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Title: The University should show respect for pagan holidays
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Autumn_Heather
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From: USA
Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/18/2009 21:16 PM)
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The University should show respect for pagan holidays
 
Editor,

This letter is addressed to UNM President David Schmidly.

My name is Joseph Bell, and I'm a psychology student at UNM. As I understand it, "establishment of goals and policies to guide the University and oversight of the functioning of the University" is a role carried out by your offices. If this is correct, then I have made the proper choice in

contacting you.

I have been watching the developments at Marshall University in West Virginia, and I feel that the policies being enforced there are beneficial to people such as me and would make for a better UNM.

Injustice has been done to my religion - paganism - throughout the past. People have been taught this peaceful religious path is evil in order to sway them away to follow another religion. Then, lies become gospel, and people think without a second thought that this

is fact.

Many of such lies surround paganism, and they incite shock, panic and hatred, leading to murders. I'm simply trying to correct these mistakes anywhere I can. And I think you could help me.

Marshall University recognizes pagan holidays as excused absences. I have been an open pagan for 18 years. I fought for the inclusion of the pentacle with the Veterans Administration for deceased pagan soldiers, and we won. I have been attending this university for 4 1/2 years, and I have been forced to miss out on events, festivities and time with my family on sacred holidays. But when it comes to Christian holidays, we are all excused.

Therefore, I am petitioning for the rights of pagan holidays, as there are many more pagans at this University than most are aware of. For the record, an actual pagan watches for and celebrates the changing of the seasons, and we protect the environment and all of mother nature's creatures, including animals. We honor both male and female as equals. We are wise in healing remedies as we use plants and natural substances instead of chemicals with side effects.
 
 There are eight pagan holidays - Samhain (Oct. 31), Imbolc (Feb. 2), Beltaine (May 1), Lughnasadh (Aug. 1), Yule (circa Dec. 21), Ostara (circa March 21), Midsummer (circa June 21) and Mabon (circa Sept. 21). During the mass conversion from paganism to Christianity starting around the year 325, Christians took most of our sacred holidays and altered their meanings. Then they were made a mockery of by staining them with greed, such as getting candies and gifts and other commercial aspects that have destroyed their original sacred meanings.

It would mean the world to me and other students if our holidays are finally returned to their former glory after almost 1,800 years. With paganism becoming the fastest-growing religion, the U.S. military acknowledging pagans and their practices, prisons being forced to allow pagan inmates to have religious supplies, I feel it would be a noble move on the part of the University if it follows suit.



Joseph Bell

UNM student
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