The UK ‘officially’ executed around 1000 victims for witchcraft – but many more were killed by sadistic mobs who took the law into their own hands (encouraged by local priests). What many may not realise is that one of the crimes listed as witchcraft was ‘vile midwifery’ – a crime that demanded the death penalty. Any woman who was found to possess knowledge of pregnancy, labour, childbirth and post-natal recovery were deemed in league with the devil and sentenced to be burnt at the stake.
Today, the socio-economic forces of the West have produced the conditions for the human mind to move beyond the conditioning of a theology that reflects medieval (and earlier) conditions, and which have led to the development of secular logic and presumed superior standards of moral behaviour. The problem with this development is that it is not ‘free’ of the Judeo-Christian tradition that has served as its historical basis.