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Recently, we have been receiving many Emails from people with questions about Wicca. Most seem to come from young women. Two appear below, with our responses.

We will add more as they arrive.

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I am a Wiccan. How do I convince my boss/teacher/parent that it is OK?

Incoming Email: "My parents are Southern Baptists. Their pastor has mentioned Wicca several times in sermons, describing it as an evil religion -- a form of Satanism -- whose followers commit themselves to committing immoral and criminal acts. How do I convince them that it is not any of these things?"

We receive many letters like this from Wiccans and people interested in Wicca who are having difficulty with parents, their employer, teachers, spiritual adviser, etc.

This is not an easy task for two reasons:

  1. Wicca has been the victim of a great deal of religious propaganda; Wiccans have long been associated with performing evil, immoral, and criminal deeds. The Christian Church created an imaginary, nonexistent religion back in the late Middle Ages. It was made up of "Witches" who worshiped Satan, killed infants and boiled the bodies for potions, and committed themselves to a life of evil. On the order of 50,000 people were tried for heresy and witchcraft starting in the 15th century CE and lasting until 1792 CE in Europe. Tens of thousands were executed in what is often called "The Burning Times." Those mass murder and crimes against humanity left a permanent mark on the culture. Many people now associate present-day Wiccans with fictional stories about these "witches" from long ago. Some conservative denominations still teach this fiction as fact today. This problem is gradually fading as more people become aware of what Wicca teaches, and as increasing numbers of Wiccans come out of the closet and discuss their religion openly.
  2. Many Christians believe that there are only two extremely powerful spiritual forces in the universe: God and Satan. Some Fundamentalist and other religious conservatives believe that if a person does not worship the Christian Trinity, then they must be worshiping Satan. They are, by definition, Satanists. Thus, all other religions, and perhaps even some Christian denominations, are viewed as forms of Satanism. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims - in fact perhaps 65% of the world's population are Satanists. To these Christians, the term "Satanist" is simply a synonym for "non-Christian," or "non-Judeo-Christian." Some might also include as Satanists: Mormons, Unificationists, and other persons who consider themselves to be Christian. 

    This belief is largely based on a few biblical passages which imply that the gods of other religions are actually Satan or his demons. 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 is the most often cited. It says: "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."

Your task is essentially to reeducate people with the truth about Wicca and other Neopagan religions. Some useful helps are:

bulletAn essay for school teachers by Suzanne "Cecylyna" Egbert.
bulletA book by the U.S. Army called: "Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains." 1 It helps army chaplains deal with soldiers in their group who follow minority religions. It includes fairly accurate essays on Wicca, Satanism and many other small faith groups. It is rather expensive; it costs $30.00 US from Amazon.com the last time that we checked. However, it might be available through your public library. They might keep it in their collection or may be able to order it on an inter-library loan.

But when dealing with individuals who believe that all the non-Christian religions in the world -- Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Wicca, Druidism, etc. -- are forms of Satanism, no dialog will probably be possible. After all, the Bible seems to imply that non-Christian faiths are all worshiping Satan. For those conservative Christians who believe that God inspired the authors of the Bible to write error-free text, and who believe that the entire Bible is inerrant, no argument will probably be successful. To them, Wicca is Satanism, by definition.

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Can I be both a Wiccan and a Roman Catholic?

Incoming Email: "Hello, We are a couple of Roman Catholic girls who are wondering if we could become Wiccans. We want to know if it is alright to become Wiccan and keep our Catholic religion too."

Our response: We have written an essay which describes how some people have successfully blended Wicca with their version of Christianity. If you hold very liberal Christian beliefs, then the two faiths can be harmonized, with some struggle. However, it is very difficult for Roman Catholics to do this, without bending their Christian faith totally out of shape. Wicca and Roman Catholicism teach very different beliefs about life after death; the nature of deity; moral codes; ethics; rituals; intermediaries between the individual and deity; seasonal days of celebration; the role of women in the church, family and the rest of society; attitudes towards people with minority sexual orientations; and probably a few hundred other topics.

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My parent won't let me investigate Wicca:

Incoming Email: I am a 14 year old teen. My mother is upset at me because I want to buy a book on Wicca. She is a Christian and believes that Wicca is a form of evil witchcraft. I am a Christian too, but feel that I don't have to limit myself to a single religion. I feel torn between a desire to study Wicca and being honest with my mother. What can I do.

Our response: Your options are limited, mainly because of your age. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child expresses the principle that teens should have some religious freedom to deviate from their parent's religion(s). But, alone among all of the national governments in the world, the U.S. has refused to ratify the convention. In the U.S., teens under the age of 18 are under almost total control of their parents: physically and spiritually.

Many Christians are opposed to Wicca because they misunderstand its nature and confuse it with the Satan-worshiping "Witchcraft" of the Middle Ages. They don't realize that it is a benign, Earth-centered religion. We have an essay that introduces Wicca to school teachers that might be helpful to show your mother.

Most conservative followers of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other monotheistic religions are exclusivist in belief: they believe that theirs is the only truly valid religion, and that all other religions are generally false. However, some more liberal followers of these religions hold inclusive or pluralist beliefs towards other faith groups. They generally feel that there is some merit in all religions. Some of the latter believe that it is quite possible for a person to follow elements from two or more religions. Following two or three spiritual paths is quite common in some countries, like Japan. We have an essay about people who regard themselves as being both Wiccan and Christian.

If you want to pursue an interest in Wicca, you could ask your parent for permission to read some Wiccan books in your public library. In most libraries, you don't have to have a membership card to read books on the premises. You could also ask your parent if you could contact a fellow Wiccan in your area. The Witches' Voice has a section for teens called "Young Pagan Contacts" at: http://www.witchvox.com   You need to approach these contacts with care. There is always the possibility that a person or group may misrepresent themselves in the listing. A person describing themselves as a 13 year old might actually be a 40 year old predator! We recommend that you proceed cautiously and make the first meeting in a public location, like a mall. Witches' Voice at http://www.witchvox.net/  has listings for covens as well. However, most covens will not accept trainees who are under the age of 18.

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Do Wiccans harm others?

Incoming Email: "Your essays say that Wiccans don't use their powers to harm others. We have two friends that call themselves Wiccans, who say that they practice black magic. One of them told us that he had summoned his girlfriend to Hell. She also says she is a Wiccan and does black magic. Is this possible? We want to become Wiccans because it appeals to us, but we don't want to harm people either."

Our response: One widespread problem with religions is that there are often no universally accepted meanings to common religious words. We have seen the term "Christian" defined in such a way that fewer than 1% of North American adults could be considered Christian; others define it much more inclusively, so that about 75% of the population is viewed as Christian. Anybody can call themselves a Christian. Anybody can call themselves a Wiccan. There are no religious police out there (yet) enforcing any rules.

The two individuals that you mention appear to be following what we call "Gothic Satanism" This is a belief system created by the Christian church near the end of the Middle Ages. It didn't existed in reality; it only existed in the minds of some Christians. It involved people who were thought to believe in Hell; who worshipped Satan and sold their souls to him; and who devoted their lives to killing babies, calling up storms to destroy crops, and performing other evil acts. They never really existed in ancient times. But the entire "Witch Burning" tragedy was based on these beliefs. Some modern-day teens have adopted this pseudo-religion. Some might refer to themselves as Wiccans. But, in our opinion, the students that you mention cannot legitimately be called Wiccans for a number of reasons:

bulletThe concept of eternal torture in Hell after death does not form a part of any Wiccan group that we have heard of. It is found in conservative Christianity, Islam and a few other religions.
bulletThe essence of Wicca is the Wiccan Rede which is often expressed as: "An it harm none, do what thou wilt." In modern English, this is : "Do whatever you wish as long as it harms no one." Thus, Wiccans don't issue curses. They are prohibited from doing harm to others through domination, manipulation and control.
bulletAn integral belief of almost all Wiccans is the Three-Fold Law: "All good that a person does to another returns three-fold in this life; harm is also returned three-fold." A Wiccan who believes in this law would obviously not attempt to harm another person, because they would risk being much more seriously harmed when the universe retaliates upon them.

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  1. U.S. Department of the Army, "Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains," University Press of the Pacific, (2001). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. It received a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 by three reviewers.

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Copyright � 2002 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First created 2002-NOV-7
Latest update: 2004-APR-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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