Thursday, May 13, 2010

First Livingston Parish pagan festival event goes off without a hitch…

…in spite of stupid, inflammatory commentary by local Sheriff’s Office.

Back story for those who don’t know about these proceedings. Livingston Parish is a town in Louisiana through with a particular brand of religious bigotry flows that promulgated a religious ban on fortune telling (the law was taken to court and the town lost.) Now, a group of pagans wanted to run a festival near the city to celebrate their culture and religion and before it happened the Sheriff’s Office felt like making an unprofessional statement weighing in on the celebration:

“A scheduled pagan festival is under the scrutiny of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office. “Obviously, we don’t like this type of activity, but if they are following all of the laws to the letter of the law, then we can’t do anything about it,” Perry Rushing, chief of operations for the Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday. “We vehemently oppose this type of activity in Livingston Parish.” The pagan festival is scheduled to be held the last four days in May at Gryphon’s Nest Campground Inc. at 19306 Bull Run Road in southeastern Livingston Parish.”

Such terrible depths that law enforcement has fallen when they make statements like this that basically read like tacit permission to groups to go out and hinder, damage, or injure the festival. After making a public statement like this the the Sheriff’s Office would have had a hard time showing that they didn’t fail to do their jobs properly if anyone decides to do so. Perhaps they should stick to their duties—dispensation of the law—in the future and stay out of religious relations.

Well, this statement came along other statements from various religious groups that they would proceed to protest the festival. Including language such as “educating” the visiting pagans about how Christianity feels about them. All well-and-good to me, they’re welcome to bring their education and signs and the visiting pagans are also welcome to show them hospitality and otherwise totally ignore them.

The protestors plan to appear at the end-of-month festival, so still more could unfold from this event; but insofar they’re not organized enough to care about the first, albeit smaller, event.

I enjoy both protests and festivals. I thoroughly enjoy the activism and the interest generated by them; but I am not encouraged by the statement and behavior of their Sheriff’s Office. We’ll keep our eye on them, and hopefully this is simply a gaff and not an outward indication of bad intent on their part.

Link, via The Wild Hunt blog.

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