Mizzou: Petition Asks Fox News to Apologize To Pagans, Wiccans After Mocking Diversity Policy



As we reported on Tuesday, Fox News gave the University of Missouri some loving this week with a news report poking fun at Mizzou's religious diversity policy, specifically mocking its recognition of Pagan and Wiccan holidays.

Mizzou, Fox said, is just allowing lazy students to take advantage of silly celebrations with a policy that goes "beyond political correctness."

Since that piece was published, a petition has emerged calling on Fox News to apologize to Pagans and Wiccans. Says one angry Daily RFT reader who sent it our way, "I have been a practicing pagan for 25 years and I've never seen such religious discrimination, stereotyping and blatant religious bashing."

The change.org petition, titled, "Fox News: Apologize to the Pagans and Wiccans," looks like it was created by someone out of state and as of this writing has about 300 signatures.

Still, the Fox News piece seems to have stirred a fair amount of backlash, including a student editorial calling the piece an insulting attack on religious tolerance.

And the policy in question is basically just a religious guide that recognizes a very broad spectrum of faiths with a "major holidays and suggested accommodations" section.

Fox, however, wrote:

Students at University of Missouri don't need to cram for exams that fall on Wiccan and Pagan holidays, now that the school has put them on par with Christmas, Thanksgiving and Hanukah.

The short change.org petition says the Fox News article is poorly researched, and it also defends against the report's criticism of a holiday called Samhain:

While the school is trying to honor cultural diversity as well as the diversity of various religions, the news is making fun of it. The news cast says there are 20 holidays being recognized saying that it has the most holidays... I just looked it up... there are 11 Christian holidays, 45 Catholic holidays, 21 Jewish holidays, but yet only 8 for Pagan and Wiccans. Also a comment was made about Halloween being a holiday... Halloween is a commercialized holiday; where the actual Pagan holiday is known as Samhain... For many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, Samhain is a time to reconnect with our ancestors, and honor those who have died. This is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit realm is thin, so it's the perfect time of year to make contact with the dead.

"I'm still enraged and shocked," one reader and practicing pagan writes to us, adding that there are all sorts of misconceptions about pagans. "Completely disgusted by Fox News at this point."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.