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Article Specs

VxAcct: 230739

Article ID: 5023

Section: whs

Age Group: Adult

Posted: February 17th. 2003

Views: 19036

Christian Authors [5]

by Kerr Cuhulain

Like Sutton, Parker tries to frighten us into believing that mental illness is caused by demon possession caused by involvement in the occult. Parker takes it even further that Sutton did. In Battling the Occult, Parker makes the following statements:

  • "By giving ourselves to the sin of occultism we are liable to become its slaves and damage our spiritual well-being. We open up a door which may allow a spiritual enemy to gain access to our lives. Those who do this, soon find it hard to pray, and they cease to read the Bible; indeed they lose respect for it. Emotional stresses such as depression and anxiety may follow. They may desire to break free, yet find themselves unwilling or unable to do so. This is spiritual bondage, and the only way to break it is to repent and turn back to God..."(67)
  • "...we must also acknowledge that evil spirits can gain a hold over our hurt feelings and damaged minds."(68)

  • "Our adversary the devil, in seeking to spoil lives through the agency of evil spirits, tries to gain a foothold in the area of unconfessed sin."(69)

  • "The real danger with occult involvement does not necessarily lie in the activity itself (be it horoscopes, palmistry or even attending a spiritist meeting); it lies in the fact that by getting involved in such things we open ourselves up to that spirit of evil who masterminds spiritual deception at every level."(70)

  • "The only conclusion a Christian can draw is that occult phenomena are demonic in origin."(71)
  • "Spiritistic claims directly contradict the Bible. It is in fact demonic spirits, impersonating the dead, who communicate with the living."(72)

At one point in chapter two, Parker chides those who "see the activity of evil spirits in every problem."(73) Yet the following excerpts from Battling the Occult demonstrate clearly that Parker believes that demons are the cause of many diseases:

"A growing number of psychiatrists and counsellors point out that the long term effects of psychic experimentation can include the break up of a person's wholeness and emotional and mental integration."(74)

NOTE: Parker doesn't name any of the "psychiatrists and counsellors" that he is referring to here, but you can see some of the psychiatrists that he got this idea from in the list I showed you earlier.

  • "Sometimes, demonic influence lies behind compulsive addictions... sometimes there is a spiritual presence bound up in addictions to tobacco, alcohol and drugs and even overeating."(75)
  • "This underlines the fact that temptation is a demonic attack."(76)
  • "We should recognize, then, that evil spirits can gain access to our lives through the emotional hurts we carry and which we often repress deep within us."(77)
  • "Early exposure to violence and occult or black-magic practices cannot fail to affect our values for the worse. Their perception of right and wrong can become confused. All too often, such confusion and disturbance [sic] are lived out later on."(78)

  • "We need to recognize, then, that hurts sustained in childhood, if allowed to fester, can often become the means by which an evil spirit may enter someone's life. It may upset our sensibilities to talk about an attack on a child by the demonic world, but we must remember that our spiritual enemy has no love for mankind. He is a liar and delights in attacking the vulnerable. Certain people, though not possessed, may suffer from illnesses caused by demonic influence."(79)
  • "Most psychiatrists who accept the reality of spiritual warfare find it difficult to distinguish between demonic symptoms and evidence of a mental or emotional illness."(80)

NOTE: That the psychiatrist can make this distinction is a warning sign if ever I saw one. Note how Parker specifies "psychiatrists who accept the reality of spiritual warfare," clearly identifying the psychiatrists that he is referring to as fundamentalist Christians, even though he is still not mentioning names.

  • "We need to recognize our limitations in this area and consult other professionals when appropriate. If psychiatric help has not brought healing, we may conclude that deliverance prayer is necessary. Many ministers can testify to being approached by staff from psychiatric units and being asked to pray for a patient because what he or she really needed was spiritual help."(81)

NOTE: Of course Parker doesn't give any specific examples or name names. Note also how Parker is presenting himself and evangelists like him as mental health "professionals." "Many doctors and psychiatrists are now coming to the conclusion that some of their patients need not the usual medication but deliverance from spiritual evil," Parker claims, "Their conclusion is, paradoxically, more biblical than the opinions of some Christians on the cause of some bizarre behaviour!"(82) Parker offers the following case history from William P Wilson's article "Hysteria and Demons" in John Warwick Montgomery's book Demon Possession in an attempt to prove his point:

"'This 32 year old, twice married female was brought in because of falling spells which had been treated with all kinds of anti-convulsant medication. She was examined on the neurosurgical service and after all examinations including EEG, brain scan, and a pneumoencephalogram were negative, she was transferred to the psychiatric service. Her mental status examination was unremarkable and all of the staff commented that she seemed normal until she had her first 'spell.'

"While standing at the door of the day room, she was violently thrown to the floor bruising her arm severely. She was picked up and carried to her room, all the while resisting violently... Her facial expression was one of anger and hate. Sedation resulted in sleep. During the ensuing weeks, the patient was treated psychotherapeutically and it was learned that there was considerable turmoil in her childhood home, but because she was 'pretty' she was spoiled... After her second marriage she continued to associate with her 'high living' friends. When her husband demanded she give up her friends and her parties, she started having the 'spells.' The usual psychotherapeutic treatment for hysteria including interviews under sodium amytol only aggravated her spells. Seclusion in the closed section brought her assaultive and combative behaviour to an end, but she would have spells in which she became mute, especially when religious matters were discussed. More dramatically, when the names of Jesus or Christ were mentioned she would immediately go into a trance. On one occasion, while in a coma, in desperation, an exorcism was conducted and a demon was removed and her spells ceased... The patient had recovered and been well ever since.

"This psychiatrist concludes his article by saying that, reluctant as he was to accept the activity of evil spirits, he nonetheless found that real healing came only when the deliverance prayer in the name of Jesus was offered in faith. He said that a number of his patients had not responded at all to conventional treatment, and he was now convinced that what they really needed was spiritual help and deliverance from evil. I have myself worked in consultation with a number of family doctors and psychiatrists who have invited me to offer pastoral care and ministry to some of their patients, believing that the real need was to deal effectively with evil."(83)

This may sound very impressive, but again Parker does not supply the names of the therapists, patient, hospital, date or location, so it is impossible to corroborate. Nor does he identify the "family doctors and psychiatrists" who allegedly invited this Christian psychiatrist to treat their patients. This is a common characteristic of most of the "evidence" that Parker presents in this book, as you will see. It sounds to me as if they were treating a common personality disorder, not a case of possession.

Parker doesn't agree with just any kind of spiritual intervention however. "Kurt Koch says that people healed through the influence of mediumistic forces suffer a deathlike blow to their faith,"(84) Parker warns us. Since it is the Christian faith that Koch is referring to, I would imagine that he is correct. If one could prove that a New Age medium could heal you better, you just might re-evaluate your beliefs if you were a Christian.

Later, Parker again quotes Dr Koch (who is a doctor of theology, not a psychiatrist): "Kurt Koch says that when he has prayed with the mentally ill, there was a stillness and a passivity when the name of Jesus was mentioned. If the illness was demonic there was usually quite a noticeable reaction."(85)

The three psychiatrists that Parker actually does identify in Battling the Occult are fundamentalist Christians:

  • "In the opinion of Dr David Enoch, former senior consultant psychiatrist at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the University of Liverpool, Halloween practices open the door to the occult and can introduce forces into people's lives that they do not understand and often cannot combat."(86)

NOTE: I notice here that Enoch is the "Former senior consultant."

  • "Dr William Wilson has a more pragmatic approach to distinguishing the demonic from an illness. He says that where possession like manifestations occur, and psychiatric treatment has failed to alleviate them or to give the individual a measure of control, then it is time for deliverance ministry. He goes so far as to say that in many of the mental hospitals whose patients are labelled as chronic schizophrenics or depressives, there has been healing through prayers of deliverance, sometimes without the patient's permission and sometimes in their absence."(87)

NOTE: You will recall that Dr Wilson was the author of Hysteria and Demons.

  • "I have seen patients whose involvement with relatively minor forms of the occult has caused them to suffer mental illness. I have seen someone who as a result of one experiment with the Ouija board suffered frightening experiences outside his control, including automatic handwriting. He found himself writing frightening messages to himself."(88)

NOTE: Dr Stuart Checkley is a resource for the Evangelical Alliance. We aren't told what these messages were.

Parker is obviously afraid of things psychic or psychiatric. About half way through Battling the Occult, Parker gives us an insight as to why when he states:

"At the age of seventeen I discovered I had some telepathic ability. I could read people's thoughts quite accurately sometimes. After I had been converted, this ability remained, but I now felt quite ill at ease about it. After discussion and prayer I decided to offer the ability to God and renounce it. I was never again able to read people's minds and felt quite relieved..."(89)

Parker expresses his concerns that modern Witches are gaining acceptance:

  • "The occult is gaining respectability. An article appeared a few years ago in the Manchester Evening News entitled 'Witch Demands Apology'. Mrs Barbara Brandolani, a white witch, had complained to the Manchester Branch of the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) concerning allegations made about her beliefs during a religious education lesson at school. A Christian guest speaker at the school her daughter attended had remarked that witchcraft was dangerous and anti-Christian. Mrs Brandolini demanded an apology. The Manchester branch secretary for the NCCL stated that it was the society's policy that 'witches should have the same rights to practice their religion as adherents to any other system of belief.' Since witchcraft is anti-Christian, it is disconcerting that such a national organization should be supporting it."(90)

NOTE: Parker is wrong. Wicca is not anti-Christian. Wiccans like me are opposed to people like Parker who disseminate hate literature calculated to scare people with misinformation.

  • "A newspaper recently carried an advertisement headed 'Winning with Witchcraft' to promote a book with the same title. It stated: 'You can begin casting magic witchcraft spells to obtain whatever you desire... leave your physical body and travel anywhere (commonly called astral projection)... commanding things to happen through powerful spells and invocations. With witchcraft you don't have to grovel or pray to God.' However fanciful we might think these ideas are, at the heart of them is a clear rejection of trust and reliance on God."(91)

NOTE: Would you trust or rely on someone like Parker? Parker doesn't name the newspaper, making this story next to impossible to verify.

Parker offers several vague anecdotes as "evidence" to support his concerns:

  • "As a member of the Manchester Diocesan Deliverance Advisory Committee...between 1981 and 1985 our team was continually being called out to help people distressed through involvement with [organized Satanic groups]. On several occasions we had to care for people who were being physically attacked for daring to leave such groups. We estimated about a hundred such cases in the area we covered."(92)

NOTE: Again, no particulars. Parker can't even give an exact number of cases. Parker estimates instead.

  • "Interest in the occult is sweeping the world. What is more, some of these occult groups are actively hostile to the Christian gospel and its practices. Not long ago, a number of Christian ministers were asked to support a fellow pastor who had recently taken a church openly opposed by a local coven. In one frightening episode, a relative of the new minister was waylaid on his way to the parsonage by a small group of people who said they had been waiting for him. He was to tell the new pastor to get out of their town, as Christian ministers were not welcome."(93)

NOTE: Not only does Parker not give any details to corroborate this case, such as the location, the date or the name of the minister, he doesn't actually identify who the people were who met the minister and told him to get out of town. They could have been any body, but Parker is hoping that you will assume that they must have been Satanists or Witches because he tells you earlier that a coven was opposing this. What kind of coven? We aren't told.

  • "...Paul describes the rituals of pagan worship, and in particular the worship of idols. He says that the mind behind such practices is demonic: 'The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God'."(94)

NOTE: Modern Pagans don't offer sacrifices to anyone.

  • "Some years ago a Christian girl came for ministry, saying that she was having great difficulty breaking free from a lesbian lifestyle which she had practised for a number of years... She shared that some years earlier she had dabbled in the occult, playing with a Ouija board. Some time later she began relationships with other women..."(95)

NOTE: Parker is the only evangelist that I have encountered so far that seriously suggests that Ouija boards cause women to become Lesbians. Or perhaps he is suggesting that Lesbians are possessed by demons?

There are indications in Battling the Occult that Parker, like Sutton, has some knowledge of Pagan religion. In a statement reminiscent of Sutton's listing of alternative definitions of witchcraft, Parker states:

"There is a lot of confusion between witchcraft and Satanism. The term witchcraft, and the older word wicca from which it came, has been used by some to cover activities that include the worship of mythological nature gods. Others have used the term to describe magical practices. Still others understand it to refer to traditional wisdom concerning nature that gives a secret and spiritual interpretation to the world and the events around us. To make the confusion complete, some witches consider themselves satanists.

"This confusion was demonstrated on a recent British television show. Part of the program was devoted to a confrontation between Jeffrey Dickens (a member of Parliament) and representatives of witchcraft in general. Dickens said that he wished to see witchcraft banned form the country, citing the child abuse that he had discovered to be involved in witchcraft. He went on to say that as a Christian he felt that it was wrong for witches to worship the devil, and he believed that they were leading their children into harmful practices. Those representing the witches said that they were horrified at such practices and that they in no way worshipped the devil or Satan. Indeed, one of them went on to say that Satanism was a Christian activity; the devil was after all an invention of Christianity! As much as I as a Christian would have nothing to do with witchcraft, I felt that their shock was genuine and that Dickens was perhaps speaking of Satanists or particular covens which include an element of Satanism."(96)

The TV show in question here was Central Television's Friday Night Live, which aired 13 May 1988. I certainly agree with Parker's observations about Dickens. I have video footage of him saying such things. I would say that it is more accurate to say that some Satanists refer to themselves as witches, picking up on the stereotypical Christian stuff. As the Wiccans in this television interview so accurately pointed out, Satan is a bogey man invented by the Christian church to scare people into the pews. Wiccans don't believe in such bogey men.

Parker makes another telling statement a few paragraphs later:

"John Richard believes that the rise of witchcraft is related to the church's inability to convey the healing so greatly needed by people of our day, healing that witchcraft claims to offer."(97)

Parker hits very close to the mark here, except that Parker and Richard are reluctant to admit that modern Pagan spiritual paths don't just claim to offer healing; They deliver on their promise to heal.

Parker has a more reasonable description of the history behind Halloween than most of the Satanic Conspiracy myth supporters that we have examined in this series too:

"In the church's calendar, Halloween- or All Hallows Eve- is the night before All Saints' Day, which celebrates the Church Triumphant; it was seen as the night when the spirits have their fling before they are again defeated. What really lies at the hart of Halloween, however, is a desire to placate the forces of evil. It is a christianized version of the ancient Celtic ritual of Samhain, which was held on October thirty-first. It marked the end of the summer and so formed the Celtic New Year's Eve. Bonfires were lit to frighten away evil spirits. Samhain did not attempt to get in touch with evil forces but was considered a necessary ritual to ward off any harm that may come. It was also seen as a good time for divination about death, health, marriage and luck. It is not surprising, then, that it lent itself to the practice of other occult activities."(98)

This apparently reasonable tone doesn't last long, however. Parker then goes on to tell an anecdote about his first ministry. Parker reports that he found play-school children putting up cutouts of Witches. "I explained to the play-group leaders that Halloween makes evil appear fun," Parker tells us, "Much damage is done by Christians who mix up Christianity with the occult by encouraging this practice, which is pagan at heart."(99) It would be more accurate to say that much damage is done by Christians spreading falsehoods about Halloween and what it represents.

Parker then quotes the Association of Christian Teachers pamphlet on Halloween:

  • "If we suppose that witches and spirits are nonsense, why then, encourage children to celebrate their mythical frolics and perhaps take them seriously? Paganism is hardly a cultural mainstay of all that is best in our country."(100)

NOTE: We should encourage the children to celebrate this mythology because the supposition of this Christian organization is false. Witches are real people with a real religion. As for cultural mainstays, I'll stand the values that Pagans stand for up against the domination, hatred and destruction that Parker and his ilk advocate any day.

  • "Suppose that in our folklore, witches and demons merely represent moral evil. Halloween then tends to celebrate evil in the ascendant by the reversal of moral standards. If Nazi figures were regularly presented for children's admiration and affection there would soon be a public outcry. But loveable little witches are brought out every autumn. This disturbs the polarization of good and bad, right and wrong, in children's minds."(101)

NOTE: The thing upsetting the polarization of children's minds is the falsehoods being told to them by Christian propaganda pamphlets such as this.

  • "Hallowe'en does in fact encourage an interest and fascination in the occult and this invariably leads to more serious involvement and damage to the individuals concerned."(102)

NOTE: According to whom? Where is the evidence?

Parker, like so many other evangelists supporting SRA myths, heavily quotes people who claim to have been former Satanic cult members to support his claims. Parker has chosen Doreen Irvine for this purpose. "Once 'queen of the witches'," Parker claims, "[Doreen] reveals that witchcraft, like Satanism, is busy attracting young people, as well as middle class executives. It is also openly opposed to Christian values."(103) As you undoubtedly guessed already from the non-existent title 'queen of the witches,' Irvine being a witch is a figment of her imagination. Like Audrey Harper, Irvine is a member of the Investigation Committee of the Evangelical Alliance. Irvine is also a representative for the UK Campus Crusade for Christ. She is the author of two awful books: From Witchcraft to Christ and Spiritual Warfare. Irvine appears in the Caryl Matrisciana film: Devil Worship: The Rise of Satanism.

Parker uses stories about Irvine in several places in Battling the Occult. Here are some examples:

  • "Our sexuality is another aspect of our personalities in which Satan may try to cause problems. He may play on recurring unclean sexual thoughts and fantasies, leading to masturbation, deepening lusts, perversions, homosexuality, fornication or incest. Of the twenty nine references in the New Testament to encounters with demonic spirits, six refer to 'evil' spirits and the remaining twenty three to 'unclean' spirits...

"Many covens and Satanist groups employ multiple sexual experiences as bonding elements within their groups (although some accounts are exaggerated). Audrey Harper, a former witch, mentioned in a televised interview that when she was initiated into a coven she was immediately required to have sexual intercourse. If she had objected, she said, she would have been forcibly raped. Such a destructive approach cannot but scar the sensibilities of the participants. Audrey Harper spent seventeen years undergoing psychiatric care before she was able to come to terms with life again."(104)

NOTE: The problem with this is that Harper is a fraud. She may have spent 17 years in psychiatric care, but none of her stories about her alleged former Satanic activities can be proven.

  • "Satanists must not be underestimated;...there are those who are extremely serious about their worship of Satan. [Doreen] Irvine mentions a girl who had her hand severed in a worship service in order to prove her love for Satan."(105)

NOTE: Again, we must take Irvine's (dubious) word for it, since no details are given to allow corroboration.

Basically the message in Parker's book can be summed up by the following statement by him: "I believe that behind the occult phenomena is an evil power which is fundamentally anti-Christian and which originates with Satan."(106) Like Sutton's book, Battling the Occult is simply a rehash of the same tired myths.


Kerr Cuhulain

Location: Surrey, British Columbia


Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).

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