The Burning Times
The insane Christian Holocaust of blood against
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."
Exodus, 22 : 18
Exodus, 22 : 18
"He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed." Exodus, 22 : 20
I hereby present a brief study of the murderous Church-based Holocaust against innocent people who were deemed ‘Not Christian enough' for the over-enthusiastic ruling religious hierarchy during this infamous period in our history.
I offer this essential information is the name of honest debate and freedom of information.
Those who seek to bury the past are set to repeat it!
Today, Pagans and other unorthodox spiritual minorities are 'still' awaiting a genuine apology from contemporary Church leaders for the terrible and inhuman atrocities carried out by their overtly-zealous religious forefathers in the name of God!
How many victims did early Church authority actually manage to slaughter in the names of righteousness, salvation and faith?
The following information was accessed from the SAFF INFORMATION OFFICE
Figures are difficult. The Jews themselves reckon that nine million people (Jews, mentally insane, homosexuals, cripples, gypsies etc.,) perished during the Nazi Holocaust but historians have since estimated six million. That's still an awful lot of people but a three million discrepancy during a period when every person had a birth certificate and was tracked by the various states is quite a difference and shows the difficulty of estimating the effects of mass murder.
How much more difficult therefore is it to estimate executions in the 15th and 16th centuries when there was hardly any statistical bureaucracy available to confirm numbers killed and most documents which did have long-since rotted away, been mislaid or destroyed? In the first world war the British lost approximately 4 million combatants whilst the Germans lost about 3 Million - that's in direct hand-to-hand combat spanning four years with weapons of mass destruction (machine guns, mustard gas, tanks, mines, submarines, bombers, high explosives etc).
In the Second World war the combined deaths on both sides has been estimated at 5 million people, that's in six years. You have to keep in mind that the Burning Times occurred in batches lasting decades at a time and spanning nearly two hundred years, beginning with the Inquisition and upsurging again when the inventors of demonology made it a 'science' in the 16th century.
Of course plenty of people were killed randomly by ecclesiastical courts from 1254 onwards when Pope 'innocent' IV made it legal to accept allegations of witchcraft ‘without’ corroborative evidence.
It is impossible to get a final figure whichever way you look at it.
In his excellent Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Russell Hope Robbins gives very quick comparative examples of executions for witchcraft. For example, just one Inquisitor at one place, Como in Italy, executed 1,000 'witches' in one year. As the craze spread like a disease from village to village the witch hunters would set up shop and burn as many from that village as possible. In three small villages situated near Cologne which had a combined population of 300 people, between 125 and 150 people were executed for 'witchcraft' in a five year period. That's nearly 50% of the population in a five year period and it wasn't unusual in Germany and France and Italy for the same to occur.
Obviously the main promoter of this constant long-term homicide were the parish priests whose loyalty to Mother Church was rated on how many 'witches' they rid the locality of. A month without any burnings could be seen as suspicious and cause the priest himself to be accused!
Accurate statistics based on documentary evidence are rare but Remy alone boasted that he had burned 900 people in a ten year period. Because the church required witch burnings to be an aversion entertainment the victims were not, unlike in the gas chambers, killed quickly en-mass. Every few days four or five victims would be publicly burned or hanged. Remember also that everyone who was executed went through the torture process first and this could take several days or more; so the 'ritual killing of witches' was a progressive event.
Consider also that, even in pitched battles between armies, there was no effective means of mass-destruction of human life at the time so wars were fought with considerably less dead resulting than would happen today, which makes the number of innocent victims in the Witch Hunts even more pertinent.
The witch-hunters could not speed up the process much, but imagine every small village burning six or so women every week for a decade and you begin to see how the big figures can build up.
Some CONSERVATIVE authorities claim that over 100,000 people were executed for witchcraft in Germany alone in one of the gluts of witch-mania which lasted perhaps 30 years.
There is a distinct possibility therefore that that figure could be multiplied by a factor of four and duplicated in all European countries to cover the two hundred years span of the burning times.
Additionally, many witch-hunters were in it purely for the cash and a large percentage of those accused and maimed in torture, gave up all they had in order to be released. The collateral damage of people who were completely broken in health and spirit and who died shortly afterwards but not included in the estimate of the number of those executed, is completely ignored by the 'academic historians'.
Estimated 13 million dead with a minimum estimate of 4 million victims - thanks to evil Christian fundamentalist persecutions
As is the many impromptu lynch-law executions of witches which occurred without any official church involvement as the craze took hold. As we have seen repeated today in the media's war against pedophiles, accusations of witchcraft by gossips often lead to vigilantes burning their houses down with the owners inside. Therefore a maximum estimate of 13 million dead and a minimum estimate of 4 million dead are probably as good as we are going to get.
However, in order to make sense of the killings and get a reliable idea of the social EFFECTS of the burning times we need to make a comparison not only with numbers but also with the size of the general population of the time and the logistical difficulty in killing so many people when methods of mass destruction were not available.
When you look at it this way, as a percentage of the general European population, FEWER people were killed in the world wars than were executed for witchcraft. Therefore, in order to convey the impact and the meaning of those Burning Times a claim of 13 million is a perfectly acceptable figure for us to use today in order to get people to understand the ramifications.
Any misled Pagan today who tries to invalidate or restructure those despicable acts of wholesale, religious-based, sectarian murder is not worthy to call their self Pagan.
Today’s follow-on from the Burning Times
I must say that the preposterous Christian falsehood about Pagan heritage being evil and unholy is still unfortunately being used by intolerant absolutist moralisers.
The previous Satanic Abuse fiascos in the UK that racked through Rochdale, Orkney, and Nottingham etc. were all inspired by the dangerous grossly distorted biblical thinking of religious activists, who couldn't find any satanic adversaries to uphold their Revelations-based, end-of-time style, messianic theocracy. Satan had to be found at any cost and to hell with the consequences to society!
Just as in the U.S.A. (where the Satanic myth originated), Satanic seminars were held in this country by well-financed activists to instruct Police, Social Workers, leading Children's Charities etc., to spot signs of so-called Satanic child abuse, signs such as: bed-wetting, aggressive behaviour, preoccupation with faeces/urine et al, all given as ‘firm’ evidence by experts of so-called Satanic involvement.
This would almost seem comical if it were not so very sad, the result of this avoidable hoax was millions of pounds/dollars worth of tax payers’ money needlessly squandered by authorities chasing nonexistent Satanic spectres, numerous innocent families subjected to Nazi-style dawn raids, terrified children psychologically traumatised following cruel interrogation by over-enthusiastic social workers.
The whole situation runs with very close parallels to the early Witch Hunt mania that blighted Europe and the British Isles for hundreds of years and killed an estimated thirteen million people – most of whom were not even Pagan at all.
Accusations by old-time Church inquisitors have been matched by present-day therapists, police and social workers who unfortunately followed advice from people who possessed the very same religious fervour of their latter day brethren.
Has our society learned from these shameful and highly avoidable actions (both ancient and more recent)? It is worth recalling that the U.K. Government-commissioned report on the subject of Satanic Abuse, by Professor Jean La Fontaine studied 84 cases of abuse and findings proved that without doubt the whole myth had been engineered and inspired by Evangelical Christians and radical social workers.
This wholesale victory for common-sense was widely reported in the British press. This would seem good news for all sane individuals everywhere - and it is.
The only trouble is that the populace has a very short memory and the religious groups/individuals that instigated the ludicrous Satanic Panic have now licked their wounds and continue to hold additional Satanic seminars.
So folks - can anyone be as unreservedly dim-witted as these people? Do they not realise the damage their unbalanced actions have done and may do so once again? Can society really once again turn a blind eye to these grinning wolves in sheep's clothing? Unfortunately the answer is probably ‘Yes!’
More dawn raids, more persecution of innocent contemporary Wiccans, Druids, Pagans and other nonconformist people; more damaged children/families, and more expensive social resources wasted on a preventable deception created by a prejudiced, but highly influential, religious minority who see satanic abuse around every corner.
The greatest ignominy remains that while society was easily hoodwinked into chasing imaginary satanic abusers, clergy abuse was (and still is) a documented reality with a plethora of available evidence.
The same perverted religious thinking that created the unspeakable Burning Times 'still' resides under the surface of so-called respectable society.
Fundamentalism of all kinds is a menace to humanity. Therefore, we would all do well to remain vigilant.
Pat Regan ©