In the November 14 issue of The Columbia County News-Times, the column by Rev. Louis Sheldon (Harry Potter: Benign fantasy, or witchcraft indoctrination?) deeply hurt and enraged me. After quite some time contemplating a response, I knew in my heart that it needed to be as positive and informed as possible.
I spent several days researching the books and authors that Sheldon either quoted or paraphrased. I found no information on either Daniel Spencer or his book Gay and Gaia: Ethics, Eco-logy and the Erotic. I did find reference to Dr. Peter Jones and his book Spirit Wars: Pagan Revival in Christian America. However, the information I found was that, although it was published in 1995, it is now out of print.
The only book that I was able to locate was The Sacrament of Abortion, written by Ginette Paris. I also found that she is a professor (a fact not acknowledged by Sheldon), whose concern is social psychology rather than religion.
Had Sheldon thoroughly researched Wiccan beliefs, he would have found many books on the subject by very knowledgeable practitioners of the craft. Instead, he opted to mislead readers by lumping together everything he sees as evil. His attack was hate-filled, ignorant and bigoted.
The most assinine assumption made by Sheldon, that witches also believe in abortion as a sacred act, is not only false, but venomous as well. By making that statement, he misleads the reader by combining a feminist ethics-based argument with the craft.
Within the craft, all life is valued as sacred. Practitioners approach life as wondrous, joyful and filled with a sense of humor. I have been a follower of the Wiccan path for more than a decade, and, as the mother of a 2year-old, I assure you that the most sacred act I have ever been a part of was the birth of my son. As Starhawk explains so eloquently in her book The Spiral Dance, Love for all life in all forms is the basic ethic of witchcraft. The craft demands responsibility of all as expressed in the saying what you send, returns three times over.
Sheldon also portrayed witchcraft as advocating homosexuality. I believe, as do other pagans, that I have no place to judge or condemn a person, or group of people, for being true to themselves and being honest and open about who they are. Homosexuality is not taught or learned through the craft. Pagans represent both sexes, both sexual preferences, all ages, and many cultures....
Finally, Sheldon (as well as all others attempting to vilify a belief system which differs from yours), the Harry Potter books and movie are fantasy. And, as a fan of the series, I spiritedly applaud the author, J.K. Rowland, for instilling in children (and adults) a desire to read again!
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