One conservative Christian minister ended
an email of disagreement with my essay on the Real
Origins of Halloween by saying, God bless you and thank
you for one of the most well written articles of anti-Christianity,
and the topic of Halloween I have ever read. He said this,
of course, because to him any criticism of Christian
leaders, organizations or doctrines, whether historical, philosophical,
political, or theological, constitutes (demonically inspired)
prejudice against Christianity. The next usual step
is to whine about Christian bashing and to claim
that pointing out Christian bigotry makes us the
bigots (see the Halloween essay for my thoughts on the bashing
Christian institutions controlled Western
media for a thousand years before it became mass media,
and controlled that until a hundred years ago or so. They dont
anymore, so people in North America, Europe, Japan, and a few
other places are free to read and to write what we want, without
needing the permission of any Pope, Patriarch, Bishop, Priest,
Minister or Council of Elders. Thats been pretty rough
for the churches that those people run.
If Christianity cant survive in a world
where customers have free access to competing worldviews, then
it will go the way of the Edsel, Woolworths and the Soviet Union.
And thats exactly whats been happening for the last
forty years. In the industrialized world, church attendence and
membership are at all-time lows, and the opinions of Christian
religious leaders are ignored by the vast majority of citizens.
This is why, all over the globe, conservative churches are rushing
frantically to convert impoverished, uneducated, ignorant people
who dont have access to global mass media, the Internet,
and all those historical, philosophical and religious views that
contradict church dogma.
In much the same way, of course, Jewish, Islamic
and Marxist Fundamentalists are trying desperately to keep their
members from hearing differing opinions, by censoring their access
to online and offline media. Ironically, their efforts to maintain
theological purity through isolation pretty much guarantee, like
the corresponding efforts of the Fundamentalist Christian home-schooling
movement, that their future generations will have less and less
political and social power. Ignorance may be bliss, but it wont
help one to compete in a global economy, nor protect ones
offspring from AIDS.
How many lifetimes will it take before Fundamentalist
monotheists realize that they no longer have the political, military
or economic power to forcibly define reality (despite the worst
efforts of the Religious Reich)
for the rest of the planet? Goddess willing, only a few more.
Real Christians love everybody, even
you Evil Devil Worshippers! my correspondents keep telling
me. Well, leaving aside the issue that one doesnt insult
people one supposedly loves, I have to ask why the real
Christians who supposedly dont approve of hate
so seldomly get around to rebuking their hate-mongering brothers
and sisters? I have noticed that many Fundamentalist Christians
are self-righteous, prideful, hate-filled bullies; while most
other Christians (with a few shining exceptions) are simply too
cowardly to challenge them. Thats not too surprising, I
suppose, since such bullies are seldom reluctant to commit physical
violence or other crimes against their ungodly opponents
or any who would dare to defend them.
As just one example: in 1997 c.e., there was
a lunatic on America Online who posted obscene hate messages
and pornographic pictures in the guestbook pages of Neopagan
websites and in the guestbooks of Christian websites she
deemed not orthodox enough for her! She tried to organize violent
opposition to the first Blessed Be and Meet Me in DC
event that Halloween. Did moderate or liberal Christians, on
or off AOL, do anything to stop her? Not that we Neopagans could
see. Apparently, they couldnt be bothered, because she
was one of them. It took literally thousands of complaints
from Neopagan AOLers to AOL management before they canceled her
membership for her multiple, months-long violations of the AOL
terms of service violations that, had
she been a member of any other religion, would have gotten
her booted from AOL within days.
This is in keeping with 1500 years of Christian
history, that (to many Christians and their leaders) no crime
is too atrocious, no lie too despicable, no trick too dishonorable,
if done in the name of Jesus. If the victims are non-Christians
or heretics, so much the better, they deserve punishment
for daring to be different. The result has been that for every
Christian martyr in history, there have been a hundred victims
of religiously motivated Christian violence through crusades,
inquisitions, pogroms, slavery, deliberate spreading of diseases,
slaughter of those refusing to convert, and lynch mobs
all of which have been repeatedly and officially blessed by Christian
leaders, and justified by Christian theologians, for fifteen
centuries. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Christians who
have been killed for being Christians were the victims, not of
Pagans (of any variety), but of their fellow Dualists
(Muslims, Nazis, Communists, and members of competing Christian
Before accusing we Neopagans of being biased,
perhaps Fundamentalist Christians should clean up their own house
first, to provide outside observers with no justified scandals
to note. If they want to fight practitioners of evil,
they can start with Scribes and Pharisees in the 700 Club, tax-scammers
and election law violators in the Christian Coalition, and all
those self-proclaimed Christians in the many white racist movements.
It seems to me, that if Fundamentalist Christians
in America were to take one-tenth of the money and energy that
they put into trying to eradicate competing spiritual worldviews
and put it instead into feeding the hungry, housing the homeless,
visiting the sick, and fighting for social justice just
like that rabbi from Nazareth supposedly suggested our
nation and our world could be genuinely transformed into a decent
place to live for everyone, instead of just the wealthy and powerful.
It might even make them look like good people and their ideas
seem worth investigating.
Instead, many people who consider themselves
Fundamentalist Christians (and therefore not too surprisingly
who feel personally powerless) focus all their energy
on attacking easy targets: people who believe differently from
them. Hate sells, and for 1,500 years it has made ultra-conservative
Christian organizations and leaders wealthy and powerful
which is what they they have repeatedly shown, century after
century, they are really after.
Ill refrain from quoting the line about
beams and motes, Im sure most Christians know it well.
Instead, Ill quote the Magical Law of Positive Attraction:
That which is sent, returns. As long as more Christian
hate is sent into the world than Christian love, non-Fundamentalist
Christians can expect to receive a lot of suspicion from the
non-Christian targets of their Fundamentalist brethren.
As one Fundamentalist Christian put it:
Christians that spread lies and falsehoods
about anything, including the facts behind Halloween, should
be corrected. If approached with the truth, they should admit
it and stop spreading falsehoods. We are directed by God to not
bear false witness. If they refuse to stop spreading lies and
we believe it to be due to ignorance (sometimes people are so
set on an idea that they can not give it up even with overwhelming
proof), we should pray for them to see the truth and repent.
If they continue to lie knowingly, they should be put out.
I couldnt agree more.
To all you devote Christians who keep sending
me email explaining the error of my ways, please read the
following carefully: I understand both your theology
and the evidence with which you claim to support it
I just dont happen to accept either of them, period. Both
have relied on tyranny, censorship, and the bloody silencing
of all opposing views for too long to retain any credibility
or moral high ground. In solidarity with all the slaughtered
heretics of Christian history, I choose
(the root of the word heresy) to think for
myself. You cannot stop me from doing so, no matter how
hard you try.
Ironic, isnt it, that all modern democracies
owe our freedoms to thousands of heretics who chose not to believe
the doctrines and practices of the dominant churches of their
times. Even the dominant religions within the Religious
Reich, a movement that actively seeks to suppress all religious
and moral dissent, were denounced as heresies when they were
Yes, Ive met plenty of real
Christians, thank you, from a hundred denominations and all the
major categories. The nice ones turned out to be heretics, as
far as their denominational leaders were concerned. So stop
assuming that if I only met a true member of your
faith or studied your favorite translation of the
Bible usually the King James Version, the one that
all non-Fundamentalist Bible translators consider the least
accurate one ever made! that I would agree with you and
immediately dump my faith for yours. It aint gonna happen.
Not with me, not with 99% of the million Neopagans now alive,
or of the billions of Paleopagans and
We have our own beliefs and our own spiritual
experiences, and a fairly hefty number of what others would call
miracles to back
them. Stop trying to bully us verbally through hate-mail, or
spiritually through prayer, with or without sugar-coated language;
none of it will work.
In fact, the words of Fundamentalist ministers
Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, giving aid and comfort to their
fellow Fundamentalists who attacked America on September 11,
2001, have led me to make A
Call to Arms to all the worlds non-Fundamentalists
to consciously fight back against the forces of hatred, ignorance
and fear incarnated in Fundamentalist movements.
Am I anti-Christian? No. Am I anti-Fundamentalist?
Most definitely. And so is every other sane, decent and loving
|Vocabulary Note: Ive spent years trying to come up with appropriate
cross-religious terminology to use to refer to particular religious
phenomena. Fundamentalist is the best term Ive
been able to find to use as shorthand for ultra-conservative,
rigidly dualist, deliberately ignorant, force approving, religious
fanatic/extremist. It at least has the advantage that most
English speakers already know it and many of them use it this
way, much to the annoyance of some who call themselves Fundamentalist.
Mainstream theologians and religious studies professors have
not been forthcoming with alternate terminology, perhaps because
of their own academic or theological agendas/fashions/limits.
I am very much open to suggestions for other terms that will
cover this complex but distinctive spiritual/religious dysfunction.