Note from Ian: I'd like to introduce my good friend Sebastian Lux, our very own OneAngryCultist. He is knowledgeable about all things religious and I invited him to be a weekly contributor about the state of things in the spiritual/political realms. Welcome, Sebastian, and now I'mma let you finish.
So, in a surprise twist – not only was the shooter of US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords a little bit off his rocker, but he was also – surprise drumroll – a honest to god cultist. According to the NY Daily News:
“Hidden within a camouflage tent behind Jared Lee Loughner’s home sits an alarming altar with a skull sitting atop a pot filled with shriveled oranges.
A row of ceremonial candles and a bag of potting soil lay nearby, photos reveal.
Experts on Sunday said the elements are featured in the ceremonies of a number of occult groups.”
So, in addition to supposedly being crazy, Loughner may or may not have been sacrificing oranges to Halloween skull deities.
This wouldn’t be so disturbing in most situations, but particularly problematic with this case is: A.) Loughner was a nut job and, B.) anyone who buys potting soil is now perfectly suspect for participating in occult activities and C.) Anyone who participates in religious traditions outside the Christian ™ mainstream can now be suspect for participating in Un-American Activities.
Why is this important to bring up now? Well, if you’ll recall, it wasn’t so long ago in this quaint little country of ours that the Fundi-nuts decided that there was a great Satanic threat to – well, everyone – which resulted in hundreds of accusations against people who were a little different from the norm, most of whom didn’t have anything to do with anything particularly weird or culty. At the same time we witnessed a rise in violence against neopagans, Wiccans, practitioners of Afro-Diasporic religions, atheists and even agnostics.
Irresponsible reporting such as that in the daily news article could very easily lead to another Satanic Panic and totally distract from the matters at hand and easily hurt people who’ve never owned a gun or made offerings of oranges to Halloween decorations but who definitely buy potting soil and likely are generally good law abiding citizens.