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                                  Against The Witch Hunters 
                                        Robin Culain
               "All this has happened before. And all this will happen again. But
           this time it happened to ..."
             Well, us.
               Thebeginning of Sir James Barrie's PeterPan must echo what many of
           us are  feeling, as  we watch a  new and loosely-knit  conglomerate of
           yellow  journalists,  right-wing  eco-spoilers  and   Evangelical  and
           Fundamental  Christians move slowly towards a Witch hunt for the 90's.
           Our  spiritual ancestors faced similar problems in many times and many
               Recall the Priestesses  of Eleusis,  last of an  ancient line,  in
           decline, falling  at last  to the  stratagems of  Theseus and  his new
           Attic  Gods. Recall  the Etruscans,  their vision  of sexual-political
           balance  overpowered by  the might  and organization  of the  husband-
           headed Roman empire. And most tender to the touch, recall the agony of
           the middle ages, as the Catholic, then Protestant churches consolidat-
           ed their grip on the rural  population, killing six million alleged or
           actual Witches in the process.
               The hunt is in a beginning stage and beginnings are important. The
           formal focus  of the television specials,  Redbook articles, diatribes
           in the LaRouchite New Federalist, "Occult Crime" seminars and newspap-
           er articles is some thing called  "Satanism", which bears little or no
           relationship to Wicca and Neo-Paganism.
               In fact, media "Satanism" bears little resemblance to any histori-
           cally  verifiable  Satanism. It  is  neither  classical Egyptian  Set-
           worship",  Romantic  Ceremonial Satanism  a  la  Huysmanns nor  modern
           Egoist flamboyance per La Vey. Sometimes it's heavy  metal sullenness,
           drugs  and violence, but that's  usually only for  starters. The heavy
           metal boys, we're usually told, are just dupes of the Great  Conspira-
           cy. And  when you get down  to the real stuff,  the genuine complaint,
           it's  generally  the stuff  of horror  movies  and nightmare  -- baby-
           eating, virgin-sacrificing bloodsucking monsters!
             All this has happened before. And all this will happen again.
               There's a limited range of things that can be  used to stir up the
           anger of  a populace against a group, or deaden moral sensitivity to a
           persecution. It pretty much boils down to baby-eating, virgin-sacrifi-
           cing and bloodsucking.
               This  has been the century of Hitler's Holocaust. but the Russians
           who butchered entire Jewish  villages in the Pogroms, the  inhabitants
           of  York who slaughtered  nearly every Jew  in the city  in the 1100's
           didn't merely think the  Yiddim dressed and talked funny.  The accusa-
           tions were the  same. By Jesus, those Jews ate  babies! They were just
           like Satanists, with one exception.
             You could find the Jews.
               There probably aren't any "Satanists" as portrayedin the articles,
           seminars and diatribes. If there are, they're certainly not Neo-Pagans
           or  Wiccans. But  in  the lucrative  atmosphere  in which  the  press,
           missionaries and so-called "Crime Advisers" publicize and proselytize,
           the word "Witch" creeps in every third sentence.
               Naturally,we Witches and Neo-Pagans have spent a certain amount of
           effort pointing out that  we love children like anybody  else, have no
           particular attraction to virginity,  and tend, in the most  extreme of
           our diets,  to vegetarianism. In short,  we have tried to  educate our
           detractors and the media to our harmlessness.
               This tactic is true, andthis tactic is good, but I thinkthat if it
           becomes our primary response to persecution we will ultimately fail to
               Imagine a Witch inthe Middle Ages in front of aCatholic or Protes-
           tant  tribunal. In  some cases she  has been  denounced by  a business
           competitor,  or an envious rival  in love, or  a spiteful neighbor. In
           other cases she has been brought  to the dock by an expert in  "Occult
           Crime" -- the traveling Witch Finder.
               She stands bound before her Inquisitors,plain or pompous depending
           on their  religious persuasion. Perhaps  there's a  crowd around.  She
           tries to  educate them to the  simple fact that she's  a worshipper of
           the  Old Gods,  loves children  like anybody  else, has  no particular
           attraction to virginity, and tends, in  the most extreme of her diets,
           to vegetarianism.
               They, in turn, accuse her of worshipping a living fiend, blighting
           the cattle, and eating babies.
             She doesn't stand a chance.
               Now  picture another scene, one  that has not  occurred often. She
           stands before those assembled, and  begins, shall I say, to  point out
           some facts. She  points out  the medieval physician  with the two  per
           cent  live delivery rate who  wants the local  midwifery practice shut
           down. She points out the priest and bishop who are terrifying the once
           fun-loving populace into  penury and pestilence with  the twin threats
           of damnation and  the noose.  She denounces the  Christian nobles  who
           will brook no interference with their  rule, least of all from the old
           Nobility of the land.
               She'd  be shut up in short order, but  in a different way, for she
           would  be addressing the real issues. The nonsense about babies, Black
           Men and cattle was then,  and is now nothing more than  a smoke screen
           to mask real and significant religious and political differences. It's
           all a cheap trick, a coward's cheat, a way of throwing muck until some
           sticks. It is only used when the real terms of debate cannot stand the
           light of day, and it works only if we permit it!
               Our situation is in no way as dire as that of our  ancestors. Only
           now have things moved to the stage where one group, the far-right  and
           sometimes farcical Limonites, actively  bait Wiccans and Neo-Pagans as
           being  "as bad  as  Satanists". And  unlike our  ancestors, we  have a
           freedom of speech they could only dream of. We will not be silenced if
           we speak, certainly not at this time.
               So let's  not waste our opportunity!  Whenever the "Witch-Hunters"
           bait us  or attempt to smear us with their cannibal taunts, let's find
           out what the real agenda is, and address it. Make the Lyndonite defend
           himself against whipping up the population against a minority religion
           as  Hitler stirred hatred against the Jews.  Make the entire La Rouche
           crew explain their suicidal environmental policies, and their editori-
           al statement that "the worship of Mother Earth does indirectly lead to
           mass  murder ..."  Engage them  on the  real issues  -- just  what the
           worship  of the Mother really  means, and what  people are really like
           that scapegoat innocents and despise nature!
               Likewise with the "Occult Crimewatch". Ask them about theirsources
           of revenue.  About their religious  agendas and connection  with Evan-
           gelical  missions. Ask the if  they support religious  freedom, and if
           non-Evangelical religious belief, in their opinion, is a hazard to the
           public.  Ask them, if you can corner  them into a frank reply, what on
           earth  they are  doing  lecturing hate  to  police officers  sworn  to
           protect all the public, Christian and Pagan!
               The media  deserve the same.  Let's not spend  more than a  breath
           denying lurid charges. Instead, ask them why they are sensationalizing
           and  smearing a  legitimate  religion to  make  sales. Inquire  as  to
           whether the German  press in  the 30's  had a  responsibility for  the
           slanders  on the Jews that they printed.  Ask them how they'll feel if
           harm  comes to  one Pagan  woman  or man,  girl or  boy through  their
           negligence, indifference to non sensational fact and search for sales.
               In every case  we have an opportunity to turn  the tide, by coming
           right out  with  our real  differences  in front  of the  public,  and
           insisting that  the terms  of  debate be  on genuine  issues. We  must
           refuse  to be  backed into  a defensive  posture, denying  ever wilder
               Instead let us bring our active  advocacy and love of our Gods, of
           Mother  Earth, of our families and  children and ourselves to the fore
           in every debate.  We must require our opponents  to bare their genuine
           beliefs and  motives, and contrast them  clearly with our  own in full
           view. We must sharpen the terms of debate so keenly that no person can
           leave the  scene without having to  make a clear and  conscious choice
           about what they value and believe is right.
               There's  no point in lecturing  to the Cardinal.  The audience for
           every debate is not the Witch  Hunter, it is the neutral observer. Let
           them see the love of  the Earth, and contrast it to  nearsighted greed
           and poverty  of emotion.  Let them see  the love of  the Old  Gods and
           contrast it to a cringing fear  of the Father's judgment. Let them see
           generosity and intelligence and refusal to be sacrificed, and contrast
           them to venality, cunning and  scape goating. In every debate,  let us
           rise to the  height of our capability, and let our   opponents have it
           in the Values -- right where it hurts!

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