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kb12345's avatar

Where do modern day witch hunts take place?

Asked by kb12345 (432points) May 18th, 2011

I recently read the Crucible a few weeks ago. This made me very interested in what still goes on today. Is there such thing as modern day witch hunts today? If so, where do they take place and what are some sites I could read about them today.

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24 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

I have seen quite a few at

filmfann's avatar

This site has some discussion of it. You can also find information on Wikipedia.
Obama’s birth certificate and Clintons involvement in the death of Vince Foster are also witch-hunts, but the first site is more to what you ask.

Cruiser's avatar

The US Congress and the US Senate and Illinois Governors office and have been pretty active these days.

YoBob's avatar


Usually in places like PTA and neighborhood association meetings.

graynett's avatar

My wife cooked at a church soup kitchen and also collects stones and rocks when the paster found out she had crystals in her collection he called her a witch and asked her to leave.
Does that count. It’s sad but true some preacher see them every where!

WasCy's avatar

Metaphorically, any time people are accused without qualitative and quantitative proof (or what logical people consider cause-and-effect “proof” based on repeatable and verifiable “scientific” means) and are forced to “prove a negative” (which is a logical impossibility) in order to restore or prove their innocence, that’s a witch-hunt.

If you know a little bit about Arthur Miller’s personal history and the US history and events during which he wrote his excellent play, then the phrase, “I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party,” (or words to that effect) indicate that a witch hunt is in progress.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

If we aren’t talking metaphorically, I believe they still happen in India, Saudi Arabia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Papua New Guinea. It’s usually more of a local village kinda thing than a large, institutional, nation-wide thing.

YoBob's avatar

@jaytkay, I believe the question was about witch hunts, not Muslim hunts.

jaytkay's avatar

witch hunt
1: a searching out for persecution of persons accused of witchcraft
2: the searching out and deliberate harassment of those (as political opponents) with unpopular views


syz's avatar

@YoBob If you look at the links, every response refers to the irrational persecution of some group of individuals, not literally witches (except for filmfan’s and AdamF’s responses).

YoBob's avatar

Sorry folks, I neglected to include the ”~” character. (I assumed the sarcasm was implied)

Kardamom's avatar

The Westboro Baptist Church regularly engages in “witch hunts.”

Ajulutsikael's avatar

There was a teacher in Florida a few years ago, or less, that was fired for witchcraft. He wasn’t a witch, he just brought in a science thing and basically was like Mr. Wizard. School saw that as witchcraft and fired him.

YoBob's avatar

I’ve always liked the following line from an Indigo Girls song:

“Galileo’s head was on the block.
His crime was looking up the truth…”

YARNLADY's avatar

In the 1980’s, California was a hot bed of false witch hunts. Several innocent people spent years in jail because of it.

Nullo's avatar

@YoBob In fact, Galileo’s troubles mostly stemmed from his tendency to rip on the Pope.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo Only if by “rip on” you mean “disagree with.”

However, those are not the same thing.

Nullo's avatar

@SavoirFaire No, it seems that there was at least the appearance of an insult leveled at His Papacy, beyond mere disagreement. PBS’s Nova states that Galileo’s Dialoge – a scientific text in narrative form – presented a quote from Pope Urban VIII proceeding from the mouth of, “a simpleton.” An insult in form if not in spirit, aggravated by the circumstances of its arrival. It signaled the death of what had been a decent friendship.
From the linked page, “All who read the Dialogue could see that the defense of Copernicus was, by far, the stronger argument in the book. The character Simplicio, mouthing the words of Urban VIII, was really more satire than science.”

PBS, people.

YoBob's avatar

@Nullo True. But the bottom line is he was accused of heresy for the egregious crime of advancing human understanding of how our universe works.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo The key word here is “appearance.” Galileo had great respect for Urban VIII and even dedicated a book to him (specifically, The Assayer). As for the character of Simplicio in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Galileo explicitly states in the book’s preface that he is a reference to the philosopher Simplicius of Cilicia (a Platonist who spent most of his life commenting on the works of Aristotle and trying to bridge the differences that existed between the two schools of thought).

The use of such a character makes perfect sense as Galileo was responding to the views he had learned as part of his Scholastic education (Scholasticism being a system that attempted to reconcile Christianity with, you guessed it, Platonism and Aristotelianism). Moreover, a key element of Scholasticism is dialectic: take the strongest expression of the view you are attempting to refute and overcome it. So in fact, putting Urban VIII’s own words into the mouth of Simplicio is a way of showing respect. Most scholars think that Urban VIII could not have been stupid enough to miss this, which is just one reason why so many theories abound regarding what “really” got Galileo in trouble.

Nova is a science show. When choosing which historical details to present, they pick the ones that best serve the dramatic arc of the episode rather than the ones with the best academic credentials. It’s the same reason you don’t try to learn astrophysics from the History Channel.

Independent research, people.

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