I have already addressed this on my liberal politics blog, The Second Beast, but I wanted to post here as well since this is a clear religious issue. A young woman named Kepari Leniata was recently tortured, branded and burned alive for allegedly practicing witchcraft, by an angry mob in Papua New Guinea; of course, if the circumstances had been different and the victim had been a Christian nailed to a cross somewhere by an angry mob of non-Christians, I can imagine the worldwide outrage over such an atrocity. Instead, people make foolish comments in an attempt to find humor in this situation or worse, they blame religion itself for the violence and use that argument as a reason to proselytize for atheism. I call on solitary practitioners and covens everywhere to hold a sacred vigil tonight in honor of Kepari.
As a devout Pagan I am absolutely horrified at this story but I am certainly not surprised. We constantly suffer abuse at the hands of religious bigots, even in ‘enlightened’ nations such as the United States. In case it has been forgotten so quickly, President Bush once commented that witchcraft is not a religion and he firmly believes that all Pagans essentially deserve to burn in Hell. The level of prejudiced venom behind such statements is absolutely disgusting.
The first amendment of our constitution is supposed to protect every religion from legislative persecution and yet every day fundamentalist Christians in elected office make a concerted effort to enshrine their Christian beliefs into our system of laws, both locally and at the state and federal levels. American witches need no longer fear that we will suffer the same fate as Kepari but we must continue to remain vigilant and fight against those who literally seek to convert our freedom into a form of biblical slavery. Blessed Be.