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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Peg BS: Pardon granted to executed witches (24) RE: BS: Pardon granted to executed witches 01 Nov 04

dianavan wrote:

Peg - Wasn't it the Puritans who executed them as witches. In other words, they were accused of doing the devils work? I'd say that was religious intolerance.

The original post says - "...when people were condemned to death as witches on as flimsy evidence as owning a black cat or brewing home-made remedies." I'd also say that was religious intolerance.

In other words, these women (and cats too) were executed by Christians who thought that these women were in some way linked to the devil or practiced "heathen" or "pagan" rites.

If thats not religious intolerance, what is?

I think you make a valid point here, d., and thanks for clarifying it, but it seems to me the women and men executed as witches were not seen to be practicing a "religion" at that time. They were seen as being involved with activities which were seen as an affront to Christianity. So the Puritans' intolerance towards their fellow Puritans wasn't to do with persecuting them for their offensive religious views. How is owning a black cat or making an herbal potion defined as "religion?" The people who owned the cats and made the brews certainly did not see it that way. Witchcraft was never defined as a "religion" in the days of antiquity, so I think it's inappropriate to refer to the witchcraft hysteria in Europe and the colonies as "religious intolerance." There is no evidence that the folk magicians and wise women and cunning men with whom we associate the image of the medieval witch believed in gods/goddesses, at least not in the sense that modern "Wiccans" do with their dyad or Earth Mother/Horned God.
It's an important distinction to make, especially given the fact that many modern pagans and witches today refer to their beliefs and practices as a "religion." And sad to say, some of these folks have been the victims of religious intolerance...

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