Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Burning Witches

1533 account of the execution of a witch charged with burning the town of Schiltach in 1531.

Burning witches ... or putting them on trial is not just a thing of the past.
This week, I am going to take a look at the historic witch trials in Salem, but let's take a look at what's going on right now. Here are some news items from last month.

From the Bay Area News Group on May 15, 2009. Two women were arrested for ritual sacrifice of chickens. Here is what one professor at Berkeley had to say about it:
"Rory Little, a San Rafael resident and law professor at the University of California, Hastings, said religious belief is usually not a defense for a "generally applicable crime," but that the issue gets more complicated based on the specifics of the case.

'It's a controversial area,' he said. 'It is not a simple question.'

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that animal sacrifice is a constitutionally protected religious freedom in a Florida case involving practitioners of Santeria, a blend of Catholicism and African and Caribbean faiths."
Read the whole article here.

From ABC News and Nightline on May 22, 2009. They visited the Congo where poor children are suspected of using witchcraft. Pastors are exploiting the villagers by taking money for exorcising the children. Unfortunately, the government is doing nothing to protect these children. See the video here.

When I went to search for that video, I found that it wasn't the first time in the past year that ABC News had covered the issue. For more witch burning, see this video about a young man who tried to burn his teacher who he accused of being a "witch" in Detroit last year.

Also, last March, in this video a woman was attacked in India after being accused of using witchcraft.

These are just a few modern day examples of witchcraft on trial. Tomorrow, we return to Salem for the infamous witch trials.

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