Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of them I may expand into longer posts as needed.

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • Castus

    The profile of Heru Semahj looks fascinating…

    • Castus

      It’s a little disappointing that he’s insane.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Seshat-Anqet-Het-Her/100003473686448 Seshat Anqet Het Her

        If you call an Elder “insane” at least have the courtesy to say why you think that is. Are you a qualified mental health professional and have you spoken with Baba Heru personally?

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Ukpabio: “If a child under the age of two screams in the night, cries, and is always feverish with deteriorating health, he or she is a servant of Satan.” [...] Among the signs of possession: a lack of interest in school and “waywardness,” also the breaking of plates.

    Chillingly reminiscent of official lists of symptoms that “your child is on drugs” which consisted mostly of the symptoms of adolescence. It’s tempting to snark and move on, but parent who don’t know how kids develop can be taken in by this guff.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      I wonder if Kenaz Filan will jump in here now and explain to us about how Ukpabio’s Satan-mongering is a symptom of the fact that she is still too influenced by traditional African superstition and not yet sufficiently influenced by rational, European Christianity.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

        No, but I’ll happily explain why you (and many other Pagans like you) have such an obsession with the EEEEVIL Christians.

        Many of the people who come to Paganism or other “magical” traditions come in search of power. In their mundane lives they may be doughy librarians and obese system administrators with neckbeards and adult acne. When they get home and kneel before their altars they are mighty wizards, great spellcasters, priests and priestesses of the ancient Gods and Goddesses. Surely now their enemies will take them seriously.

        Except, well, they don’t. And what’s more, most of the books from whence these basement mages learn their craft whimper on at length about how awful it is to cast curses and how real witches only do good magic. How frustrating. Surely there must be some way that HP Llardass can get an ego-boost.

        Why, yes there is! He can throw himself into the center of a role playing game wherein he is set upon at every turn by the forces of Dominionist Theocracy. He can play Harry Potter to the Christian Voldemort; he can whine about how he is oppressed, oppressed, oppressed – and what’s more, he can blame the Fundamentalist Armies of the Night instead of his own lack of social skills and penchant for going out in public dressed in bad Renfaire garb.

        If you want to see the need for power in action, take a gander at most Pagan discussion forums. Watch how quickly HP Llardass and his fellow practitioners in Slopebrowe Coven bring out the legal threats as soon as they get spanked in an online discussion. If they get really angry, they might even call up their opponent’s workplace and report that s/he is a devil-worshipper. I’ve had a “Pagan” do that to me during an online flame-war: I know others who have had similar experiences, including people who were reported to CPS as “Satanic Ritual Abusers” during coven disputes and the like. They may not be allowed to go public with threats of cursing — but if they can’t call on Mother Goddess to avenge their reddened ass cheeks, then by God they’ll call on John Law (in his guises as the FBI, Interpol, the CIA, the sheriff’s department, and some unspecified lawyer who will be dropping Ye Lawsuite off at your door Any Day Now). Because that is the way they assure themselves that they’re not just laughable losers, nosireebob. They are Great and Powerful Sorcerers in a battle against the Forces of Evangelical Evil.

        Do I think there are Christians trying to make power grabs in the US? Sure. But I also think that if they were 1/10 as bad as many Pagans like to think we’d be seeing a lot of the loudest whiners tied to stakes and surrounded by kindling. And I think a lot of these complaints have more to do with ego-stroking and self-aggrandizement than with any actual threat.

        • Mia

          Hey, Librarians can be awesome people :P

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Point taken. Some of my favorite people are librarians. Of course, some of my favorite people are also system administrators.

            I’d be interested in hearing exactly how and where the EEVIL CHRISTIANS did any real damage to Apelius’s life. Did they give him wedgies in gym? Did they short-sheet his bunk at camp? Did they knock on his door early on a Sunday morning to share the good news with him? Did they then sneak into his kitchen and do something in his coffee that left it a bit … saltier … than usual? Something tells me that the main thing Christians do for him is provide a convenient Valdemort against which he can play the Half-Wit Prince.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            I am a librarian (well, library paraprofessional) and I admit I’m a little doughy (right now).

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

          Kenaz: “In their mundane lives they may be doughy librarians and obese system administrators with neckbeards and adult acne. When they get home and kneel before their altars they are mighty wizards, great spellcasters, priests and priestesses of the ancient Gods and Goddesses. Surely now their enemies will take them seriously.”

          It’s always interesting to get a peek inside other people’s fantasy worlds. But sometimes very creepy, too.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            As usual, Apuleius uses more words than are necessary. He could have simply typed out “I know you are but what am I?” or “IKYABWAI?” and saved himself some keystrokes.

            Failure to answer the question about where Christianity had impinged on his life or done anything save provided him a windmill against which to go a-tilting is, of course, duly noted.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            How about failure to state plainly whether you still think that African Traditional Religion encourages adults to imprison, torture and murder children?

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Depends on what you mean by “African Traditional Religion.” African Traditional Religion definitely includes a belief in malevolent sorcerers and people who are born evil. When that runs headlong into Pentecostal Christianity it becomes a new and different beast – one which bears as much (or as little) resemblance to either of its roots as Haitian Vodou bears to Beninois Vodun or Roman Catholicism. To write this off as entirely the fault of Christianity is to miss the other influences. Last I checked American Pentecostal Churches weren’t advocating rounding up and murdering “child witches” in their hometowns – much as you and the “BURNING TIMEZ” brigade might wish that were the case.

          • kenneth

            The American churches are not doing the rounding up and killing of child witches in Africa, but there’s blood on their hands all the same. They very actively encourage that line of thinking. Some of them are clearly funding the African pastors who are behind the deadly hate rhetoric. They have also stoked hatred of gays in Africa to the point that they helped inspire laws mandating the death penalty for being gay. Do I think Christians generally have us in imminent threat of the “Burning Times” here? No. But they, at least in some of their dominant strains, are not a force for good in this world, and they are not a force to be trifled with or dismissed easily.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            @facebook-556495406:disqus

            Depends on what you mean by “African Traditional Religion.”

            Kinda like how some people still say “Native American spirituality/religion…”, eh?

        • Anonymous

          “Many of the people who come to Paganism or other “magical” traditions
          come in search of power. In their mundane lives they may be doughy
          librarians and obese system administrators with neckbeards and adult
          acne. When they get home and kneel before their altars they are mighty
          wizards, great spellcasters, priests and priestesses of the ancient Gods
          and Goddesses. Surely now their enemies will take them seriously.”

          Yes, yes, we’re all fat, spotty nerds who think we wield the power of the ancients because people made fun of us. This is truly an original observation you’ve made that no one before you ever had the wit to compose. Now that we’ve been thoroughly chastised and reminded of our proper place, surely there must be other benighted individuals around the internet who are desperately unaware of how much cooler you are than they. Go to them before it’s too late and they miss the chance to be educated about their inferiority.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Well, obviously it was close enough to home that it struck a nerve with you.  Good luck cursing me.  If that doesn’t work you can always threaten me with Interpol or make insinuations about how you know Odinists in the States who will show up at my door and beat some respect into me.  That will really teach me a lesson.

          • Anonymous

             Ah yes, the “You responded, so I win” routine. Also very original and bold. But I suppose if the funny bone counts, you did strike a nerve.

            For someone taking Aupelius and the rest of us to task about persecution complexes, you seem to have a pretty good lock on one yourself since the only person talking curses and violence is you. I imagine that envisioning your opponents grinding their teeth as they mutter dark words at you and make ludicrous, impotent threats is probably a lot more appealing than thinking they’re laughing and rolling their eyes at your own over-inflated sense of importance and power.

            Besides, the gods have all ready seen fit to make you a troll whose only fleeting pleasure and glory comes from irritating, offending and insulting those who’ve done you no wrong. You go out of your way to harangue people you yourself deride as pathetic, powerless and weak. Not content to simply make your argument and let it stand on its own, you’re compelled to verbally assassinate anyone who disagrees with you and convince yourself that they all wish harm to come to you over it. What curse could any of us come up with that’s more sad than your reality?

            The only “lesson” to be taught here is one you’ve all ready unconsciously provided. You only make noise when the wind blows over you. If it shifts and moves elsewhere, you’ll fall silent. Without someone engaging you when you annoy them, you have nothing to offer. So, I would advise my brothers and sisters here to heed your lesson as I intend to and move on from you so you can make your noise elsewhere.

            Good day, sir.

      • Anonymous

        Unfortunately, the brand of Christianity Ukpabio adheres to has little in common with anything remotely rational. The sort of NAR folks she hangs out with more closely resemble the superstitious Christians of the Dark Ages who see demons everywhere.

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

          Unfortunately, other forms of Christianity are no more rational than Ukpabio’s Pentecostalism.

          It should be remembered that Pentecostalism is a thoroughly modern form of Christianity with it’s roots in the British Enlightenment during the first glimmerings of the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, but only coming into full flower in the early 20th century in the United States.

          • Anonymous

            LOL at your first sentence! RELIGION is not rational! Christianity is no more irrational than Dianic Wicca or Hinduism, or Shinto, or any other religion.

            However, more “mainstream” forms of Christianity, like Methodism or Episcopalianism are not hotbeds of fear mongering or pagan bashing or demon hunting. I grew up Methodist, and no one ever entertained the idea that demon possession was more than an interesting movie plot.

            And yes, Pentecostalism is a relatively new movement, though it started with the “holiness revival” of the mid-19th century. With its emphasis on “end times” theology, that it arose in a time of great technical and social change is not surprising. Extremely conservative religious dogma seeks to impose order on an unruly world.

            You also have to understand that Pentecostalism is not monolithic. You have, under the Pentecostal umbrella, both pre- and post-millenialists. Pre-Ms believe in the Rapture, and though they may vote for people like Rick Santorum, they are not so active in politics. They are more into proselytizing.

            The post-Ms, OTOH, believe that Jesus will not return until they have taken dominion over the whole earth and have wiped out all the unbelievers. Ms Ukpabio is of this school, and is affiliated with the apostolic NAR movement. They tend to be completely absorbed in ferreting out sin, punishing sinners, and establishing a theocratic government. That’s what makes people like her scary, and that the US gave her a visa… really scary.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            Christianity is no more irrational than Dianic Wicca or Hinduism, or Shinto, or any other religion.

            I’d beg to differ, but then, I’m a pluralist and thus find any monistic religion as being inherently more irrational than a pluralistic one.

  • http://nakedoak.wordpress.com/ Erska

    Did anyone else find that Pomegranate article totally patronizing?

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      That’s an extremely polite way of putting it.

      • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

        I felt like I was reading a Wikipedia article that should have [citation needed] after almost every line. There was a lot of talk about what Pagans are like and their relationship to academia and their feelings about it, and yet not once was there a source cited to back up those grossly negative assumptions about ‘most Pagans’.

        • http://nakedoak.wordpress.com/ Erska

          Yup. I’m surprised the author actually said, declaratively, “all but a minority” of Pagans, blah, blah, blah without any citation whatsoever except her “simple internet search.”

    • Gareth

      The comments section of this site all too often back up her points. Though TBH she’s wasting her time, much as I am now.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Evdiently we are powerful, aggressive and confrontational. Who knew we were so mighty?

      “A static religion is a dead religion.” Don’t tell Benedict XVI.

    • Scott

      I thought so, and personally I’m inclined toward Hutton’s side of that particular academic debate. I think it’s entirely appropriate for *The Pomegranate* to address the tension between researchers and non-academic practitioners, but I’m disappointed that they’ve consistently presented such one-sided polemics on the issue.

      • Scott

        In marginal fairness to Tully and *The Pomegranate*, the piece is listed as “opinion” rather than “article,” but I still find the tone inappropriate for an academic publication, and downright inflammatory given the current state of discussion on this issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikethebard Michael Dolan

    “promotion of homosexual behaviour is in itself a throwback to the attitudes and opinions of ancient pagan civilizations.”

    Like the ones that invented democracy, public works, universities, trial by jury, representative government, astronomy, and medicine?

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      No to mention constitutional government, metallurgy, cities, agriculture, and beer.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    I’m surprised that the Pomegranate chose to publish Tully’s screed. Had she done any real research on reactions to Hutton’s writings, and then provided some sort of reasonable analysis of the results of that research, that would have been a genuine contribution to knowledge on an interesting contemporary sociological subject. But instead she engages in vague and insulting characterizations of persons mostly unnamed. Tully provides precisely one quote from a critic of Hutton (Carla O’Harris), for which she provides no citation. If this were turned in as a paper in a Sophomore expository writing class it would be generous to give it a “C”.

    • Gareth

      I got the impression the article was more less about you. Only by the standards of a child or backwards religious fundamentalist could Whitmore’s work be considered good.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        The key word here is “impression”. One could take little other than “impressions” from this article, since it actually says so little.

      • http://witchesandscientists.blogspot.com/ Gene

        Yikes. When one leaves comments like that, one get the ‘impression’ that the poster is an arm chair pagan troll.

    • Will

      While she does get a little interesting around pages 101-102, Tully seems almost English in her lack of citations (looking at her email address, she appears to call the University of Melbourne home, which kind of makes sense). English historians are infuriatingly known for *not* including citations in their work, rather expecting the reader to accept their claims, by virtue of being English historians (go read Robin Lane Fox’s “From Homer to Hadrian.” I dare you to find citations in there).

      Tully is rather vague, though at some points I did recognize certain “types” of pagans–her discussion of ‘Goddess worshippers” congregating on Catalhoyuk in Turkey, sounds like the (very tiny) branch of Dianic-esque pagans who insist upon a Matriarchal past which has been suppressed by the penis conspiracy. I know I’ve met one or two such folk, but they are so exceedingly rare that I find it difficult to believe that there is such a great clash between Goddess worshippers and archaeologists in Turkey that Tully could have mentioned it and *not* have provided specifics, statistics, or citations.

      Not having read Hutton, I can’t comment there. This piece actually comes across as having been intended to not be an attack, but Tully seems so woefully ignorant of her subject material that she’s bound to offend. She writes in broad sweeping terms of pagans who actively attack historians and archaeologists, giving only a small nod near the end to some pagans who don’t engage in the action upon which she predicated her entire article. We call those “recons;” being one myself, as well as a trained student of history and religion that I don’t have the perspective of the larger neo-pagan community, I can’t determine accurately whether most pagans feel the way she claims they do.

      However, I *do* think she could have done better had she not used a principle of psychology, like cognitive dissonance, as the fundamental basis for her article. All in all, this smacks of someone trying to be clever, and attempting to find an “original” twist on her topic (go watch the excellent play/film “The History Boys” by Alan Bennett for more instruction on this technique).

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        The reason that Tully is so vague is that all of her “arguments” disappear as soon as one tries to state them with any specificity.

        In the first place, no one has ever been able to demonstrate that Wicca was founded on the basis of the kind of specific historical claims that Tully speaks of. If one actually reads Gerald Gardner’s published works, one finds that he cites a wide variety of sources and is very cautious about the conclusions he draws from them.

        Here are some relevant quotes from Witchcraft Today:

        “If we only knew really what the Druids believed and taught, whether there was only one form of belief and whether they had various sects among them, it would be easier to say whether there was any connection or not with witchcraft.”
        Chp. 2

        “The witches do not know the origin of their cult.”
        Chp. 3

        “At one time I believed the whole cult was directly descended from the Northern European culture of the Stone Age, uninfluenced by anything else; but I now think that it was influenced by the Greek and Roman mysteries which originally may have come from Egypt. But while it is fascinating to consider the cult existing in direct descent from ancient Egypt, we must take into account the other possibilities.”
        Chp. 4

        “There are resemblances to Freemasonry in certain parts of the rites which I think can-not be due to chance, so I think the one influenced the other. And it is probable that all these people may have brought some new ideas into the cult; but I think the only great changes were made in Roman times when contact was made with the mysteries, although this is all guesswork on my part. I can only judge on the evidence I can find.”
        Chp. 9

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  • Daniel Kestral

    I made a huge guffaw that just wouldn’t stop when the article the other day mentioned Cameron’s “superior acting abilities,” to get him through the terrors of infiltrating a Druid ritual. He may, at times, have been a comedic child star, but his buffoonery, bigotry, and lies are, by far, so much more amusing than his child-star days on “Growing Pains.”

    • Merofled Ing

      Quite so, let’s wait for him to use these “superior skills” to infiltrate a “totallytarian Pagan” gay pride parade!

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      I’m still amused/horrified at his assertion that he was “at the top of his craft” on Growing Pains. Considering he shared a stage for a few years with a genuinely very talented young actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) who actually DID focus on honing his craft. But Cameron thought he had nothing to learn from the other actors he shared the stage with.

  • Cigfran

    I’ve not read much from The Pomegranate, and so far I’ve been unimpressed with the allegedly estimable Chas Clifton.

    Is this really the normal standard of his publication? If so, I can feel relieved at not having missed much, and rather suspect I can do without whatever “analysis” his authors offer on topics such as Radical Traditionalism.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      His very superficial analysis of Thorn’s silent meditation was all that I needed to convince me of that…

  • Thelettuceman

    When has it become appropriate to quote/link to Wikipedia in a “semi-serious” academic paper? A personal blog is one thing, but a published paper? It just seems amateurish to me.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      Also, anyone with any remote conception of how to do research in any field of social science does not refer to the subjects under study in the following way: “their website shows that they do not have a clue …”

      And any academic journal with any standards whatsoever would never publish such garbage.

      • Thelettuceman

        I’m not any kind of authority on academic writings, except for what I have done myself in the pursuit of my degrees. But the author of this paper comes across as Playing-At-Anthropology, dropping terms in a very obvious manner in order to try to wow people with the breadth of their knowledge. The language she uses is problematic, to me. To say the least.

        • Cigfran

          And that’s the thing… her article comes off as a half-written term paper, not a substantive submission to a “scholarly” journal.

          You’d think there would be some standards.

          • Thelettuceman

            I haven’t finished reading it yet (I had to switch computers to do some work), but the gist I get from the article is that she’s writing specifically that there is a need for “Pagan Studies” as an academic field in order to prevent people in the community from having an existential crisis when scholarship comes across that casts doubt on what they have come to believe. She makes it sound like there’s there is more of a risk of this when non-Pagan academics study the community than Pagans themselves. That the cultural study of Paganism should be the exclusive purview of Pagan academics, or else it will die out.

            Why else would you need to “reinvigorate” it?

          • Cigfran

            Ah, I get it. She’s writing to justify her own field as a kind of gatekeeper between what she presents as wholly disjoint communities, one of which is prone to fear and loathing.

            Hmm… academically-trained, well-informed pagans who study modern fieldwork in archaeology, anthropology, culture studies, etc., and regularly converse with other pagans in their areas of interest.

            Nope. Never heard of such a thing. I guess we should be grateful for her willingness to step into the breach.

    • Amy Hale

      It depends on how you are using it as a source. If you are referring to wikipedia as a site of contested views, it is a perfectly reasonable primary source.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        Actually in this case that is not true at all. Tully was referencing the 1996 Kennewick Man incident, and in particular was attempting to document the involvment of a specific organization, the Asatru Folk Assembly, in that affair. In such a case “citing” wikipedia is worse than no citation at all. If the wikipedia article was properly sourced, then Tully should have looked up those sources and used them, while possibly acknowledging the intermediary role of wikipedia. If the article isn’t properly sourced then it is just misinformation.

        As it is, the wikipedia article contains precisely one source on the Kennewick Man brouhaha: a passing reference (on page 214) to the ASA in the book “Futurefish 2001″ (a book about North Pacific fisheries), in which the ASA is referred to as “Left Coast New Agers”.

        That isn’t even proper sourcing by wikipedia standards, let alone for an academic journal.

        • Amy Hale

          That may be a fair assessment.  I haven’t read the piece yet.  I was just saying there are some instances in which one can legitimately use wikipedia as an academic source.  And many where you shouldn’t.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    ATTN: APULEIUS & KENAZ

    You have both descended to pettiness, which is annoying because neither of you is particularly good at it. I would like to lay out the issue as I see it and then pose salient questions.

    I assume you both agree with the following:

    1) There is a current epidemic of Witch hunting in Africa, which takes the particular form of child abuse, child mutilation and child murder.

    2) This phenomenon is partly African and partly the result of current evangelism from the West.

    3) You evaluate (1) and (2) as evil and reprehensible.

    As I understand your disagreement, it is as follows:

    i) Kenaz regards the African contribution to this crisis as the African version(s) of the universal hostility, among cultures that believe in magick, toward malevolent sorcerers.

    ii) Apuleius regards the African contribution as the result of cultural contamination from European Witch phobia via earlier evangelism, marked by the uniquely Christian hostility to Witches who heal as worse than Witches who cast evil spells because the former disguise the demonic as good.

    iii) You both believe that (i) and (ii) are mutually exclusive.

    Now I want to ask you both some questions:

    a) What evidence do either of you have of your respective positions? In particular, what evidence supporting postion (iii) above?

    b) If you cannot come up with an answer to (a), where would you recommend a search for evidence begin?

    Thank you for your kind attention.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      ii) Apuleius regards the African contribution as the result of cultural contamination from European Witch phobia via earlier evangelism, marked by the uniquely Christian hostility to Witches who heal as worse than Witches who cast evil spells because the former disguise the demonic as good.

      To disprove that claim, I would point to the fact that traditional religions co-exist with Christianity in many African and Afro-Caribbean societies. There are many Haitians who attend Vodou services on Saturday and Mass on Sunday: there are Africans who consider themselves Christian but who will avail themselves of a folk healer in times of trouble. The priest may complain about this from the pulpit — but American Catholics aren’t the only ones capable of smiling, nodding and going about their business. So this Christian “hostility” to African Traditional Religions is far more nuanced than Apuleius would have us believe.

      Going to Central and South American cultures, I’d note that Mexican culture draws a clear distinction between a curandera and a bruja: going back to Haiti, I’d not that Vodouisants draw a distinction between service avec la main droite and la main gauche. Sevis Gineh is generally seen as “right hand” while sorcery and the work of malfacteurs is “left hand” stuff. So it’s a huge error to assume that cultures exposed to Christianity are incapable of distinguishing between witches that heal and witches that harm.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Kenaz, thank you for replying. Your examples of peaceful coexistence between Christianity and traditional religions do not disprove the possibility of a pernicious combination of them such as Apuleius posits. Africa is different from your Western Hemisphere examples because it is a current focus of intense prosetylzation, both Catholic and Protestant. To me your evidence seems significant but not compelling.

        I don’t dispute the common distinction between the left and right hand paths in traditional religions. I put that in because it’s part of AP’s customary rap on Christianity and Witchcraft.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          One correction: Apuleius is not positing a “pernicious combination” – he’s claiming that the “Witchcraft killings” and abuses are entirely the fault of Pentecostal Christianity and are a direct spinoff of Dominionist Fundamentalist practices in the United States. He’s not yet provided any examples of American churches murdering “witches” or doing rituals which in any way resemble those held by the African “Revivalist” movement, mind you. Neither has he accounted for similar ugly Christian/Traditional Religion hybrids like the Lord’s Resistance Army.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            The lack of such crimes by American churches is not disproof that something is happening in Africa.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Oh, nobody is disputing that these crimes are happening in Africa. What I am disputing is whether or not the people performing them are in any way related to American Pentecostal or Evangelical churches.

            Apuleius seems to think that the American Evangelicals/Pentecostals are responsible for this witch-hunting craze. Yet it seems odd that they exported these rituals to Africa yet don’t appear to practice them here.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Kenaz wrote:

            “Yet it seems odd that they exported these rituals to Africa yet don’t appear to practice them here.”

            See my reply the last time you made this point.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Baruch: let’s see if this makes clear what I am getting at. Apuleius is claiming that the “witch killings” in Africa are the result of Pentecostalist Christianity and that American missionaries are inspiring, egging on, and teaching the witch-killers how to murder children and other “witches.”

            I am noting that American Pentecostal and Evangelical churches don’t teach that albinos are inherently evil, that Down Syndrome is a sign of Satanic possession, or that one should throw pepper in a child’s eyes, make the child drink noxious substances or play drums for hours on end while engaging in rites designed to “exorcise” the witch-spirit from the “second world” from the child. I am also noting that the “Revivialist” Churches which are most strongly connected with these “exorcisms” are in fact African with roots in Africa and generally have only tenuous connections to Evangelical and Pentecostal missionaries, if they have any at all.

            I am not denying that these murders happen, based on a twisted misunderstanding of Christianity and of African traditional religions. But I doubt very much that this is part of the Evil Fundamentalist Dominionist Plot which inspires so many Pagans to fapfests of indignation. It’s a tragedy inspired by poverty and social upheaval: using it to score points against Big Daddy Jesus and the church you left in your teens is right up there with accusing the guy who spanked you in a flame war of being a follower of a certain failed Austrian artist.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Kenaz, here I go replying to myself again. Gotta love Disqus.

            You are correct afaik that churches in America do not have the same hit-list of Witch identifiers.

            Apuleius, can you respond to this?

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            @facebook-556495406:disqus For the most part, fundamentalist Christian churches moderate their behavior in the West because they know they can only get away with so much. That’s why organizations like James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” would never dare call for death camps for LGBT people in America, but in Uganda they explicitly sponsor laws that make being LGBT a capital crime.
            So no, the lack of comparable action in the West is in no way proof that these churches aren’t substantially responsible for the situation in Africa. We know for a fact that missionaries whom [i]they[/i] sponsor and local churches which [i]they[/i] collaborate with are the principal actors in actively encouraging violence against LGBT people and against pagans. That makes them responsible.

    • A.C. Fisher Aldag

      Jumping in here, from reading news stories each day, there is also a problem in various African nations, caused by the traditional beliefs of ordinary citizens who fear witches and witchcraft, and thus abuse, cast out and kill not only children, but adults and elders, both male and female; and a problem with traditional belief of sorcerers who think they can gain magickal powers by killing certain people, usually albinos, and using the victims’ body parts for magickal practices. And yes, ordinary citizens who fear witchcraft because of Christian belief is a problem, as well. I’ve reprinted or linked a slew of these stories on the Magickal Media news feed. There are also incidents in the Middle East, India, Western Asia and Papua New Guinea. The latter just passed a “sorcery law”, so we’ll see how well that works in reducing incidents of witchcraft accusations and related violence.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        If an African were to read American newspapers, and believe what they read therein, he or she would think that Santeros and “Occultists” in America regularly engage in human sacrifice and other atrocities. We know better than to take such stories at face value. We should exercise the same critical thinking skills when we encounter “new stories each day” telling us about “a problem in various African nations, caused by traditional beliefs of ordinary citizens….”

        These news stories inevitably turn out to be one of three things:
        1. fabrications
        2. stories about people with mental illness and/or drug problems.
        3. garden variety stories about human violence and greed that have nothing to do with religion

        • A.C. Fisher Aldag

          There are credible sources, along with the expected tabloid hoopla and breathless “mainstream” news accounts, including documentaries, in-depth analyses, interviews with the police (some of whom hold traditional beliefs), interviews with traditional healers and leaders, and interviews with the survivors of witchcraft-related abuse.  Some of them state that their ordeals were caused by Christians, others state that it was “witch doctors” or “sorcerors” who did things like chop off an albino lady’s arms to use for a magickal rite.  Some of them state that family members, who held traditional beliefs, exiled them or attacked them.  Of course, in some instances, it’s greedy people seeking Grandma’s money… and in some instances, the Christian leader told them too.  All of it’s a problem.  Don’t just take my word for it, please explore some of the sources for yourself.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Claiming “there are credible sources”, as Aldag does, is very different from actually producing any.

            Also, one must be very cautious when ascribing a relationship between a given religious tradition and acts of violence and criminal behavior. There are at least 100 million practitioners of ATR in sub-Saharan Africa. Producing “evidence” of isolated cases proves nothing.

            One should keep in mind cases like Abu Ghraib and the Catholic priest sex scandals. Abu Ghraib certainly did not prove that all or even most US military service personel are violent sadists. But it did demonstrate that the US military had a systemic problem with mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. People might disagree over that, but the issue is not one of “bad apples”, but one of showing that there is a systemic problem, or not. Simply listing “incidents” proves little, until the list becomes quite long and a clear pattern emerges.

            The case is even stronger when it comes to Catholic priests (than in the case of Abu Ghraib), where there is clear evidence of covering up and aiding and abetting ongoing abuse at the highest levels of authority for decade after decade.

            Examining sources is very important. Very often these “reports” that Aldag refers (vaguely) to end up relying on Christian missionaries and/or paid sources, or worse (like sources that later retract their stories completely). Here is a story about “child sacrifice” in Uganda, but if one reads past the headline you discover that in the main case the article focuses on the perpetrator “was a regular user of narcotics and had once been admitted to a mental health hospital”: Uganda’s Epidemic of Child Sacrifice. And here is a followup story about a Ugandan priest who told BBC reporters about “child sacrifices” carried out by “witchdoctors”, but who later admitted that he was paid by the BBC and that he made it all up: Uganda priest nabbed for BBC hoax was paid to dramatize. Many more examples of this kind of outright disinformation can be easily produced.

            Here is a scholarly article that characterizes these kinds of media stories as “the farrago of contemporary myths” which perpetuate “into the twenty-first century the old missionary condemnation of all African religion”:
            Scotland yard in the bush: medicine murders, child witches and the construction of the occult: a literature review, by Terrence Ranger, emeritus fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      Baruch, do you believe we should take a similarly balanced approach when we encounter blood libel accusations made against Jews? After all, doesn’t the Old Testament command the ritual mutilation of newborns? And what about that story about Abraham and Isaac? Hmmm. Maybe all those stories about Jews kidnapping Christian children to murder and drink their blood at their Satanic rituals have, you know, some truth to them?

      What proof do you have, Baruch, that Blood Libel accusations are not based on some amount of truth?

      All that blood libel requires for its perpetuation is the repetition of the accusation. If apparently objective or sympathetic people can be duped into demanding that the accusations be taken seriously and answered with “evidence” (evidence of absence), then that helps even more.

      The parallels between Jewish Blood Libel and the kinds of accusations that are constantly made against practitioners of African Traditional Religions should be painfully obvious, but for anyone who wants to get up to speed, here are a few links:
      Blood Libel, Witchcraft, & Ratzinger’s 2011 Visit to Africa
      More on Blood Libel Against African Traditional Religions
      Blood Libel Against Africans & African Traditional Religion
      Al Jazeera’s New Racist Documentary: “Magic & Murder”

      There is child abuse in all cultures. The rate at which children die every day of violent abuse and neglect day in the United States had doubled since 1998. Of course there are incidents of child abuse in all African communities, regardless of what religions are practiced there. But when it comes to the issue of “child witches” we are talking about a very unique phenomenon of systematic and orchestrated violence against children on a mass scale. This very specific phenomenon has nothing to do with African traditional beliefs and practices, and everything to do with the specific form of Christianity represented by Helen Ukpabio.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Apuleius, thank you for replying. The balanced approach I’m taking is between your theories and those of Kenaz.

        It seems to me you are making a new argument here, that these reports may be overstated, or that they erroneously include non-Witch-related violence, or that Witch-related violence does not specifically target children.

        I was looking for a repsonse on your position as earlier stated. I must take some time to take your new position on board,

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

          The child witch phenomenon can be understood fairly well on its own. But when someone comes along, as you have, and demands “evidence” exonerating African religious traditions, then we are getting into an area where the twisted logic of blood libel accusations is being injected.

          On the other hand, the positive evidence of Christian involvement in the child witch phenomenon is well known: the people committing these acts call themselves Christians, their leaders (who orchestrate the attacks) are leaders of various churches, the imprisonment, torture and murders often take place in churches. And far from being “syncretic” mixtures of Christianity with African beliefs, the specific type of Christianity involved is the most hostile of all to such mixtures, and demands a complete break from all traditional beliefs and practices (this is a general feature of Evangelical Christianity as practiced in Africa, not just Pentecostalism).

          The only real question is what is the actual nature of these churches? Are they “really” Christian, or something else. There is no evidence that they are anything other than Christian, outside of the assertion that Christians would not do such things. But notice what is immediately implied by that: that practitioners of traditional religions would do such things!

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Apuleius, I am not “demanding” anything. I’m asking if such evidence exists.

            Thank you for clarifying the actors on the ground.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            The point is that there must be positive evidence of guilt in the first place, otherwise there is no basis, other than preconceived bias, for requesting, no matter how politely, that someone prove their innocence.

            The positive evidence for Pentecostalist Christian involvement in the child witch phenomenon is overwhelming and completely uncontroversial to all those knowledgeable on the subject. That is the whole reason why Jason frequently posts items at the Wild Hunt concerning “Witch Hunter Helen Ukpabio” in the first place. But I have yet to see Kenaz Felan refer to Jason as “King of the Butthurt Pagans” (as he recently did in my general direction) for this!

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Apuleius: Putting King of the Butthurt Pagans in bold type certainly goes a long way toward reassuring people you aren’t butthurt. Perhaps you should also add a large font next time just to convince those who are on the fence regarding your posterior agonies.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Apuleius, I’m not putting anyone on trial. I’m a septuagenarian at a keyboard.

            You and Kenaz have been arguing about this for some time. I want to see everyone’s cards, is all.

          • Scott

            So self-identified Christians who have incorporated non-Christian traditions are Christians when you want to blame Christianity for their atrocities, but pagans when you want to use them as evidence for historical pagan survivals, apparently. Good to know.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            The issue is precisely whether or not there are “non-Christian traditions” being incorporated or not. When we find Christians engaged in Witch-Hunting there is no need to go looking for “non-Christian traditions” that have influenced them. That much should be obvious. And it is obvious to anyone who approaches this honestly.

          • Scott

            So essentially: if you want someone to blame, and you find Christians, stop looking? You’re seriously deploying that as an argument?

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Apuleius: so it’s so crystal-clear that African “witch hunting” is entirely a “Christian” phenomenon that we needn’t worry about any evidence to the contrary. And if we do bring that evidence up we’re not being honest.

            Good to know.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Scott: “So essentially: if you want someone to blame, and you find Christians, stop looking? You’re seriously deploying that as an argument?”

            I did not “find Christians”. Everyone agrees that “revivalist” Churches are at the center of the child witch phenomenon. As I have said before, this is the whole reason why Jason keeps posting items related to “The Witch Hunter Helen Ukpabio”. Having “found” these revivalist churches, it is then quite reasonable to look into their ideology, their history, their funding, etc. These churches have arisen as a direct result of intense missionary activity by Evangelical Christians (primarily based in the US). These are not “syncretic” Churches. They renounce all traditional beliefs and practices as Satanic. And these churches are not based in isolated rural areas where traditional practices and beliefs are still intact. Rather they are based in urban areas where the populations are much more thoroughly Christianized and westernized. And anyone familiar with the likes of Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Jim Baker, Sarah Palin, etc, can clearly see the full flowering of their dark ideology of “spiritual warfare” at work in Africa.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Scott: yep, he’s deploying exactly that as an argument. Once you get past his “links ” and discover his “extensive research” contradicts much of what he is saying, he tries to shift the discussion to “well, it’s obvious this is a Christian thing and there’s no need to dig any further.” Which, of course, begs the question of why he felt it necessary to dig in the first place.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Aching Posterior says:

            I did not “find Christians”. Everyone agrees that “revivalist” Churches are at the center of the child witch phenomenon

            And it appears that everybody (including the UNICEF report that AP was waving about earlier as “proof” of his claims) recognizes that the “Revivalist” practices are something separate and distinct from mainstream Pentecostal Christianity. Everybody but AP, that is, who has a great deal emotionally invested in the myth of the Fundamentalist War on Pagans.

            Having “found” these revivalist churches, it is then quite reasonable to look into their ideology, their history, their funding, etc. These churches have arisen as a direct result of intense missionary activity by Evangelical Christians (primarily based in the US). These are not “syncretic” Churches. They renounce all traditional beliefs and practices as Satanic.

            Except for that pesky part wherein they have incorporated many of the prejudices and practices of African Traditional Religions – the part that AP steadfastly refuses to address, despite the fact that I have posted numerous examples of same.

            And these churches are not based in isolated rural areas where traditional practices and beliefs are still intact. Rather they are based in urban areas where the populations are much more thoroughly Christianized and westernized. And anyone familiar with the likes of Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Jim Baker, Sarah Palin, etc, can clearly see the full flowering of their dark ideology of “spiritual warfare” at work in Africa.

            African Traditional Religions aren’t practiced in African cities? That’s interesting. A friend of mine who recently spent some time in Benin might as well burn his doctoral thesis, then.

            So, care to show us the part where Pat Robertson rubs pepper and “sacred sap” into a child’s eyes to “exorcise” him? Or where Jim Baaker and Sarah Palin spend hours drumming and dancing to drive out devils? Or are you just going to insist it’s so obvious that there’s no need for you to provide any proof to back up your conclusions.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Kenaz Filan: “Aching Posterior says:”

            Kenaz I strongly urge you to not chicken-shit out this time and to leave your personally insulting remarks up where everyone can see them.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Kenaz Filan: “Aching Posterior says:”

            Kenaz I strongly urge you to not chicken-shit out this time and to leave your personally insulting remarks up where everyone can see them.

            Aching Posterior: I’ve never made my feelings about you a secret. To wit, I think you’re a butthurt whiner who resorts to flouncing, melodramatics and histrionics every time someone calls you on your huffy blanket assertions. If you’d like me to make a post about that on my blog, just say the word and I’ll be happy to do so.

            Now then, pleasantries aside: any chance you’re going to answer any of the evidence which counters your claim that African “Revivalists” are identical to American Pentecostal and Evangelical movements and inspired solely by their Evil Machinations, and that African traditional beliefs (i.e. taboos about albinos, twins, etc.) play no role in this? Or are you just going to continue proving the paragraph above this one?

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          Apuleius keeps talking about “blood libel.” The only blood libel I am seeing is the repeated assertion by Apuleius that Pentecostal and Evangelical Christians regularly torture and kill children in “exorcism” rituals.

          So far he has not produced any evidence showing that these rituals regularly occur outside of Africa – something I would expect if they were a regular part of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity as he seems to be implying. Is Pat Robertson chaining children up in his basement, throwing pepper in their eyes, and playing drums for hours on end to drive the devil out of them? Do the Assemblies of God regularly hold exorcisms that involve beating and starving youths whom they believe to be “possessed.” Has anyone found a bunch of teen and child skeletons buried in the back yard of a Holiness Church in Nebraska or Georgia?

          What we have here is a phenomenon driven by poverty and social upheaval, which has combined a traditional fear of witchcraft and malevolent sorcery with a Christian concept of “exorcism” and created a witch-hunting industry. It’s a tragedy, and American Pentecostal churches are to be condemned for not speaking out more forcefully against it (insofar as they have any influence over the Revivalist movement, anyway). But as I keep saying, it is as Christian – and as related to African traditional practices – as Vodou or Santeria. Neither of its roots are completely without sin and both have been connected to both acts of good and acts of evil.

          I am sorry if my refusal to treat Africans like little brown holy people and instead note that their traditions are as morally ambiguous as European customs causes some consternation. I apologize for pointing out that the “noble savages” are neither savage nor noble, and capable of both glories and atrocities. But this is not a case of Evil Christians egging on the poor simple Africans to kill their children: it’s a case of a cultural clash and misunderstanding gone horribly, horribly wrong.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            “So far he has not produced any evidence [...]” proving Christian atrocities in Africa.

            Have you evidence that excuplates them?

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Well, dunno if this is conclusive evidence that will exculpate American Pentecostalists and Evangelicals but here’s a quote from page 39 of the UNICEF report that Apuleius referenced earlier.

            Since the end of the 1980s, there has been a rise of various religious movements in sub‐Saharan Africa. The most visible groups originate in the large “universal religions”: protestant movements (evangelical, apostolic, Pentecostal, Baptist or Methodist) and the charismatic renewal in Catholicism. In sub‐Saharan cities, the public space is filled with these churches. It is of course necessary to distinguish, state André Mary and André Corten, the “historical” Pentecostal churches (Assemblies of God or Pentecostal Churches), some of whom have been present for over a hundred years, and those churches belonging to the “Pentecostal movement”, such as revivalist, spiritualist or African prophetic churches (2000: 12). (emphasis added)

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      Baruch, do you believe we should take a similarly balanced approach when we encounter blood libel accusations made against Jews? After all, doesn’t the Old Testament command the ritual mutilation of newborns? And what about that story about Abraham and Isaac? And what about, you know, Passover? Hmmm. Maybe all those stories about Jews kidnapping Christian children to murder them and drink their blood at their Satanic rituals have, you know, some truth to them?

      What proof do you have, Baruch, that Blood Libel accusations are not based on some amount of truth?

      Apuleius argument Pt. 1: a huffy denunciation of anyone who dares disagree with him, complete with insinuations the person is a racist, an anti-Semite and kicks puppies.

      Part 2 will be a bunch of links which he believes “proves” his point.

      Blood Libel, Witchcraft, & Ratzinger’s 2011 Visit to Africa

      A Pagan blog (run by none other than Apuleius) which links to a story about Pope Benedict, which says:

      According to UNICEF, tens of thousands of children in Africa are tortured and killed because of witchcraft. A terrible and little known fact. Unicef has emphasized the same points as the Synod of Africa, which in 2009 denounced “witchcraft” as a “social drama”: in poor households or those affected by catastrophes, often the culprit is sought out in those who are weakest, who are then tortured or killed.

      If we can take UNICEF seriously, this would seem to support the contention that tens of thousands of children are being killed. And it appears that Benedict takes this seriously: He says that ‘[t]he spread of the “scourge” of “witchcraft”, the Pope argued, stems from the fact that “the heart of the baptized” is often “divided between Christianity and African traditional religions.” Which would suggest – as I have been suggesting – that the “Witchcraft” epidemic has as much to do with tribal customs, not to mention poverty and social upheaval, as Christianity. I’m not thrilled to see Pope Benedict backing me up, but I would point out that he’s a reasonably well-educated man and a highly respected scholar.

      More on Blood Libel Against African Traditional Religions
      Blood Libel Against Africans & African Traditional Religion
      Al Jazeera’s New Racist Documentary: “Magic & Murder”

      More huffy outrage from Apuleius, wherein he points out that reports from African newspapers are sometimes sensationalized and European and American journalists often make the mistake of taking them seriously.

      I note that in all this Apuleius has missed one glaring example of murders related to African Traditional religions – albino killings. This is well-documented — certainly more so than stories about Jewish “blood libel” — and has precisely nothing to do with Pentecostal Christianity or the Evil Fundamentalist Empire.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        Kenaz, do you realize that the quote you cut and pasted is not actually from UNICEF, but from TheVaticanInsider website, which is devoted solely to the purpose of spreading Catholic propaganda?

        The fact that you are so eager to blindly accept their version of the UNICEF report tells us all we need to know about both your critical thinking skills and your loyalties.

        Anyone interested in what the UNICEF report actually says can read the whole thing at the UNICEF website (not to be confused with TheVaticanInsider) here:
        http://www.unicef.org/wcaro/wcaro_children-accused-of-witchcraft-in-Africa.pdf

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          Reading that as we speak.

          In the meantime, any theories on the Evangelical ties to albino killings in Tanzania? Or are you willing to admit that African Traditional Religions, like every other religion, are capable of coming up with nasty stuff all by themselves.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          From the UNICEF report:

          Vulnerable children accused of an act of witchcraft can be divided into three categories. The first category, which includes thousands of children, refers to the urban phenomenon of “child witches”. These children are typically orphans who have lost one or both natural parents; children with a physical disability (or any physical abnormality, including a large head, swollen belly, red eyes, etc.); those with a physical illness (epilepsy, tuberculosis, etc.) or disability (autism, Down Syndrome, etc., or even those who stutter); or especially gifted children. Children showing any unusual behaviour, for example children who are stubborn, aggressive, thoughtful, withdrawn or lazy, also make up this category.

          The second category covers children whose birth is considered abnormal, such as the “bad birth” children from the Bight of Benin region. These children may be premature (in the eighth month), or presentation may be in any variety of breech positions, or in the posterior, face‐up position during delivery. Also included are twins, who are sometimes associated with the occult, their birth symbolizing the evil or anger of the gods.

          The third and final category concerns children with albinism who are killed because of the magic powers supposedly contained in parts of their bodies, including their organs, hair, skin and limbs.

          Are albino children, twins, breech births and children with Down Syndrome regularly subjected to “exorcisms” in American Evangelical or Pentecostal churches?

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          More from the UNICEF Report:

          Despite these various representations, in many regions of sub‐Saharan Africa, witchcraft is perceived as a power that is located within the witch’s body. This power is sometimes described as a substance, an organ or an animal that is innate, inherited, transmitted or acquired, voluntarily or not. In Central Africa, it is located in the witch’s abdomen. This witch substance,10 called mangu (Evans‐Pritchard, 1937), djambe (Geschiere, 1995), evu(s) (Fernandez, 1961; Mallart‐Guimera, 1981; Laburthe‐Tolra, 1985), ikundu (Tonda, 2000) or likundu,11 may be inactive or may act contrary to the will of its host. The representations of uchawi witchcraft in southern Tanzania combine both the involuntary capacity for harm (Wilson, 1963) and the voluntary manipulation of powers for harmful ends (Green, 2005). In muthi witchcraft in South Africa, it also refers to an animal, but one that is placed by the witch in the abdomen of the victim in order to “devour” him or her from the inside (Ashworth, 2005: 9). In Ghana, obayi witchcraft is also represented by a snake (Parish, 2001: 120), just to give some examples.

          Do American Pentecostal and Evangelical churches regularly teach that witches place animals in people’s bodies and devour them?

          (I’d also note that these ideas are found among Afro-Caribbean people — in Haiti these “witches” are called lougawous and in Jamaica and Guyana they are called “hags” and both these terms predate any inroads from Evangelical or Pentecostal movements).

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Kenaz Filan asked: “Do American Pentecostal and Evangelical churches regularly teach that witches place animals in people’s bodies and devour them?”

            I yield my time to Benny Hinn:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a54iqEr1flQ

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdUIqKJyD0Q&feature=related

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            As I understand it, Benny Hinn is considered a bit of a loose cannon even in Pentecostal circles. If that’s the best evidence you have – in the face of the UNICEF report – that African Revivalist and Pentecostalist churches are substantially identical to mainstream Pentecostal groups like the Assemblies of God – I’m afraid I’m something less than impressed.

          • Rombald

            Having followed this debate, I must express my gratitude to Baruch for trying to impose a degree of civility and rationality. I must say that AP’s aggressiveness has previously put me off commenting. However, here goes …

            Although I suspect that the cause of the child-witch phenomenon involves both African traditions and extreme Evangelicalism, with extreme poverty, civil war and breakneck urbanisation thrown in, I think that an anti-Christian perspective would be a positive thing in the UK media in the context of the recent London murder. The UK papers have had titles about “Dangers of witchcraft to children”, such that a casual reader would imagine that it is not witch-hunters but witches who have committed these crimes, and some papers have even linked this to Wicca. I really wish there were a few AP-thinkalikes writing for UK papers, because, at present there seem to be only (i) Christians, and (ii) atheists who see all supernatural beliefs as almost indistinguishable.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Rombald zeroes in on two very important aspects of all this.

            First there is the fact that both the western mainstream media and also (alas, even more so) the African media invariably portray African Traditional Religion in the worst possible light. The attitude of the African media to ATR is, if anything, more hostile and disinformational than the media coverage of Wicca back in the 1950s, and the coverage one finds even in the most “respectable” western media outlets (including especially the BBC) is almost as bad. Personally I feel that the first responsibility of Pagans, therefore, is to counter this negative propaganda, rather than, as some people choose to do, mindlessly repeat every sensationalized accusation about “child sacrifice”, etc, that one enounters on teh interwebs.

            Second of all there is the broader issue of demonizing magic and magical-thinking generally, a campaign that brings “liberal” Christians and atheists together in a common chorus of denunciations aimed at “primitive” African “superstitions”. This anti-magic propaganda goes hand in hand with all of the sensationalistic “reporting” that comes out of Africa about child murders, etc.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Apuleius: What do you make of “albino murders” in Africa? Did the Revivalist and Pentecostalist movements learn that albinos were witches from Christian missionaries? Are the African albinos who are complaining of discrimination, abuse and murder just making the story up for foreign and African reporters?

            Do you think the Lord’s Resistance Army is a Christian organization or a dangerous cult which has roots in both African traditional religions and the kind of nasty “Revivalist” stuff which gives us witch killings? (If you claim they are Christians you’ll have at least one famous supporter).

            Why do you suppose UNICEF went to the trouble of separating Revivalist churches from mainstream Pentecostal churches, and of describing significant differences in their rituals? Is this because the UN is in the pocket of the Fundamentalist Empire and not the Zionist Secular Humanists like everyone else thinks?

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      When it suits him, Filan is perfectly capable of understanding the inevitable conflict between Christianity and traditional magic. Here is a quote from his blog (link):

      “Laws against malevolent magic are not unique to Christianity or to monotheism. What is unique to these traditions is how they define all other spiritual practices as inherently evil, or at best terminally flawed. The mystical experience is either carefully delimited, or rejected outright as demonolatry and sorcery. The idea of local wights is treated as silly: sentience, like souls, is a human phenomenon and one should worship the Creator, not the Creation. Instead of a world full of Gods, we get a distant Divinity engaged in a fearful struggle with equally shadowy Forces of Evil.”

      This is precisely what has happened in DR Congo, Angola and Nigeria, resulting in the “child witch” phenomenon. The mentality that sees all forms of spiritual power as, by default, malevolent, has firmly taken root in these places as a result of the spread of Christianity and Pentecostalism in particular.

      It is a mystery to me why Filan is able to understand the nature of conflict in an ancient historical setting (“Thebes, Luxor, Babylon, Athens, Rome”) like that of the post quoted from above, but then refuses to recognize the same conflict being played out in Africa today.

      • Scott

        I don’t see how this bears on Kenaz’s assertion that the “child witch” phenomenon is influenced by ATR as well as Christianity.  The Christian demonization of even beneficent magic-workers is not being contested.  The point is that this behavior is combined with the *pre-existing* ATR beliefs about malevolent magic-workers under specific sociocultural conditions to give rise to the phenomenon that we are observing.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          I don’t see how this bears on Kenaz’s assertion that the “child witch” phenomenon is influenced by ATR as well as Christianity.  The Christian demonization of even beneficent magic-workers is not being contested. The point is that this behavior is combined with the *pre-existing* ATR beliefs about malevolent magic-workers under specific sociocultural
          conditions to give rise to the phenomenon that we are observing.

          Nail. head. bang.

          AP stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the similarities between the Revivalist movement and traditional African practices.  He has so much emotionally invested in the Evil Fundamentalist War on Pagans that he is incapable of acknowledging that Africans can come up with some pretty nasty stuff on their own without Christians doing it for them.  (Note how he keeps avoiding my references to the Lord’s Resistance Army, an even nastier hybrid of Christian and traditional practices).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Seshat-Anqet-Het-Her/100003473686448 Seshat Anqet Het Her

    I was surprised and pleased to see the NY Times covering Baba Heru, a respected Kemetic Elder who has devoted many years to his community and faith. I hope it signals more positive coverage of non-monotheistic faiths and leaders in mainstream US media. We are here and we also vote.

  • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

    I’d love to read about Heru Semahj, but I ran right into NYT’s paywall. Next month, I suppose…

  • http://entdinglichung.wordpress.com Entdinglichung

    today, its Chaharshanbeh Souri, the beginning of the Iranian new years festival season (Noruz/Newroz), the government is again discussing banning this “unruly” and “unislamic” festival: http://www.radiozamaneh.com/english/content/fire-festival-draws-resistance-clergy


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