Sunday, 26 July 2015

Witch-Hunting, The Great Christian Pastime (Part 2)

posted on 7/26/2015 by the Salt City Sinner

(In part one of this post, I very briefly addressed some of the historic witch hunts, both literal and figurative, that Christians in the West have engaged in. Today we're going to focus in a little closer on literal, 'get him/her, she/he's a witch' witch hunts. )

To be fair, it’s not just Christians in the West (or “Christendom,” as some right-wing Christians have adorably taken to calling it again) who have engaged in this type of hideous nonsense. Listverse compiled ’10 Modern Attempts to Police the Occult -- a fascinating and quick read that is completely worth checking out, by the way -- and only two of the entries on the list are from the West; one example from the United Kingdom and one to Canada. Given the content coming up in the third and final installment of this post, leaving the U.S. off the list strikes me as a little weird.

Also, it’s worth noting that Islam is at least as unhinged as Christianity when it comes to hunting and, in many cases, killing “witches,” and while the Abrahamic faiths seem to be unusually given to tormenting real or imagined practitioners of the Art of Arts, no religion is really immune, and periodic outbreaks of hysteria happen in Hindu communities, in Buddhist communities, pretty much anywhere where humans get up to their usual shenanigans. Monotheists seem, for obvious reasons, much more likely to dust off the torture rack and light the witch-burnin’ bonfires, but no group seems truly immune.

Of course, Christians in the West have had almost two millennia in which to process the twin facts that, firstly, virtually none – literally almost zero out of hundreds of thousands – of their victims actually practiced witchcraft, and secondly, even if they did, so fucking what?

"So fucking what" is a vexing question for aspiring Vans Helsing , especially in the days since the Enlightenment, and even more so in the United States (a country that, ostensibly, guarantees the right to freely practice one’s chosen religion or lack thereof to everyone, even witches). How are good, God-fearing Christians supposed to persecute witches if witchcraft is a constitutionally-protected exercise of religious freedom?

As is the case with so many questions ranging from U.S. history to scientific facts about the age of the Earth or the origins of life, the solution that Christians have come up with is simple and elegant: make shit up and lie their fucking asses off.

Since it’s no longer acceptable (at least, for now) to barbecue someone for worshipping a goddess or Satan, or for practicing magick, or for blaspheming, the trick is to pretend that the people you are persecuting are actually the persecutors; that they have done something so odious that nobody in polite society will call you out for throwing them to the wolves.

But what supposed crime is odious enough that just accusing a hated minority of it is enough to end the debate, even if you can never, ever prove anything -- even if 100% of your accusations turn out, in the end, to be false? Well, the rape, torture, and murder of countless children, it turns out, fits the bill nicely.

In the thrilling conclusion of ‘Witch-Hunting, The Great Christian Pastime’ we’ll take a brief look at the ‘Satanic Panic,’ and revisit our old friend Aaron Klein (of WND, well, not fame, but close enough for a wingnut). See you soon!

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