Blood Libel, Abortion, and Modern Paganism

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 25, 2011 — 177 Comments

One of the most pernicious types of religious slander is “blood libel,” the accusation that a religious group ritualistically murders (and often consumes) children. While most famously, and pervasively, used against Jews throughout history, many other groups have had similar accusations made against them. For example, in ancient Rome some accused Christians of partaking in cannibalistic orgies and incest.

“Now the story about the initiation of young novices is as much to be detested as it is well known. An infant covered over with meal, that it may deceive the unwary, is placed before him who is to be stained with their rites: this infant is slain by the young pupil, who has been urged on as if to harmless blows on the surface of the meal, with dark and secret wounds. Thirstily – O horror! they lick up its blood; eagerly they divide its limbs. By this victim they are pledged together; with this consciousness of wickedness they are covenanted to mutual silence.”Marcus Minucius Felix

Naturally, once Christians gained social and political power the shoe was on the other foot, and that power was used to all but eradicate classical paganism. Though there was plenty of slander from Christian writers towards ancient pagans, it was diffused somewhat due to their equal distaste for Christian sects deemed heretical and the Jews, who would become their favored target throughout history. Sadly, blood libel continues in the modern era, not just against Jews, but against modern Pagans as well. In a new Christian DVD, “The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death,” director Jay Rogers does his best to imply that abortion isn’t simply the terminating of a pregnancy,  or even the moral equivalent to murder, but a “sacrament,” a blood sacrifice seen as holy by ancient and modern Pagans. They literally ignore modern Pagan voices to make their own preconceived links, and twist the words of prominent Pagans to imply that their reading of Pagan beliefs is correct.

“Do modern Wiccans view abortion as child sacrifice? To be fair, we must say that in our research we’ve received literally hundreds of letters and electronic communications from Wiccans around the world. The vast majority of Wiccans and Pagans deny that they have anything to do with human or animal sacrifice. They also deny that Wicca has anything to do with the abortion industry, nor do they view abortion as the sacrifice of the unborn in their rituals. But all modern day Wiccans freely admit that the modern religion is traced to ancient Celtic and Northern German people, the very people who practiced human sacrifice. Although the vast majority deny that they have anything to do with the practice of child sacrifice, Wiccans are hard pressed to explain a growing number of witches who argue that abortion is a witch’s prerogative.”

They take the support for legal access to abortion, and the support for the primacy of women’s bodies in matters of birth, as tacit acknowledgement for their sacrifice narrative. Then, when they can wring no further controversy from Starhawk or Z. Budapest, they turn to their old stand-by, an obscure 1992 book written by Ginette Paris that discusses abortion as a sacred act. Though Paris is far from famous within modern Paganism, she is a true BNP (Big-Name Pagan) among anti-abortion groups for giving them the “smoking gun” they needed to “prove” their link between modern Paganism, Wicca, and abortion as child-sacrificing sacrament. Also, if you’re Pagan and a pro-choice advocate? That just further proves that abortions are actually holy sacrifices to the Goddess.

“Today we have given the demons of human sacrifice new names: “Career” – “Convenience” – “Money” – “Lust” – “Self.” But beyond this, we have come full circle; today’s rationalism has given way to a new feminist spirituality that honors these same demons, actually calling them by their proper biblical and historical names. Surely it can be no coincidence that the hottest sub-movement within the feminist movement that began to emerge after the Roe v. Wade decision is goddess worship. Or that one of the primary deities that is being worshipped is Aphrodite – the goddess of child sacrifice.”

Whether you are pro-choice or anti-abortion, any clear-eyed observer would have to see this for what it is: blood libel. Religious slander that creates narratives that overrule our own voices and opinions on the subject to feed their beliefs. If you want to see the seeds for a new Satanic Panic, here they are.

Jason Pitzl-Waters