Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
Diane Vera printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Aug 25, 2016 at 09:48:32 AM EST
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene on a Pagan news site called The Wild Hunt.  This was the first year that such protesters showed up at Witchfest.  Apparently they also showed up last year at Pagan Pride, another Pagan festival held annually in late September.

According to Heather Greene:

The group of protesters, who numbered between 10 and 20 at any given time, arrived early and stayed all day. They set up on one corner of Astor Place, near the festival's teaching tents. The group held up signs and yelled at the growing festival crowd. According to RavenHawk, this was the same group of people who protested Pagan Pride in 2015.

Witch and author Christopher Penczak told The Wild Hunt that the protesters appeared to be "some evangelical variety" of Christian, but he could not identify any specific denomination or church affiliation.

"I have never encountered such a belligerent group," said Hannah, a member of the Temple of Witchcraft and a regular attendee at Pagan and other similar conventions. "One [protester] screamed in my face that I need to repent." She said that, in her experience, most convention protesters are typically more passive. "These guys were seriously full of aggression and hate."

When I first read this back in July, it occurred to me to wonder if this protest might be a sign of stepped-up NAR-style "spiritual warfare" activity here in NYC.  Such protests, here in NYC, are a new development.  As far as I am aware, such harassment of public Pagan events has never happened here before.

I decided to post about it here after this article by Frederick Clarkson (see also my comment here) made me realize that there apparently is, indeed, stepped up NAR activity here in NYC these days.

However, that fact still doesn't prove that this specific protest was NAR-connected.  Would anyone here happen to know what specific organization was behind these protests?  (Photos here and here.)

The lack of denominational affiliation is certainly suggestive but I'd need more to go on.

However, as another general forensic tool, look for any activity in and around NYC concerning "prayer walking" or "spiritual mapping". This has been going on all over the city, for several years at least.

Now, not all of the people doing this are fully within the NAR - and many may not even know about the existence of the movement.

Nonetheless "spiritual mapping" as a practice emerged from the heart of the nascent NAR (see this 2005 PhD dissertation on the emergence of Spiritual Mapping by Rene Holvast : http://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/29340/holvast.p df?sequence=2 )

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Aug 25, 2016 at 10:40:51 AM EST

but I do know that down here, they've made life hell at times for UU kids (and non-Christians in general).  I was at a public function ("First Friday") where they attacked us at our table multiple times (including trying to "prove" to me that I was going to hell and aggressively approaching and grilling me within the space set up for the UU church).  We also had problems with them coming up to people who were at our table and starting hard-sell proselytizing of them as soon as they could.

Also, Native Americans have had problems with them.  I've heard of attempts (some pretty much successful, others not) to take over tribes and tribal governments (one group I'm thinking of has shifted from proven bloodlines as a part of being a member of the tribe - you're born into a tribe and you don't "join", to membership in the church).  They've invaded and disrupted ceremony, and physically threatened and attacked real American Indians.  I've experienced the attacks twice - once where I was threatened with violence from "Good Christians" (of the Dominionist stripe), and a second time where I was verbally attacked (in my face) by a Good Christian because I valued learning about our traditions and not "Jesus".

I just wish Dogemperor was around.  She knew more about situations out west than I do (mentioned several situations by name) - and I've been rather inactive in tribal life for the last several years (due to Christian and poverty problems).

Finally, I'd also point out that the local Dominionist "University" has a long history/reputation of developing new ways to proselytize and force their way into places where they're not wanted.  I'd been trying to get people who'd gone there - and spoke of some of the things they were taught, such as "How to disrupt another group that you don't like" - even to how to approach a table like we had set up at "First Friday", to write up reports on their training.  One person mentioned being taught even how to approach a table and block access to it - pointed out several young people and told us exactly what they would do - and they did.  It was exactly as that person had been trained when he/she was going there (I need to keep identities - even to sex, confidential to protect the people - as I wrote in the diary about evidence of violence, it's dangerous to resist those monsters.)

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Their goal is to win. Sadly they look closer now than ever before to win. Or at the very least make headway in their plan to make the USA what it never was, a Christian Theocracy of some kind.

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Well, this group does sound very dangerous to me. Protestors appearing at events like these are very common, but I never have heard of any groups conducting such aggressive protests at the event. And the origin of these groups is unknown, which also makes it scarier.

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