One would think that the world of right wing religion could not sink lower than having a church that supports the violent persecution of accused witches preach to its followers that they should “stomp on the heads of the enemy!” in order to protect themselves from the “python spirit” of witchcraft and “infiltrate” and “invade” the American government to impose their beliefs on everyone else, after illegally supporting a political campaign of the politician who is now the Republican candidate for Vice President, bringing that politician up on stage to get a personal protection from witchcraft.
But, you can always trust Bill Donohue, president of the right wing Catholic League, to take a low moment and find a way to make it lower. Donohue gave, in his typically half-informed fashion, the following comment on Sarah Palin’s involvement with the superstitious theocratic militancy of Thomas Muthee:
“Witchcraft is a sad reality in many parts of Africa, resulting in scores of deaths in Kenya over the past two decades. Bishop Muthee’s blessing, then, was simply a reflection of his cultural understanding of evil. While others are not obliged to accept his interpretation, all can be expected to respect it. More than that – Muthee should be hailed for asking God to shield Palin from harmful forces, however they may be manifested.”
Bill Donohue has his facts astoundingly wrong. There is absolutely no evidence that witchcraft has resulted in scores of deaths in Kenya over the past two decades. Magic spells don’t kill people, although people like Bill Donohue and Sarah Palin apparently believe that they do. Thomas Muthee may have claimed that a woman used satanic magic to cause automobile accidents in Kiambu, Kenya, and Sarah Palin’s church may regard that claim as credible, but rational people regard such allegations as absurd, and no just court of law would ever convict a person of the crime of casting such supposed violent magical spells.
What has caused widespread violence and social decay in Kenya and other countries in Africa, Asia and Europe? Allegations of witchcraft by unscrupulous preachers like Thomas Muthee have. Thomas Muthee incited a violent mob to surround a woman’s home and threaten to stone her to death. In other instances, threats have turned to reality.
It isn’t just old people and vulnerable women who are targeted as witches by preachers like Muthee. The New York Times, the Voice of America, other journalists and aid agencies have reported on the problem of children being accused of witchcraft, and then being tortured, killed, or abandoned in the tens of thousands. The Guardian newspaper in the UK has reported on children who were tied to trees and left to die, buried alive in caskets they share with human corpses, burned, bleached, hacked, and even had nails pounded into their heads.
Was it witchcraft that caused these attacks? No, it was religious zealots encouraging false accusations of witchcraft that has been responsible for this violence against children.
Bill Donohue says that we must all respect this. In fact, he says that we should hail the people who engage in this violence. Donohue blames the people who are being killed, saying that the world needs protection from them instead of protection for them.
Would Bill Donohue tell us that the problem in Salem, Massachusetts was that witchcraft had invaded New England?