A uniter, not a divider! Steve Green presents a modest proposal “to Annoy Christians and Witches Alike:”
I’ll say this right up front: Your friendly neighborhood VodkaPundit has lots of secondhand — and even a little firsthand — experience with modern witchcraft. That’s right: I’ve broken bread with witches, suffered them to live, and lived to tell the tale.
But first you need to know that “witchcraft” is a loaded word, and an inaccurate one, too. Ask your modern witch what she (or he) calls herself, and most likely she’ll tell you: Wicca.
During my northern California days, and even here in conservative southern Colorado, I’ve known quite a few Wiccans. And way back in the day, I even participated in a Samhain ritual — mostly out of curiosity, not conviction. I’ve also been to Catholic mass, Jewish passover seders, and more. So, from the front lines of religious exploration, I can report to you that Samhain was quite lovely, and that Satan was never once observed, not even in the breach.
But I know what some folks reading this must be thinking: Satanism! Devil-worshippers! Witches!
Well, no — and I say that gently.
Modern Wicca has nothing to do with Satan. To look at a Wiccan ritual and see any kind of Satanism is to go to Wimbledon for a pro-wrestling fight. Sure, tennis and wrestling are both sports — but neither takes any heed of the other. It’s the same with Wicca and Satanism. Or to be more accurate: it’s the same with Wicca and Christianity. Wiccans neither worship nor recognize the Christian pantheon. So you can call Wicca “pro wrestling,” if you like. But it’s still tennis, and usually just as genteel.
For the uninformed, Wicca is a modern medley of ecology, herbalism, and somewhat squishy spiritualism, all wrapped up in the divine feminine mystique. (Yes, I’m cutting corners here, and my old Wicca friends and acquaintances would shudder at my description — and to them I apologize.) Inwardly, Wicca is ancient folk wisdom combined with modern touchy-feelyness. And outwardly, in my experience, Wicca is entirely harmless — except maybe to those looking for witches to burn.
So when I saw that old Bill Maher video of Christine O’Donnell talking about her dabbling days with “witchcraft” and blood and Satanism, well… I knew that in that video she was one of two things: Either she was full of it, or that she hadn’t been dealing with actual Wiccans. But whatever — no harm, no foul. If I were being held to account for all the claims I made when I was twenty, well, I’d blush bright red and leave the public scene forever.*
As an agnostic, I’m not taking any sides — or choosing any gods — in this debate. To each their own, “and harm ye none,” as any good Wiccan would tell you.
All of which is just a long way of saying: Relax.
If what O’Donnell said 11 years ago is true, then she wasn’t dealing with Wiccans, but with actual Satanists. And she has — inadvertently and through the “good” graces of Bill Maher — given Wiccans a platform to explain what they’re really all about. I would encourage them to do so.
And if O’Donnell is being disingenuous, then Wiccans have an even bigger case to make, and one heck of a juicy target to take down in the process.
Or as Kathy Shaidle wrote over the weekend, O’Donnell was going through a typical teenage phase. And O’Donnell has a few things going for her these days:
1. She was perceptive enough to joke this weekend:
Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell responded to old clips that surfaced over the weekend where she said she had once “dabbled in witchcraft,” clarifying at a GOP picnic in Delaware Sunday, “I was in high school, how many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school? But no, There’s been no witchcraft since, if there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter.”
Which is much wittier line than anything Al Franken ever wrote. Which brings us to…
2. O’Donnell is not Al Franken, and if his local constituents think he’s qualified to be a senator, then well, pretty much everybody is. And they are. See also, P.J. O’Rourke’s famous motto:
The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take 100 of its most prominent numskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm.
4. She’s not Joe Biden, whom Delaware voters also thought was somehow qualified to be a senator.
Update: Still though, if O’Donnell has lost Wiccan-America….