The Malleus Maleficarum

Recently an acquaintance tried to convince me that the Witch Trials were totally due to social forces. Of course there were social forces at work, but in the end the Evils that occurred during that time frame were the final chapter in the Church’s 600-year war on Serpent Knowledge. She had been completely blinded to some very important concepts.

First, this was Christians murdering people, not “social forces” in the abstract. Read the Malleus Maleficarum, the infamous “Hammer of Witches” that the Inquisitors used to determine whether a person was a witch and what to do when the Inquisitors found out they were. It was written by two Dominican priests.

In predomininantly Catholic areas, the Inquisitors killed Protestants. In countries that were about equally Catholic and Protestant, they killed Jews. There was a huge collaboration between kings and the Church to get rid of anyone who was inconvenient. This is a good argument for the separation of church and state.

The witchcraft scare followed 600 years of torture and murder in the name of Love. You’ve probably heard of the Inquisition. It wasn’t until around the 16th century that they were burning more witches than heretics.

England was Anglican by the time the witch-burnings rolled around, by the way.

The first victims of the Inquisition were not witches but scientists, usually Christian. The Inquisition was used to suppress scientific advancement. Church dogma mandated belief in a flat earth and in Creationism. Galileo Galilei, the famous Italian astronomer and physicist, was one of those tried for heresy. He recanted his scientific views in order to avoid being murdered by his own Church.

The Pope issued an apology in 2002 for “errors of his church for the last 2000 years.” So, yes, religion was an important part of it.

A lot of cultists are re-writing history, probably in preparation for a new generation of Inquisitors. Next they’ll be burning the Harry Potter books.

As for the social forces, the switch from heresy to witchcraft started with some cults with strict behavioral requirements. They used the witchcraft accusation to get rid of people who didn’t meet their prudish standards, then started throwing in dissidents, subversive herbalists and the occasional adulterer just for kicks. Fortunately there was already a tradition of torture and murder so they hitched a ride on that.

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