"Christians attack witches"
March, 1998 - The Independent
They may have made good meals for liaons
and been crucified for their beliefs but it appears
that some Christians have developed little tolerance
for other religions.
An example of this intolerance is found on the doors
of Earth Magik, formerly known as Outback Gems in Penrith's
Earth Magik is a supply shop for local witches, Pagans
and Aquarian Age types. Over the last few months the
shop has had grafitti sprayed on the front doors in
the forms of crosses and the word Jesus in metre high
letters. Coupled with this, the owners of the business,
Lily and Joel, have received threats that they will
"burn in hell".
While some Christians may be understandably opposed
to Paganism, the response does seem extreme. In recent
times the Catholic Church in particular has not been
overly concerned with Pagan practices and while clearly
not supporting these practices, they are also not actively
opposing their development.
Pastor Eric Roggereen of Emu Plains Christian Life
Centre has a similarly enlightened view. "We love and
accept every person," he says, although we don't condone
Senior Minister of Penrith's Christian City Church,
Phil Jagger, who recently instigated The Walk for Reconciliation,
admits he is concerned about Pagan Practices.
"A lot of people have a naive approach. They feel they
are harmless and that is a lot of fantasy. If they travel
to parts of Africa and around the world they will find
that it is very real and very evil."
Paster Roggeren and Reverend Jagger are in agreement,
however, when it comes to attacking people and property.
While Pastor Roggeren fells that those who have attacked
Earth Magik are immature, Paster Jagger takes a stronger
view. He believes that such acts are abhorent.
"We do not wrestle against flesh and blood," he insists.
"This is a spiritual battle".
"We don't want to reach a state where it is like the
Amercian situation. People have been killed by anti
abortionists. You cannot uphold God's law by breaking
God's law. Christians cannot choose to be hypocrites
to uphold God's Laws."
Lady Mara of the Hawkesbur-based Children of the Oak
has very clear ideas on the Christian Pagan relationship.
According to her Wiccan group, Pagans are not anti-Christian;
they are non-Christian in the same way that Bhuddism,
Taoism and other mainstream religions are non-Christian.
Lady Mara and her coven observe the majority of dates
on the Pagan calendar. For them Wicca is a religion,
it is not a gathering of witches who cast spells, make
charms or devise potions. They make a distinct division
between what they class as folk magic and those rituals
to the supreme spirit which are religiously based. A
powerful tenet of their religion is to care for the
earth to the point where Lady Mara states that "all
environmentalists are not neccessarily Pagans, but all
Pagans are environmentalists."
In the Blue Mountains, Jim West, spokeperson for he
Pagan group known as the Delphi Community, says he is
disillusioned with the church.
Formerly a deacon fo the Russian Orthodox Church, he
has a thorough understanding both of the machinations
of church politics and the bible itself. While he doesn't
like the politics of the church, he believes that in
essence Pagans and Christians are pursuing the same
ends. He, like many Christians, is reaching for what
he sees as the higher spirit, though for him it is neither
male or female nor so clearly named.
Jim, as with every Pagan interviewed for this story,
reiterates the prime tenet of Pagans, "Do what you will
but harm no-one.".
His main gripe with Christians is that they don't know
their own book well enough. He believes that before
people protest against Pagans they should learn the
scriptures as too often he finds quotes taken out of
context or incorrectly stated.
David Garland, also known as Garfie, head of the Pagan
Awareness Network (PAN), was himself a Catholic altar
boy for two years. He, like Jim, has a formidable grasp
of the bible. Garfie has helped create PAN not only
because it brings together people of like mind, but
also to educate people as to the exact nature of Paganism.
Every full moon Garfie holds informal public rituals
near Seven Hills Railway Station. Like all Pagans interviewed
he refuses to proselytise.
Garfie was also part founder of SOTEG, a Penrith-based
group which includes Lily and Joel of Earth Magik as
memebers. They, like Garfie, also hold public rituals
which attract more than 100 people at a time. At the
present part of their aim is to have Paganism legally
recognised as a religion. It is their intention to have
a Pagan celebrant for weddings in the near future, a
path which Hawesbury's Lady Mara is also actively undertaking.
The head of the Church of Wicca in Western Australia,
of which Children of the Oak are a part, already has
an active and legally recognised celebrant, suggesting
that the acceptance of Paganism many only be a matter
The Independent (Penrith, Blue Mts),