I’m not usually one to help the haters, but an article by a woman named Marsha West keeps coming across my desk. I didn’t give it much attention at first, because the title of the article was “Potions and charms and spells! Oh my!” Any Pagan would immediately recognize that title as just another fluff piece either preaching about the dangers of Wicca and Paganism in a condescending and rude way (us Pagans are all misguided and are only looking for free sex and extra butter on our popcorn), or a piece for the fashionista Pagans I think of as “the fluff bunnies”. Either way, it didn’t immediately seem worthy of my precious time.
Over the course of the week, though, this same article kept popping up. That got my attention. Usually if something keeps popping up, it’s because it’s being published in more than one place. That means it might possibly become a trend or even a movement, which means that someone might be gathering pitchforks and torches. So I finally tracked down and read this article. Given that I’m writing about it here, you can probably guess that I didn’t much like what I found.
First, a few quotes;
“Because of Wicca’s reverence for the earth and nature, young environmentalists are drawn to Wicca.”
Okay, now I’m mad. Someone let the cat out of the bag. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it was my concern about those damned endangered owls that got me into Wicca to begin with. It just felt so right. I was hanging out with other young environmentalists at Starbucks, drinking our lattes, reading Kafka, and generally bemoaning the fact that a good organic coffee was so hard to come by, when someone said “You know what? We should be Pagans! Witches, in fact! It’s all so clear now!” I wonder if the woman who wrote this article and came to so many strange conclusions ever thought that maybe it’s a Pagan reverence for the Earth and all life that could be leading people to become young environmentalists?
“The Harry Potter (HP) books, probably the best-known books on Witchcraft, have cast a spell on children.”
Oh, please. *yawn* *yawn* *yawn* When are these nutjobs going to stop blaming Harry Potter for every ill of our society? I’ve seen the Harry Potter movies. At best, I’ve seen a pale shadow of The Lord of The Rings, with some hormones and some cool fantasy elements thrown in. At no point have I ever looked up at that screen and thought “Finally! Something we can use get our hands on those innocent Christian children!”
The article goes on to list a number of movies and television shows that Hollywood is apparently using to promote witchcraft, starting with the venerable Wizard of Oz, then lumping in a bizarre selection of allegedly witchcraft promoting movies such as the 1950s Bell Book and Candle staring that old Pagan Jimmy Stewart and that crafty witch Kim Novak, Rosemary’s Baby, The Witches of Eastwick, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Practical Magic, The Craft and The Blair Witch Project. Blah. Blah. Blah. Then it goes on to say that “the current decade has been all about witches. Four Harry Potter movies played on the big screen.”
“What is important to know about all the supernatural hullabaloo, that’s become such a huge temptation for the younger generation, is that God strongly condemns it. Sure, it’s a bummer because casting spells is fun, so is playing with the Ouija board, but the Bible makes it clear that God condemns the magic arts.”
Yup. That’s why I’m a witch. It’s just so much damned fun (no pun intended).
“The minute a person opens the door to the occult, Satan directs his evil forces to their doorstep. Once someone is caught in Satan’s trap, it’s hard to break free! Occult practices are addictive! And for some people, it becomes an idol.”
Please. The only idol in my life is American Idol (did I say that out loud?). And if Satan ever showed up on my doorstep, I’d invite him in for some coffee. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about him, and I’d like to hear his side of the story for once. I mean, if Barack Obama is the anti-Christ and the Democrats are his pawns, I’d like to know what the overall plan is, and how I might fit in. What does it pay, exactly?
The article states “Just so you’ll know some of the practices that provoke the Lord to jealousy, here’s a short list of terms and actual practices to steer clear of…” and goes on the list everything but officially sanctioned Christian prayer and priests molesting your children.
So. Why have I posted this? Why do I care? Isn’t this is just another nutjob, writing about something she had no clue about, frightened that Satan might be hiding beneath her front porch waiting for the moment when her young daughter sneaks and buys that first Bif Naked CD or her son gets his first erection, after which he can leap out upon them and force them to fornicate, have abortions and vote for Democrats (after finishing his coffee, I hope)?
My reasons are simple. Anyone who has kept track of my ranting on PaganCentric knows that its tagline for the site reads “A home for the first to fall”. It’s been my observation and experience since I was a child that while it is quickly forgotten, the first people who get mentioned whenever anything goes wrong are Pagans (followed by gays and lesbians, the ACLU and Bill Clinton). In Nazi Germany, it wasn’t just the Jews that were rounded up. It was gypsies and members of “obscure” religions, as well; anyone who wasn’t a member of the twisted, Christian-centric hatred of the Nazi party. Whatever mileage Christian scholars try to get out of the fact that Hitler and some of his henchman dabled in a bizarre Germanic occultism (that they largely pulled out of their asses), Germany was a Christian nation. It was the fact that good, decent Christians stood by and did nothing that allowed the Holocaust to happen. When the Nazis started rounding up people, it wasn’t just the Jews that were targeted, but any non-Christian. While it was mostly Jews who wound up in the concentration camps, hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish, non-Christian people were slaughtered, as well.
Not much has changed through the years, when people in power have gone looking for someone to blame for the ills in their society. When the terrorist attacks happened on September 11, 2002, Jerry Falwell said afterward;
“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen’.”
Much was made of the fact that Falwell mentioned gays and lesbians, but few noticed that the first group he mentioned was Pagans. If you crawl through the quotations from various nutjobs from the Far Right and Religious Right, you’ll notice Pagans at the top of almost every list. My observations through the years have left me convinced that the Religious Right sees their primary threat as Pagans, not gays and lesbians (although gays and lesbians make much easier targets and mobilize the Right-Wing base). After all, they believe you can be cured of being attracted to people of your own sex, but letting your children watch a Harry Potter movie is opening up a slippery slope that leads straight to Hell.
I know I’m not telling most people anything they don’t already know. So what does all this have to do with the article I mentioned upon beginning this rant? Simple. What got me started was when I noticed where this article by Marsha West was being published. You might think it showed up on the 700 Club or made the rounds through the mailing lists of Bob Jones University. While I’m sure it probably didn’t eventually wind up in those places, when I did a Google search for “Potions and charms and spells! Oh my!” and “Marsha West”, the results were informative as to who the enemies of Pagans and Wiccans truly are. Listed below are some examples from the first page of results.
- Renew America – This web site was begun in January 2002 to support Alan Keyes’ MSNBC TV show “Alan Keyes Is Making Sense” and later turned into the official web site for his presidential campaign. According to the web site, “Over the years, the website has evolved into a significant Christian political vehicle” and is currently operating as “an independent voice for the causes that unite moral conservatives, and strives to be a beacon of truth at a time when our country is increasingly losing its way”.
- American Daily – Their tag line is “By and for we the REAL people”. Which means Conservatives, of course. They publish and link to articles under such categories as “Socialism”, “Demercrats”, “ObamaNation”, “Progressivism”, “Femi-Nazis”, “Welfare State” and “Bird-Brain Flu”. You can imagine the content of the articles with categories like that.
- MichNews.com – Their tagline is “Conservative News & Commentary”. On the main page is a graphic promoting “Palin 2012”. What else really need be said?
- Newstin – A web site which claims to be “Organizing the news” and for some reason views Marsha West’s story as a news item.
- Novakeo – A web zine which promotes Far Right Conservative causes and features an interview with a Holocaust revisionist who uses the term “Holocaustianity” to define those who have bought into the Jewish lie about gas chambers.
- The Christian Patriot Trumpet – An apparently popular quasi-political blog which talks about the End Times, subjects such as “Our real American roots”, and features the article in question on its front page.
- News With Views – “Where Reality Shatters Illusion”. A web site claiming to be bi-partisan, but which includes on its front page an articles titled “Zionism And the Jewish Conspiracy” (sub-titled “One thing for sure, they hate God”), “The Rockefeller Plan, Part 5” (sub-titled “How they’re pulling off the One World Government”), and a link to a book titled “Hollywood’s War On God”. Hmmm. Sounds real bi-partisan to me. I bet there’s not a Palin supporter among them.
What’s my point? Why do you keep asking that? Don’t you see?
The people who are the most animated about this article are Conservatives. Many of these people see this not so much as a religious issue but as a political one. Pagans and Wiccans are conspiring to seduce their children into pre-marital sex and women having their own minds. It’s a slippery slope, and Christians of conscience must be made aware of what those godless, left-wing, tree-hugging, latte-drinking… well, you know the spiel. It’s important that this article is being distributed primarily through political web sites. In speaks volumes to the fact that the fear and hatred of Pagans and Wiccans is becoming a political issues for the Conservatives. It’s something they’re going to continue to use in a desperate hope to energize their base and go tilting toward the political windmills again. WE are the scapegoats they’re going to use for the ills of our society. Not that this is anything new.
I suppose more than anything my point is that it’s alarming that this Christian hate and fear is moving from the Religious Right to the mainstream Conservative organizations. It doesn’t bode well for what Pagans and Wiccans can expect in the coming years. Remember, the Religious Right’s poster child at the moment is Sarah Palin; a woman who was anointed by self-proclaimed witch hunter, was blessed by a number of religious leaders who call themselves “spiritual warriors”, and fervently believes that the only way Jesus will return is if the Christians rise up and seize control of all of the world’s institutions. What I see in this subtle shift of Religious Right issues being pushed closer toward the mainstream debate is that the End Times zealots have identified their enemies, and people like me are at the top of their lists.
How about you?