Thursday, October 09, 2014

Keeping the Hallowed in Halloween: Weak War on Witches

What do you do if you can't beat them or join them? This is the dilemma facing modern Christian fundamentalists when they come face-to-face with Wicca.

I've been building fires with reading a slight little tome called Halloween: What's a Christian To Do? I picked it up at the Friends of the Snobville Library book sale back in September.

The gist of the book is that Halloween can lead your kid down the dark road to doom. Unfortunately it's hard to make a case when presented with the basic tenets of "witches."

Witches are the main topic of Chapter Two: "Witches, Ghosts, and Things That Go Bump in the Night." Hard-hitting evangelist Steve Russo uses the flawless scholarship of Sassy magazine to define, and quote, Wiccans.

"Even though for some people the feminist and environmental aspects of witchcraft are enticing," Russo writes thoughtfully, "the big draw is power." Then he quotes Laurie Cabot, the witch who was interviewed in Sassy: "Witchcraft is a connectedness to everything, so you can center yourself and feel as if you can control some of your environment a little more. I think teenagers today need their own power. They need to feel that they can help shape the future."

So, is teenage empowerment a bad thing? Is it not practiced in Christianity? Did they cancel that show called Hour of Power? I don't recall any witches on that.

It gets better.

If you're anti-Wiccan, which you must be if you're Christian (Russo 29), you basically have to come out against caring for the environment.

This is worth quoting at length, because it basically reminds us that good Christians are indifferent to the planet:

"Another popular avenue for witchcraft today is the environmental movement. There has never been a generation so environmentally conscious as the generation of today. And witches are at the forefront of encouraging us to 'be nice to Mother Earth.' While we certainly need to do our part in being environmentally sensitive, we need to be careful not to get things out of balance.

"As Christians God has called us to be caretakers of the planet [author offers requisite Bible verse]. But the Bible also teaches us to worship the Creator, not the creation. In Exodus 20:3, God says, 'You shall have no other gods before me.' Don't be deceived: While witchcraft may appear to be cool and helping the environment, it goes about it in all the wrong ways."

What are the "right ways?"

"Don't be confused by Laurie Cabot and other witches who sprinkle bits of truth in their concern about the environment, equal treatment of the sexes, and other problems that plague our society. We all need to do our part in making positive changes to society, but we also need to take our direction from the absolute truth of God's word and let Him help us solve the difficult issues of life."

Are you seeing what I'm seeing? Is he saying, "Do as witches do, just give God the credit, because he's God?" I thought so.

This chapter also contains the same tired, old strictures against soothsaying and fortune-telling that always get thrown into Christian tracts about witches. Yes indeed, the Bible is very strict about fortune-telling. You are not supposed to do it.

I've been thinking about the Bible. I've read it. Seems to me, it basically contains four elements:

1. Stories
2. Spiritual guidance
3. Songs
4. Prophecies

How are prophecies different from fortune-telling? Damn if I know. I guess fortune-telling is okay if you're Daniel or the Apostle John. But not okay otherwise. Why the exception to the rule? Shouldn't a rule be ... well ... a rule?

Thus ends another weak attempt to discredit a vibrant religion that seeks to empower people to enact positive social change and sound environmental policies. Just because we want to give credit to the Goddess and not a god who is indifferent at best, and hostile at worst, to the notion that humankind is of the Earth, and not in charge of the Earth, we're going about it "the wrong way."

This book is a trade paperback, which means the paper is better stock. It will recycle nicely.


Lucretia said...

I wonder what this dude would have to say about Christian witches and Christian Wiccans. Yes, they DO exist, but does he know this? (He'd probably have a heart attack...)

miakoda said...

He seems like the type to mansplain that away even if walked up and bit him. "No, silly woman, you can't be both. Christians are in the world, but not of the world."

(Or something equally as douchey.)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think I'll go as Jesus this Halloween and carry around a copy of this book to quote from. I'll be the life of the party!

Anne Basso said...

That's, wow.

I'm so glad they don't all believe such things.

A friend of mine who is an Episcopalian Priest always makes a point of wishing me well on Pagan Holidays.

Anne Johnson said...

Yes, Anne, I'm glad they don't all believe that, either. I'm surprised that someone in Snobville bought the book in the first place.