For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch
Trey Capnerhurst, a traditional witch, performs a naming ceremony by the altar in her backyard in Alberta.
October 30th, 2013
03:32 PM ET

For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) -  Like lots of people, when October 31 rolls around, Trey Capnerhurst dons a pointy hat and doles out candy to children who darken the door of her cottage in Alberta.

But she’s not celebrating Halloween. In fact, she kind of hates it.

Capnerhurst says she’s a real, flesh-and-blood witch, and Halloween stereotypes of witches as broom-riding hags drive her a bit batty.

“Witches are not fictional creatures,” the 45-year-old wrote in a recent article on WitchVox.com.

“We are not werewolves or Frankenstein monsters. We do not have green skin, and only some of us have warts.”

Warts or not, many witches say they have mixed feelings about Halloween.

Some look forward to the day when witchcraft is front and center and no one looks askance at big black hats. Others complain that the holiday reinforces negative stereotypes of witches as evil outliers who boil children in black cauldrons.

Capnerhurst falls into the latter camp.

Hanging up witch decorations at Halloween is no better than wearing blackface costumes or taking a slur, like “Redskins,” as the name of your football team, she says.

“Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Capnerhurst said.

In June, the wife and mother of two started her own church for “traditional” witches called Disir, an old Norse word meaning “matron deities,” she says.

(Capnerhurst draws a distinction between “traditional” witches, like her, who were born into the religion, and Wiccans, most of whom are converts.)

Most Wiccans identify as witches, and they form the largest branch of the burgeoning neo-pagan movement, said Helen A. Berger, a sociologist who specializes in the study of contemporary Paganism and witchcraft at Brandeis University.

A 2008 survey counted about 342,000 Wiccans in the United States and nearly as many who identify simply as “pagans,” a significant increase from the last American Religious Identification Survey, taken in 2001.

Three-quarters of American Wiccans are women, according to Berger.

“It’s harder to train male Wiccans,” Capnerhurst said with a cheery sigh. “Most men just aren’t going to sweep the kitchen and think about sweeping out the bad energy.”

The faith is fiercely individualistic. Although there are umbrella groups like Wisconsin-based Circle Sanctuary, most Wiccans practice their own blends of witchcraft.

After centuries of persecution in Europe and colonial America, modern witches still bear a sharp suspicion of authority. The rede, or ethical statement at the core of Wicca, is: Harm none and do as you will.

Despite the rising popularity of their faith, many Wiccans remain “in the broom closet,” fearful of losing their jobs, their families or their reputations, said Berger and other experts.

Trey Capnerhurst in her traditional witch garb.

Capnerhurst said she was “outed” in 2005 while running as the Green Party’s candidate for local office. A reporter noted the pentacle - a five-pointed star often mistaken as a satanic symbol - hanging around her neck.

“I kind of became the poster girl for paganism,” Capnerhurst said.

But the notoriety came at a cost.

Neighbors have threatened to burn down the house she shares with her family, Capnerhurst says. She’s lost jobs. And people keep asking her whether the “Blair Witch Project,” the 1999 horror movie, is real.

“I’m like, What the frick! No!”

Raising her 12-year-old daughter, Maenwen, as a witch is not easy either, Capnerhurst says, especially around this time of year, when just about every classroom turns into a coven of construction-paper crones and black cats.

In the United States, Circle Sanctuary has founded the Lady Liberty League to advocate for Wiccans' religious freedom and to fight discrimination.

Unlike Capnerhurst, however, some witches see Halloween as a treat, not a trick.

“Considering that I usually slap on a pointy hat at this time of year (and I have a black cat too), I’m fine with the image of the Halloween witch,” wrote Jen McConnel, a poet, novelist and Wiccan from North Carolina, in an e-mail.

“Even though the word ‘witch ‘ is loaded, I have embraced it,” McConnel said, “but it is only one of many hats I wear (pun intended).”

McConnel says she enjoys the yearly confluence of Halloween with Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival that marks the end of the harvest and winter’s coming darkness.

It’s a time when the veil between the living and the dead grows thin, according to Wiccan theology, and spirits can easily cross the divide.

Many Wiccans hold “dumb suppers,” to which they invite deceased ancestors, making sure to prepare their favorite foods, said Jeanet Lewis, a witch who lives in Northern Virginia.

“It’s a meditative, silent meal,” Lewis said.

Other witches light memorial candles and cast spells for the new year.

What do witches wish for? The same things as everyone else, apparently.

“Health, wealth and love,” Capnerhurst said with a laugh. “Every single spell falls into one of those three categories.”

Even though she dislikes Halloween, Capnerhurst has found a way to blend it with her own sacred days, Samhain.

According to some historians, at this time of year, as the days grow darker, ancient Celts would don costumes as stand-ins for deceased spirits, going door-to-door and performing tricks in exchange for treats.

Capnerhurst prefers to see the children who come to her door on October 31 as a re-enactment of that ritual.

“I’m doing my ritual and they get candy,” she said. “Everybody wins!”

And even though she bristles at the thought that some neighbors might abhor her religion, Capnerhurst tries to take it all in good cheer.

As October 31 approaches each year, she places a sign on her lawn that reads, "This House Practices Safe Hex."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Discrimination • Halloween • Holidays • Neopaganism • Paganism • Persecution • Prejudice

soundoff (2,335 Responses)
  1. BRC

    I have nothing against Wiccans or witches, believe whatever makes you happy, but no one else has to agree with you. And despite common misconception, no one has to respect other people's beliefs either. For those of us in the US, it is a matter of Consttutional Law that we SHALL be allowed to practice our religion, but I don't have to respect someone's religion in order for them to practice it, I just can't interfere. AS a matter of being good people we should respect one another, but I can try to respect someone, and be polite and congenial, and still think their beliefs are bat crap crazy. There is no need, requirement, or reason to respect an idea that cannot be proved, that flies in the face of the evidence we can observe, and that you cannot bring yourself to believe in. So if someone's religious beliefs seem crazy to you, you're welcome to say so.

    And making caricatures of witches, and portraying evil sorcerers for Halloween is not even remotely close to dressing in black face, or participating in any other racial stereotyping. They're not even in the same category. A person cannot choose the color of their skin, they are born that way, and it has NO effect on who they are as a person. Religion is a CHOICE, 100%, so if you don't like the what people say about a religion, don't belong, or change the religion and its perception.

    October 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Jake

      Well said.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Mark

      Respect begets respect.

      You don't have to participate or bear gifts.
      As long as person is not using their religion as a political tool to trample on the rights of others, then I respect other peoples' religions, no matter how bizarre. Live and let live. Being disrespect is a waste of time and energy. Find more productive pursuits in you life.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
      • Jake

        Do you respect people who believe in fairies? It's ridiculous to suggest that I shoudl respect people who are dilusional. I do feel bad for them that they were brain-washed, but I don't respect the fact that they aren't mentally strong enough to overcome that.

        October 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • Dingo

          you missed the point.
          you should respect their *right* to believe in faeries., not necessarily the belief itself. that covers everyone's belief from atheism to animalism.
          essentially what you are saying is that if it's not something you personally believe in then it's not worthy of respect. *all* belief diverges from physical evidence. that's why it's called a belief. faeries, the flying spaghetting monster, the Force, or the holy ghost... how would anyone decide certain ones are "delusional"? you would have to be pretty pompous to do so..

          October 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Jake

          I don't respect beliefs that are based on no evidence whatsoever and fly in the face of reality.

          October 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • JK

          Dingo – I think you're confusing belief and faith.

          November 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Burbank

      True, many people also get dressed up as nuns and such on Halloween.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • BRC

      I agree with having respect for one another, I do not agree with having respect for bad or wrong ideas, it sets a bad precedent. If you believe that a religion's beliefs are truly insane, and that they are detrimental to intelligent thought (let's say if their directly contradictory to proven science, or if they teach that medicine is evil, diseases can be cured by drinking goat blood or something like that), then I believe you should speak out against those beliefs, because they hold people back. they slow progress, do harm, and make us as a species dumber.

      I give the example of 2 kids who do a science project. Both try very hard, and produce what they think is a correct presentation. One of them does the good old volcano, and explains that the expansion of the lava "looks cool" but what it really shows is the energetic reaction between an acid and a base. The other puts one piece of copper and one piece of zinc into a battery and used copper wire to connect the electrodes to a tiny led, which obviously lit up. when asked to explain the light the child says (and believes) "The light comes on, to show us that Idahon the mighty god reaches out to us throw potatoes, the life sustaining food given to people to show his mercy and carry his message". NO, if you "respect" all religious beliefs, and go on letting the child believe that foolishness, aren't you doing more damage to them in the long run? Shouldn't you respect them as a person, and explain that they're wrong, very wrong, and how electricity works? that's why I do not believe religious beliefs should be respected, until they can be proved.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • BRC

        In the second example the kid puts the pieces of metal into a potato. I botched that one, but I think we all know how the expirement works.

        October 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm |


    October 31, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  3. Vic

    Well, TriCk oR TrEaT, 😈 HAPPY HALLOWEEN :twisted:, in a non-devilish way!

    Check this out, now that's really carving the pumpkins:

    October 31, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  4. GAW

    This article shows that the media loves conflict. It feeds on it and grows stronger like an uber zombie.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  5. imagonner

    Short Wiccan Rede
    Bide ye Wiccan laws ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust.
    Live and let live, fairly take and fairly give.
    Form the circle thrice about to keep all evil spirits out.
    Soft of eye, light of touch, speak ye little, listen much.
    Deosil go by the waxing moon, singing out ye Witches' Rune.
    Widdershins go by the waning moon, chanting out the baneful rune.
    When the Lady's moon is new, kiss your hand to her times two.
    When the rippling waters flow, cast a stone and truth ye'll know.
    When ye have and hold a need, harken not with others' greed.
    With a fool no seasons spend, lest ye be counted as his friend.
    Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
    Mind ye threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.
    When misfortune is anow, wear the star upon thy brow.
    True in Love ye must ever be, lest thy love be false to thee.
    In these eight words, the Wiccan Rede fulfill
    "An' it harm none, do what thou wilt."

    October 31, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Toby

      At least the Rede is something to follow that says it plain and simple, even if those that don't accept it as morally or spiritually sound, choose not to follow it. )O(

      October 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • bathshebabloodwyne

      The word "an" is the archaic form of the word "if," not a shortening of the word "and." No apostrophe required, please.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Some very good guidelines for life. Most religions have them, but those are better than many. Especially not to be company longterm for someone who you would not wish to have called 'friend'.

      October 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  6. Unegen

    Not surprised. Seems like everyone wants to find something to get their nose bent out of joint about.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • GAW

      We're getting way too thin skinned in this country.

      October 31, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      As someone suffering from nasal dysmorphia, I find your choice of terms offensive.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Pig in a Poke

        Nice one : )

        October 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I don't agree. This is the media's job – they don't interview a witch who loves Halloween, they seek out to find one person who dislikes it, to create controversy, to have people up in arms, they want to take away Halloween, etc. It's a game. Show me a movement in Wicca to end Halloween, and this means something. With one person, you have to remember this is one person's point of view. Not an indictment nor indication of widespread thin skinned behavior.

      October 31, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  7. Bobbo

    I have known several Wiccans in my life and we enjoy Halloween just as much as most people. As with praying in school, the pledge of allegiance, Christmas decorations, (never did figure out what Santa Clause had to do with religion) and all the other like stuff. We will be dominated by the couple people that have their head up their ass and are So offended by this they just can't live in a world where it exists

    October 31, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Santa

      *Claus (not Clause)

      October 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  8. SurelyUjest

    In gaelic: Ta sonas Samhain agat = Happy Halloween. I am a male witch/pagan and I can relate to the difficulties at work and in the neighborhood if I wear my pentical or am outted from the broom closet. America still has lots of issues with different religions. Christians try to control everything in America but we are a free country still Witches are persecuted because people do not understand we are NOT what the stereo type says we are. This is one reason why I side with Atheists in discussions regarding "in god we trust" on our money or " under god" in our pledge of allegience. It is not because I have no faith it is because my faith has more than one male divinity.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "America still has lots of issues with different religions."

      Brother you have that right.

      October 31, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  9. mk

    As far as religions go, at least Wiccans seem to be closer to some of the more peaceful religions. You don't hear from them much, they don't bother anyone, they don't seem to want to legislate their beliefs and they seem to want to do good in the world. To them I say, carry on.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • ty

      Exactly! And yet her neighbors threaten to burn down her house.

      I can only assume the neighbors are religious themselves, and I wonder which religion they have. It just goes to show how people will always hate others who are different from them.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Roger that

      True, but is it not because they are small in numbers? All religions thirst for power and control.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • DJ Lahey

      Thank You! Sincerely .

      October 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • goddog

      You say that because they are in the extreme minority. Power can change people.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        Could be – or could be otherwise – I don't respond to groups based on what they might do in the future. I think that's a problem, so often we judge someone based on our imaginary concept of what they would do – those projections too often are projections of ourselves and our fears, not reality.

        October 31, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    It is a terrible thing to lose your thoughts to permanent melancholy.
    Logic replaced with dread and misdeed?
    Why the same dreams and people?
    Why the same shame and funeral?
    My potion did not kill me. It doesn’t matter.
    Open me and purge it. Make me a child.
    Regrets adding up. Must balance the books.

    The wrinkles in his fingers smelled of gasoline.
    Tremble and swallow and wipe and push and beep.
    The little smear looks more like a face than his face does.
    Shut the visor with a tap.

    He should have been smart enough to die before 50.
    He should have been just that stupid, but now the sleep has come.

    His manner changed from dread to defeat; from defeat to bitterness.
    Now they would pay.
    With a final cough his head slumped as his chin met his chest.
    The ghost in the machine; Happy Halloween!

    October 31, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  11. Cal

    Who here likes to practice the rite of libation?

    October 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Apple Bush

      ...and though they grieved and rent their clothes, it was in the pub the followers gathered for darts and dark ale which they hoisted in sadness and drank with great sorrow. Many libations they consumed and they called it the blood of the son of God.

      October 31, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Rum Ration

      When the water went bad men, women and children had to resort to beer.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  12. Honey Badger Don't Care

    I'm surprised that all of the christians out there arent going to go around and kiII the witches like their bible commands them to do.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Andrew

      Where does the Bible state that?

      October 31, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • Hamlet

        Honey Badger don't read either.

        October 31, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:27...
        The purging of evil from Israel was strict and severe. Where scripture speaks of Mediums, they are people who act as “go-betweens” to supposedly contact or communicate with the spirits of the dead – these “spirits” are actually demons, not the spirits of the departed. (1 Corinthians 10:19-20, Deuteronomy 32:17)

        This isn't Israel, and we're not living in the time where God would purify His chosen people, so we don't kill those who practice sorcery, divination, or necromancy... But we do preach to them.

        October 31, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • Check


          Moses said that he, himself, was a sort of "Medium". The "Lord" spoke directly to him, he said, and he was to pass the word along. Why did the "Lord" tell him so many incorrect things?

          A sampling:

          – You cure leprosy by having a dove killed, dipping a live one in its blood and having it fly around. Also, you have to anoint the toes of the suffer with the blood.–Leviticus 14

          – You discover unfaithful wives when their bellies swell and their thighs rot after they are made to drink some magical water. – Numbers 5

          – Prized striped goats are bred by having the mating parents stare at striped objects. –Genesis 30

          – You may buy, own, sell, and will slaves to your descendants (only foreigners for slaves, though, no Israelis) –Leviticus 25

          There are several other similar instances of absolute rubbish that this "God" "spoke" to Moses, along with a bunch of other rules and laws that are obviously only from the minds of primitive men. How anyone can believe that this stuff came from a real smart divine being is ludicrous.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Check

          p.s. In case you didn't notice, some of those alleged messages from the "Lord" *are* flat-out sorcery.

          October 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
      • SurelyUjest

        exodus 22:18
        Thou shalt not suffer a witch to liue.
        – King James Version (1611) – View 1611 Bible Scan

        "You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
        – New American Standard Version (1995)

        Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live.
        – American Standard Version (1901)

        Any woman using unnatural powers or secret arts is to be put to death.
        – Basic English Bible

        - thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
        – Darby Bible

        Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
        – Webster's Bible

        You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
        – World English Bible

        `A witch thou dost not keep alive.
        – Youngs Literal Bible

        (22:17) Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live.

        If Lawerence is correct why no formal correction to all these current updates to the old testament?

        October 31, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Topher

          Old covenant.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Read below with the post starting: "There are 3 ways to determine..."

          October 31, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • Toby

          Old covenant or not, the KJV was penned during times that witches and "differences" were one and the same. So, it's an outdated and VIOLENT way to compare to biblical principles. Especially when a society of difference exists and many of the Old Testament commandments were presented for a people that served a VIOLENT deity. If you wish to align yourself to violence and MURDER, then so be it. How about that loving religion eh?

          October 31, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Topher

          I'm not aligning myself with violence or murder in any way. The loving part comes in where God walked away from His throne, came to earth and lived a perfect life and voluntarily went to His death on your behalf so that your sin-debt could be paid for. Then He even defeated death by rising from the grave. All this for you despite the fact you continue to shake your fist at Him. But He loves you anyway and the offer still stands. But none of us are promised another day. Repent and trust Him before it's too late.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      There are 3 ways to determine if an OT law is applicable to the NT church:

      a)Divide the Mosaic law into 3 components: Moral, Civil, and Ceremonial
      oThe Civil Laws are gone because we are not Israel living in that time period
      oThe Ceremonial Laws are gone because we have the Lamb slain once for all time (Jesus). As a part of this, the dietary laws are gone – see Acts 11
      oThe Moral Law (10 Commandments) ARE STILL applicable to the New Testament church today, except the Sabbath Law, the 4th Commandment. This is gone because under the New Covenant, we have a rest in Christ.

      b)The OT law is not enforceable unless the NT says it is

      c)The OT law is still enforceable unless the NT says it is not

      October 31, 2013 at 11:22 am |
      • Andy

        "For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." (Mat 5:18)

        Heaven and earth haven't disappeared yet... seems we're still supposed to be following the Law, according to Jesus.

        October 31, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          But you need to read it properly... What "law" was He talking about? It was the moral law found in Exodus 20. And we haven't given up the "Sabbath Day" completely, we in the Church Age just look at it differently... "One man esteems one day, another man esteems another." We can worship on any day we choose. There are other implications as well that for brevity's sake, I won't go into. But I can if you wish.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • Andy

          Sounds like an interpretation of convenience to me.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:36 am |
        • Vic

          That's a common misconception! That condition was on till the law was fulfilled and accomplished. Jesus Christ fulfilled and accomplished the law and on our behalf. It was like whichever came first, so to speak.

          Now, since the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled and accomplished the law and on our behalf, the law was/is no more, and Grace reigned/reigns, that is the Time Dispensation Of Grace.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • Unegen

          You realize you're discussing fiction like it's reality.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Andy

          Vic – It's pretty clear... "until heaven and earth disappear". That hasn't happened. Your interpretation seems to be wrong.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Sounds like proper interpretation to me. But don't take my word for it, read Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, Thomas Manton, John Owen, Martin Luther, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, A.W. Pink, Paris Reidhead, Steve Lawson, Justin Peters...

          October 31, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • Reality # 2

          But once again, is Matt 5:18 (Luke 16:17) authentic? As per many contemporary NT scholars, it is not. For example, see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb073.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's a-nalysis in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 137-138.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Andy

          So others have the same convenient interpretation as you... so what? It's still an interpretation of convenience (and distinction from Jewishness).

          October 31, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Toby

          The honest truth is, that ALL principles are determines by flawed creations. The bible itself was written down by FLAWED men. Doesn't matter which way you dice the rhetoric or not. Old laws, new laws...they are ALL commanded by MEN, the ultimate flawed creation, During Jesus' time on earth, he only referred to one maybe two laws that are written down. 1. Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart and love thy neighbor as thyself. How difficult is it to see that?

          October 31, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Francis

          Andy, you're exactly right. Christians like to think Jesus fulfilled the Law for them and they no longer have to practice the restrictions and requirements (despite passages like you mentioned out that say otherwise). They now say this like a mantra, without really investigating it, or, like you pointed out, coming up with interesting interpretations. But this was originally just another way to make themselves more separate and distinct from the Jewish faith they broke away from.

          October 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Thomas Jefferson

          Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

          October 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • Vic

          Fulfillment of the Law

          Matthew 5:17,18
          “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished."

          Luke 24:44
          "44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”"

          John 17:4
          "4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do."

          John 19:30
          "30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."

          Romans 3:28
          "28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."

          Romans 8:1,2
          "8 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."

          Romans 10:4
          "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."

          Galatians 2:16
          "16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified."

          Galatians 4:4,5
          "4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons."

          Ephesians 2:14-16
          "14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity."

          Colossians 2:14
          "14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."

          Hebrews 9:25,26
          "25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."

          All Scripture Is From:

          New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


          October 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • George

          Vic – I agree with Andy that the Gospel references indicate Jesus is saying people still need to follow the Law. All is not accomplished, since heaven and earth still exist. Can't help that Paul thought different. Who are you going to believe, Jesus or Paul?

          October 31, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Vic

          NOT a single human being ever existed nor will ever exist who could/can accomplish every letter of the law. That's why ONLY the Divine could fulfill and accomplish it. And that's why God incarnated in the flesh, to fulfill and accomplish the law as a human, pay the price in full for our sins, and fulfill the heavenly requirement. If we can fulfill and accomplish the law each and everyone on our own, we would have not needed a savior!

          October 31, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
        • Phyllis

          So what was the point of establishing an unfulfillable law that people were doomed to fail at? What a lame system–not a system you'd expect an all-powerful god to create.

          October 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Putting the OT to rest:

        origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

        New Torah For Modern Minds

        “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

        The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

        The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

        October 31, 2013 at 11:30 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        God never changes his mind, unless god changes his mind right Lawrence?

        October 31, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I've got about a page and a half on notes on this that I could post for you... But you'd probably do just as well by typing your question into http://www.gotquestions.org, that is, of course if you really want to know.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • Vic

          It's not that God changes His mind, it is that God changes the Time Dispensation of His plans. That's what the Old and New covenants are, change in Time Dispensation.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I have got 12 + years of Christian education, I have heard plenty of rationalizations of the question Lawrence,

          Just because you have an answer doesn't mean it is a good one.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And Thank you Vic for proving my point...!

          October 31, 2013 at 11:59 am |
      • Reality # 2

        For those who th-ump the Gospel of John:

        From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

        "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......
        From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

        "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

        "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

        And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

        "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

        See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

        October 31, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Toby

      Look, it doesn't command, in the Bible, to kill people. It says to be kind, patient, humble, meek and love thy neighbor as thyself. Where does it say to kill those that aren't like you? Why perpetrate as a "christian" and say in the same sentence that others that don't believe as you should die. double standards won't do anything to convince others of your faith being a loving and accepting one if you choose to wipe out all opposition. The crusades didn't do it, the inquisition didn't do it, the burning times didn't do it...

      October 31, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  13. Clint

    I have nothing against inherently good people trying to live their lives. My personal beliefs may vary, but I wish them nothing but the best in life. Happy Halloween, everybody!

    October 31, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  14. steve

    ‘Hanging up witch decorations at Halloween is no better than wearing blackface costumes or taking a slur, like “Redskins,” as the name of your football team, she says.
    “Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Capnerhurst said.’

    This kind of stuff is getting a little out of control. Pretty soon it'll be known as the "W" word!

    On an unrelated note, I get so sick and tired of all the churches in my neighborhood having "Harvest Celebrations" as a "christian" alternative to Halloween. I'd attended an evangelical church for a while about 13 years ago and had to leave screaming. I can't STAND the hypocrisy exhibited by so called "Christians" this time of year. They tend to think Halloween is "the devil's holiday", but they have no problem sticking huge evergreen trees in their churches every Christmas without even a thought to their origins.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Generally speaking, Evangelical Protestants are the most either hypocritical or willfully ignorant of all believers.

      Factoring the absurdity of biblical literalism and the worldview and cognitive dissonance this requires, this is pretty much by definition.

      October 31, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  15. stevec

    From what I've seen of Wiccans on the West Coast, they're not a bad lot at all. One group held a meet-n-greet in a large hot tub.. Spent the evening with a gal ho was showing me all of her tats and piercings. Interesting folks.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  16. lol??

    Christians are the reformed potters clay which was always referred to as Israel and turned out to be a remnant. No replacement needed as per the original gubmint church's wishes. It's the New covenant. The not-a-Jews are divorced.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  17. greekgodess

    I was hoping my red-haired cousins would be spared today and not burnt at the stake!

    October 31, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  18. peick

    There is real evil in the world, but it doesn't look like evil to people who are themselves evil.

    How would the atheists, Christian-haters, Wiccans, pagans, etc., define evil? From what I can tell, they only think that intolerance is evil. Anything else goes.

    If they take the position that evil does not exist, then why the outrage? If intolerance is the only evil, then why be intolerant of people who are intolerant? If intolerance is the only evil, then tolerance is the only virtue.

    What a confused mess.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Textbook existentialism... They believe that there is no ultimate truth, that what is “right” is what works for the individual.

      Ultimately, they can't admit that just because they believe in something, their belief alone doesn’t make it true – for instance if two men are sitting on a park bench, you can’t make that park bench a chicken just because you say that you believe it is a chicken, no matter how sincerely you believe it. Ultimately, there is ultimate truth, and the individual’s belief is irrelevant if it conflicts with reality.

      October 31, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • Madtown

        Ultimately, there is ultimate truth
        No single religion can serve as "ultimate truth" for ANYONE, until it is equally available and accessible to EVERYONE.

        October 31, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          There is no ultimate truth?? Is that true? If that’s true, then your statement is false, if your statement is false, then it’s still false…

          October 31, 2013 at 11:36 am |
        • Madtown

          Not what I said at all. I said "ultimate truth" is not described by any religion.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Well demonstrate that your god is ultimately true....you can't

        October 31, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        No one has a monopoly on "truth".

        The search for truth is the province of philosophers. As I understand it, they're still looking. (They've been at it since the dawn of human sentience and beyond "be excellent to one another" they're not much closer to an answer.

        Anyone who claims a revelation of "truth" is a charlatan, delusional or swept up in faith in unprovable assertions.

        October 31, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          good point non-GOP,

          I respect people who are searching for truth, but I am very suspecious of anyone who has claimed to have found it.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Anyone who claims a revelation of "truth" is a charlatan..."

          Is that true???

          October 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          You are familar with the meaning of the word "or" aren't you?

          October 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • bathshebabloodwyne

      Actually, Peick, that's really easy, and had you read the article, you would see what Wiccans consider evil: harm. "Harm None" is the Wiccan creed, and it is a very simple rule, though exceedingly difficult to follow. Telling someone their religion is wrong is harmful to them – have you read the psychological studies on people who have lost their faith? Stealing is harmful. Lying is often harmful. Standing between two consenting adults and telling them their love is "sin" is harmful. Allowing those people to marry? That causes no harm. Starving yourself to look pretty: harmful. Going to the gym to be healthy: not harmful. Simple, see?

      October 31, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      I can think of more 'evil': intentional harm onto others, negligence, teller of false truths.....

      October 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I wonder where you get these illusions from?

      I know plenty of atheists, some wiccans, and many others – and NONE of them, including me, thinks intolerance is the only evil.

      Heck, it's not even among the main evils.

      Hurting other people is evil. Doing it to please yourself is even more evil. That tends to cover it – hurting the environment hurts people in the long run – evil. Hurting other people, even if it's because you think your religion says you must – that's evil.

      Intolerance – where it hurts other people is evil. Intolerance where it's in your own mind and doesn't hurt others – not a problem.

      You are lying about us – if you want to know what people think, talk to them with an open mind, rather than projecting your fears onto them as if it's reality.

      October 31, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  19. DM Murdock

    Horus and the stooges r the best they could do.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  20. tammihartley

    And also, witches... if that's what you're going to call yourself, then you must have a sense of humor about it.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:05 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.