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Title: Introduction to the Occult

Source: www.the700club.org, 10/31/97, and broadcast on The 700 Club's television show on the same date.

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Introduction to the Occult

October 31, 1997

In America tonight, millions of children will dress up as witches, demons, and goblins and go trick-or-treating. To most of them, the spirit world is all pretend. But according to some experts, what seems like harmless fun is slowly indoctrinating children into New Age occultism. In today's CBN News Focus, reporter Kristine Vick explains how the occult is becoming mainstream by winning over America's children.

Kristine Vick, reporter

A new controversy is brewing over a popular children's card game called "Magic: The Gathering." Steve Kosser, a school psychologist in Pound Ridge, New York, explains the serious nature of the game.

"Here's a card that says you're going to drain the life of your opponent, and here's a card specifically called demonic consultation. This is a pentagram in the back, which is a symbol for Satan," he explained. Kosser says the game promotes occultic themes like Satanism, witchcraft, and demon possession.

"This is not a game like chess where you are attacking pieces on a board. This is a game where you're attacking your living, breathing opponent by using devils to conjure demons and cast spells."

And while some people think these occultic themes are only popular at Halloween, in some schools across the country these themes are part of everyday learning. In the New York suburb of Pound Ridge, elementary school students took an overnight field trip to a local graveyard. They also learn about magic and witchcraft in the classroom.

In a lengthy federal lawsuit against the Bedford school district, plaintiffs Ceil Dinozzi and Mary Ann Dibari allege that school officials in their community are promoting New Age occultism.

"I truly believe we are in a spiritual battle for the souls of our children," said Dibari. "That's what we have in the schools, and this is the battlefield."

The battle began when "Magic: The Gathering" became popular at Pound Ridge elementary school two years ago. Teachers made the game part of the curriculum for gifted and talented students. But when some of their children began having nightmares, these two women questioned what was happening at school. The more they probed, the more they found other activities within the curriculum that concerned them.

"Death, dying, necromancy, shamanism--you name it, it was in there," said Dibari.

The lawsuit lists more than 30 instances where students were exposed to New Age occultism in the classroom. The following were among the most compelling examples:

First, school officials invited a New Age crystal healer and a psychic to speak at the elementary school. Secondly, third graders learned how to tell fortunes and read tarot cards. And the most bizarre example--for a lesson about evolution, fourth graders took a field trip to a graveyard. Dibari's granddaughter attended that outing.

"She said, 'Well, we were taken in a children's cemetery, and you walk onto the tombs and you lie down on the gravesite to see if you could fit in the little child's coffin,'" recalled Dibari.

In addition to those activities, another fourth grade class had to write a poem entitled, "How God Messed Up." The fifth grade performed various Aztec rituals, including one that conjures up dead spirits. And sixth graders spent three months learning about pagan gods who are central to New Age occultism.

"We've got a case where well-meaning teachers are literally dabbling in occult activities to try to keep their kids interested in what they're studying," said Kosser. "At the same time, they're leading the children toward a greater appreciation of occult stuff."

And as author Berit Kjos warns, this is happening nationwide.

"The schools, the whole process of learning today is taking the children away," saud Kjos. "It's stealing the minds of children and Christian parents are losing the children from coast to coast. The children's loyalties are being turned from the home, from the church, from God, to a whole new ideal."

In her books Brave New Schools and A Twist of Faith, Kjos writes that that new ideal is a new worldview that embraces all religions except Christianity.

"Any parent that is shocked to discover that this stuff is happening in the schools is basically being naive," said Kosser. "The schools exist in the popular culture."

And as Kosser also points out, the popular culture is loaded with examples of the occult packaged to look like harmless fun. For example, children's books like "Goosebumps," the "Magic Tree House," "The Zack Files," and "The Black Cat Club," introduce young readers to topics like vampirism, ESP, and out-of-body experiences. One series called "The Junior Astrologer" entices children to take up astrology.

In television and movies, witchcraft and casting spells look like innocent entertainment to impressionable young viewers. And then there are games like "The Angel Talk" that look wholesome, but encourage players to contact New Age spirits.

It may not look as devilish as "Magic: The Gathering," but the underlying principles are the same. And it's these principles that have experts concerned.

"The more and more the children are desensitized to occultism and to lifestyles that clash with Christianity, the more it's accepted," said Kjos.

And according to Dibari and Dinozzi, that's evident in their community already.

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