Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The Burning Times
"No more burning times," shouted the man on the stage. Dressed in a buckskin suit with a long braid running down his back, the man raised a militant fist. The pagans around me raised their fists and returned the chant.
"What burning times are we talking about?" I asked the person next to me.
"You know, in Europe."
As a person who considers himself well-schooled in history, I scratched my head. "The Inquisition?"
"It's called by many names. We were persecuted. My people have been persecuted for centuries."
"The Wiccans. Witches. The Christians tried to exterminate us."
"Wicca hasn't exactly been a codified religion," I protested. "And the Inquisition wasn't just a religious event, it was also political. The church was using its power to solidify its control. They were burning anyone who got in their way."
"They were burning witches."
"And a bunch of other people. Besides, most of the people burned as witches weren't witches."
The person looked at me with a hurt expression. "I expected you to be more understanding about genocide. Look what the Germans did to your people. The Jews."
I didn't trust myself to respond.
Someone came by selling candies shaped as something called "The Green Man". The man on the stage had stepped aside for entertainment: a man with a bare torso who was spinning in circles while banging a tambourine and singing elongated vowels.
I nodded and bought myself a "Green Man."
Posted by Stewart Sternberg at 2:47 PM