RELIGION NEWS SERVICE) -- As widespread immunity and milder COVID-19 strains have spread across the U.S., pagans and witches, like their neighbors, have begun to gather more freely this summer at annual community events after two years of relative isolation. So have some unwelcome guests.
Street preachers and Christian protesters have long been a fixture of earth-based religions’ gatherings as they try to distract and deter people from enjoying what are typically outdoor festivals and ritual gatherings. But this year, some attendees say, these opponents of witchcraft and paganism have become more aggressive and even dangerous.
On the same weekend as WitchsFest USA, attendees at the Mystic South conference in Atlanta found Christian pamphlets in the lobby and on car windows outside the hotel where it was taking place. In Texas, pastor Kevin Hendrix has encouraged Christians to take a stand against the Polk County Pagan Market, held in October.
Many Pagan events are not held in public spaces for this reason, although that has been changing over the past 10 years as occult practices have found more acceptance in the public eye.
The Christian group took up a prominent position on one street corner as the festival began at 10 a.m. and began talking to attendees and preaching into amplification devices. Among them, RavenHawk said she recognized members of the NYC chapter of Christian Forgiveness Ministries, a Toronto organization that had sent visitors before.