De-Paganizing Halloween (Again)

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The conservative Christian mindset can often be a funny one. When Christmas rolls around you’ll hear talk of “defending” the holiday and “keeping Christ in Christmas” and so on. Often this rhetoric is backed up with the claim that all religious faiths should have the freedom to express itself in public (so long as that faith is Christianity of course). But come Halloween a different tune is hummed. Then you hear Christian pundits bemoan the resurgence of Paganism, often by telling lies about ancient paganism, and great expense is put into evangelical efforts so their community is spared even a whiff of “pagan” things.

Catholics are quick to point out that they Christianized the ancient pagan holidays around October 31st – November 2nd first. As such, they call for a renewed interest in All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day.

“If the world has abducted another feast and made this one an occasion for witchery and paganism, families must say: ‘This is a Catholic feast. Let’s celebrate it as such.’ Oct. 31 is a hallowed evening because it’s the evening before All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1…”Father Kevin Barrett

I love it when Pagan reclamation is labeled “abduction” don’t you? But at least the Catholics try to focus on their own. Evangelicals, unburdened of such tradition and culture, take the fight straight to the “pagans” by telling outright lies about ancient paganism (in hoping to convert us today I suppose). Extreme nut-job Pastor Tara Lewis wins the lies about ancient Celtic holidays trifecta!

“The origin of Halloween is the Celtic festival of Samhain, lord of death and evil spirits…Druids in Britain, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, and other Celtic countries observed the end of summer by making sacrifices to Samhain…They believed that Muck Olla, their sun god, was losing strength and Samhain, lord of death, was overpowering him…Druid priests would lead the people in diabolical worship ceremonies in which horses, cats, black sheep, oxen, human beings and other offerings were rounded up, stuffed into wicker cages and burned to death.”

Debunking that entire quote would be an entry to itself, so I’ll let Isaac Bonewits do the heavy lifting for me on that one. Lewis even trots out former Pagan (and utter liar) Tom Sanguinet to back up her claims.

“Giving Halloween candy is symbolic of a sacrifice to false gods. You are participating in idolatry.”

No wonder Paganism is on the upswing! All those sacrifices all over the world! Maybe a reporter can try to validate evangelical fears by citing a flawed survey on American religion?

“But the re-emergence of neo-paganism, has many evangelicals worried. Practices such as witchcraft and spells have gained in popularity. Surveys confirm that paranormal beliefs are alive and well among U.S. citizens. According to a recent Baylor University survey, 28 percent of Americans consult horoscopes, 22 percent have lived or visited a house they believe to have been haunted, and 43 percent had a dream that came true.”

I love it when a plan comes together. Even the Church of England is getting into it! Witness this story about a Vicar in Middleton Junction.

“Halloween has never been a Christian holiday and it has no place in the life of a born again believer in Jesus Christ. In fact, it is an abomination to God and we should take our stand firmly against it.”Reverend Ian Cook

They, like many churches in America and the UK, are holding alternate Christian-themed events in an attempt to convince children that there is nothing fun about Halloween. Since there is nothing nutty Christians like those listed above do better than suck the fun out of things, perhaps their attempts to “de-paganize” Halloween will be successful (at least until the kids are old enough to realize what they are missing out on).