July 16, 2009

Pagan police guaranteed Halloween off

Pagan police officers in England and Wales can take time off on religious holidays like Halloween and the Summer Solstice, the Home Office said Thursday.

The days off will be deducted from officers' annual vacation time, The Daily Telegraph reported. But practicing Wiccans and Druids will be guaranteed free time on their sacred days.

Andy Pardy, a constable with the Hertfordshire Police, follows the Norse religion, worshipping Odin, Thor and Freya. He discussed more official recognition for pagan officers at meetings this week with the Home Office.

Paganism is not the new age, tree hugging fad that some people think it is, he told Police Review. It is not the clandestine, horrible, evil thing that people think it is. A lot of people think it is about dancing naked around a fire but the rituals are not like that.

Officials have also recognized the Pagan Police Association, which advocates for pagan officers and their families. There are believed to be about 35,000 practicing pagans in England and Wales.