Tuesday, July 11, 2006

300-Year-Old Witch Cheated Justice

It's not just for modern billionaires anymore.

In 1706, Grace Sherwood, an apparently unorthodox woman, was thrown into the water because she was a midwife, sometimes wore men's clothes, ruined crops, killed livestock, summoned storms, and caused a miscarriage. She floated. Makes me wonder if she was wearing men's clothing, thus no heavy stays or waterlogged yards of fabric, and had large ... female attributes. That would help her float, even with her thumbs tied to her toes.

It seems the scapegoat was imprisoned for awhile, but reclaimed her properties and lived to a ripe old age. But her conviction still stood.

Due to the advocacy of Belinda Nash, who has researched Sherwood and performed a re-enactment every year, the Governor gave the "witch" an informal pardon, which, much to the chagrin of Pat Robertson, was read aloud by the mayor of Virginia Beach.
“With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice,” Kaine wrote. “We also can celebrate the fact that a woman’s equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams.”

With 3000 years of religious stupidity causing all kinds of harm to all kinds of people, can we all certainly agree that any kind of religious persecution and scapegoating, including that perpetrated by Virginia Beach's Pat Robertson, is an injustice?

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