Witchcraft and Satanism (devil worship) in America are growing by leaps and bounds. No longer are their highly secret activities being kept in-the-closet. Todays witches are no longer at risk of getting burned at the stake, but rather honored and revered.
They are increasingly being accepted as spiritual experts who meet the needs of clients inclined to embrace, and tap into, their extensive access to supernatural spirit powers and hidden knowledge.
Wicca - the key umbrella organization for formalized Witchcraft and New Age practice in general - has finally come out of the shadows.
Qiling Wang in a recent article for reportingtexas.com gave an account of how Wicca has been growing in Texas, and beyond. Wang narrated a description of your typical Wicca adherent or 'Wiccan': Mary Caldwell. She has spiky pink hair, tattooed arms, and works in customer service for a software company. She's also the leader of a Wicca gathering that meets every other Monday at Monkey Nest Coffee on Burnet Road.
On a recent Monday evening, she led the group in a discussion of numerology - the belief that numbers have mystical meanings - as well as rituals and personal experiences with spirits.
Recently, some members of the group had visited a local cemetery to commune with spirits. "Some of the people in the group just see them, some just hear them and some of them just smell them," said Caldwell, 44, "It was great fun."
Both she and her husband, Joe, are third-degree Gardnerians, meaning they are serious students of Wiccan theology and have the ability to lead a coven. With Wiccan signs hanging on her office wall, she said her coworkers know and accept the fact that she's Wiccan. "It's funny, because I've got people who are devoted Catholics coming to me and saying, 'I've got a problem, and can you do a spell for me?' " she said.
"We believe that everything is part of the One," said Ed Fitch, 80, a Wiccan senior high priest and a member of Caldwell's meet-up group, one of several Wiccan or witches' groups in Austin. "Everything in the universe is linked to everything else in the universe."
According to sources such as Wikipedia, Wicca is a modern version of ancient pagan religions, created in England and brought to the United States in the 1960s.
Its followers worship a goddess and a god, honor the Earth and practice ritual magic. They reportedly follow the Wiccan Rede, a statement of principles that stresses the importance of doing no harm.
Because Wicca is a highly decentralized religion with no central authority, it's hard to get a tally of its members. The American Religious Identification Survey, which periodically surveys 50,000 Americans, said the number of self-identified Wiccans increased to 342,000 in 2008, up from 134,000 in 2001. The 2008 figures are the most recent available.
Wiccans come from all walks of life, including in the military. Fitch is a former Air Force officer and a retired technical writer and engineer. There are Wiccan covens on military bases, including at Fort Hood. The Pagan Student Alliance at University of Texas includes Wiccans and followers of Paganism and other nontraditional faiths.
Some may be tempted to think that despite its strange practices, Wicca is all just innocent and harmless spiritual belief. Even the U.S. government seems to have endeared itself to them.
Earlier this year, Jennifer LeClaire for Charisma News reported that there is clear proof that the U.S. government promotes witchcraft - and at the direct and shocking expense of Christianity in so-called 'Christian America'.
As LeClaire explained: "Every year about this time, I write about Jezebel's witchcrafts. I never would have dreamed I'd be writing about U.S. Air Force Academy chapel using tithes and offerings to blatantly support witchcraft.
Judicial Watch just issued a report that reveals the academy used its "Chapel Tithes and Offering Fund" to pay for cadets to participate in worship services marked by witchcraft, "Faery Magick" and voodoo.
According to the watchdog group, records show the academy shelled out money to send cadets to a Wiccan festival and a Denver Witches Ball in 2014. A group called "Spiritual Programs in Religious Education" hosted the events at the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle on the Academy campus".
Chapel tithes and offerings were also used to pay for registration and meals for cadets attending the "Earth Centered Beltania festival," which is "a retreat and festival for all who follow Earth-honoring religion or spiritual path." At the festival, attendees are encouraged to "dance with ecstasy around the maypole" , "drum with the heartbeat of Mother Earth" and "conjure Springtime within nature and yourself."
According to the Spiritual Programs in Religious Education brochure, the organization encourages festival participants to engage in "Earth Centered paths," including Wicca, witchcraft, Faery Magick, Druidism, heathenism, Native American traditions, Voodoo, African Orishas and Goddess Spirituality.
LeClaire affirms that it all boils down to witchcraft. All this happened at the same time the Air Force started allowing airmen to omit "so help me God" from establishment oaths.
"The Air Force Academy leadership is attacking traditional Christian beliefs but will fund witchcraft and 'faery magick'?" says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "These records show the misplaced priorities in the Air Force and why traditional Christians increasingly feel unwelcome in the Air Force Academy."
But it goes deeper than that, says LeClaire. Our government--one nation under God--is not only embracing witchcraft in its many expressions, but it's also funding it.
America is indeed a melting pot of many nations and religions. The right to freedom of religion must be protected. But to use tithes and offerings to fund witchcraft parties while removing God from the oath of service is a shocking picture of where our nation really stands.
She concluded: Clearly, there are anti-Christ agendas gaining rapid ground with dark strategies to push back the light of Christ in our nation". She however takes comfort in the scripture verse from John: 1-5 which says in part: "The light shines in darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it".
There are reports that some witches are getting out of witchcraft and Wiccan systems to embrace the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a separate Charisma News report, Jessilyn Justice narrated the story of Beth, who escaped through salvation in Jesus Christ.
As Beth testified: "I threw myself into learning about witchcraft and the occult, as well as many other New Age practices. I taught myself about Buddhism, Hinduism, Kaballah and more.
I worshiped the moon and the ocean and did many rituals and spells. I did crystals and other gems over my chakras and awakened my third eye. I did yoga and meditated and tried to open my mind to higher levels. I did rituals where I astral projected and constantly called on gods and goddesses to bless and protect me, as well as enhance my rituals and spells."
God finally intervened, and Beth is now born again and a trophy of God's saving grace.
As Christiananswers.net noted, the Bible prohibits very strongly the practice of idolatry, witchcraft, occultic and devil-worship practices in many sections of the Scriptures such as Deuteronomy 18: 9-12, and warns that those who practice witchcraft (sorcery) will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20-21).
Bibleresources.org notes that with respect to the evil king Manasseh who reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years the Bible states: "He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel." (2 Chronicles 33:2)
"He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking Him to anger" (2 Chronicles 33:6). King Manasseh was a clear example of a true ancient Wiccan.
The Christiananswers.net website further listed the kinds of occultic sins and traps to be avoided: Astrology (predictions by the planets or moon; horoscopes; sometimes referred to as "observing times" in the Old Testament), Magic, spells, enchantments, charming, sorcery, wizardry, witchcraft, divination, fortune-telling, mediums, spiritism, necromancy, familiar spirits, wizardry, séances, channeling, clairvoyance, spirit-guides, following omens or signs.
Quite a list - but hardly exhaustive. As witchcraft expands worldwide, Christians will need to be careful to steer clear of these very dangerous and destructive traps laid for them by the enemy of their souls: "My people are destroyed by lack of knowledge"(Hosea 4:6).
And for those who are already in bondage to witchcraft and the occult, Jesus brings good news He came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). To Wiccans and all in the bondage of Satan through the occult, He surely says: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).