Saturday, October 24, 2015

Oo-oo, Witchy Woman!

If you follow my blog, you may remember that this past Easter we had protesters show up at Holy Trinity. They carried signs that said outrageous things, such as the one listing all the things people do that offend God including “pants wearing women.” Oh, my! Despite the fact that they were obnoxious and they tried really hard to ruin our Easter, most of the things they were shouting were laughable. As people were walking into the church building, the bellowing asses stood on the sidewalk spewing crazy condemnations at the top of their lungs. One of the things they wanted members of Holy Trinity to know was that their pastor is a witch!

The label did not fall on deaf ears. Members of my congregation weren’t about to forget it. I’ve been poked about being a witch on and off since Easter. In good fun, of course. So, I’ve played along with it. Tonight is our annual Halloween Party at Holy Trinity and, of course, I’m going as a witch.

This afternoon, after I had painted my fingernails black and was waiting for them to dry, I cruised through Facebook on my phone and came across a disturbing post from my friend Linda Faltin. It was all about women in Africa who are deemed witches. In the Central African Republic, as of 2010, 40% of the case load in their courts involved witches. In Tanzania it has been estimated that as many as 500 “witches” are lynched every year. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it’s been said that of the 25-50K children living on the streets of the capital, most are there because they have been accused of witchcraft. In Ghana as many as 2,000 accused witches and their dependents are confined in five different camps. Most of the inmates are destitute, elderly women who have been forced to live there for decades.
Whoa! What’s going on? Christian Fundamentalism. It’s spreading in other parts of the world. And there’s this little verse in Exodus 22 that says, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
Suddenly, the whole witch thing isn’t seeming all that funny after all. I know that here in America we also have a history of going after so-called witches. And perhaps the men who were yelling outside our church building on Easter were thinking of Exodus 22 when they called me one. Yikes!
So, now I’m going to go to this party as a witch. Damn.
I’m not going to be able to forget about the women and children who are condemned as “witches” and suffer oppression, torture and death as a result. How can I? But I am going to the party tonight in my costume as planned, and here’s what I’m going to do.
I will strut my witchy self into that party and play the part. And I will be thankful to be part of a faith community that will enjoy it. We don’t take Exodus 22 seriously. And we don’t judge people who disagree with us by labeling them “witches” or “heretics” or anything else that in some times and places could get them killed. Most of all, I’m thankful to be a part of a faith community where—should someone actually be a real live witch—we would love them anyway!

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