Death of an Occult Crime Expert Reawakens Controversy

By

Rimer’s passing has led to an lively online conversation among Pagan and vampire groups. Many of these groups regarded Rimer as a political enemy and some individuals expressed relief that Rimer will not be holding any more seminars. However, important leaders of these communities have called for respect. One community member invoked Proverbs 24:17, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls.”

Read More

Defining “Cult,” Defining “Christian”

By

Generally, sociologists do not use the word “cult.” Those that do, such as William Bainbridge and Rodney Stark, use it in a highly specialized way to indicate groups that are innovative (unlike churches) but open to everyone (unlike sects). Religion scholars who study “new religious movements” (or NRMs) are the first to admit that “cult,” in its modern usage, has always been a theological term used by Protestants to label religions they do not like.

Read More

Romania’s “Witch Tax”: Magic Meets Bureaucracy

By

On January 1, Romania implemented new tax codes that, among other changes, added the occupation of “witch” to the nation’s labor codes. Those charging clients for tarot readings, curses, and blessings must now pay a 16 percent income tax and make contributions to health and pension programs. The ire of the witches, some of whom responded by performing rituals to hex the government, has become fodder for scores of offbeat news stories throughout the West. But there is a deeper story to the witches of Romania.

Read More