Interesting article in The Guardian about a renewed interest in witchcraft, or “Wicca”, and the associated mystical stuff among young women.  The general point of the article is that witchcraft is feminist because witchery is about female-headed authority structures. Naturally, traditionalists are upset by this trend, though whether they don’t like the witchcraft because it’s feminist, or that they don’t like the feminism because it’s witchcraft is hard to say.

I bet somewhere conservatives are saying “See? We told you the “Harry Potter” books would lead the youth into more serious pagan witch-cults!” Although it’s not like Harry Potter invented presenting magic as a good thing.  Why not blame Samantha Stephens? Or Glinda the Good Witch? Actually, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure when people were not interested in witchcraft in some form or other.

I wonder when traditionalists and conservative religious people will realize that the only reason people get into tarot cards and potion-brewing is because they know it will annoy the conservatives.  Once they quit acting upset by it, it won’t seem cool anymore.

I’m not kidding about this–most of the people I know who are into this stuff are doing it because they are rebelling against their religious families.  Personally, as a non-religious (though not really anti-religious) person, I find it pretty tiresome. It’s just trading one set of rituals and relics for another, as far as I’m concerned.  Wicca is religion for hipsters: they’re only doing it because it’s not mainstream.

People are always getting renewed interest in the mystical and the occult.  Back in the 1920s, there was a wave of fascination with the occult. I think it waned a bit in the 1930s what with the Depression and all, but there was still Aleister Crowley being Aleister Crowley. Find me some point in history when there wasn’t interest in the occult among some group or other.

This week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gays for religious reasons.

The question that has always fascinated me about Gay Rights controversies like these is: why is it such a huge deal?  There are not really that many gays in the population, and yet Conservatives make it sound like (for example) allowing gay marriage would mean the end of civilization itself.

Personally, while the anti-gay groups frequently resort to citing scripture, I have always believed this is simply a red herring.  The Bible is one of the most-read (and believed) books in the world, and happens to have a few passages forbidding homosexuality, which are convenient for them to cite.  If it had nothing whatsoever to say on the topic, I think they would oppose gay rights just as vehemently. (The same thing goes on with the NRA and the Second Amendment–if it didn’t exist, they would be no less zealous in their opposition to gun control laws.)

My reason for thinking this is that the Bible also forbids, for example, the loaning of money at interest, and yet I haven’t seen any preachers holding rallies to condemn banks.  Indeed, the Republican party as we know it would likely destroy itself within a day if the social conservatives ever decided to enforce that particular point with the same force they do the issue of homosexuality.

So, if not religious, what exactly is their reason for opposing gay rights so strongly?

In the past, I’ve occasionally mentioned how nationalists (which I believe is what the Republican rank-and-file is) believe in a society based on blood and heritage.  Naturally, this prejudices them against gays, since by definition they cannot contribute to the heritability based society.

I bring this fact up not because it is terribly significant in its own right–the social conservatives oppose gay rights, nothing new here–but rather because I think it helps give the interested political observer a better idea of the logic behind the social conservatives’ policies.  Contrary to appearances, I don’t believe they just picked a random part of the Bible to passionately uphold, but rather, it is part of their larger worldview.