Witchcraft Panic Fuels Trump Allies’ War on Halloween

"Halloween Witch Full Moon" image used under Creative Commons Public Domain License; via publicdomainpictures.net

It’s tradition: As Americans dress up to celebrate Halloween, religious right figures warn that what seems like harmless fun is actually a dangerous participation in demonic activity and Satan worship. This year’s warnings seem a little higher-strung than usual given the ongoing religious right panic about President Donald Trump being targeted by witchcraft.

In recent days, the Trump-supporting media platform Charisma has repeatedly pitched “Why Christians Shouldn’t Celebrate Halloween,” a new ebook with nine “teachings” about Halloween. “The demonic realm is alive and active,” it begins.

The ebook’s author Katherine DeGraw writes that people often recognize that “evil forces” drive actions like mass shootings. “However, when it comes to the pagan celebration of Halloween, we somehow do not see it as having the same demonic and evil impact as those other tragedies,” she writes. “The effects of Halloween and human sacrifices are just as real. However, authorities—and the news media—simply don’t report them.”

She urged Christians to be on the “counteroffensive” against the “demonic realm” that is conjuring up “curses, spells, vexes and other evil practices” in the month before Halloween to “destroy Christians, uproot prophetic destinies and come against the plans of God.”

Christians who see the holiday as harmless fun are “co-laboring with the works of darkness,” she writes. Essentially they are supporting what DeGraw says are occult practices like having sex with demons and sacrificing babies to drink their blood.

She argues that Christians should repent for past participation in Halloween the same way they’d repent for “pornography, masturbation, rape, stealing, or vulgar language.” DeGraw asks, “Why is Halloween any different?”

Charisma is not the only group making the most of Halloween.

The far-right Catholic group Tradition Family and Property launched a petition against Amazon selling sexually themed costumes involving priests and nuns, which TFP called “the next battle against Satan.”

Intercessors for America, which mobilizes prayer warriors on behalf of Trump and conservative candidates, urged people to sing and praise from the biblical book of Psalms from noon on Oct. 30 until noon on Nov. 1. “We believe that our corporate songs of praise have great power to confuse the enemy, nullify demonic schemes, and clear the way for the King of Glory to come in!” Last week, IFA launched a week-long prayer campaign to protect Trump from “occultic activity.

Anti-LGBTQ activist Michael Brown is using Halloween to promote his recent book, “Jezebel’s War with America,” which warns about the demonic spirit of Jezebel, which he associates with radical feminism, abortion and sexual immorality as well as the rise of “witchcraft and sorcery” in America.

“This week, many little girls around the country may dress up as witches for Halloween, some perhaps cute and others a little scary,” says a press release promoting Brown’s book. “But there is nothing pretend about the very real—and very frightening—presence of witchcraft in America, says author and national radio host Dr. Michael Brown.” Brown’s book asserts that the demonic Jezebel spirit is “enraged” by Trump because he is fighting abortion, opposing “LGBT extremism,” and “supporting the prophets of God.”

Charisma CEO Steve Strang talks about Halloween on his podcast this week, saying that it’s not harmless fun, but “indicative of spiritual warfare.” He used his podcast to praise Trump spiritual adviser Paula White’s prayer at a Trump rally this summer in which she denounced Trump’s opponents in spiritual terms, saying “let every demonic network that has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken.”

“Prophetic” author Lance Wallnau posted on Facebook on Sunday that this is the season when “Christians focus on Harvest themes and pagans focus on Halloween,” making it “a great time of year to do evangelism if you build it around the END TIMES and SPIRIT REALM teaching.” Wallnau said he would broadcast this week on how to break witches’ curses, and he is pitching a 40 percent off sale on his online store. He suggested that “Breaking Controlling Spirits and Leviathan” will be especially “great RIGHT NOW during all the Halloween shenanigans flying around your territory.”

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association takes a more nuanced approach, leaving it up to individual families to decide, though it notes, “Those who are interested in the right or wrong of the celebration may look at the holiday’s origin in the occult and believe it should not be celebrated at all; they are aware that some groups celebrate Halloween as a tribute to Satan.” But it also notes that the holiday is on the eve of All Saint’s Day and that some families and churches host their own alternatives. One option: “give Gospel tracts along with treats to children who come to their homes and make Halloween an opportunity to witness for Christ.”