As the bulk of you know, Christine O'Donnell, the Republican running for senate in New Jersey said, about 13 years ago, that she dabbled in Satanic witchcraft when she was in high school. Unsavory folks, blood on altar, etc.
It seems that all the big name Pagans have their panties in a bunch over it. Which makes it a particular shame that Isaac Bonewits has passed on, since he was active in a Church of Satan group while in college and no one was up in arms over that. Here's Isaac's "I was a teen aged Satanist" story: http://www.neopagan.net/SatanicAdventure.html.
And here is the clip from Politically Incorrect with Ms. O'Donnell telling her story: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/09/18/christine-odonnell-on-politically-incorrect-i-dabbled-into/
And now for MY editorializing.
Christine O'Donnell said NOTHING about religion in the clip that's being shown. She said that as a teen she dabbled in WITCHCRAFT, and they had a Satanic altar. So let's say that it was Satanic Witchcraft.
She did not say that she studied Wicca, or theistic Satanism, or any other religion. She did not say it was religious at all.
The only folks who are equating her "unsavory folks involved in Satanic Witchcraft" have been some Wiccans.
Yes, the press probably called a few BNP's up for their opinions, but just saying "She said it was Satanic Witchcraft - talk to them. Not all witches are Wiccan." Of course, if they had left it at that ... they'd not get their names and quotes all over news articles.
There certainly are a whole lot of pagans, especially some Wiccans, who talk as if we have copyright to the word 'witch'.
Satanists of all stripes are entitled to use the word for what they do, some atheists are, Jewitches certainly do - I don't see any reason why all users of magic/potions/etc shouldn't be entitled to use the word if they so choose.
Now that I think about it, we might not want to use it around our ancestors if you're inviting them to the party. Most of our paleopagan ancestors were pretty much anti-witch, when you come down to it. They'd have put us iin a coracle with no oars in it and left us beyond the 7th wave, if you get my drift. Witchcraft was forbidden by the Celts, the Greeks, the Romans.... those 'spiritual ancestors' we love to lay claim to.
Back to Teen Witch
Now, while I'm overdue for my Croning, I DO remember being a a teen. Don't you?
As a teen there were certain things on our minds. Sex. Partying. Our growing sense of in dependence and power, and pushing other people's (especially adults) buttons. All of which make witchcraft and generic Satanism attractive platforms. I didn't do Satanism, but I can tell you that my friends and I didn't do our seances for religious purposes. We didn't do love spells for religious purposes.
We didn't do folk magic for clear skin for religious purposes. We didn't do divination of our future husbands for religious purposes.
We were after Power, Knowledge, and maybe personal growth ... if you're willing to say that getting the boy or girl we wanted was about personal growth. I'm not willing to say that, but YMMV.
Witchcraft is NOT RELIGION
Witchcraft is not a religion. It is a set of skills that is religion-neutral. They can be used by folks of any or no religion, duotheist, monotheist, atheist, polytheist or, as a Ceremonial Magician I know says she is, Polyatheist.
The religion you hold does not matter in Witchcraft. Witchcraft might matter, negatively or not, to the religion you hold, but that's a different matter.
And Satanism might or might not be a religion, depending on the branch. Church of Satan is atheist. Temple of Set and the Luciferians are theistic.
Christine O'Donnell mentioned what they DID, not what they BELIEVED or WORSHIPPED. Thus, we're back at a-theism.
Again, Back to Teen Witch
So, we're still at generic COS-style atheist Satanic Witchcraft for Christine O'Donnell as a teen. We know that now she sees the ids she hung with as 'unsavory', and that there was blood on the altar she had a midnight picnic on.
Oh, the Crowleyan thrill of being edgy!
Let's assume that by now she'd have turned them in if they confessed to murder to her when they told her what types of things they did.
Let's assume that animal sacrifice would have left more blood, because even dealing with a chuck roast in my kitchen leaves a trail of red goop.
Teens having sex on the altar while the girls is on her period (because she isn't using birth control & doesn't want to get pregnant), some guy cutting himself to annoint the altar with blood, or, my vote, some girl doing a love spell using menstrual blood. But copywriting choices make it better to spin it to sound like some 'unsavory sacrifice' rather than "a tampon was here".
Christine O'Donnell has said NOTHING that link what she did to Wicca OTHER THAN WICCANS GETTING THEIR PANTIES IN A BUNCH OVER IT.
She dabbled in some sort of Satanic Witchcraft as a teen. So what?
In fact, she seems to have grown up to be a reasonably functional adult.
She's a testimony to teen witchcraft, even teen Satanic Witchcraft, being a long-term positive force for teens.
Church of Satan should use her as a poster child.