Religious incitement to hatred and blood libel targets Witchcamp 2018
Recent headlines concerning a Facebook announcement of plans by Christians to protest a public Samhain ritual organised for Saturday, October 27 at the Market Park Pavilion in Athens, Tennessee, by local Archdruid Angela Wilson, has evoked much reaction on both sides of the religious divide.
South African Pagans are not insulated from this kind of ‘Christian-right’ religious intolerance. A local event, Witchamp 2018, organised by High Priestess and founder of Coven of the Crossroads, Leanne Middleton, is being targeted by Andries Steyn and his Apostolic Voice to the Nations ministry.
In a Facebook post dated October 19, Steyn warns his followers that “satanists” will be gathering this October in celebration of Halloween to offer blood sacrifices (including human sacrifices) as blood covenants to “satan”.
He concludes “…they each only operate in assignments satan gives them, highly order in kingdom for sure….even the new brides get their assignments, example to get into churches and destroy the pastor ect….Theyre highly organized.” (sic)
[Edit: this page was removed by Steyn shortly after being notified of this article.]
Steyn then shares an advert for Witchcamp 2018 beneath his article, with a comment above it. Translated from Afrikaans, the comment reads “Randfonteiners, This is shocking!! How on earth can such an event take place in your home town? Take action now!”
It should be completely unnecessary for Pagans to have to explain that they are not Satanists, that neither Pagans nor Satanists perform blood sacrifices, and that Pagans attending the event will be celebrating Beltane (in the southern hemisphere), not Samhain (Halloween).
The blood libel indirectly targeted at Witchcamp 2018 and its Pagan participants by Steyn, constitutes unlawful incitement to hatred on religious grounds. The defamation is not only offensive, it is plainly intolerant fiction concocted by Steyn’s own fear and abject ignorance of minority faiths, their beliefs and practices, in South Africa.
The organisers of Witchcamp 2018 would like to assure participants and visitors that security measures have been prepared for any protest action against the event, which is being hosted on secure private property, and that local police will be alerted to any trouble, should any arise. Leanne Middleton says “I will not hide. We are protected by the Gods.”
Tanya Walker, the author of the original Penton promotional article on Witchcamp 2018, commented in response to this article “The continued targeting of and incitement of hatred towards other religious groups, is causing a trend of absolute intolerance within the youth and communities in South Africa. Slander and misinformation seems to be the current weapon of choice. A call to arms based on unfounded understandings of religious practice should be addressed on a legal basis and all parties partaking therein should be held fully accountable for their actions. This is not the democratic South Africa we all long for, where each are allowed to express their opinions and have their own feelings and beliefs. I feel that religious leaders like this who conspire amongst their believers should be held to task on their actions.”