Things That Make You Join N.O.W.

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In between campaigning against contraception and accusing Starbucks of "promoting the homosexual agenda," the perpetually Concerned Women for America have found some free time to unearth the dark truth about feminists: They're witches. Explains the CWA press release:

According to the Religion Journal, youth ministers in the Southern Baptist Church are concerned about the increasing number of evangelicals who are dabbling in Wicca. This influence echoes the growing popularity of Wicca among feminists (some even call themselves witches). Over the past decade, as religious feminists have become enchanted with the pagan goddesses, Wicca has moved more mainstream.

Whole thing here.

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  1. Evangelical wiccans? Oh, great. “The trees in your front yard want you to stop touching yourself.”

  2. Crap. Busted. I shall be punished threefold for this.

  3. I’ve said it before: Evangelicals desperately need to experience some REAL persecution.

  4. Alkali: That’s only because the trees want some action.

  5. While I disagree with most of the organization’s agenda (especially the political stuff), this seems like a legitimate area of interest for an organization with its roots in conservative religious beliefs and practices. It seems to have become trendy among many young women (particularly those who have chosen to be liberal politically) to dabble in Wicca. It seems that this article is merely talking about a very reasonable concern about Christian women that women who grew up in churches might be “finding” this pagan religion through their political affiliations with feminists. That seems like a legitimate theological/spiritual concern, so I can’t see what there is to object to, especially from a libertarian point of view.

    I certainly can’t find much to agree with CWA about, but I can’t see that this is out of line for them. (Somebody SHOULD teach the writer of the organization’s press release that there’s no such thing as the “Southern Baptist Church,” though. It’s the Southern Baptist Convention.)

  6. With its theme ?? ?If it harms none, do what you will? ?? Wicca appeals to postmodern thinkers. But Wicca is not Biblical.

    No , but it sounds almost libertarian.

  7. Off topic-

    Jeff, was that your letter in this morning’s comicscape?

  8. And besides, while in the Bible, most things fun aren’t considered “Biblical” by those types.

  9. David-No one is questioning the group’s right to say silly things. We’re just pointing out that they are silly.

  10. Can I be the one to punish smacky threefold?

    πŸ˜‰

  11. Steven,

    Get in line, bub.

  12. When I find myself in times of trouble
    Those chicks from NOW, they come to me
    Speaking words of Wicca
    “Blessed be.”

  13. I never know who’s the worst of the lot: the tree-hugging goddess worshippers, the invisible god with the split personality worshippers, the holy rock worshippers, the failed economic theory worshippers, or the cow worshippers.

    But I love it when they display their intellects in these little tiffs.

  14. Number 6:

    But what about THIS concern is silly (espeecially from a political point of view)? It’s a spiritual/theological concern, so what makes that an issue for a political-oriented site? Are we going to start seeing posts bashing Orthodox Jews’ concerns about Jews marrying outside their religion? Bashing Hindus for being concerned that some of their members are being lured to “false” religions? And even if some people might see these sort of concerns as “silly,” what does it have to do with the political/philosophical orientation of Reason? Does it mean that religious beliefs are now going to be considered anti-libertarian? It seems to me that it smacks of the notion that you can’t be libertarian if you’re also a theologically conservative Christian. And since the post was headlined with the comment about things like this making a person want to join NOW, it’s clearly being posted in a political context, not theological.

    For that reason, it just doesn’t seem appropriate here to me. Of course, I’m not the one in charge, so my opinion doesn’t count much. πŸ™‚

  15. “the tree-hugging goddess worshippers, the invisible god with the split personality worshippers, the holy rock worshippers, the failed economic theory worshippers, or the cow worshippers.”

    you forgot the worst one:

    the Noam-Chomsky-Blow-Up-Doll Humpers.

    would this be the time to remind everybody to check out Happytreefriends.com?

    plus, trees need lovin’: they have a perpetual woodie…….

  16. alkali:

    Thanks, I nearly wet myself laughing.

    I thought it was interesting (though not terribly surprising) that the “article” didn’t mention the most obvious allure of paganism for women: their religion doesn’t treat them like children. Of course, if Evangelicals change their attitude towards women, then Satan has already won.

    D.

  17. The CWA press release makes Wicca seem very reasonable. Drop all the spiritual shit and they have a damn fine religion. More women should drop their current religions and switch to Wicca – or at least adopt their policy of promoting sexual freedom and sexual experimentation.

  18. what makes that an issue for a political-oriented site?

    And y’know, this isn’t even the first time a Reason staffer has violated his or her solemn oath to not blog about anything not strictly political. We can only hope someone high in the Reason hierarchy will start cracking down on this obvious breach of allowable blog subject matter.

  19. Are we going to start seeing posts bashing Orthodox Jews’ concerns about Jews marrying outside their religion? Bashing Hindus for being concerned that some of their members are being lured to “false” religions?

    My guess is “no,” since Hindus and orthodox Jews don’t have close ties to the crop of politicians curretly leading our country. Evangelical Christians do, so as much as I’d like to ignore them entirely, the fact remains that they DO have the potential to seriously impact my life in this country, whereas the Hindus and Jews do not.

  20. David M,
    I think it’s on the site because organizations like CWA (and their non-Christian counterparts) try to find political solutions to their non-political problems. Like outlawing wicca or something equally wacky. There’s equal opportunity for sacred-cow grilling here.

  21. Fyodor:

    The problem is that this attitude among MANY libertarians keeps Christians (and maybe those of other religions) from adopting libertarian beliefs. There’s nothing in Christian theology to keep people from becoming libertarians, but it’s impossible to recruit among church groups when this sort of anti-religious attitude exists so strongly among libertarians. So blasting this group for the wrong reasons, from a political point of view, is counter-productive to what I think a libertarian-oriented group is supposed to be about.

    Jennifer:

    I have NO problem with blasting evangelical groups for misguided political activity. That’s not my concern here. The problem is that a libertarian political blog is blasting a religious organization for having religious concerns. I’d be VERY happy if the group confined itself to religious things and quit messing in politics. As I made clear, I don’t like the organization, but attacking them for THIS position seems to be anti-religion in general, which I think is a very bad idea for any libertarian-oriented organization.

  22. Randolph:

    If there were any indication that the press release from CWA were calling for Wicca to be outlawed, I’d agree that it’s fully appropriate here. But there’s no indication that that’s the case. (I haven’t read the full press release, but I assume such a position would have been mentioned here.) So it still comes back to a Christian group whose political positions we don’t like being blasted for its spritual/theological concerns. And that doesn’t make sense to me in this context.

  23. Well, David,

    The publication *is* called REASON , so perhaps organizations that fly in the face of rational thought (such as this) are categorized by many as mockery free-for-alls. (Just a shot in the dark.)

  24. David-

    Obviously people of any religion have the right to express concern whenever their members join another religion, and obviously they should have the right to discuss that and do whatever non-violent, voluntary, and non-coercive things they want, yadda yadda yadda.

    That said, the practice of Wicca strikes me as kind of dopey but hardly anything to get upset about. There’s no real relationship between the self-described witches of today (who mostly worship trees) and the malevolent witches of fiction (who cast spells and worshipped the devil).

    Honestly, as a practicing Christian I just can’t find any reason to be upset about Wiccans, other than that they seem kind of dopey. I mean, yeah, the Bible condemns witchcraft, but I always thought that was in reference to people with darker practices and aspirations, not some people who go around saying that they love trees and the earth is their mother.

    So I say everybody should go ahead and mock the Christians who feel threatened by Wicca. And mock the Wiccans too, if they seem kind of silly.

    See, I just mocked the Wiccans and the Christians. Hopefully they won’t find common cause and come after me.

  25. I just hope the Wiccans don’t turn me into a newt!

    Oh, sure, I’ll get better, but still.

  26. Smacky, with an attitude like this — which seems to be that any position which doesn’t agree with “mine” is irrational — it’s no wonder libertarians aren’t attracting converts. I used to be a vice chair of a state LP, and I was frustrated by the fact that a bunch of smart people couldn’t understand that their mission was to find and organize the people who agreed with them on a set of core political principles, NOT to show everyone how smart they were or how right they were about non-political issues. If you ridicule everyone who disagrees with you (even on non-political points), you’ll end up with a tiny group with no influence who end up talking to themselves for the most part. Come to think of it, that sounds like most libertarian groups I know of, sadly.

  27. No real comment on this subject, just using this as my own personal space for a moment.

    I just returned from Ecuador. I see you guys haven’t fixed the country yet. I was hoping …

    Ecuadorian mysteries:

    1) Why do they love Che? They do, they really do. Still.

    2) Why do they love Nescafe? Everyone in Ecuador drinks instant. It makes no sense. It’s like Texas cattle ranchers preferring Spam.

    Ponderous things.

  28. David McElroy,

    While this article may not endorse legislating against Wicca, the CWFA is a political action group so we should be able to criticze some of their reasoning.

    Read through the list of things that are seen as problems with Wicca, eliminate the spiritual stuff, and what you’re left with will sound like libertarian policies.

  29. The truth is that many libertarians are anti-religion in general, especially Christian religions. It’s one of those things they have in common with Democrats. But as Jennifer pointed out, it’s quickly becomming impossible (moreso than ever before)to separate Christianity from our government. It’s one thing to be a religious politician and quite another to be politically religious.

    As to the topic, I think this quote from the CWA site pretty much says it all.

    We are the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich 25-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.

    Regardless of one’s feelings about religion in general, I think a press release from an organization dedicated to influencing public policy is fair game.

  30. David McElroy,

    Well, now you’ve moved the target to the perennial question of who’s fault it is that libertarianism isn’t more popular. Two points. One, in line with my previously stated (albeit through sarcasm) point, I’ve never seen any indication that the point of this blog is to maximize libertarian recruitment. It seems to be for the staffers to spew about whatever the hell they feel like spewing. Second (and this isn’t entirely unrelated; but then, what is?), who’s to say that worrying about offending people is necessarily better for recruitment than speaking your mind, anyway? Truth is, religious people who wanted to “join” the libertarian movement (such as it is) would have to face the fact sooner or later that many libertarians are hostile to religion. And of course, vice versa. Spew away, I say. If what someone here seems dumb, then let’s say it’s dumb. Personally, I sure don’t care if it’s “appropriate.”

  31. I used to be a vice chair of a state LP

    OK, I do see your point. You’re out there trying to recruit people and your supposed allies are shooting their mouths off. That’s a fair concern.

    Thing is, I don’t think the left and the right worry about that. There are kooky websites on the left and right, and neither party seems too bent out of shape over it. Oh, they might not want the more colorful elements of those forums to be their public faces at campaign events (then again…), but how many in either party view those websites as their party’s Achilles Heel?

    Of course, small parties do face a different set of concerns. But, honestly H&R seems a pretty welcoming place all things considered. The only person who ever gets upset over my religious beliefs is crimethink :-> (I’m not Catholic enough for him πŸ˜‰

  32. CWA is absolutely right here; the increasing rejection of the ancient “God is Male, Male is God” lie, even by politically conservative evangelical women, really is a threat to the established patriarchal systems (religious, political, and social).

    It’s sort of like 60s segregationists saying that Martin Luther King, Freedom Riders, and mixed-race marriages were a threat to their way of life. Yes, they were. ha ha.

  33. For anyone curious, required reading:

    Why Wiccans Suck

  34. to be honest, i’ve had less people flip out over reading stuff at reason that i’ve sent to them than almost anything else, if only because it tends to be somewhat middle of the roady (or such an outlier that it seems novel)

  35. I used to be a vice chair of a state LP, and I was frustrated by the fact that a bunch of smart people couldn’t understand that their mission was to find and organize the people who agreed with them

    That post was not visible when I posted my last post.

    Seems like you’re projecting your own personal issues over past experiences.

    I can understand and sympathize with your frustrations with the LP. But as a smart person yourself, you will probably have to accept that the mission of Reason Magazine (and more to the point, this blog) and of the LP are not necessarily one and the same. So it goes.

  36. thoreau writes:

    I just hope the Wiccans don’t turn me into a newt!

    Some people just can’t accept constructive criticism.

  37. This seems like the best place to post this:

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200508300007

    End Times Fundie Slap Fight!

  38. Regarding the Starbucks controversy: I love how discussing gayness in anything but the most virulent, condemning terms is somehow taken as “advancing the homosexual agenda.” I think we know where all those nutcase anti-Communist types went…

  39. Jin:

    good call.
    “I love how discussing XXX in anything but the most virulent, condemning terms is somehow taken as ‘advancing the XXX agenda.'”

    or hating america.
    or wanting the terrorists to win.
    or being anti muslim.
    or being anti environment.
    or being a nazi.
    or being anti christian.
    or BEING ANTI CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!

    dammit, man. THAT’S what it’s about.

    aw hell. Osama is probably the bartender by now.

  40. Since I’ve already made my position clear, I don’t want to waste my time or yours by continuing to re-state what I’ve already said. So I’m going to briefly respond to a couple of things and then shut up about this issue. If anybody wants to have the last word, he’s welcome to it. πŸ™‚

    I was under the impression that the Reason Foundation had a specific political agenda. If the actual agenda is to attack non-political positions which differ from those of the magazine’s staff, maybe I was mistaken.

    Thoreau, you’re correct to point out that the Democrats and Republicans can safely ignore their fringes whose opinions might chase away allies (and you’re also correct that the “rules” are different for minor parties/groups). But the issue, to me, is that this anti-religious attitude seems to be in the mainstream among libertarians. I don’t really CARE what people’s religion is if they adopt libertarian views. I’ll recruit satanists or Hindus or atheists or Catholics or whatever if it will help the cause of getting the government out of people’s lives. It just so happens that a huge group in this country that should be fertile ground for our ideas is the Christian church, just because they have so many members. To be hostile to those vast numbers of people (for reasons which have nothing to do with politics) is downright irrational, to me.

    Fyodor, I don’t know of any way to approach ANY issue other than the context of our own experiences. I might just as well say that you’re projecting YOUR personal issues about any opinion you express. Of COURSE our backgrounds are going to influence how we feel about a subject, because we’ve seen real-world examples that seem relevant to us. But am I “projecting” about something just because I’ve seen how a particular tendency tends to drive off potential allies? I can’t see that, but maybe I’m just blind. πŸ™‚ I certainly know that Reason and the LP don’t have identical missions, but I was under the impression that advocating a free society WAS the Reason Foundation’s mission, not necessarily expressing anti-religious sentiment when it has nothing to do with freedom. (Just for the record, I gave up on the LP years ago. In general, my best plan is to become wealthy enough to buy an island on which to live while the rest of the world falls apart. Some plan, huh? πŸ™‚ )

    Stretch, if it’s becoming more difficult to separate religion from government, it might make more sense to explain to religious people who aren’t yet political why they should adopt our positions, not bash them for being religious. To say that “converts” to libertarian beliefs are going to have to accept that most libertarians are anti-religious is akin to saying that blacks who want to join some organization just have to accept that white don’t like them. It might be true on some levels, but it guarantees that you’ll never find allies among the other group.

    If I’ve forgotten to address any other points made in response, it’s an oversight, not a slight against your brilliant argument. πŸ™‚

    OK. So that wasn’t as brief as I promised, but how many libertarians types even know HOW to be brief? I’ll shut up now. πŸ™‚

    If anyone is truly interested in talking about how religious people CAN be “converted” to libertarian political positions (regardless of what label is applied), you can respond by e-mail just to keep this from continuing to be an argument that covers the same points again and again. But this is my last response in this particular thread. You’re welcome to ridicule me in my absence if you’d like. πŸ™‚

  41. “You’re welcome to ridicule me in my absence if you’d like. :-)”

    Nah, David – it’s more fun if you’re here. πŸ™‚

    “but how many libertarians types even know HOW to be brief? I’ll shut up now. :-)”

    AWESOME! If you figure that one out, please let me know. Or at least tell me where I can purchase that πŸ™‚

    cheers!
    drf

  42. David McElroy, that was very nicely stated.

    I insist on having the last word here! :->

  43. Osama is probably the bartender by now.

    Yeah, but the bastard shortpours…

    (Thanks, drf)

    -JW

  44. That said, the practice of Wicca strikes me as kind of dopey but hardly anything to get upset about.

    That’s a little harsher that, but pretty close to, my view of most religions.

  45. Can I just say (and I think we can all agree on this, theist or not), that I am so glad that this thread was not titled, “Things That Make You Go Hmmm…”. I truly hate that song.

  46. David, I think what you’re failing to see is that all the people on this board are just soooo much better than these evangelicals. This discussion board exists for them to demonstrate their superiority. You’re swimming against the current!!

  47. I agree with David that “…this anti-religious attitude seems to be in the mainstream among libertarians”. I am also anti-religious. I see organized religion as a mechanism to control people, hold power over the believers, and to extract money from the believers. Religious founders and leaders exploit people’s fear of death. They are despicable con men.

    On the other hand, I welcome the support of people of all religions to the libertarian cause. We need all the help we can to get the government yoke off our necks. Libertarians do not push other people to deny or modify their faith. We might poke fun at them, but it is against our philosophy to try to change them. Deeply religious people should be very comfortable with libertarians, as we pose no threat whatsoever to their personal belief systems.

    In fact, if there are any horny Wiccans out there that want to share an intimate, hands-on discussion of these matters…..

  48. Re: joe’s link,

    Not only that, but Mr. Robertson, you are pro-life, and yet you wanted the members of the Supreme Court to die last year, and now the president of Venezuela. We believe this book: Thou shalt not kill; Exodus 20, verse 13. And my Bible says that this is wrong, and I want to challenge you right now to change your ways. Because we as Christians do not need an Osami [sic] Bin Laden leading us.

    So a fellow televangilist denounces Hitman Pat. Is this the first drop in a flood? Will Hitman Pat be ex-communicated from the Fellowship of the Rabbit Ears? Is Hitman Pat a proper nickname?

  49. I have no problems with Wiccans as long as they freak’n shave..

  50. I think I’ll wait till this thread is two weeks old and THEN post the last word!!!

    BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!

  51. fyodor,

    Ever look up a three year old Hit n Run thread? The p0rn spam will outlast you.

  52. *ahem*

    We’ll see about that, fyodor.

  53. fyodor,

    You didn’t want those kneecaps anyway, did you?
    Yes, I and Mr. Peanut will see to it.

  54. I know this is a bit late in the thread for serious discussion but….

    David,
    “It just so happens that a huge group in this country that should be fertile ground for our ideas is the Christian church, just because they have so many members. To be hostile to those vast numbers of people (for reasons which have nothing to do with politics) is downright irrational, to me.”

    The problem with this is that the Bible (old and new Testaments) quite frequently tie “God’s Laws” into the political landscape of the era. Most Judeo/Christian/Muslim followers see no problems with this, in either historical or contemporary contexts. About the only two religions I can think of that expressly forbid interference are Wicca (as hokey as it can be) and Buddhism with it’s “each person’s path is unique” motif. Neither one of course is well practiced, but at least the basic tenets are there.

    Just for the record, I personally am anti-religious in my personal life. My spouse is psudo-wiccan. I have friends of all religious persuasions, and to them I am a kook, and vice-versa. I am not hostile towards religion, I just don’t get it. But somehow, we manage to sidestep religion and get to the more important things in life, like living it.

  55. Didn’t everyone already know that “N.O.W”
    is the National Organization for Witches?

  56. Paul, good link. I sent it to my wifey. We’ve had this discussion many times about annoying goth-pagan types. Or rather, she rants to me about them a lot and I don’t get a word in edgewise.

    My life became so much fuller when I finally embraced ‘evil’. And then I married her.

  57. joe,

    Well as long as the p0rn spam agrees with my position on freedom of expression for Hit & Run bloggers, I’m down.

  58. Kwix,

    Do I understand that your position is that Christians will reject libertarian ideas because they are brainwashed beyond recovery? They are programmed to use the government to force their religious beliefs on the population at large?

    I would not give up hope. I think christian and libertarian principles are compatible. The evangelical proselytizers are the assholes that cause all the problems. Fortunately they comprise a tiny portion of religious followers. Most of the faithful are dupes. They are raised by parents who inculcate them into their religion. They never saw it coming and never had a free choice in the matter.

    Religions will thrive and propagate as long as they remain useful. Some use them for direction, some use them for refuge, some use them as a crutch, and some use them as a tool to control others. Have pity for the innocent bible thumper, but welcome him to the cause. He has nothing to gain but his freedom.

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