I was browsing online media this New Year’s day and this article in the Wall Street Journal struck me as profound. Read the pdf here.
Pardoning someone 400 years after the fact seems more about virtue signaling than making anything right after all this time. Wouldn’t it be more virtuous to look at the situation back then, the fears in society, the religious and political backdrops, and then possibly learn something. What redeeming value is it to simply apologize for a mistake made by others who are no longer alive?
Ah, now I see the pattern. This is just one more play in the social justice game. Being “woke” about things like this now makes us appear to be “with it” and virtuous. But, have we learned anything in the process? Can we see how to prevent the next round of witch hunts … or worse yet, are we actively participating in or are we complicit by our passive natures to others who are on another form of witch hunt?
So, I decided to take a quick look at how society has defined witches and their activities and without surprise you read that these individuals in many cases were counter-societal agents. However, more often than not, people who seemed preoccupied with the “occult” or some other form of spiritual connection with “demonic” insights or actions were condemned by all the world’s major religions. You can see this battle within the Bible literature itself, especially in the accounts of the battles between Yahweh and Baal and others.
I am still not satisfied with all this seemingly obvious logic that witches are evil. My mother had an almost supernatural instinct about people she met. My father called her a witch because she could read them like a book. This was extremely helpful to my father in his business dealings. She was never wrong. I know people even today who will go to people who claim to have a connection to this dimension of life when they lose a child or even when they face a major decision in their lives. This form of divination is of course condemned in almost all modern religions.
But, I really wonder whether we are still too lazy here. The play Wicked illustrates that we must be careful when we take the easy road to define good and evil. As the Wizard points out so eloquently in the song Wonderful:
A man’s called a traitor – or liberator. A rich man’s a thief – or philanthropist.
Is one a crusader – or ruthless invader? It’s all in which label is able to persist.
There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities, so we act as though they don’t exist.
It is all about which label is able to persist, isn’t it?
My other blogs point out the dangers of labels … they are the lazy persons language of judgment.
But, we are not to judge … certainly not defining someone as a witch.
So, my woke friends out there … please stop your judgements … I am not a racist.
And, if you are trying to clean house, why not come to grips with the atrocious misdeeds of the past in the name of religion. I think it would be pretty easy for a modern reader to see the crusades as a form of mass witchcraft.
We really need to learn to walk humbly as we seek justice and peace for this new year.