The Authoritarian Erosion of Our Basic Freedom of Belief
Yes, it’s true! Not only Russia but incredibly parts of the USA’s increasingly biased education system have taken the first tyrannical steps towards wholesale religious intolerance and ‘banned’ what for many thousands of innocent Pagan families is a vital, traditional, spiritual celebration.
In South Russia the ‘officially-endorsed’ mind controllers have also got their way with a Halloween Ban, backed, of course, by the Church Junta.
How they want to ‘rebrand’ our traditional festival to suit their hidden sectarian agenda
In other places, further blinkered officials are towing the historically, anti-Pagan, fundamentalist line like lame sheep with absurd bans…
‘Phoenixville Area School District Bans Halloween’
However, rather amusingly a poll on the above link currently indicates that a whopping 90% of readers (correct figure stated on 26 October 2012) vastly disagree with such a fascist-like ban on this traditional festival. The aim appears to be to substitute our customary Halloween for a more politically-correct so-called ‘Fall Festival’. What utter poppycock! This is exactly the same type of misleading spin what many fundamentalists tried before, yet under the guise of a Christian-named, ‘Festival of Light’…
This type of shrewd cultural replacement of one (native) celebration for others (newer Christian-based), was precisely how the early Church usurped Paganism in the first place.
Now, as we know this Phoenixville school has outrageously banned a vital Pagan religious festival, Halloween. However, is this not blatant religious bias against a minority when we observe the following?
PHOENIXVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT
All absences occasioned by the observance of the student’s religion on a day approved by the Board as a religious holiday shall be excused, and no student so excused shall be deprived of an award or eligibility to compete for an award or the opportunity to make up a test given on the religious holiday.
OK – so is one to believe that this school also bans Pagan children from attending its school? Surely it must do so if it is happy to ban their religious feast days like this and thereby demote them into second-class citizens.
So it’s somehow deemed appropriate for the school to ban celebrations of a traditional Pagan holiday, but will we now see Christian feast days, like Easter and Christmas banned too? Will we see Muslin and Jewish religious days also outlawed by the school? If not then this is sheer institutionalised religious prejudice against Pagans and an insult to true democracy!
This clearly is not any kind of fair-minded democracy, it is sheer narrow-minded totalitarianism!
Regardless of their religious persuasion, Americans everywhere should be alarmed at this draconian new assault on equality, liberty and freedom of belief! This is exactly how it starts and, as they say, evil prevails when good men (or women) do nothing! Can we next be expected to see Pagans being forced to wear yellow pentacle stars on their shirts – do you get my drift? Many ill-informed Jews laughed at similar assertions ‘before’ Hitler and Co made it a harsh reality! History has a disconcerting way of repeating itself and the smallest minorities are usually the ones that get it in the neck – literally!
I can only warn!
Perhaps things will change for the better following any potential expensive ‘legal’ action against such a biased school diktat by an infuriated Pagan family alleging grievance, on grounds of religious prejudice – who knows? I wonder if that school (and others) is prepared for such a possible litigation nightmare.
Of course, fundamentalists purporting to be ordinary ‘caring’ members of the community are always swift to use the old subterfuge of antisocial activity in their crusades to ban Halloween. Naturally, at times of general festivity there are always a few juvenile fools who go too far and spoil things for others. That is just human nature! Nevertheless, we do not hear the anti-Halloween crusaders admitting to the nuisance value created by drunken Xmas revellers or unwanted carol singers banging late on at one’s door during the December festivities. Christmas is a time when local police constabularies are keep extremely busy due to anti-social behaviour. Christmas is in fact largely based upon the ancient Roman Pagan festival of the Saturnalia. This fun-filled festival carried on for several days and saw great revelry. A few prominent, yet miserable, Romans at the time also wished to ban that festival.
A great deal of Church-inspired misinformation and raw hate fuel exists about Halloween, so let’s take a closer look in the quest for truth rather than Church-orientated claptrap.
Sure, you can ask a biased clergyman typically favoured by the media, a self-styled New Age maharishi or even a die-hard agnostic about the festival if you wish to. But why do that when you can get the facts from an actual Pagan; someone who actually ‘lives’ the Old Religion on a daily basis. The latter choice is sound but the former is like asking a small-town green-grocer for accurate guidance on NASA’s annual budget.
The actual festival of Halloween was originally called ‘Samhain,’ which comes from the Gaelic/Celtic meaning for ‘November’ and ‘summer’s end’. The original Celtic settlers arrived here in around 600 BC, fetching with them their own nature based polytheistic form of spiritual belief systems. Samhain marked the beginning of the long cold winter, a time when the cattle had to be herded into sheltered quarters as a defensive measure against expected harsh snow-fall, frost, and blizzard. It was very much also a dismal period for numerous Celts, as the winter’s chill could always prove too invasive for many elderly, sick, or loved ones badly injured in combat. Samhain, because of its relationship with the ‘Dark (winter) Half’ of the year, was then regarded as the “Festival of the Dead,” and a time when the barrier betwixt the living and their beloved ancestors was at the thinnest point. This had nothing whatsoever to do with evil of any kind. Such ridiculous notions were only promoted later on by the intolerant Church in order to convert the populace ‘away’ from its indigenous, heathen spiritual ethos. Today’s Halloween party games i.e. Trick or treat, Apple-bobbing etc. all started from primeval Celtic customs/traditions. Samhain, although often an extremely sombre business to the tribal elder folk, was in addition a last chance for the younger hearts in the clan to let off steam before the cold blanket of winter settled in. For many years Christianity and Paganism coexisted quite well. Then’ in the year 601 AD, ‘Pope Gregory’ instructed his missionary St Augustine to: ‘Destroy all Pagan idols and cleanse the native temples’ in order to convert the native peoples to Christianity.
The Iron fist of monotheistic absolutism was to open up the floodgates of cultural spiritual terrorism for the unsuspecting Pagan folk of these green Isles. Many pre-Christian festivals had by this time been hijacked by the new-fangled one god cult from the East. Nevertheless, Samhain with its mystifying blend of reflection, sadness, magic and elation proved the hardest nut for the fanatical missionaries to crack. The Celtic horned god Cernunnos, Herne, or Belatucadros (to mention but a few of his titles), is a deity representing the essential masculine fertilising aspects inherent in nature. The Greek Pan and Roman Faunus also fill similar ‘Horned God’ roles. More about the Horned God here:
The Pagan Celts did not believe in the later Christian manifestation of evil (Satan). However, in order to disparage the old native religions the Christian Church invented the destructive myth that indigenous horned deities, like the above, were all different faces of the Devil. Intolerant absolutist moralisers are ‘still’ to this day using this outrageous Christian lie; deviously linking our rich Pagan birthright with ecclesiastically – perceived evil. Halloween then is essentially an ancient celebration of love for life, our mysterious affiliation with the earth and intimate respect for the dearly departed. No amount of modern pious, anti-Halloween based, propaganda from sanctimonious religious bigots will ever change that! Nonetheless, today’s fundamentalists have certainly not given up trying to vilify the old religion. Back in 2008 the Church of England – incited religious hatred against the UK’s Pagans at Halloween. As the founder of PAN (Pagan Anti-Defamation Network) I complained bitterly to Lambeth Palace and received an ‘apology’ – but little else! The Church of England mounted a crusade (which was apparently being spearheaded by the Manchester Diocese) to make Halloween celebrations unpopular, leading to an eventual expected ban on this ancient holiday. The 2008 CofE assault on Halloween in effect incited hatred towards UK Pagans. This potentially unlawful action was seen by Pagans as a malicious, fundamentalist endeavour against our traditional and sacred Samhain festival.
Inciting religious hate is not an option under UK law for the CofE.
PAN had at that time been in correspondence with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office to complain about this affront to Paganism. Lambeth Palace in fact replied several times with a cautious apology for any ‘offence’ caused to Pagans. However, we were not impressed with the apparent failure of the Church to halt this hate campaign against Pagans.
Lambeth Palace defensively suggested that Dr Williams had no part in this campaign and that it was solely a Manchester Diocese initiative, based on combating consumerism. This lame excuse was however not good enough – it simply did not wash! The CofE were, PAN believed, in violation of religious hate laws and must be accountable for their unwarranted actions. PAN demanded for this socially – destructive evangelical crusade to be halted immediately and that a proper apology to be issued by the Church to all UK Pagans. The CofE can of course correct this religious hatred, which is in fact ‘ongoing’, by stopping the campaign completely. Alternatively, they can correct it by leaving the campaign intact and including proper ‘disclaimers’ about Paganism in their offensive literature. It’s time this religious intolerance was eradicated now! It has no place in a genuinely democratic, multi-faith, society! Visit these informative links for more info on the ‘real’ reasons behind the CofE crusade against minorities now:
And the following link is vital to greater understanding regarding the CofE crusade to ban Halloween:
Do we want a true democracy, or a society run by intolerant priests with hidden religious agendas?
Check out the ‘facts’ below for clear reference on the native Pagan perspective regarding this avoidable issue:
(1) Halloween is traditionally one of the oldest British religious festivals celebrated in Scotland particularly up to and beyond 1870s. It is ‘not’ an American invention.
(2) Trick or Treat is not an American invention – the games, fun and harum scarum at Halloween are all typically British being listed in Robert Burns 1875 poem Halloween for all to see. It is part of our traditional culture.
(3) There is absolutely no medical evidence to suggest that dressing up or the wearing of masks is psychologically damaging to children or in any way harmful. The allegation is false. Children have been happily celebrating Halloween for hundreds of years without harm.
(4) Halloween is a genuine Celtic festival and was celebrated in Britain long before it was Christianised. The early Christians invented All Saints’ Day (November 1st) and All Souls’ Day (November 2nd) to try to replace Halloween but failed miserably because the people enjoyed the older and more organic Halloween so much more, and still do.
(5) Attacks on Halloween by religious bigots are now outlawed under the Religious Hatred laws and Pagans are demanding that the Church of England stops those amongst its members who feel they have to insult the ceremonies and rites of other religions. Can you imagine the outcry if they had accused Moslems of abusing their children by making them fast during Ramadan?
(6) Everyone to his own, Pagans see the modern Christmas as an appallingly materialistic travesty of ancient religious ideals, yet we don’t go around demanding that Christmas decorations and outdoor illuminations are banned.
(7) Saman’s Vigil is the Anglicised interpretation of the Celtic festival ‘Samhain’ pronounced ‘Zoween’ or ‘Sowin’. It is also termed Festival of Light or Fire. The Vigil of Saman, or Samhain, occurs on October 31st and was observed for at least a thousand years before Britain was Christianised.
(8) Samhain was the Celts’ most important festival because it was marked as their New Year’s Day.
(9) Saman is the Celtic lord of Death and Rebirth. Samhain is the mysterious, late season festival for remembering our beloved ancestors and renewing fire for the harsh cold months of winter. Its basis is intimately linked with ‘LOVE’ and the natural cycle and not any type of evil, as troublemaking evangelists would have us believe.
(10) Christian fundamentalist activists always rush in to claim that Halloween is not a British tradition and should not be followed in the U.K. This falsehood relies upon igniting ‘Anti-American’ sentiment within insular British minds, because the truth of the matter is that Halloween is NOT an American importation, it is an entirely British tradition, which was actually exported to the U.S.A. by European immigrants. Such fundamentally – inspired racism, against our American cousins, should not be tolerated in a modern UK society.
There is some misunderstanding as to the correct date of the so-called ‘Mischief Night’ with some misguided writers (or those perhaps with hidden trouble-making fundamentalist agendas?) erroneously seeking to link it with Halloween. The most widespread date for Mischief Night in North America is October 30th. This of course is the day ‘before’ Halloween, which is 31st October. Nevertheless, the customary British Mischief Night is held on 4th November, the night prior to Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night. The inherent associations with the famous Gunpowder plot are quite obvious. Originally, Mischief Night started as a part of the Mayday celebrations and was transferred to a period in Autumn/Winter somewhat later on.
The CofE are responsible for double standards, when it comes to concern for children.
The Church of England killjoys are habitually campaigning to get major retailers to stop stocking Halloween joke masks and costumes. Supermarket managers have become accustomed in the UK etc to hearing the usual tedious bleating of clergy seeking to gain publicity in the press.
Evangelical activists insist that dressing up as ghouls and goblins can somehow cause irreparable long-term psychological damage! Such bogus claims are nonsense based on religious prejudice and nothing more! I must ask if their claims of psychological damage also apply to their nativity plays. After all, I once saw a person dressed up as a virtually naked man hanging on a cross with blood running down his head from thorns piercing his scalp and with a gaping gash in his abdomen dripping blood whilst having nails hammered through his hands and feet into a wooden cross. We certainly wouldn’t want children to see something as psychologically damaging as that, would we? Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that the only irreparable damage Halloween causes is to the future of killjoys in the Church of England etc, because ordinary folk (including the more level-headed of Christians) are sick to death of listening to these dog-collared harbingers of doom trying to stop children having fun and simply enjoying themselves. Moreover, rather than chasing around like headless chickens berating innocent supermarkets for stocking Halloween fun items, the Church would do better to get its own house in order and commit its substantial resources to greater assistance for the police with regards to the multiple clergy abuse cases that are cropping up each week on an international scale. It is worth remembering that whilst self-righteous fundamentalists are crowing about imaginary Halloween dangers, many priests and vicars (from all denominations) are being found guilty and roundly convicted of terrible crimes of abuse against our children. Millions of pounds/dollars have already been paid to such innocent victims of clergy abuse!
Double standards really stink and it is high time society finally woke up to how the priesthood is misleading us all.
Halloween is possibly the greatest hurdle for the Church in its historical bid to win over the native populace to Christianity; that intolerant foreign cult from the east. Seeing through this deceptive, ecclesiastical spin is the first action towards achieving true democracy.
Kick out the Halloween killjoys this Samhain and keep our wondrous, native traditional customs alive!
Pat Regan © 2012
Pat’s books include:
UFO: The Search for Truth (2012, extended edition)
UK Paperback version:
US Paperback version:
“A no-holds-barred exposé of the UFO mystery. Highly recommended.” Nick Pope, Ministry of Defence UFO Project, 1991-1994
Peter Swift and the Secret of Genounia
The New Pagan Handbook
The Torch and the Spear
Fly Fishing on Wild Becks
Author site 1:
Author site 2:
Pat on Goodreads.com