Date: 15 Mar 1998
Dr. Victor is my hero! <g> _Satanic Panic_ is one of the few books I can point to that significantly changed my life. I was going to school in Ithaca, NY when the Jamestown panic hit. We didn't experience a full-scale panic, but I got a small taste of what the hysteria would be like.
And I didn't get it. I was studying the Burning Times day in and day out, and I didn't recognize its kissing cousin when it started bubbling up around me. I did a longer post on it, which I think is in the libraries. But basically I was so caught up with the terminology ("These are about Satanists and Witches aren't Satanists.") that I missed what people were actually saying. I was so used to thinking that the Burning Times were about what They did to Us that it never occurred to me that I could be one of Them. Until I read Dr. Victor's book, and its brief chapter on the similarities between the Burning Times and modern Satanic panics.
>>Meanwhile, the *proven* cases (Jim Jones, the Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate) base their teachings on Biblical/Christian theology.<<
The funny thing is, some people will still try to turn these folks into "Witches". I used to work for a Pentacostal woman, a very, very devout fundamentalist. During Waco she came over to my desk, shaking her head, and said, "I don't understand how you can follow this man."
"Huh???" I said. "I'm not a Branch Davidian."
"David Koresh is a Satanist," she said. "Like you."
"I am a Witch, not a Satanist," I replied. For the millionth time. "David Koresh is not a Witch. He's a Christian. Like you." This precipitated the great "Who Owns David Koresh?" debate. I didn't get anywhere with my boss. Her reasoning was, David Koresh may call himself a Christian, but because he doesn't believe what I believe he's a Satanist, which makes him a member of Jenny's religion. But a lot of other people chimed in, and I got to do some good public relations work for Wicca. Nobody else had any problem seeing that Koresh's beliefs developed out of Christianity, not Paganism.
I laugh now, but in some ways it's not amusing. My boss believed that anyone who thought differently was demonically inspired. How do you deal with that? After a couple years I decided that you don't. There are some people who are not rational, who're going to demonize anyone they disagree with. All you can do is make sure other people are aware of their prejudices, so that they don't appear more rational than they really are. When you point out that many of these "experts" consider Catholics, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses "Satanists", listeners get more skeptical when they start talking about Satanists sacrificing babies.