As I write, a few miles away witches and other pagans create altars they’ve imagined over the last months, witches in the choir prepare to perform the songs they’ve practiced, and witches collect the last few names of the Beloved Dead to be recited at this evening’s Spiral Dance. Last night above the towers of the Golden Gate I sat beneath the wild sky upon the Marin Headlands with witches as we honored their Beloved Dead. We heard a lot of names: the woman reading the list alone had lost six of her family this last year. Afterwards, we shared a dangerous feast of cider and cookies. Why does Sarah Palin embrace "leaders" who openly preach religious war against the millions of American pagans practicing their freedom to worship?

At two key points bracketing most of 2008 GOP vice-presidential Candidate Sarah Palin’s meteoric rise to political prominence, we find Palin tied to self-described witch-hunters. Not one, but two.

That alone is striking enough but Sarah Palin is also closely associated with an insurgent religious movement, within Christianity, whose members claim to cure crime and addiction by casting out demons, both from individuals and from whole geographic areas, and by hounding accused witches out of cities, towns, and U.S. states.

The GOP chose for Vice-President a disciple of intolerant theocratic madmen who preach confiscation against "the Godless".

As the top leader of the New Apostolic Reformation, which extensive evidence suggests is Sarah Palin’s chosen religious and political movement, C. Peter Wagner proclaimed, on June 21, 2006, that "God has declared through His prophets that the wealth of the wicked will be released to the Kingdom of God," and Wagner declared, threateningly, "the enemies’ camp will be plundered."

Muthee also stated "The Bible says the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous. [snip]

Sarah Palin was in the audience. Minutes later, she was anointed, and blessed, with the laying on of hands.

Thomas Muthee is a top leader in C. Peter Wagner’s movement, an internationally known celebrity in the New Apostolic Reformation and a personal friend of Wagner.

Oh, and when he’s not laying on hands to consecrate Dominionst hate-preachers and pols, Muthee conducts literal witch-hunts in Africa.

Who are these terrible pagans Sarah Palin’s hate-cult singles out for religious persecution?

This week the heathen Hearst paper revealed the Halloween rite of the pagans who walk among us:

The fast-growing community’s biggest holiday – or sabbat, as holidays are also called – Samhain, arrives this weekend, mixing themes of harvest, renewal and communing with the dead.

The latter isn’t all that wacky, and in fact sounds like a form of prayer, with the addition of a celebratory "spiral dance." [snip]

Deborah Oak Cooper, a member of the Reclaiming collective [said]: "At the Spiral Dance (expected to draw more than 1,000 celebrants to Kezar Pavilion on Saturday), there’s a trance journey, where you go to the Isle of Apples and visit your beloved dead. It’s a meditation period: You go and look around and see who wants to visit."

Meditation? Sounds downright socialist. Better call the banks so they can get a cut.

And apples? Better call Big Ag Chem. Those apples may be pesticide-free: that’s downright Communist.

I grew up attending tolerant mainstream Protestant churches, alongside my cousins in Catholic school. I happened to read Sibyl Leek: we’d all seen the Wizard Of Oz. That was only forty years ago, but even my third-grade class learned the Constitution guaranteed us freedom to worship — or not — as we chose. My third-grade class also learned of the madmen who twenty years before brought religious hatred to millions: the name we learned for them was Nazis. We heard of them at home, too: every May our fathers remembered their friends who died to defeat the Nazis.

Now the best one of America’s two major parties can offer for national office is a murderous deluded tool who prays for the day she and the GOP create their own hate machine and persecute unbelievers.

Even in third grade, I knew religion wasn’t perfect: my older cousins shared uneasy jokes about avoiding a certain Father on missionary trips to Baja. Seems the good Father enjoyed some decidedly non-missionary positions.

In the US, the Bay Area is the New Rome for many pagan groups. Just as with other faiths, one local pagan group took vigorous action to expel a leader who abused his position for sex. In contrast, the most prominent local pagan group took vigorous action to conceal theft, forgery, and embezzlement when a Witchcamp teacher and her spouse abused the campers’ trust.

Polytheists and pagans are humans, capable of all the flaws and transgressions we can read about priests of Rome and fundy pastors. In other words, pagan religious groups look and act pretty much like all the other religious groups I’ve ever worshipped in, been around, or heard of. Whatever the transcendent belief(s) may be, some of the believers will soar. Others will face-plant. "Those" pagans in the SF Gate article on Samhain are "us". No better, no worse.

Yet Sister Sarah Palin wants to single out the pagans and witches among us — our neighbors –for persecution. Over at Talk2Action, Bruce Wilson looks at a real horror show in his piece Imagining a Witchcraft-Fighting Vice-President.

Bruce asks a great question, but I’m still stuck on another Halloween nightmare: How did America end up with a Constitutional apostate on a "mainstream" party’s ticket?

I’d be tempted to say Divine punishment for religious persecution of the First Peoples, but pagans don’t believe in "original sin" or "divine punishment".

"You find magic from your God: we find magic everywhere"

Dar Williams

Bright blessings – and blessed be.