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The New York City Drinking Skeptically Meetup Message Board › "Saving Africa's Witch Children," Wednesday, May 26, at 8 PM, on HBO2

"Saving Africa's Witch Children," Wednesday, May 26, at 8 PM, on HBO2

Diane
DianeVera
New York, NY
Post #: 472
Learn about the efforts of African humanists and skeptics to oppose witch hunts, and to provide care for the victims. Thousands of children have been abandoned or worse -- often tortured, maimed, or killed -- on suspicion of being witches.

This week Wednesday, May 26, at 8 PM, the British documentary Saving Africa's Witch Children will be shown on HBO2.

Note that the African witch hunts are NOT purely a resurgence of indigenous African beliefs, but are also influenced by today's most rapidly-growing (worldwide) form of Christianity, the independent charismatic churches. Worse yet, there are close ties between African witch hunters and the American religious right wing. For example, Sarah Palin was "anointed" by Thomas Muthee, an African witch hunter. And their are churches here in the U.S.A. with a similar witch hunt mentality. For example, the well-known now-disgraced former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard used to brag about having driven "witches" out of town.

For more information, see:

About Sarah Palin and Ted Haggard, see:

Elaine
user 2552379
New York, NY
Post #: 323
This person's posts are trying to sound more mainstream, but a few years ago they were openly asking our support for Satanists. We got messages, which we wisely ignored, asking us to join their fight for freedom of religion. Opposing some of the same things opposed by skeptics, atheists, agnostics, etc. does not make them allies of ours.
Diane
DianeVera
New York, NY
Post #: 481
My post above was not an invitation to you to become "allies" with anyone except, perhaps, your fellow skeptics in Africa in their fight against what, from your own point of view as a skeptic, is surely one of the world's most harmful superstitions, is it not? Are you going to ignore them merely because, for whatever reason, you happen to dislike the person who happens to have brought their existence to your attention? Why is the question of who I am, or the question of how "mainstream" I do or do not sound, more important to you than the connections between some African witch hunters and some major movers and shakers here in the U.S.A.? It seems to me that the latter issue would be pretty central to the concerns of skeptics. If not, why not?

Are you actually against the civil rights of people of nonmainstream religions? I don't recall sending, to the skeptics groups, an email about "support for Satanists," specifically, although the civil rights of religious minorities, including Satanists, is indeed one of the concerns of New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry, and we also take a stand against Satanic panics, which have harmed many other people besides just Satanists.

By the way, back in the early 1990's, major humanist and skeptical periodicals such as the Skeptical Inquirer and The Humanist did publish articles against Satanic panics. And Prometheus Books, founded by Paul Kurtz, published some books against Satanic panics. Would you argue that they should not have touched that issue, even though it involved pseudo-sciences (e.g. "recovered memory" therapy and the practice, by some social workers, of asking repeated leading questions of young children) that had the effect of putting hundreds of probably-innocent people in jail?

Anyhow, I hope others here can see the significance of the issues of today's witch hunts and their context in the worldwide, explicitly theocratic-minded "apostolic and prophetic" movement among independent charismatic Christian churches.
Elaine
user 2552379
New York, NY
Post #: 324
We judge these issues on their merits, but it's hypocritical to hide your identity, activities and agendas. The artificial issues you raised in your response don't even need commenting on.
Diane
DianeVera
New York, NY
Post #: 482
The issues I raised weren't "artificial."

New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry (NYARBB) has many different "activities and agendas." NYARBB's motto -- "Whatever the religious right wing is against, we are for!" (See the many meeting topics on our Meetup site.) Do you feel that I'm somehow "hypocritical" unless I always present all of our issues every time I have anything to say about any one of our issues? If so, why?

I can see why this would matter to you if I were soliciting for memberships or money for NYARBB. But that wasn't the purpose of this thread. Its purpose wasn't even to promote a NYARBB event. NYARBB has no connection with the HBO2 documentary mentioned in the title of this thread. (I'm talking about NYARBB now only in response to your complaint about me "hiding" it, i.e. not talking about, it in my original post in this thread.)

My main aim in this thread was simply to call attention to (1) the horrors of the African witch hunts, (2) the activities of some African skeptics (with whom my group is NOT affiliated) against the witch hunts, and (3) the connections between some African witch hunters and some religious right wingers here in the U.S.A. That being the case, presenting a whole big long list of NYARBB's other "activities and agendas" -- many of which would be off-topic for a skeptics' group -- would simply have been an irrelevant distraction. Why is this even a problem for you at all, let alone somehow "hypocritical"? What's wrong with staying on-topic? Do you always present a comprehensive summary of your opinions about everything, no matter how off-topic, every time you voice your opinion about any one thing? (Obviously you don't.)

Despite your complaint that it is somehow "hypocritical" of me not to have talked about NYARBB in my original post, I rather suspect that if I did talk about NYARBB in my original post, you would have complained about that, too. It looks to me as if, in your eyes, I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. For whatever reason, you just don't like me and therefore don't want me bringing anything to your attention, no matter how on-topic and no matter how important. If indeed that's the case, then all I can say is, you're being exceedingly petty.

Anyhow, to bring this post back on topic: I hope others here can see that witch hunts are a serious issue, and likewise the connections between some African witch hunters and some leading religious right wingers here in the U.S.A.

To other readers, a suggestion: Perhaps some skeptical groups might want to consider holding a fundraiser for one or more of the secular charities (mentioned on pages linked to in my original post in this thread) that care for victims of witch hunts? It seems to me that doing so could be an excellent public relations opportunity for the skeptical community, as well as a worthy thing to do in its own right. (Note: None of the charities in question have any affiliation with NYARBB.)
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