The Action Plan to Stop Christian Witchcraft-Related Child Abuse

The United Kingdom’s Department of Education has released a national action plan for dealing with cases of witchcraft and occult-related abuse of children within religious communities. This comes after several high-profile cases of murder and abuse of children related to anti-witchcraft rituals, most prominently the murder of Kristy Bamu, who died while being tortured under the auspices of an “exorcism” at his sister’s home.

Blood-spattered bathroom tiles at Magalie Bamu and Eric Bikubi's flat.

Blood-spattered bathroom tiles at Magalie Bamu and Eric Bikubi’s flat.

During sentencing, Judge David Paget said the murder had a “sadistic element”, adding it was “prolonged torture involving mental and physical suffering being inflicted before death”. He added that the ordeal the children were subjected to “almost passes belief”. However, he accepted Bikubi’s defence that he had brain damage and had believed that Kristy was a witch. But Judge Paget added: “The belief in witchcraft, however genuine, cannot excuse an assault to another person, let alone the killing of another human being.”

Children’s Minister Tim Loughton told the BBC that “abuse linked to faith or belief in spirits, witchcraft or possession is a horrific crime, condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths,” while Andrew Flanagan of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) goes out of his way to note that this isn’t a problem within communities that actually believe in and practice witchcraft or magic as part of their religious faith.

The vast majority of people in communities where witchcraft is practised are horrified by these acts and take no part in this atrocious behaviour. So we must not be afraid to raise this issue so the offenders can be exposed.”

Despite the desperate and craven attempts by some in the media to wrongly conflate modern Paganism with this issue, this is a largely a phenomenon that is nurtured within a Christian context, a point that has many ministers in the UK deeply concerned. In fact some, like Debbie Ariyo, director of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, wants explicit laws against branding children as witches.

Debbie Ariyo, the director of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, described the action plan as the first step taken by any government to seriously tackle ritualised child abuse, but said it was not going far enough. She called on the government to make it illegal to brand a child a witch. “We would have liked to see the government go further but we believe this action plan will go a long way to encouraging voluntary agencies to take concrete steps to fight this type of abuse,” she said.

Ariyo has previously noted that the spread of anti-witchcraft and sorcery violence in the UK is centered in Pentecostal Churches, not indigenous, revived, or reconstructed pre-Christian belief systems.

Debbie Ariyo, executive director of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse(Afruca), who added that a boom in pentecostal churches was leading to more children being accused of witchcraft. “This is not a problem with all pastors or all churches, but the branding of children as witches is not abating. It is a growing problem. There are so many children suffering in silence.”

This new initiative joins recent moves by British police to better spot sorcery/witchcraft-related abuse cases, and has so-far been widely praised as an important step forward on an issue that many believe is under-reported to law enforcement. Modern Pagans, practitioners of African indigenous faiths living in the UK, and other occult-oriented communities should take a proactive stance on involving themselves in assisting the government, and pushing for laws that criminalize the abuse of children because of occult-oriented religious beliefs. Not only because it’s a good idea, but because our input will be important to make sure future laws and regulation thread the needle between protecting children while safeguarding the rights of those interested in religious Witchcraft or occult practices.

For more on this new action plan by the government, here’s the executive summary, and here’s the full plan. We will be following this story as it continues to develop.

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Your headline gave me heart failure; I thought it referred to accusations against witches of child abuse.

  • Kilmrnock

    I’m just happy the article and those in England have made it clear exactly who is at fault in this horrendous situation . That Pagans are in no way involved and in fact Pentecostal Christian Church members are the ones involved / perpitrators .I too was a bit concerned when i first saw the headline as BD was.altho when i saw England as the location i knew what this was all about , having read about this abhorrence here , as a matter of fact . Also knowing that Christians were the ones involved in this .I’m hoping the measures taken will help eliminate this situation and end needless violence against helpless children . This is so viscious it’s hard to wrap my head around it , how someone could do this to their own children . And a Christian church could support it , or at least teach the beliefs that allow it to happen when mixed w/ native beliefs.Sorry i ramled a bit , this one really gets to me . Kilm

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    This is an extremely rare occurrence in the UK, it must be stated, but it is one that seems to either be n the increase or, at the very least, more often reported.

    I applaud the initiative in theory but, in practice, is the department of education really the one to be talking about this? It is not the children that are the perpetrators, after all.

    • Gareth

      I think perhaps the idea is that there is a high chance of abuse being spotted by schools.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Oh I understand that, and that is what I applaud.

  • Kilmrnock

    Also in my opinion the Pentecostal Christian churches are directly responcible for this abhorrant violence against children in Africa and Europe and should be held responcible . Many of the Exorcists are even Pentecostal preachers . Remember the case of the Penticostal woman that came to America a short while back to raise money and awareness of her ministry in Africa to deal w/ these so called demon posessed children .She was reportedly responcible for more than a few child deaths during so called exorcisms. Tis after all Pentecostal Missionaries that planted the seeds for all of this to happen . Once their teachings blended w/ native African beliefs , All Hell broke loose . Kilm

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

      And Pentecostalism can no longer be considered some whacky fringe movement within Christianity. It is part of the mainstream of Christianity, and its importance, numbers, power and influence within Christianity far outweighs all the supposedly good liberal tolerant Christians put together.

      • Kilmrnock

        AP , aren’t the Pentecostals a dominant part of the NAR, these fools that want America to be a Extremist Christian Theocracy?

        • Northern_Light_27

          Yes, they are.

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

          Baptists need to get their fair share of the blame, too. In fact, right-wing Catholcs, such as Rick Santorum and Paul Ryan, are also becoming and major Part Of The Problem as well. And if one looks at the last two popes one sees that the “right-wing” is very much in charge of the Catholic Church as a whole.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dawn.m.clark.9 Dawn M. Clark

    What is going on over there? Are these ‘bible thumpers’, as we call them, living in the Dark Ages? Crying ‘witch’ is as outdated and ignorant as believing the earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around it. Do they also believe the earth is flat and you will sail off the edge? Oh, and another thing that needs to be pointed out to these ‘Christians’, JESUS was NEVER a ‘Christian’. He was a devout Jew until the day he died….and beyond. I think Jesus himself would be appauled to see what Christianity has become and what some of these people believe. And all in His name.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      It’s not just the UK that sees witch hunts:
      http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=95218&page=1

      Sure, she may not have been brutally tortured and murdered, but she still suffered a form of institutional abuse based on her religion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/oldknowledgenewwisdom Middays Haze

      Of course Jesus was not a christian. The very term christian means a follower of christ. I don’t think jesus followed himself nor worshipped himself or his teachings. Messiah= messenger thats all he was. And no not a christian just placing out a bit of info.

  • http://www.facebook.com/celeste.nash.3 Celeste Somethingsomething

    I have noted lately that my pagan friends are better at living “Christian” values than many Christians are. Ironic. I blame evangelical politicians.

  • GOPagan

    There’s a lot going on here. None of it good.

    Much of the problem (and it is a horrific, abhorrent, problem) is that Pentecostal church members in Africa are bringing their beliefs about witchcraft with them when they emigrate. Back in their homeland, one of the very successful strategies they’ve employed to further their own evangelistic endeavors is to use the indigenous animistic belief as a Satanic enemy. By having such an external enemy, they’re able to create an atmosphere of fear very conducive to their own growth.

    The point being that I don’t think we’re seeing native British Pentecostals engaging in this. I don’t even think that they’re encouraging it; it seems to be something the immigrants are bringing with them.

    That said, it goes without saying that this sort of thing must be squashed, instantly and forcefully, so that no one even THINKS of acting on these sorts of beliefs. Eradicating it in the homeland is the best, most long-term solution, but the shoots of this belief must be destroyed wherever they sprout.

    One wonders why they don’t apply these same beliefs to British witches who are proud of the title and are able to use it legally and openly. Do they make a distinction between the native witches and the British version? Do they fear to do so because discovery would be easier (and more catastrophic in terms of publicity)? I have no idea, but it would be interesting to learn the answer.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      I’m willing to bet that they do apply the same beliefs to British ‘witches’. They just lack the access. Let it go unchecked and it will only be a matter of time before the rot spreads.

    • http://www.facebook.com/oldknowledgenewwisdom Middays Haze

      These are the same techniques the church has applied for the past two millenia. Prime example the Roman invasions and the spread of the catholic church. The witch hunts etc. Dark Age History is evidence enough to show old techniques new age times.

      • Marie

        I agree

      • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.barry.560 Patrick Barry

        While I totally agree with pretty much everything being said here. What do you mean by Roman invasions? The vast majority of the territorial gains of the Roman Empire occurred when they were Pagan. By the time that Christianity took over the Roman Empire, the empire was barely holding on against “barbarian” incursions. Even in the later Eastern Roman Empire, they were in a pattern of defense and offense against the Seljuk Turks.

        Just wonderin

        PB

  • Obsidia

    It’s good to stop child abuse WHEREVER it occurs. I applaud Britain for doing this. I also like the title of this article in saying “Christian” Witchcraft-Related, because it’s from the Christians that this violence is originating.

    • Marie

      since they started the mess in the first place many years ago by sending suppose messengers of God to bring the good word to those people, it’s about time they clean the mess, why can’t countries “supposedly evolved” not leave other countries alone not everyone wants to be converted…history is reapeating itself you reap what you sow…

  • Moonchilde

    No one, certainly, can condone child abuse in any form. I’m concerned, though, about attempts to stop people from accusing children of witchcraft – only because it’s never a good idea to try to enforce the unenforceable, What will happen if the accusation is criminalized is that the practice will be driven “underground”, and it will become more difficult to address the problem as a whole.

    • Guest

      You got a point. Much of the problem is some people, after thinking another is a witch or after finding they do their traditional practices is then thinking to be a good Christian they should then hurt said person immediately or even kill them.
      What gets called “witchcraft” is so subjective. The real point is teaching against child abuse and neglect.
      Would be nice if some of these churches preached that beating up people is wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/SodiumNoir Lee ‘Spikey’ Nethers

      It is already underground. To accuse a child of Witchcraft reveals the accuser as such a backwards individual they will not do so outside of some very twisted circles made up of those who share their backwards worldview. Such twisted practices as exorcisms can only be commited in secret and with the willing participation of a group (family/Cult/church)..Criminalising it simply points out that the majority of society despised such behaviour. They will still do it among thier backwards circles, but at least that one cult member approaching sentient thought might think twice about it if the law proscribes it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chrissi-Matusevics/100002112166894 Chrissi Matusevics

    I remember a few years back when my son was a baby there was a persecution based on beliefs that anyone who played ‘role playing’ games, dressed up, had ferny plants and listened to heavy metal was a risk to their child- we called it the ‘dungeons and dragons’ fear, where I lived as mine was a live-in job, my boss was a supporter of that- and the hysteria in the Orkney or Hebrides islands where they took away the children- this just seems to me a development from that mindset- fortunately we can defend ourselves though these children don’t seem to get that opportunity

  • http://www.facebook.com/rune.odinson Rune Odinson

    as a single father of 3 boys and being a witch for near 30yrs and live in england this article looked bad for us witches at the first glance how ever if you read more into this and elsewere you will see it all orginates from africa were pastors abuse there own people for money and power over them ,and have slowly brought this into the UK over the last 10yrs by the pentecostal preachers that have been allowed into our country, all CHILD ABUSE is wrong nomatter who does it and for what reason and in future if your going to put a story about the UK and witchcraft and child abuse please put all the facts in so some people dont panic over it

    • kittylu

      It started as a way to demonize African and Haitians indigenous religious beliefs and now its ritualized religious abuse. Very sick.

  • chris

    Pagan’s DO NOT BELIEVE IN SATAN! I don’t know how many times I have to keep saying this, but Christian’s THINK that anything different than them is evil and satanic but that seems to be the only thing that Christians are capable of doing… Judging everyone else but themselves…

    • Guest

      You’d do better pointing out this violence wasn’t done by Satanists and most Satanists and the Official Satanist groups would never condone any harm to children rather than making blanket statements about Pagans and Satanism.
      The tone here and in other “we’re not..” statements seem to sound ignorantly judgmental about Satanism, as if the “Satanic Panic” of the 80′s created by Evangelical sects had any validity when it was a lie that caused guilty Christians to get away from crimes and put innocent people under suspicion or into jail.

    • http://twitter.com/thelettuceman Marc

      I do.

      • Northern_Light_27

        I do too.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      Some do.

    • Joseph Black

      Funny you should say that. I just the other day posted about that exact attitude on my blog: http://clovenhoofblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/we-dont-even-believe-in-satan.html

      • Joseph Black

        Whoops!

      • Joseph Black

        Apologies. The blog has been restored.

  • http://twitter.com/yssylees Ysanne Billson

    I am a Christian – a soldier in the Salvaton Army – I have Pagan friends and do not type cast anyone in any society or any religion. Evil is evil. Good is good. Both will always exist. I do not blame any religion for what is going on – I blame the person or persons who carry out these abominable atrocities. A human being knows what is right and what is wrong. God and the world knows there have always been atrocities carried out in the name of religion – it doesn’t make any of them right. God – and the world also know that individuals will always carry out unbelievable horrors towards other human beings, regardless of what they say they believe – just look at the number of abuse cases throughout the Catholic church. I believe that no man should judge another – just hope and pray to whosoever you believe that these things will stop.

    • kittylu

      so do you believe that demon hunters are demons?

    • A.C. Fisher Aldag

      It goes beyond passive hoping and praying to activism and education.

    • Kilmrnock

      YB , i will and have placed blame . I am in no way saying pagan religions or religionists have committed no evil , but there has been more henous, and large scale evil acts committed in the name of the monothiestic middle eastern religions God than any other in human history .Chrisianity has been responcible for the distruction of entire societies and religions .Some of which we pagans are slowly rebuilding., what we call the Recon Faiths . Kilm

    • GOPagan

      I disagree. I reserve the right to judge anyone who harms me, my family, my tribe, my co-religionists, and so forth. And if I find them lacking, I reserve the right to act as I deem appropriate within the bounds of the law.

      Prayer is rarely enough in and of itself to stop evil. Actions are almost always required. In this case, legal action to restrain these monsters who are preying on children through accusations of witchcraft.

      I might also point out that one cannot blame someone, and then claim that they do not judge that person.

  • Unknown1

    There are a few things that need to be said.First Pagan’s and Wican’s do not believe in Satan period end of story. The British government needs to step back and do some research on these religions if they think a Pagan or Wican is involved in this matter. In our religion there are rules and laws against stuff like this. I’m not going to sit here and talk down about other religions and contradict what they believe cause upon contrary belief we are not that way. The people that think that we Pagan’s or Wican’s are involved in this need to look deeper then what they have been taught about our religion. They need to look at a situation like this and instead of blaming Pagans or Wican’s don’t blame religions that would seriously be going against a lot of the religious laws we follow. There is no way we as people that follow our choice of religion just cause it;s different from most should be accused if anything like what is happening in these cases. All I ask is that someone please pass this along to every organization that is trying to persecute us for things that have nothing to do with us, and stop blaming us based on our religion because you do not full understand what we as a Pagan or Wican believe. Please do your research before you start blaming religions for these types of things. You doing this is making us look bad cause you dont understand what you are talking about. Thank you and have a nice day..

    • Tara

      Did you read the article? The British government clearly stated that they are aware that people who actually practice witchcraft do not abuse children. This problem has to do with African Pentacostal Christians who torture and kill children in their communities who they believe to be witches. Pagans (and Satanists) have nothing to do with it. The government knows that.

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

        We should not refer to them as “African Pentecostalists”. Their African-ness has nothing to do with anything. Violence is often associated with exorcisms in Christianity regardless of the location or “ethnicity” of those involved. There are several documented cases of deaths resulting from exorcisms in the United States where no Africans (or African-Americans) were involved.

        And the kind of Christianity being “imported” to England from Africa actually has its roots in English Puritanism and Wesleyanism and was originally exported from Europe to Africa in the first place.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          In context, it is valid to call them ‘African Pentecostal Christians’.

          The issue, in the UK, is with migrants from Africa coming across and bringing their faith and way of life with them.

          I am not denying that their Christianity was imported from Britain, I am merely saying that We are seeing a clear connection of these crimes to a particular demographic, at the moment.

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

            That apparent “connection” is not real. As I already said, violent exorcisms, including violent exorcisms of children leading to death, are well documented in the United States in cases that do not involve any connection with Africa, Africans or African Americans in any way. For examples look here:
            The Kristy Bamu Murder in Context
            Death by Exorcism, American Style

            Therefore, violent exorcisms of children do not have any special “connection” to Africa or Africans.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            They do here.

            A bit like how honour killings of daughters has a clear connection with certain Asian migrant populations in Britain.

            Whatever is happening Stateside is not connected to the issue arising in the UK, where these exorcism-murders have a clear connection to ethnicity.

            I should probably also mention that it predominantly involves those who are actual migrants, rather than ‘generational migrants’ (or Brits, as I call them).

            Once more. I am not saying that violent exorcisms (of children) have any intrinsic connection to Africa (or any other racial demographic). I am merely saying that the increase in violent exorcisms in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland does have a provable link to African migrants.

  • Amanda

    Fantastic to see that the uk is trying to stop abuse where
    ever it is. Only people commit evil horrible acts like this. It is up to all of
    us to keep our children safe. Any child abuse should be stopped

  • kittylu

    Demon hunting leads to murder. I’m starting to think the demon cult is becoming the dominant form of Christianity these days.

    • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

      what do you mean, ‘becoming’?

  • river

    I saw the documentary ‘Saving Africa’s Witch Children’. The level of ignorance is horrific. Children are abandoned on the side of the road like animals, but thankfully, more aid groups are taking care of them and pushing for new laws while trying to educate families on these falacies.

  • marie

    if those supposed do gooders mostly “christians” had left these countries alone none of this whould have happened, why can’t these idiots and bigots leave other cultures alone intead of trying to make them beleive in what “they beleive” like all is evil and satan is out to get them…they started the mess it needs to be cleaned !

  • Mumei

    Its a hate crime. Simple as that. Or the term “witch” is being used as their excuse to hurt children. Whichever, the world knows its wrong and hopfully these people will be brought to justice.

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

    Pagans have to be very careful and very clear and very insistent about a few things:

    1. There is nothing wrong with the idea of “child Witches” in and of itself. My own interest in Paganism began when I was 16 and I met two Witches who were 15 and 16 years old. In fact, children are naturally inclined toward magical thinking and dabbling in Witchcraft, the Occult, etc, is a perfectly normal and healthy part of adolescence!

    2. The ideas that lead to Witch hunting, violent exorcisms, and child abuse are part of mainstream Christian ideology. These ideas can be found in theological writings that are foundational to all major (and almost all minor) Protestant sects, including the writings of Luther, Calvin and James I. This is most especially true for forms of Protestantism that originated in England and the United States, especially Methodists, Puritans, Baptists, and Pentecostals. The Catholic Church also officially embraces the theology of spiritual warfare that literally demonizes all forms of magic not approved by the Church.

    3. Because the ideas that are involved are found in the Christian Bible and in mainstream Christian theology, there is nothing “occult” about any of this, either in the sense that there is something “hidden” or “mysterious”, or in the sense that there must be some ideas from outside of mainstream Christianity that are involved.

    4. Both Christians and Secularists have a vested interest in using this issue to denigrate African Traditional Religions and in the process they thereby partially or even completely distract attention away from the role of Christianity.

  • DaBroad

    Satanists don’t kill children. People with an unreasonable fear of Satanists kill children. Satanism is not my path, but it seems at least as reasonable as any other.

  • Cara Schulz

    This is not witchcraft-related abuse, it is Christian-related abuse.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      It is Christians, accusing children of witchcraft, then abusing them. So it is Christian and Witchcraft-Related.

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

        No. What we are talking about is a form of “Witchcraft” that only exists in the minds of Christians.

        • Jason Hatter

          Which can, sadly, bleed over to the true non-Abrahamics among them.

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

            That’s not true,either.The spread of the Christiant idea of diabolical witchcraft (an idea that is as European in its origin as any idea ever was, and that is also a distinctly modern idea as well, and very much a central characteristic of modern Christianity), goes hand-in-hand with the renunciation of traditional/ indigenous religious beliefs and practices. Adopting the Christian idea of diabolical witchcraft is intimately intertwined with the process of conversion to Christianity.

  • Kilmrnock

    i have a few questions for our British Pagans . I do agree w/ others here …….this problems was brought to Britain by African Pentecostal emmigrants . And at this point is aimed at their own . Is there a Pentecostal Church in Britain ? I also understand many of the Missionaries are from America , that polluted africa w/ their beliefs.Are English missionaries to blame as well? I’m not sure if these people are as much a problem in Britain as they are here in the US . At this point in the US the Reigous Right has entirely too much political power. Kilm

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

      Pentecostalism is an offshoot of Methodism/Wesleyanism which originated in Britain. During the heyday of European colonialism, missionaries were often drawn from the most fanatical, fundamentalist and intolerant types of Christians (which is still true today).

      This is just the theological equivalent of chickens coming home to roost.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      There are lots of churches in the UK. There are also plenty of Christian cults.

      There are certainly an abundance of what I would call ‘happy-clappy churches’ in the UK. I went to one, once, as a child (with a friend who was a regular attendee). Even when I was Christian, the place freaked me out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/durrangosportsuvv Durrango Sportsuvv

    I know a lot of people who are Pagan or Proclaim to be Wiccan, They have families they have children, yet would never ever even think twice about abusing their kids. They teach their children Morals, Respect of self and others, They raise their kids to be non judgmental of others.

    Yet you have many christians who teach their kids how to be hypocrites when they grow up. I have seen much atrocities commited by the christian communities than any other community….

    From my point of view, its christians who are evil, and down right hateful rotten people! Now thats my opinion!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Cosimano/613012064 Charles Cosimano

    It might be good to remember that in the realm of power, Christians are not answerable to Pagans, they can simply ignore them.

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

      In the realm of out-and-out political power, Christians have had their wings clipped in the West over the last 250 years. A major problem in Africa is that the same kinds of constraints that severely limit Christianity in the West are either absent or very weak in Africa. This is a primary reason why Christianity has taken such an ugly turn there – because that is what Christianity does unless it is kept in check.

  • Mike

    Just to let you know that the Pagan Feederation wrote to the department for education yesterday requesting inclusion on the working party discussions.

  • pagansister

    When all else fails, blame the children! Since they are defenseless, children are easy targets. Unfortunately this has been true for centuries, and still is—the RCC being a recent example of faith at it’s worse—-as well as the torture of those children in this article. NO excuse is ever valid for such treatment.

  • T

    I read the article and saw no indication the perpetrators were Christians. Do we know this to be the case?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X