“. . . . Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said Tuesday that authorities had identified a person of interest in the deaths of Voncile Smith, 77, Richard Smith, 49, and John Smith, 47. All three victims were struck multiple times with a claw hammer and their throats were slit. Richard Smith was also shot in his right ear. . . . Morgan said the initial investigation pointed toward some kind of “ritualistic killing”.”
I’ll be 60 years old in 2016, and I’ve been a practicing Wiccan/Pagan (Witch) since my early teens. Never once have I been taught to murder as part of our rituals, never once have I seen a murder within or resulting from a Wiccan/Pagan ritual.
Murderers (and other criminals) come in all shapes and sizes, of all faiths and no faith; however, just because a murderer may practice XYZ faith does not mean that the XYZ faith requires or encourages murder as part of its doctrine.
History shows us full-scale atrocities (genocide) and single acts of violence performed in the name of religion – the ancient Crusades (i.e., military campaigns sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church to regain “the Holy Land”), the Medieval Inquisition (i.e., that same Church having charged persons of authority with suppressing “heresy”), the banning, torturing and execution of (early) Christians by the Romans, the mass killing of Jews in Europe in 1348-49 (because it was suspected they had “poisoned” the water, thus leading to the bubonic plague), human sacrifices performed in Buddhist Burma in the 1850s, killings “for Islam” by modern terrorists against those of all faiths — including other Muslims! — whom they declare are not “Muslim” enough, Hindus against Muslims in India, civil war and killings in the name of Christianity (Ireland’s Protestants vs. Catholics), and recent deadly “witch-hunting” and “albino” killings in Africa –all are equally bad. They deprive innocent humans of their right to live.
Once Christianity was legalized, Pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mobs, and Pagan priests were slain. Between 315 and the 6th century, thousands of pagan believers were killed. Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis. Christian priests – such as Mark of Arethusa and Cyrill of Heliopolis – became famously known as “temple destroyer(s).” Pagan services became punishable by death in 356. (K.Deschner, Abermals krhte der Hahn, Stuttgart 1962.)
During the Crusades initiated by Pope Urban II, in the year 1099, it is recorded historically that the city of Jerusalem was conquered with more than 60,000 victims – Muslims and Jews, whole families including children. The archbishop of Tyre was an eyewitness. He wrote: “It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished.”
By the 1860s, “in Hawai’i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands’ native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to ‘the amputation of diseased members of the body’.” (D.Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992.)
In more modern times, New England Puritans/Christians, refugees themselves from persecution, massacred Native North Americans. Spaniards (the Conquistadors) murdered Native South Americans. (Please, let’s not even get started on Adolf Hitler [Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies].)
Even more modern? OK, how about Josef Fritzl – the “Monster of Amsterdam” – who kept his own daughter in a hidden portion of his basement for 24 years, where he raped her and had children by her? From 1984 to 2008, while this was ongoing, he held himself out to be a devout Roman Catholic. Was he, though, really? I’d have to ask a Roman Catholic, to see what he or she would say.
John Floyd Thomas Jr. – described as friendly and religious, and who was known for sending e-mails containing Scriptures, often talked about adhering to his Christian faith. He was linked to two murders of older women in the 1970s. Authorities have DNA evidence linking him to six slayings and believe he could be responsible for up to 30. He raped and killed older women during two cycles: in the 1970s in Los Angeles and in the 1980s and earned himself the nickname “The Westside Rapist.” He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 7 murders that were committed in these 2 waves of killings and sexual assaults. Did he rape and kill BECAUSE he was a Christian? No, he raped and killed in SPITE of the “fact” that he purported to be a Christian.
Is all of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. supposed to be judged by these evil people and these horrendous events? When today’s Christians, etc. are confronted with such negative history, they try their best to speedily and clearly distance themselves from such inexplicable and disgusting violence/genocide. (Let’s not even begin to discuss the allegations of Church/clergy sexual abuse, which is for another time, and another entry.)
If this criminal – the murderer of the innocent Smith family in Pensacola, Florida in late July 2015 – turns out to profess he/she is a Wiccan/Pagan, I will distance myself from him/her just as quickly and succinctly as my friends of other religions do from the all the above-mentioned criminals and past history, and I will repeat loud, long and hard that my Wiccan/Pagan faith stands firm against murder, and all acts as heinous as these.
So mote it be.