I did not watch your show (I abhor sensationalism), but I have been receiving comments from dismayed Pagans/Wiccans all over the country whom I am acquainted with; some that I don't know at all, who did watch your show.
The Webster's Dictionary defines "cult" as: (1a) a system of religious worship or ritual. (This means that every belief system on this planet can be considered a cult, including Christians, Jews, and Moslems!) (b) a quasi religious group, often living in a colony, with a charismatic leader who indoctrinates members with unorthodox or extremist views, practices, or beliefs, (this includes every Fundamentalist church religious group in the world, but can not include Paganism because we do not have any one leader. Nor are we quasi religious, unorthodox, or extremists. If one were to read the New Testament though, Jesus of Nazareth would definitely fall into this category, unfortunately.) (2a) devoted attachment to, or extravagant admiration for, a person, principle, or lifestyle, esp. when regarded as a fad, (Paganism is documented scientifically as being a minimum of 50, 000 years old, so it definitely is not a fad. Again, unfortunately, early Christianity was thought of in exactly this way.) (b) the object of such attachment (3a) a group of followers, a sect. (This is any Christian, Jewish, Moslem group. This can mean any religion, but is not intended to connote a negative.)
Paganism in general, and Witchcraft in specific, are not associated with Satanism in any way, shape, or form. This is a myth that the 10th century Roman Catholic Church started in order to convert more Pagans. The church took a Persian "bad guy" God who looked animalistic, and combined him with the Pagan "Horned Lord" of the Celts, a God who looked like a man, but wore deer antlers to signify his dominion over the plants and animals to insure that man had food to live, and created "the devil". Unfortunately for Paganism/Wicca, the image, though false, stuck. It was a lie then and it is a lie now. Satan is a god of the Christians and Moslems. He is not a Pagan/Wiccan God and is not even acknowledged by us, much less worshiped by us. We are a matrilineal religion, not patrilinial.
I am dismayed and deeply upset that the media could use a news story to stir up hatred and suspicion against anything "other" or different. That is exactly what you are doing. That in itself is irresponsible journalism. Add to that the conclusions your jumped to without proper research and your entire storyline has consisted of nothing but irresponsible journalism which may damage many families and individuals in the future. You need to do some responsible research and clear this issue up. I urge you to do so.
Read "The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, Myths and Cult Images" by Marija Gimbutas, a scholar and archeologist. The Witch Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Murray, the anthropologist who rewrote history in the area of religion. The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler. The First Wave of Eurasian Steppe Pastoralists into Copper Age Europe by Marija Gimbutas. The Heart of the Goddess by Hallie Iglehart Austen. When God Was A Woman, by Merlin Stone. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess by Starhawk. Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation, by Mary Daly. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions by Paula Gunn Allen. Each of these people is well known as a scholar of repute.
There is now a law in the United States that states that every religion has a legal right to be practiced in good faith. When you use irresponsible journalism in reporting, as you have, that all Pagans and Witches are supposedly satanic and not okay, you arouse the passions of millions and millions of people who have an effect in our daily lives. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, judges who judge our child custody cases, employers, etc. Pagans and Witches are also doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, Senators, and representatives. This kind of reporting damages all mankind.
All three networks owe the American people, and especially Pagans and Witches, an apology, and more than one line. It would help greatly if you had some responsible folks from our side of the story on the air to rebutt what you have already said. I could give you some suggestions for participants if you are ever interested.
The Pagan and Wiccan belief systems are very similar to the Native American religion (traditional). It is becoming clear as more research developes, that the two may have been one belief system in the remote past, called Shamanism, which later divided into two. It is a life affirming belief system. Many of us are environmentalists, scientists, ecologists, therapists, doctors, nurses, healers. We do not cultivate suicide in people, but rather life. I hope you will apologize to the American people and attempt to correct this misconception.
Rev. Angel Winges, H.Ps.
Founder, First Church of American Witchcraft, ULC
Nor-Cal rep., The Witches Voice
Advisory Board, The Witches Voice
Nor-Cal rep., Witches Against Religious Descrimination
High Priestess, The Dragon Queen Coven
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