Written by Chris Bradley for examiner.com
There has been a lot of hoopla this week over the image on a bottle of beer portraying a witch being burned at the stake. The label is on the Witch’s Wit beer produced by The Lost Abbey brewery. It’s a label that has been in place since 2008 and comes complete with a story depicting witches being persecuted for being evil.
This story apparently starts with a prominent member of the Pagan community coming across the label, then sharing her outrage over it with the online community. A community that promptly took up the cause and brought an email letter campaign against the brewery. Unfortunately, many of these emails contained insults, intolerance and hate themselves. At The Lost Abbey Brewery website, they quote one such letter: ” “Screw you, you fat ass beer slugging alcoholic Christian Ass Hole.” Surely this is not the way to get anyone to listen to us?
To tell the truth, I obviously dislike the horrible portrayal depicted in the art work. It’s completely not appropriate in this day and age.
I also have a problem with how some Pagans are handling this situation. Names and religious statements are being called, threats made – it’s really disgusting to me – not to mention how behavior like that is likely to get the breweries backs up more than convince them to change anything. At this point, it would almost be like giving in to a terroristic threat for them to change a thing. Emailing a company and telling the owner he’s a “fat, stupid Christian” makes us look bad, not him. We come off looking as ignorant and intolerant as we are accusing the company of being.
It’s also disturbing to me how websites have been created and a huge buzz has been made about a beer label, while people out there in the world are still being regularly persecuted for witchcraft, and most of us barely know what’s going on, much less do anything about it. Where is the outrage for the men buried alive for witchcraft a few weeks ago? Where are all the facebook pages for the woman killed in Gaza for witchcraft? Search in Facebook for “Witch’s Wit” and you find dozens of comments, full of rage and disgust. Where is that passion over the babies being driven out of their homes and/or killed in Africa, thought to be witches? Where is the outrage for the 80 women in Malawi who sit in prison over witchcraft charges? Are all those witches who are now “boycotting” a beer that they many very likely never had access or the taste for boycotting all the products that come out of Africa? While I really do see and share the disgust over the image, it’s just an image. Out there in the world, there are real people being accused of witchcraft – beaten, jailed, raped, banished and killed. Where is our outrage for that?
And while the New York Times and many websites are reporting that The Lost Abbey has agreed to change the name of the beer and the label, the company has stated on their site that no decisions have been made, but that they will discuss the label and issues surrounding it at their next meeting in November. Should this label be addressed? Yes, of course. However it should be addressed in the same way we, as Pagans, would like to be addressed. With politeness, tolerance and in a non-confrontational way. We should show that we are educated, well spoken members of the religious community.