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Article ID: 6406
Age Group: Adult
Posted: July 6th. 2003
by Kerr Cuhulain
I first encountered Mike Ramey's article "A Pastoral Intelligence Briefing On Wicca and the Occult" in the Didaskalos Ministries web site. It first appeared in May 2001 on the bibleteacher.org site. Martin G "Mike" Ramey is a journalist, syndicated columnist and minister based in Indianapolis, Indiana. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his mailing address is P.O. Box 20131, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46220.
The list of reading and resources that Ramey lists at the end of his "Pastoral Intelligence Briefing on Wicca" will give you a very clear idea of the influences that you will shortly see coming out in his article. This list includes:
"Between Christ and Satan" and "Occult ABC" by Dr. Kurt Koch, a prolific author whose name has repeatedly appeared throughout my Witch Hunts series.
"Dark Secrets Of The New Age" by Texe Marrs, who was featured in an earlier article in my Witch Hunts series.
"Reverse The Curse In Your Life" by Joan Hake Robie. Robie is an associate of Phil Phillips: More on this later.
"The Beautiful Side Of Evil" and "Like Lambs To The Slaughter" by Johanna Michaelsen, who I featured in an earlier article in my Witch Hunts series.
"The Unofficial U. S. Census" by Tom Heymann
"Goddess Unmasked" by Phillip G. Davis
"Wicca: Satan's Little White Lie" by William Schnoebelen, a person pretending to be a former Satanic priest who I featured in an earlier article in my Witch Hunts series.
Other Publications And Resources
"How To Spot A Dangerous Religious Group", "The Role Of Women In Ministry", and "Confused Passions Over Homosexuality", among other free booklets from RBC Ministries, PO Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI. 49555-0001. (www.rbc.net)
"The Poor Little Witch", "Bewitched", "A Demon's Nightmare", and other awful tracts and booklets sold by Chick Publications, whom I featured in an earlier article in my Witch Hunts series.
"What Demons Do All Day (Parts 1 and 2)" Free tape, transcript and video series by Russell Kelfer, Discipleship Tape Ministries, 10602 Mossbank, San Antonio, Tx. 78230-3422. (www.dtm.org)
Internet Resources And Web Pages
The Cutting Edge website: www.cuttingedge.org
The Ontario Centre For Religious Tolerance: web.canlink.com. This is a very good site which supports Wiccans and Neo-Pagans. It appears that the reason that Ramey has listed this excellent site is that he uses some statistics and definitions listed there in his article.
Saints Alive: www.saintsalive.org
King James Version website: www.av1611.org
Bible Teaching Website: www.bibleteacher.org
O Timothy website: wayoflife.org/~dcloud
Zondervan News Link website: www.zondervan.com
Charles H. Spurgeon website: www.spurgeon.org
A list attached as an appendix to the end of Ramey's "briefing", "Twelve Forbidden Practices According to the KJV Bible", gives us further insight into where Ramey is coming from. The list reads:
"ENCHANTMENTS--The act of influencing by charms and incantations. The practice of the magical arts.
WITCHCRAFT--The practice of dealing with evil spirits, the use of sorcery or magic.
SORCERY--The use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits, especially for divining.
DIVINATION--The art of fortune telling.
WIZARDRY--The art or practices of a wizard; sorcery.
NECROMANCY--Communiaction [sic] with the dead; conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events.
CHARM--Put a spell upon someone; to affect by magic.
STAR GAZING/ASTROLOGY--The divination, or supposed influence of the stars upon human affairs and terrestrial events by the stars' position and aspects.
SOOTHSAYING--The act of foretelling certain human events by unscriptural means.
OBSERVING TIMES--a.k.a. ASTROLOGY.
MAGIC--a.k.a. WITCHCRAFT (From the book, 'REVERSE THE CURSE IN YOUR LIFE' by Joan Hake Robie)"
Ramey commences "A Pastoral Intelligence Briefing On Wicca and the Occult" by reminding us of the old Latin adage caveat emptor ("let the buyer beware"). This leads him into a brief discussion of how the US Government has numerous regulations and guidelines for products and services. He then points out that there are no such regulations or guidelines for "practitioners, leaders, and congregations involved in religious pursuits. Government cannot get involved as far as what way Americans choose to worship." A pity, given the antics of some of the people that I've written about in this series. Ramey points out that religion is protected under the US Constitution in the US. Then he complains that "Years ago, whenever the subject of witchcraft surfaced, it was quickly dispatched. Many Americans were strong church goers and active Bible readers. Many Americans knew that dealing with the world of the occult, including witchcraft, was dangerous."
Ramey blames early television shows such as Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie for "[introducing] the American public to the concept of 'good' witchcraft." He claims that the television show Dark Shadows depicts "The dark side of good witchcraft". Actually it presents a Hollywood version of what witchcraft is based on the myths perpetuated by people like Ramey. Ramey goes on to list the TV show Sabrina the Teenaged Witch, the movie The Craft, and the Harry Potter series for bringing "subjects such as witchcraft, astrology, and the occult... into the home." Ramey then borrows an idea from Phil Phillips, who I wrote about elsewhere in this series, by blaming "toons of occultic origins, from 'Dungeons & Dragons', to 'Pokemon', to the overtly demonic 'Spawn'" for influencing families to accept the occult.
Ramey then reaffirms that "Witchcraft, a.k.a. 'The Craft', 'Neo-Paganism', 'The Old Religion', or Wicca is, in effect, a religion by its own admission" as well as confirming that "Many practitioners enjoy the same religious freedoms that followers of Judaism, Islam, or Christianity under the U. S. Constitution, including the freedom to set up churches, to carry their belief structure into prisons, the military, and public domain, and 501 C-3 tax exempt status from the federal government extended to its leadership and members." However, Ramey then states:
"Thus, leading witchcraft practitioners already have a grounding in ritual, worship styles and practices - but have made the choice to 'get involved' with this religious system for money, power, prestige, concern for the environment, expansion of feminism, or a number of other reasons."
Earlier in this series we saw several other evangelicals trying to link environmental concerns and/or feminism to their Satanic conspiracy theories. Certainly we've already seen many examples in the Witch Hunts series of people using fundamentalist Christianity to accrue money, power and prestige.
Ramey then lists "Some Current Battles and Headlines". This is a mixture of facts and misinformation. For example, Ramey lists the following facts, probably because they indicate that Wicca and other Neo-Pagan beliefs are becoming accepted and this alarms him:
"U. S. Military officials have reported that on a few military bases and installations, those who actively practice witchcraft and Satanism have requested and received not only the right to practice their beliefs, but Chaplains who can serve to minister to military personnel who hold these beliefs.
"In a few prisons, inmates have petitioned in court and won the right to have witchcraft and Satanism rites performed on a regular basis within prison walls.
"In May, 2001, the popular 'Harry Potter' series sold its 100 millionth book."
Interspersed with these facts Ramey includes the following:
"In 1986, during a Homicide Investigation Seminar held in Las Vegas, Nevada, it was revealed that between 40,000 and 60,000 ritual homicides - traceable to witchcraft or other occult practices - take place in the United States each year."
NOTE: This was during the height of the "Satanic Panic" when many of the people that I've written about in this series so far had achieved the peak of their influence in the law enforcement community. I've earlier shown you that the evidence does not support these estimates. Most law enforcement officers no longer give these statistics credence. Obviously Ramey still does.
"In 1989, around the town of Matamoros, Mexico, law enforcement agencies discovered the first modern occult-criminal enterprise link. A drug ring run by firm believers in various forms of witchcraft was discovered. Tales of ritual murders, spell casting, and immorality were unearthed as the head of the drug ring believed heavily in using spells, charms from human bodies, and incantations to protect his lucrative drug trade from police discovery."
NOTE: The Matamoros case did indeed involve drug traffickers using ritual murders and spell casting in a failed attempt to elude detection. What Constanzo and his followers were practicing was Constanzo's interpretation of a mixture of Palo Mayombe and Santeria, not Wicca or Satanism. We've seen a lot of other people attempt to use this case to link Pagan faiths like Wicca as well as Satanism to criminal activity.
"In 1993, according to the publication National & International Religion Report, a coup of sorts took place for followers of Wicca in Salem, Mass. A third generation witch took a seat among the Salem (Mass.) Religious Leaders Association. Shawn Poirer, high priest of the Coven of the Black Rose, joined the inter-faith group, The Salem Clergy Association."
NOTE: Many Wiccan leaders such as Poirer have been involved in interfaith organizations in North America and many have become leaders of these organizations. Another example not cited by Ramey would be Wiccan minister Pete "Pathfinder" Davis, who was once head of the Washington State Interfaith Council. Ramey is hoping that this sort of news will alarm his readers. Probably it also scares him because it indicates that Pagans have an expanding voice within the religious community that Ramey does not want to be heard.
"In 1998-99, PBS stations ran a series entitled: 'Occult History Of The Third Reich'. Viewers were treated to written, first hand, and film evidence of the occult worship practices of high ranking members of the Nazi party during the second World War. In the same time span, the Discovery Channel also aired a similar, but shorter documentary, entitled: Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy. The overall theme of both documentary series, like the Matamoros case, was that by using witchcraft, and various other occult art forms, the Nazis could prevent the Allied advance against their tyranny in Germany."
NOTE: Ramey, like so many others that we've seen earlier in this series, is trying very hard here to link modern Paganism to the Nazis. There is no link.
"During the Spring of 2000, the hit CBS-TV show JAG featured a show that went deeply into the use of witchcraft and occult practices on some U.S. Military Bases. One of the central characters infiltrated an active Wicca 'coven' to help 'expose' its leader on rape charges."
NOTE: Since Ramey can't find evidence of a link between criminality and Wicca, he attempts to fall back on Hollywood fiction that seems to support his claims. We've seen many others that I've written about in this series try to use this trick.
Ramey concludes part one of this "Wicca briefing" by making the argument that all Witchcraft is evil. He does this in the same way that many of the people that I've written about earlier in this series do it: He relies on "those who have come out, or, who have made a study of witchcraft and occult phenomena [who] state emphatically that both black and white magic (or 'magick' as pronounced by those in the craft) are two side of the same coin." Ramey, like so many others, borrows the claim that we first saw Mike Warnke making: "Wicca is the down payment, the entry door for more hard-core, or black magic practices." Ramey quotes from Joan Hake Robie's list of "six types of people who are attracted to witchcraft" from her 1991 book Reverse The Curse In Your Life. You'll recall from earlier articles in this series that Robie was Phil Phillip's co-author in the awful 1987 book Halloween and Satanism. Robie's list of "six types of people attracted to witchcraft" reveals much of the agenda of such people:
The Curious, or Power Seekers
The Religiously Disenchanted
Those interested in illicit sex and drug use.
The first point is especially revealing. The inference is that educated people wouldn't believe in the arguments of people like Ramey and Robie. I have to agree. "Power seekers" is definitely a category that would apply to the sort of people that would write misinformation of this sort rather than most of those involved in Pagan spirituality. Note how Ramey is once again listing feminism as a characteristic of what he considers a destructive cult and how he adds homosexuality, sex and drug use to his list.
Ramey concludes part one by stating: "Some of these individuals are in our churches and communities. It is up to the Pastor to know the Biblical cure for this blight on society, and help set the captives free."
Ramey begins part two of his "Pastoral Intelligence Briefing on Wicca and the Occult" with a story of a poisonous snake who bites and otter who agreed to ferry the snake across a river. The point of the story is that the snake bites because it is its nature. Ramey then reiterates the statements about the protection of religions under the U. S. Constitution that he made at the commencement of part one. He repeats the maxim "Let the buyer beware" and then launches into a section with the title "Slippery Terms- Secretive Practices- And Growing PR".
In "Slippery Terms" Ramey uses the same argument that he borrowed from Warnke et al in part one: That Wicca is a front for an evil organization. "While higher level followers of Wiccan beliefs identify their faith as an 'art, science, and a religion', and themselves as practitioners of 'white' magic(k)," Ramey tells us, "The face they put forth to the public, and lower level followers and dabblers (especially teenagers), behind the scenes - according to former practitioners, and cult watchers - a different picture is revealed. A picture of slippery terms and secretive, sometimes deadly practices."
The "former practitioner" that Ramey uses in an attempt to prove this point is none other than William Schnoebelen, a fraud who was featured in an earlier article in my Witch Hunts series. Ramey begins by misinterpreting the Three Fold Law of Wicca:
"This means that, if a Wiccan follower is shown good, or given evil, they must return it three times - even if it means to secure help from higher ups in the coven (group or cluster of others involved in Wicca) to accomplish the task. According to William Schnoebelen, a former Wiccan High Priest for sixteen years who is now a Christian, an author, and a lecturer about cult/occult phenomena, the rede and the Three Fold Law only looks good on paper, and is seldom practiced in a loving manner as followers would like the public to believe. In his 1990 book entitled: Wicca: Satan's Little White Lie, Schnoebelen states that lower level Wicca followers would often approach higher ups to violate the Wiccan rules for their own personal gratification. His observations on the alleged differences between Wicca and Satanism are worth noting as he writes that Wiccan followers surround themselves more with press releases rather than a real facts: 'Practicing Wicca is like having a hand grenade blow up in your face... ' Schnoebelen writes, '...in terms of the spiritual impact. Practicing Satanism is like having a neutron bomb detonate in your face. The difference is there and discernible, but it is still an utter disaster for you, either way.'"
The Three Fold Law is simply the law of cause and effect or of karma: What you put out you get back. It does not require anyone to actively return what is directed at them, as this is totally unnecessary. Karma takes care of it for you. You reap what you sow. Of course Ramey would like the public to believe his interpretation of the Three Fold Law in order to frighten people into thinking that all Wiccans engage in frequent vendettas and mud slinging. Schnoebelen is very well aware of the proper interpretation of this Wiccan law, since he dabbled extensively in Wicca in his earlier years. Nowadays Schnoebelen earns his living telling people like Ramey what they want to hear.
Ramey concludes part two of his "briefing" with the short section, "The Internet-A High Tech Caldron". In it Ramey restates his premise that "one who is recruited [into Wicca] may believe that they are only involved in white magic, but, the deeper they go, the further into the black magic realm they travel. Meanwhile, those neo-pagans and Wiccans who are involved in such practices maintain that their religious beliefs are protected by the constitution, and they have the freedom to practice their religion as they see fit." We do claim this protection and this freedom. We do so because of people like Ramey spreading misinformation like this about us.
Ramey then blames the World Wide Web and the Internet for providing Witches with "a well oiled public relations machine (uncensored by the government and the press)". This is an interesting statement, in light of Ramey's use of the internet here to disseminate his message. Ramey goes on to express his concern that the internet allows Wiccans "the secrecy to recruit... followers... any teenager can access spells, incantations, meeting places and other items necessary to not only join a coven, but to start their own. With E-mail, teenagers can... write to their... favorite witch or warlock". Of course anyone can use the net to write to Christian ministers like Ramey and to access sites such as those that feature Ramey's article too, but this he would certainly encourage.
Ramey commences part three of his "Pastoral Intelligence Briefing on Wicca and the Occult" by once again repeating his statements about constitutional protection of religion and caveat emptor. From this Ramey launches into a section, "A Recruitment Model Example", in which he hopes to show us how Wiccans recruit followers. The model that he presents us with is the history of the expansion of street gangs in the 1980s in America. Ramey goes on for several paragraphs about the recruiting and initiation methods of criminal street gangs. He tells us about their customs and practices. Ramey then states:
"If one were to take a page from the gang recruitment example, tone it down a bit, and slip on the cover of secrecy a bit tighter, add money, prestige, power, and the joy of 'fitting in', one would have a model for recruitment into Wiccan and Satanic covens - a highly successful model."
At the end of Ramey's article one finds a list reprinted from an article by Pastor David W. Cloud which appeared in O Timothy Magazine (Volume 16, Issue 5, 1999): "How to Keep Teens Out of the Trench Coat Mafia". I won't bore you with Cloud's list, some of which is good advice if one is speaking of criminal street gangs and some of which is the usual Christian propaganda that one sees from evangelicals of this sort. Ramey also give us a list of "Twelve Rules For Raising Gang Members or Drug Addicts". Again, much of the advice on this list is sound if one is referring to gang bangers. However, none of the information or suggestions presented by Ramey in this section relates to Wiccans, Pagans or Satanists. By including these lists with no explanation Ramey would like you to infer that it does. Ramey would very much like us to believe that Wicca is simply a more sophisticated criminal gang.
Ramey's inferences about gangs present a new and interesting argument that I haven't seen any other evangelicals attempt. Interesting, but utterly without foundation. Read any of the popular books on Wiccan religion and you won't see anything resembling the rituals and activities of street gang members. Wicca isn't a criminal conspiracy. We don't wear gang "colors" and conduct "beating in" initiations. We don't sell drugs and engage in drive by shootings. Ramey's argument is as preposterous as it is objectionable, especially to a Wiccan like me who is a professional cop.
Ramey then presents us with a section with the descriptive title "Harder to Spot Teens in Occult Activity". I'd argue the opposite: With the increase in acceptance and of information on Wiccan and Neo-Pagan practices it is easier than ever to spot people involved in these pursuits. There are so many more of us public now than ever before. This runs contrary to the secretive model that Ramey would like us to accept, however. Ramey tells us that there is a "strict code of secrecy involved in witchcraft, there is no public 'dress code' for members, unlike the very public 'dress codes' for gang members". It is true that there is no Wiccan dress code but it is equally true that Wiccan followers like myself openly wear the pentagram. I get asked about mine all the time. Ramey then repeats his concerns about "the ease of availability of computer use; wannabes, dabblers, and teens with a mild interest in the occult can go on the Internet to get their daily occult 'fix' right under the noses of parents and teachers." I encourage parents to monitor their children's internet usage. There isn't anything in any of the Wiccan sites that I'd recommend that these parents would have any concern over. Ramey goes on to advise parents in a concluding section with the title "Parental Involvement is the Key". Ramey states:
"Recent national surveys and reports have proclaimed that involved parents usually are the best deterrent to keeping teens away from drugs. Involved parents, churches, and Pastors can have the same victories when it comes to breaking up occult involvement."
Note how Ramey equates Wiccan and Neo-Pagan spirituality with a drug addiction here. Ramey goes on to present us with the predictable solution to the problems that he perceives, given the arguments that we've seen him making: Bible clubs, Bible studies, Youth Ministries and Bible based teen programs. "We have a solid choice in these last days," Ramey warns us, "Either we can let 'Harry Potter' win our youth, or we can have Jesus Christ in charge of our youth. Pastors of America, the choice is yours. You have a true picture of what you are up against."
One of the things that one finds at the end of Ramey's briefing is a list of "Cult Techniques of Manipulation" which Ramey attributes to "some ... material provided by Dr. Dale W. Griffiths, circa 1985. You'll recall Griffis from one of my earlier articles in the Witch Hunts series showing how he was anything but an expert on the occult. It is a typical list of cult characteristics, including isolation, hypnosis, peer group pressure, "love bombing", removal of privacy, sleep depravation and fatigue, role playing games, rigid command structure, rejection of normal social values, confusing doctrine, financial sacrifices, challenge to authority, change of diet, fear, dress, 'finger pointing", confession, guilt, controlled access, secret signs and symbols, disinhibition, labor projects, manipulative sex, authority figures and education (ie.: control of what is taught to the cult members). While these characteristics most certainly do not describe the typical Wiccan coven, one can easily see how many of them apply very easily to the activities of many of the persons that I've written about in my Witch Hunts series.
Ramey paints a picture of Wiccans as criminal gang members who recruit unsuspecting teens over the internet. Obviously it is Ramey who is the one trying to recruit and indoctrinate here.
| ABOUT... |
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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