Archives For conservatism

Turning the Witch-Hunter into a Hero: Summit Entertainment, the company the brought you the “Twilight” movie adaptations, is branching out from vampires into the world of witchcraft. But we won’t be seeing sexy heroic witches, or even gothy bad-girl witches like in “The Craft”, instead the protagonist will be the witch-hunter.

“Summit made a pre-emptive mid-six figures acquisition of The Last Witch Hunter, a Cory Goodman pitch that has franchise potential, and the attachment of Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov. The protagonist is one of the last remaining witch hunters, a breed that keeps the population of witches and warlocks in check. They are about to repopulate in a major way unless he can stop them.”

So let me get this straight, the historical figures who tortured, killed, and accused innocent men and women of being “witches” and “warlocks” are being revamped as broody anti-heroes trying to save humanity from real-live witches? What’s next? A film where heroic cops raid gay bars for the good of America? Films set in the old west where Native Americans are turned into villains again and again? Oh, wait. They already did that one.

That Darn Neopaganism: The newly launched conservative site “Alternative Right” comes out of the gate swinging against modern Paganism.

“The first and most important problem with Neopaganism is that, to put it simply, it is wrong. Whatever may be said about the dangers of egalitarian and universalist Christianity, that the Church was built as a repository of truth with the distinct purpose of spreading that truth and, through that truth, saving men’s souls, is beyond question. Neopaganism is built around an impulse that runs contrary to the truth… and this impulse is recognized by a vast majority of neopagans. Men that concern themselves with philosophy and ascetics in public find themselves slaughtering goats in the name of Thor in private when they know that the practice is utter nonsense. It is all well and good to desire a connection with your barbaric ancestors; it is quite another thing to bring your silly hobby into the realm of philosophy and politics. Which brings me to my second point: nearly every aspect of the western world worth saving is a product of Christianity, not Paganism. Even the distinctly non-Christian things are Christian in origin.”

First off, ten points are deducted from the essay for quoting G.K. Chesterton, the lazy man’s anti-pagan source material (seriously folks, Chesterton is not the alpha and omega of anti-pagan arguments). Another ten points for his ignorance of the pagan origins of things Christians like to take credit for, like democracy, charity, and philosophy. Yet another ten for faulting paganism for things it wasn’t around to do, like fighting Muslim advances into Europe, because the Christians had eliminated it! If this is the “new intellectual right-wing” is smells an awful lot like the old intellectual right-wing.

Get Religion’s Shameless Plug: Remember me mentioning Rod Dreher’s awful column defending his anti-Vodou attitudes? Well, religion journalism criticism site Get Religion just loved it! Singling it out for praise and discussion because, well, it praised Get Religion.

“We didn’t pay him to say that, or even plead for him to do so, but we’re glad that this concept was aired in a place where mainstream readers and journalists have a chance to read about it and, perhaps, even debate it.”

You can bet your boots I debated it. Dreher’s column was a biased self-serving ode to the reprehensible anti-Vodou tirades by himself and a handful of conservative-leaning columnists. The fact that he’s trying to repackage his outlandishly anti-Vodou attitude as a “respectful” journalistic “study” of the faith strains all sense of credulity for anyone who’s actually read his (and similar) work(s). So the plug really is “shameless”, but not in the way I think they mean. Oh, and if you feel the need to join the debate there, be sure to keep your criticism focused on the journalism, lest your comment be spiked.

That’s all I have for right now, have a great day!

Even though negotiations for a new global climate accord at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen seem to be rapidly deteriorating, with frustrated demonstrators trying to force their way into the talks, you wouldn’t know it by reading the (largely) right-leaning pundits. They all seem convinced that global environmental-pagan-cult rule is only days away. For example, we have this little gem from Joe Soucheray.

“It is a religious gathering in Copenhagen, nothing more and strikingly pagan in nature, but religious. They might as well be wearing hemp cassocks and green vestments, with a glittering crown of recycled pop-can tops for their spiritual leader, Al Gore, who is trying to pioneer the theological mischief known as plenary indulgences, only this time you can use gasoline to sin in St. Paul if only you plant a tree in Keokuk after first paying a middleman.”

The environmentalism = paganism rhetoric ranges from conspiratorial to spectacularly florid. It makes the usual climate-accord supporting disclaimer by Pope Benedict XVI seem so understated and reasonable.

“The final point of the Pope is dedicated to challenging those notions of man’s relationship with the environment that lead to “absolutizing nature ” or “considering it more important than the human person”, as it eliminates the “ontological” difference between the human person and other living beings”. In the name of a supposedly egalitarian vision of the “dignity” of all living creatures, such notions end up abolishing the distinctiveness and superior role of human beings. They also open the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone, understood in purely naturalistic terms.

You know discourse on the topic has flown off the rails when the Pope’s “beware of paganism” boilerplate seems like a breath of fresh air. Amidst the accusations that we’ll all soon be worshiping Gaia in an imaginary socialist utopia, there’s still the issue of if the world can actually move forward on an issue that hundreds of institutions and thousands of scientists have a broad consensus on.

“The fundamental question is who are we as human beings if at some future date the next generation lives in a world with declining prospects and no possibility of reclaiming the beauty of this planet. They will look back at Copenhagen and ask why did you let this fail? What were the arguments? Didn’t you realize that we were at stake?”Al Gore at Copenhagen.

With all the hot air over the “climategate” e-mails, and the lockouts and walkouts at Copenhagen, I have a hard time believing we’ll be forcing Michelle Malkin to sing “we all come from the Goddess” anytime soon, let alone see a comprehensive accord from the world’s nations that is anything more than a face-saving fig-leaf at this point. Then again, who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky (about the treaty part, not Malkin singing goddess-chants). As for tarring anyone who supports forward movement on climate change as a pagan cultist, I suspect the meme itself will never die, but that it will grow increasingly hollow as the world’s  (non-Pagan) religions increasingly see the need to engage in “climate justice” for their global flocks.

It seems that The American Spectator hasn’t gotten the memo that modern Paganism and conservative politics have no trouble co-existing. How else to explain this time-warp of an essay from Australian writer Hal Colebatch? Colebatch decides to heap scorn on modern Paganism and Witchcraft by reviewing “Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality”, a scholarly tome from 1998 (he’s only 11 years behind the curve) that debunked many of the Pagan claims to a direct connection with their pre-Christian ancestors.

“The story that modern witchcraft cults are the descendants of something sometimes called “the old religion” (which has allegedly been slandered and driven underground by the oppressive forces of Christianity) is false and manufactured. In fact, this book shows that while these cults generally have the usual heritage of Gnosticism to be found in most Christian heresies, the ideas behind them were concocted by occultists largely men — mostly in the last couple of centuries. Those responsible included as unsavory a collection of disordered cranks, mountebanks, sexual predators and crooks as might be imagined.”

He wounds us to the quick! We are a modern invention! How will the modern Pagan religions ever recover? Our only chance is to meet Mr. Colebatch on equal ground, in the year 1998, and stare in horror at our own ignorance in hopes it will shake us awake from this pernicious fever-dream.

This is what Silver RavenWolf in 1998 relates about the Wicca culture: “Wicca, as you practice the religion today, is a new religion, barely fifty years old. The techniques you use at present are not entirely what your elders practiced even thirty years ago. Of course, threads of ‘what was’ weave through the tapestry of ‘what is now.’ …in no way can we replicate to perfection the precise circumstances of environment, society, culture, religion and magick a hundred years ago, or a thousand. Why would we want to? The idea is to go forward with the knowledge of the past, tempered by the tools of our own age.”

Wait, wait, Silver Ravenwolf? But she is widely regarded as ananthema to serious-minded Wiccans everywhere! Yes Virginia, Wiccans and Pagans were already well-aware of our (not terribly ancient) history even back then. In fact, only a year later, historian Ronald Hutton would publish the amazingly well-regarded “The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft” that celebrated Wicca’s rich history and spiritual vibrancy without the aid of an ancient origin. Today there is a thriving body of Pagan studies that does not live in fear history, nor cower at the implication that most Pagan faiths are modern concoctions. As for Mr. Colebatch, he should be careful at the insults he throws about carelessly.

“This book provides additional evidence for the fact that people who adopt one crank belief tend not to let it go at that, but to gradually adopt the whole spectrum of them, whether they are compatible with one another or not. Fairly innocent, or at least naïve, sandal-wearers and vegetarian cultists could link up with practitioners of full-blown Satanism. The 19th-century occultist and neopagan movements from which modern goddess-worship sprang had links with the origins of both communism and Nazism.”

For the very same thing could very well be said about some of his conservative-minded Christian bretheren in Colebatch’s home-country of Australia.

“A former political running mate of Family First senator Steve Fielding says dark forces are casting spells on Federal Parliament. Catch the Fire Ministries pastor Daniel Nalliah has organised a “prayer offensive” to combat evil forces including witchcraft, homosexuality and abortion … “These days people don’t think the Devil is real but we have seen the bad effects of the spiritual being known as Satan and we believe there is a spiritual fight over the nation of Australia being fought in the heavens … Asked what evidence of Satan there was in Parliament, Mr Nalliah said: “The number of politicians who have serious marriage problems … “Me trying to explain it to you is like trying to teach a cricketer how to play soccer,” Mr Nalliah said.”

Ah, the sanity and calm that comes with the ancient traditions of Christianity and the soundness of conservative politics, it truly makes me regret the years I’ve wasted defending modern Paganism. I know now that conservative parties would never do anything so intemperate or stupid as to create a (Christian) Creationist litmus test for their leadership. Truly, Mr. Colebatch and The American Spectator has shown me the light!