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October 30th, 2009

The Danger of Listening to Religious Nuts

Yesterday, Huffington Post linked to an article in their comedy section by the self-titled apostle Kimberly Daniels that had been posted on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.  The HuffPo article, Christian Broadcasting Network Warns Against 'Demonic' Halloween Candy, naturally grabbed my attention.  I clicked on over to the CBN and read Apostle Kim's article which, I'll be honest, was one of the best laughs I've had in quite some time.

Interestingly, today the article has been removed from the site.  Perhaps CBN realized it was written by a nutcase and no longer wanted to be associated with it.  Never fear, though, because I have found the article posted in another place for your reading pleasure over at a site called Charisma under their Prophetic Insight section (is that what you call it?).  Read it here.

It never fails that every year, around this time, I have to pull out my 2003 essay Exposing Christian Holidays.  Though never has it been quite so pertinent as now as a rebuttal to Apostle Kim's (as she calls herself on her website, the home of Kimberly Daniels Ministry International) The Danger of Celebrating Halloween.

Please, give it a quick read (clicking that link should open a small window so you don't have to leave here) before I start my piece – you won't be sorry and I promise it is full of lulz.  Lots and lots of lulz.

Back again?  Was it all the lulz I promised?  Yes and no, I know.  While it was undoubtedly hilarious, it was also rather infuriating.  To think that people actually believe this woman – that there are those out there believing Halloween is the devil's free-for-all and that witches pray over all candy that goes out to retail stores before it is delivered (do they meet up at the candy factories to do this or what?).

This woman sat here and wrote – with a straight face, I'm guessing (either that or a gleeful grin all the way to the bank) – about how she refuses to purchase any and all candy sold during the month of October.  You know, because the demons don't know the difference between candy from the store and candy dropped into your kid's bag during Halloween night (demons are apparently insidious yet stupid).  And, as has been ascertained, all of said candy has already been dedicated to Lucifer via the witches' pre-October prayer groups at all of the nation's candy factories. So, you know, those Whoppers you were snacking on at your desk the other day?  You totally imbibed evil, my friend.  Pure, concentrated evil.

Yet, let's step back and break down Apostle Kim's "warning" piece by piece, shall we?  That's always fun.

According to the self-proclaimed apostle, Halloween rivals Christmas in its nationwide celebrating.  I don't know where she gets her proof for such a claim, because all she says after this statement is "stores that sell only Halloween-related paraphernalia open up a few months before the day and close shortly after it ends".  So do Christmas-only stores, and let's not even talk about how early Christmas crap comes out in regular stores.  I have no idea if what she says is true or she just pulled that random fact out of her ass, but I'm guessing the latter.

Yet, our apostle posits, "Is Halloween a holiday that Christians should be observing?"

Why the hell not?  They celebrate Christmas and Easter, and there isn't much very Christian-oriented in any of their traditions (as I shall soon prove).

Apostle Kim states:

"The world "holiday" means "holy day".  But there is nothing holy about Halloween."

Honey, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but a brief look at the history of every major holiday celebrated in the United States will reveal that not a one of them is "holy".  Naturally that goes for the holidays such as Independence Day, St. Patrick's Day, and the like.  Yet what most Christians that rail against Halloween seem to forget – or be completely ignorant of – is that Christmas and Easter are just as "unholy" as Halloween if you look at their roots and the true meaning behind the majority of the customs we practice at these times of year.  Again, though, we'll get to more of that in a moment.

Our erudite apostle goes on:

"Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of:  the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the Antichrist Spirit (the false holy spirit); and the Spirit of Belial (the false son)."

What?  I have no idea where she came up with this.  First of all, there is nothing in Halloween's history that calls it "a holy day" – meaning it's not a counterfeit anything – nor is there any mention in its lore that speaks of venerating an evil triumvirate.  In fact, who even knew one existed?  I didn't, and I was practicing witch for many years.

She goes on to explain that this time of year has been "dedicated" to "darkness and an accursed season", allowing "time-release curses" (do those work like time-release capsules?) that allow demons to snare unsuspecting souls foolish enough to participate in trick-or-treating.

"For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches."

I don't have to touch that one again.  It kind of stands on its own; it needs no help from me to be mocked.

She continues by explaining that even the colors of Halloween, "orange, brown, and dark red", are so "dedicated".  Wouldn't that mean that these colors are always evil?  Wouldn't that imply that wearing these colors or using them in your household means you are inviting demons into your life?  She doesn't say, but she does go on to tell us more about this "evil" time of year:

"These colors are connected to the fall equinox, which is around the 20th or 21st of September each year and is sometimes called "Mabon".  During this season witches are celebrating the changing of seasons from summer to fall.  They give praise to the gods for the demonic harvest.  They pray to the gods of the elements (air, fire, water and earth)."

Indeed, for many centuries, people who lived by and with the land venerated the changing of the seasons.  They had many rituals to ensure a bountiful harvest.  These people were not "witches".  They were everyday folk just like us, except that the food they ate they grew on their own.  Without it, they would perish.  Without a bountiful harvest, they would not last the harsh winter to come.  Such harvest celebrations have been around for millennia.  In ancient Greece, for example, a festival called Oschophoria was held to celebrate the harvesting of grapes for wine.  Oooh, evil.

During the fall (and spring or "vernal") equinox, the length of the day is exactly the same; the only time of year that this occurs.  This follows naturally with the Winter and Summer Solstices – the longest and shortest days of the year, respectively.  The equinoxes and solstices are naturally occurring events that correlate with the tilt of the Earth on its axis; first recognized by the ancient Greeks once they realized that the Earth was spherical; part of their great body of work we know as "celestial navigation".

Celebrations of our ancestors were held around these times of year, when the seasons changed, as they lived by the land.  Without using the heavens and Earth itself, they could not ensure enough crops and harvest to get them through the year.  In these times, this could be a matter of life or death.  Rituals, celebrations, and offerings to deities for positive outcomes were common; indeed, there was nothing "evil" about them.

In later centuries, when Christianity came on the scene and began trying to convert the "pagans" (which meant, only, "heathens"), they simply inserted Christian-based holidays over the pre-existing pagan ones.  It was easier to convert the people, they found, if they kept some semblance of the ways they had always practiced; therefore, holidays were venerated on the same days as before and even with some of the same rituals, only now with new meanings per the Church.

Apostle Kim goes on to note that

"Mother earth is highly celebrated during the fall demonic harvest."

Certainly, our forebears celebrated the Earth as they – much unlike how we live today – relied on her for their very survival.  A healthy respect for the planet and a learned knowledge, passed down through generations, of the land, the seasons, and crops and livestock were how our ancient brethren survived.  Respect for this planet that sustains is something we would all do well to work back into our own lives, but I digress.

According to the above statement, then, Apostle Kim seems to indicate that any and all harvest taken in during the fall is "demonic".  If that be the case, then it would seem we are all doomed.  Every bit of non-processed food you eat (admittedly, it may not be that much these days) is oozing with pure evil.  McDonald's may be our salvation yet.

Apostle Kim says that "I am amazed at how ignorantly we participate in pagan, occult rituals."

Indeed!  On this, Apostle Kim and I can agree.  Let me, please and at this time, re-produce my Exposing Christian Holidays essay (click to read, a small window should appear that will let you stay on the blog and still peruse the article).

Nearly everything today has some "pagan" origins – and nothing more than the things we practice during seemingly "Christian" holidays.  Does this make all holidays evil?  No.  But we should be aware of why we do what we do, and where the original rituals come from.  In this light, Halloween is no more "evil" than any holiday acknowledged by the Christian church.

Apostle Kim goes on to state that the simple act of using Halloween decorations lines you up for a date with demons.  "All these activities," she says, "are demonic and have occult roots."

Yet, as I have said – and my essay proves – so do all holidays, and especially those Christian ones.  So her point is at best moot, and more than a shade ignorant.  Trust me, you are not going to burn in hell for letting your kids go trick-or-treating, nor are you inviting demons into your home if you carve a jack-o-lantern.

Ms. Daniels goes on to inform us – again I have no clue where she is getting this information, but I truly do suspect she dreamed it all up in her head – that the worst part of Halloween are the occult ("secret") things that go on "behind the scenes".  Things such as:

  • Sex with demons
  • Orgies between animals and humans
  • Animal and human sacrifices
  • Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood
  • Rape and molestation of adults, children and babies
  • Revel nights
  • Conjuring of demons and casting of spells
  • Release of "time-released" curses against the innocent and the ignorant

A very good rebuttal of such claims, and similar ones, can be found at the Religious Tolerance website, under Halloween:  More Misinformation from Evangelical Christian Groups.

The author's bio at the bottom of the piece states:

Kimberly Daniels is a sought-after conference speaker and preacher.  She is the founder of Kimberly Daniels Ministries International (kimberlydaniels.com), Spoken Word Ministries – the church she pastors in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband, Ardell – A Child of the King Learning Center and Word Bible College.  Kim is a recognized prophetic voice as well as the author of several books, including her most recent, Prayers that Bring Change (Charisma House).

I took some time to browse through Apostle Kim's website, and found myself more and more disturbed.  She is very much obsessed with demons, and believes she has the power to cast them out of people.  She tells witches they serve "sissy, punk gods" and is described as having a "no-nonsense confrontation with the powers of darkness" borne of her own "checkered past" (read more about that here).  She tours the country in a 30' Winnebago that is called "The Demon Buster".  A modern-day, ghostbuster, though in this case she is a "demonbuster", she also has available on her website ($10 if you're interested, folks) a music CD called Demon Bustin' on which she performs "Christian rap music".  Her church has over 15,000 members dubbed "Commanders of the Morning".

On her blog, she talks about a conference she held in March called "Iron Sharpens Iron" and the power she held over the room, through the power of Jesus Christ:

"The usual church status quo is for people to get pumped up when the man or woman of God comes on the scene. I am so glad to testify that the Lord was moving when I walked into the door. It was also a blessing to know that a few ladies made a statement to my staff, “We did not come for deliverance but we came to see what Kim Daniels was really about.” I praise God that these ladies were the first ones in the line in the deliverance room. Our team prayed for 90 people in two hours and people were set free. They did not get counseling. They did not get stroked but they got the devil cast out of their lives. It is time out for medicating and counseling demons. Jesus came to set the captives free. In the economy we live in it is not conducive to be bound."

So what is Kimberly Daniels about?  We know she lived a rough past life, found Jesus and then founded a church.  We know she has a nation-wide, if not global-wide, following.  We know that while Jesus may have improved her life, her ministry has undoubtedly improved her pocketbook.

I have a great deal of trouble seeing rich evangelicals preaching the word of a man who chose to live a simple, poverty-riddled life.  Jesus wanted people to go forth and multiply, yes, but he wasn't referring to their bank accounts.

By using the everyone-is-riddled-with-demons analogy, she has created a faith based on fear.  The fear of being overrun by demons and that Satan is controlling one's life.  The only answer – in fact, the only salvation – is to come to Jesus Christ…through her.  She is the middle-man.  She is the one with the answers, the hope, and the direct line to God who can ring you straight through and get your sorry ass saved.  Without her, her guidance and words, her prophetic message, and her personal connection to The Almighty, you are, in essence, a lost sheep.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  This woman doesn't tend lost sheep; she slaughters innocent lambs – people that are scared and searching for answers, that don't know how to find God on their own and need someone to show them the way.  Using this fear, and installing herself as the intermediary for God's divine providence, she has become very powerful and very rich.  She writes and sells books, makes music CDs and DVDs, and offers conferences where you can be touched by her powers directly – for $100 a person.

Pastor Kim tours the world, proselytizing and bringing Jesus into peoples' lives.  She founded the Word Bible College in 1995 to teach students about Jesus and God's word, where they can graduate with doctorates in Christianity – perhaps to start their evangelical ministry.

This is not to say that Pastor Kim has not done good works, and that she has not helped a lot of people.  Yet when someone is living a rich, privileged lifestyle and uses fear and scare tactics as their method of "reaching out" to people, I have a problem with that.

Daniels's The Danger of Celebrating Halloween is one, big, misinformed scarefest.  She has no proof to back up any of her claims, and doesn't feel the need – it would appear – to offer any.  People accept her word as gospel; it's just what she is used to.  This is a woman who honestly claimed that witches pray over all candy that is shipped out pre-Halloween.  All. Candy.  Think about that for a moment.  Does this sound like a sane, rational person?  Does this sound like someone that should be leading thousands?

No, but she does.  Therein lies the problem.  Evangelists want you to believe they care about you and that they are preaching God's word, but it is all selfish works.  Everything they do is to elevate themselves in the eyes of others; it's an ego trip – and a very lucrative one.  There is not a single ounce of truth in her article, yet it is posted all over the Internet and there are thousands that are reading it and, worse yet, believing it.

I would rather be one of the "blood drinking, moon howling witches" that she prays for than believe that God chooses people like this woman to spread his Word.  Jesus was the exact opposite of a rich egotist living a life of luxury, and how anyone can live such a life yet claim a direct, personal relationship with him is beyond me.

Enjoy Halloween, people.  If you can enjoy Christmas and Easter with no worries or guilt, then I can assure you that no ill will befall you or yours for celebrating this innocuous holiday.

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