident occurred in MA ,that HL would admit the truth.  They'd make up some story about thinking I was shop-lifting or the like.  Proving religious discrimination is almost impossible unless I had video of it, and then, as I said, they'd come up with an alternative explanation.

                  The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

                  by irishwitch on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 08:22:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Certainly not in all of the South (0+ / 0-)

        During my childhood in North Carolina (less that thirty years ago, thank god), it was called Halloween.

        •  That was then. That's not how it is in GA (0+ / 0-)

          these days. The right-wing Christians have become more vocal and they really, really hate Halloween because of its pagan origins. Hell, thirty= years ago, my MiL who owns a pre-school, chose to tell her students about Chanukah because one of them was Jewish.  One parent  complained about  talking about any other religion but Christianity. She threatened to pull her kid out. Mu MiL, a devout and very findy Christian herself, told her she had that right, but she herself ws not gonna let a child be marginalized. SHe now has Buddhist and Hindu kids in her school--and if there's a holiday in December, she talks about it.

          She said she has to switch to Fall Festival 20+ years ago because of complaints about Halloween. ANd even with de-paganizing, she STILL has complaints--one 7th Day Adventist got in a nsit about kids wearing costumes. SHe told the parent she was free to keep her kid out of school that day.  A LOT depends on how batshit crazy fundy the area is. Gwinnett County GA is pretty conservative.

          And then there are the nuts who want to create something called "Jesusween" (I diaried about it a couple of years ago)--and who want Christian parents to hand out Chick tracts or mini=Bibles to trick or treaters.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 09:35:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It does sound like things are getting worse (0+ / 0-)

            in some areas. When I was a kid there were always a few hard-core Christian fundamentalists that acted the way you describe, but they were pretty much universally considered to be crackpots. If such views are working their way into the main-stream, then that is bad news.

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