I stumbled across references in the Landover Baptist Church forums about the Malleus Maleficarum. If you’re not familiar with Landover Baptist Church, rest assured that it’s a parody of fundamentalist churches and the Religious Right. What makes this web site so poignant is that the issues that are parodied are often indistinguishable from the real thing.
The forum topic on the Malleus Maleficarum starts with a question;
“So I was visiting my new favorite Christian book store the other day when I found a weird book there. I forgot my wallet at home, but the clerk was so happy I had been recently filled and penetrated by the Gospel that he let me have it for free … Can a True Christian™ man let me know if its ok? Or if I should just throw it in the fireplace and read a cookbook instead?”
It’s what comes next that got my attention. I’ve heard this discussion before, and not in the form of parody. Some Evangelicals avoid anything that’s been written by Catholics, believing Catholic rites and the veneration of Saints is, at best, bordering on heathenism. Some have even suggested that Catholics secretly worship Satan because they had usurped Jesus Christ’s authority by elevating Mother Mary almost to the status of an equal.
Anyway, the forums are worth a read. Keep in mind that everything you find there is parody. But, like all good parody, it comes uncomfortably close to the truth.