I read today in the Daily Telegraph of how authorities in Germany are reviewing the 400 year old case of a woman burned for witchcraft. What gets me though is that instead of just giving her a posthumous pardon, they are actually “resuming her trial.” 😮
Why??? As I said in a comment to another post, if modern standards of justice were applied to all those of accused of witchcraft in the past, they would all be acquitted, or their cases would never have come to trial in the first place, because (a) their acts would not nowadays be classed as crimes; (b) their confessions were obtained by torture (and hence would be inadmissable as evidence); and (c) it is doubtful that the allegations would be treated with anything other than scepticism anyway. I suppose that because of (stereo)typical German efficiency they have to go through the rigmarole of re-trying the woman in order to exonerate her.
However, before Wiccans start rejoicing, one should note that the present case is taking place not because of the efforts of a pagan activist but those of an evangelical pastor and religious education teacher. Therefore his agenda is not to prove that as a pagan she was not guilty, but as a Christian she was not guilty. The argument being that – like almost all of the 25,000 people accused of Witchcraft between 1500 and 1782 – they were almost all not Pagans, but Christians who had been wrongly accused.