Kerr Cuhulain is a Canadian former police detective who made headlines when he came out of the broom closet as Wiccan while serving on the force. Since coming out he has worked tirelessly to correct misinformation about Wicca and Paganism circulating in the police and emergency services. On the other side of the coin he has produced an excellent series of articles for the greater Pagan community, published online in serial form at Witchvox.com and in printed form as the book “Witch Hunts,” unmasking hate literature and misinformation that has been spread by anti-Pagan propagandizers. He is involved with the Officers of Avalon fraternal, benevolent, and educational group serving Pagans working in police and emergency services.
In 1989 Cuhulain published a book aimed at the police force titled “The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca.” His new book, “Pagan Religions: A Handbook for Diversity Training” (Acorn Guild Press: 2011) is an expanded version of this book meant for a wider audience but still focusing on educating those in the police forces and emergency services who might have interactions with Pagans in the course of their work. It’s also the kind of book that Pagans will buy in order to give to friends, family, and others in the non-Pagan community as a way to correct misinformation about us.
As a Pagan reading the book I found it quite shocking although not really surprising how much of a cottage industry there was and still is in spreading anti-Pagan propaganda. As a police officer Cuhulain was clearly exposed to this as various self-styled “occult crime experts” made a living speaking to police groups around North America leaving behind their anti-Pagan hate literature to be used as misleading references in criminal investigations. It’s no wonder that the mythical Satanic Ritual Abuse witchhunt claimed so many victims as police forces had been primed to see horrific crimes behind anything that hinted remotely of non-Abrahamic (Christian, Jewish, etc.) faiths.
Thankfully Cuhulain stepped up to help counteract the misinformation with honesty about Wicca and modern Paganism. Let’s hope that his attempts have proven to be a strong enough antidote to counteract the damage already done. This new handbook can serve as a solid intellectual vaccination against misinformation about Pagans. It encourages the reader to become aware about how propaganda designed to demonize minorities can easily wrap itself in the mantle of “authority” and how dangerous this is for everyone.
Heartfelt thanks to Kerr for working tirelessly to champion justice and honesty not just for Pagans but for all. “Pagan Religions: A Handbook for Diversity Training” is an instant classic and should be required reading for anyone training to work in the police and emergency services.