American Witchcraft

by phil on Tuesday Apr 21, 2009 7:28 PM

Johann Hari, writing for Slate, has some interesting things to say about witch hunting:

You might think the spread of science would cure the plague. But literal witch hunting still recurs in the most backward and fundamentalist parts of even the Western world. Sarah Palin has boasted about being blessed by a Kenyan preacher called Thomas Muthee, who called on Jesus to protect Palin from "the spirit of witchcraft." It turned out Muthee took this very literally--he boasted of driving elderly "witches" out of their communities back in Africa. The Republican governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, drives out "evil spirits" himself. In the Catholic journal New Oxford Review in 1994, he claimed that a "demon" possessed his "intimate friend" Susan--and that he personally cast it out through a process of prayer and exorcism. He even wondered whether, in the process, he cured Susan's cancer.
This is why investing in education is so important. It would be a sad, interesting turn of events if witch hunting returned back to the United States. That would be signal proof that we're getting dumber, not smarter, as a people.

Gov. Bill Richardson, when asked what his first priority would be should he be elected president replied, "Education." While this was chided as a rookie response to the question, I can't help but think he's right.

Another bipartisan thing I like to say that ingratiates me to people who disagree with me politically is, "If we invest in education, then we elect better presidents."

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