Just before Halloween, TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Web site issued a strange warning to America’s parents: Demons may be lurking in your child’s bag of candy treats.
In a column on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Web site, writer Kimberly Daniels asserted that “demons” sneak into bags of Halloween candy at grocery stores.
“[M]ost of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches,” Daniels wrote. “I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference.”
Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, urged Robertson and Daniels to lighten up.
“I’ve heard of the devil being in the details, but to think he’s lurking inside a Snickers bar is a little too much,” Lynn quipped in a press statement. “Pat Robertson has always peddled some scary stuff, but this is over the top.”
But Daniels was serious. Her column, which CBN reprinted from Charisma magazine, asserted that far from being harmless fun, Halloween is a veritable doorway to hell, full of literal monsters.
“Halloween is much more than a holiday filled with fun and tricks or treats,” she wrote. “It is a time for the gathering of evil that masquerades behind the fictitious characters of Dracula, werewolves, mummies and witches on brooms. The truth is that these demons that have been presented as scary cartoons actually exist. I have prayed for witches who are addicted to drinking blood and howling at the moon.”
Thanks to AU’s efforts, a number of blogs picked up on the column and began poking fun at CBN. The CBN Web site at first edited the Daniels column, removing some of its more outlandish claims before yanking it off the site entirely.
The day before Halloween, Lynn appeared on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” to discuss CBN’s claims. During the interview, Lynn labeled Robertson, Daniels and their supporters killjoys.
“They see the world as a dangerous place,” Lynn remarked. “They don’t want us to have any fun. And this is just one more sad example of how they do it.”
Americans United pointed out that Robertson has been gunning for Halloween for a long time. CBN publishes a pamphlet titled “Hallowed or Harmful: Christian Perspective on Halloween.” It asserts, “During Halloween, little children in particular are the weak ones.”
As far back as 1982, Robertson attacked Halloween as a “Satanic ritual” and said on the air, “I think we ought to close Halloween down.” The attacks continued over the years, and CBN’s site includes a special anti-Halloween section.
On Oct. 29, 2007, Robertson called Halloween a “festival of the devil” and added that celebrating the holiday is “a mistake for Christians.”