Jerry Falwell: Pagan Enabler

In Albemarle County Virginia pagans were able to distribute fliers about their weekend yuletide rituals in public school’s “backpack mail”. Backpack mail is when a school uses special folders that are placed the students backpacks to ensure that important notices and fliers get home to the parents. What made it possible for the Pagans to use the system was a threatened lawsuit by Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Counsel.

The dispute started last summer when Gabriel and Joshua Rakoski, twins who attend Hollymead Elementary School, sought permission to distribute fliers about their church’s Vacation Bible School to their peers via “backpack mail.” Many public schools use special folders placed in student backpacks to distribute notices about schools events and sometimes extra-curricular activities to parents.

School officials originally denied the request from the twins’ father, Ray Rakoski, citing a school policy barring “distribution of literature that is for partisan, sectarian, religious or political purposes.”

A Charlottesville weekly newspaper, The Hook, reports that Rakoski “sicced the Liberty Counsel on the county,” and the policy was soon revised to allow religious groups to use the backpack mail system. Liberty Counsel is a Religious Right legal group founded by Mathew Staver and now affiliated with Falwell.

I think this is simply fantastic. I love to see the unintended consequences of the hard-headed come back and bite such people on their butts. I think I’ll celebrate with the egg nog and rum tonight.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Humor, Religion, , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Cool, when will the NAMBLA flyers go out?

  2. madmatt says:

    The falwells of the world always ignore the rest of us…until we try expressing ourselves in our way.

  3. Kent G. Budge says:

    I’m sorry the school system caved. The school isn’t running a general mail service; the restriction against broad categories of flyers strikes me as perfectly reasonable.

    I’m religious, but no fan of Falwell. I doubt I’m the only one.

  4. floyd says:

    dcloser ; as soon as they start coming out of the closet[or would that be the sewer?]

  5. Steve Verdon says:


    I’m quite sympathetic to your view. I think the best solution is to prohibit all such flyers, Christian and non-Christian alike. Still, the irony here amuses me, and hey…egg nog and rum is good.

  6. Billy says:


    It really was a foregone conclusion that something like this would happen eventually. No surprise that when the shoe’s on the other foot there’s an uproar…

  7. RJN says:

    Where in the world is everyones head? What is wrong with distributing a notice of Bible school by the method described? If there were no extra-curricular event notifications allowed, one might say O. K. no Bible school stuff, but that was not the case.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    Well RJN, I guess it goes back to that Church and State and the seperation thingy. I suppose one could argue it is not a mandated thing and simply a flyer noting the opportunity…but then again same thing goes for the pagan flyer. What is good for the gander and all that…

    IOW it isn’t the religious implications so much as the hypocrisy and the irony inherent in the situation that amuses me.

  9. djneylon says:

    Oh my! Tell me when school became a way for everyone and his brother with no connection to the school to communicate with parents. Perhaps if the school authorities said only school-sponsored activities were in this folder in the first place this wouldn’t happen. Doesn’t this area have mail service or a community newspaper by which organizations could reach parents?

  10. RJN says:


    What hypocrisy, what irony? The Falwell crowd were not complaining about the pagan flyer.

    What we have is an example of low taste mocking the very faith that built and maintained a public school system.

  11. floyd says:

    Our children most need protection from the system charged with protecting them!