We all had a good laugh about “Jesus Ween,” didn’t we? That misguided attempt to sanctify a day that had already been sanctified by the Catholic church way back in 609 CE, rightly mocked by Christians and Pagans alike. But the impulse to cleanse Halloween of its (perceived) Pagan/occult atmosphere has a darker side. If the “Ween-ers” are the Ned Flanders of anti-Halloween sentiments, then the followers of “spiritual warrior”/survivalist/conspiracy theorist Thomas R. Horn are a Jack T. Chick comic come to life. Just in time for Halloween they are plugging a new book entitled “God’s Ghostbusters” (buy it before the world ends!) that ramps up the fear of Pagans.
“According to a group of Christian scholars, this comes as the world is experiencing an explosion of ancient occultism combined with wicked fascination for ghosts and all things paranormal. In the United States alone, there are now more than two hundred thousand registered witches, the group claims, and as many as 8 million unregistered practitioners of “the craft.” On college and high school campuses, vampires, werewolves, and other “creatures of the night” are esteemed as objects of desire and idolized by young men and women who view them as cult icons of envious mystical power. Evidently, church goers are enchanted by the darkness as well. An April 13, 2011 article “Mysticism Infecting Nazarene Beliefs” was preceded only a few days before by a Telegraph article describing how a “surge in Satanism” inside the church has sparked a “rise in demand for exorcists” within traditional religious settings.”
Eight million! Jeepers! I also want to know how one becomes a “registered” Witch. Do I have to join COG for that? Circle? We again get references to that shadowy organization known only as a “group of Christian scholars”. Why won’t these brave men and women show themselves (and their statistical data)? Conservative Christians (and some Pagans) have long over-estimated the size of the modern Pagan movement for various reasons, but this is the first time I’ve seen an estimate that large. I suppose extrapolating data from ARIS or the Pew Forum (or any other reputable source) won’t sell as many books (or survivalist equipment). They also have an odd obsession with Hekate (which, I suppose is an improvement over “Samhain Lord of the Dead”).
“Whereas Hecate was elsewhere known as Hecate-Propylaia, “the one before the gate,” a role in which she guarded the entrances of homes and temples from nefarious outside evils (talk about Satan casting out Satan!); and whereas she was also known as Hecate-Propolos, “the one who leads,” as in the underworld guide of Persephone and of those who inhabit graveyards; and finally whereas she was known as Hecate-Phosphoros, “the light bearer,” her most sacred title and one that recalls another powerful underworld spirit, Satan, whose original name was Lucifer (“the light bearer”); it was nevertheless her role as the feminist earth-goddess-spirit Hecate-Chthonia that popularized her divinity and commanded reverence from among the common people. [...] The connection between ancient paganism and the modern customs and costumes of Halloween is easy to trace. The Hecatian myths adopted by Celtic occultists continue in pop culture, symbolism, and tradition…”
They hate/fear/are secretly aroused by Pagan deities so much they’re willing to give away Horn’s book on the subject [PDF]. In it, you can learn of the many ways Pagan gods still walk the earth and how modern Paganism is a sign of Armageddon (for which you’ll need to stock up on survivalist kits).
As I said before, these people are the dark reflection of the Jesus Ween-ers. Who take the idea of occult infiltration of America to its tinfoil-helmet-wearing conclusions. They want to get as many people in their Ark/underground Christian bunker as possible before our prophesied take-over happens. It’s easy (and fun) to mock this stuff, but a significant number of ordinary, decent, people are susceptible to narratives like these. It’s why I’m so critical of books about Pagans written for Christians, because they all feed a narrative that is ultimately damaging to interfaith relations and their own children. I’m more than happy to let Horn and his followers dig trenches and scare each other with spooky stories of Hekate’s minions, but I’m more concerned by the innocent Goth/Pagan/GLBT/different kids who might be damaged when their propaganda gets passed around at a local church or Christian book store. That’s when it crosses the line into being dangerous and damaging to our society.