Updates: Demonic Influences, Ministerial Exception, and those Pagan Olympics

Just some quick updates on stories previously discussed here on The Wild Hunt.More Discussion on Exorcism and Demonic Influences: Last week I took issue with Patheos Catholic columnist Fr. Dwight Longenecker, who made the argument that Aurora, Colorado killer James Holmes may have been demonically possessed. Now, Religion News Service has picked up the story, bringing this controversial view to a much wider audience. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qK58CZslAs"Longenecker dismissed the range of explanations for what might have motivated Holmes -- a bad childhood, mental illness, social awkwardness, extreme political or religious views, or exposure to violent video games or to the Ba … [Read more...]

Why We Should Reject the Demonic Possession Narrative

Over in the Catholic section of Patheos, Fr. Dwight Longenecker explores the idea that James Holmes, responsible for 12 deaths in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting that happened last week, may have been demonically possessed. According to Longenecker, "demonic infestation is a rare, strange and terrible psycho-spiritual affliction" that "maybe" afflicted Holmes."What makes a mild mannered, promising young scientist decide to arm himself to the teeth, walk into a suburban movie theater and start killing innocent people at random?" What a tempting idea, that an external evil took control of Holmes and instigated his actions. That it was an embodiment of Evil itself that guided … [Read more...]

Two Kinds of Witchcraft? Resisting Cynicism, False Dilemmas, and Moral Panics.

For several years I've been asking the question of what do we do when the men and women accused of “sorcery” and “witchcraft” are no longer “over there” in Africa or the Middle East, and are instead at our doorsteps. "If this trend isn’t seriously addressed soon, we may find this madness turning its eye towards “safe” occultists and Pagans in places like America, the UK, Australia, Brazil, and Canada." Now, with the UK still reeling over the murder of Kristy Bamu, who died while being tortured under the auspices of an "exorcism" at his sister's home, and British police being trained to spot cases of sorcery among immigrant communities, some Christian writers have seized on a largely constru … [Read more...]

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.Caroline Tully at Necropolis Now conducts a follow-up interview with historian Ronald Hutton, author  of “The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft”, and host of an upcoming documentary about Gerald Gardner, about questions raised from his May, 2011, interview at that site. In the interview, Hutton discusses the interface between scholars and Pagans, whether he'll write about modern Paganism again, and the different meanings of the word "witch." He also sha … [Read more...]