Atheist websites are often refuges of sanity in the insane theocratic maelstrom we are in at present, particularly for those of us who don’t believe in invisible sky gods and think “spiritualism” is the same BS in different drag.
There is an absolutely brilliant piece over at Atheist Oasis: http://atheistoasis.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/gay-is-the-new-witch-the-christian-persecution-of-gay-americans/
by Ray Garton
Witches were a big problem back in the old days. They were everywhere. Throughout the Middle Ages and in Early Modern Europe, witches were nothing but trouble. Some of your cattle have died? Witches. Problems with your well? Witches. Political unrest? Social problems? People acting up and not behaving the way they should? You’ve got witches! The problem was not confined to Europe. It occurred in the colonies, as well. A witch hunt in New England from 1648 to 1663 resulted in the successful executions of 13 women and two men. During the famous Salem witch trials of 1692, 140 people were accused of witchcraft, 19 witches were hanged, one was pressed to death under rocks, and as many as 13 died in prison.
Were the people who were charged, imprisoned and executed guilty of the satanic shennanigans of which they were accused? Of course not. These were people who simply had been accused of being witches by people who were superstitious, vengeful, paranoid, mentally ill, mean and hateful, or just didn’t like them — or all of the above. “Witch” was a catch-all accusation that could not be refuted. How do you prove that you’re not a witch? More importantly, why the hell should you have to? The accused who immediately confessed to witchcraft and succumbed to the religious and political authorities — which were pretty much the same thing — had a good chance of surviving if they were properly repentant. But those who adamantly denied being witches and insisted they had rights … well, those folks were screwed. The people who were out to punish witches in Salem were, of course, not on speaking terms with the facts. Or with reality.
Many people think the days of witch hunts are behind us. They are mistaken. Oh, we don’t call them witch hunts anymore because here in the United States, nobody thinks witches are a widespread problem. I’m not saying people don’t still believe in the kind of witches who cast spells and cavort with Satan, because many do. There’s even a candidate for the United States Senate who has felt the need to assure Americans that she is not a witch. That’s because there are still a lot of people who are not on speaking terms with the facts. Or with reality. People like that need people to hate, to punish. They need people to bully. In the Year of Our Spaghetti Monster 2010, we’ve got no shortage of bullies.
17-year-old Eric Mohat of Mentor, Ohio, was a quiet, sensitive, funny boy who played the piano, was involved in theater and enjoyed Harry Potter books, video games and anime. Throughout high school, Eric was bullied without mercy by other kids who called him “fag,” “queer,” “gay” and “homo.” His mother said he had never identified himself as gay, but he was smart, into music and theater and wore bright clothes. The bullies at school added all that together and came up with “gay.” He complained to teachers, who would change the seating arrangement in class to get him away from the bullies, but nothing more. As a result, Eric was bullied even more for being a snitch. The school’s attitude, according to Eric’s mother, was “they are just being kids, boys are just being boys.”