Warning:  Mature and criminal content; may not be suitable for some readers.

Some of worst things I've seen in medical practice have been related to the exploitation of children in either human trafficking and/or the various "adult entertainment" activities (i.e., prostitution, pedophilia, pornography, etc.).  It breaks my heart every time I've seen one of these abused little ones.  But, I've done whatever I could to get them into better circumstances as well as take care of their unusual, extremely personal, and surprising health care needs.  Now, I realize this is a family news publication, so I promise to keep this "as clean as possible".  But it has happened a lot more than I personally expected in the heart of America's Bible Belt.  

For several weeks, I've watched as recent WikiLeaks allegations have been brought to light concerning pedophilia/child prostitution practiced in Satanic ritualistic worship, which have been allegedly been committed by many famous people and politicians.  For politicians, the accusations abound regardless of political party -- the alleged offenders are on "both sides of the aisle" (as representatives would say in the US Congress) -- it is a "bi-partisan" problem.  To try to be fair and open minded, I've been waiting to see if any substance exists behind these horrible accounts. 

But I can't be silent any longer after seeing that several issues are becoming discounted and minimized because some information is now being relegated to people's "mental garbage cans" with the rationale that the information "might be fake news".  Fake news on this type of child abuse has recently arisen because there were some erroneous story leads given to reporters which led to wrong details and false accusations being reported prematurely.  In the long run, I am concerned that some instances of abuse may not be investigated fully as a result of delegitimizing some incidents/claims by labelling them as "fake news".  Undesired circumstances of justice unserved/denied would be that the abused children run the risk of being victimized all over again by a society ignoring that any sort of wrongdoing occurred against them. 

Fake news exists, and has existed for a long time -- some would even call deliberate dispersal of misinformation "propaganda" or "censorship in the interests of national security".  I'm not denying that fake news can be a problem, but I also can't speak to any recent specific cases at specific locales involving specific businesses which have been aired in the media.  While children all over the world are still at risk for this type of abuse, the alleged perpetrators might not be as well-organized in such an all-encompassing network that "ties together at the top of the highest echelons of American society" as some in the media assert.  But these practices certainly aren't new -- they are the same abominations found in age-old pagan ceremonies that the Lord spoke against in Torah and He warned the Children of Israel to reject these practices in order to protect innocents and to shun idol worship.

We are fortunate that Torah doesn't go into a lot of graphic detail about what happened in these ceremonies.  (It certainly makes going to shul or kids' Sunday Schools a lot more child-friendly!)  But we're at a disadvantage in our modern age because these practices are not as common and "out-in-the-open" as they were, so we're essentially naive about the actual evils performed in idol worship.  Scholars say that most of their knowledge on the subject came from writings which were uncovered in archaeological digs -- for example, unearthing non-intact tablets from Ugarit (Ras Shamra) in Northern Syria has shed some light on pagan ancient-Canaanite practices.  

So, when the Lord said, "Don't let any of your seed pass through fire," He was speaking out against child sacrifice by fire.  When I was very young and studying the Bible on my own, I incorrectly thought "passing through fire" meant some form of East Asian self-hypnosis and conditioning allowing one to walk across a bed of burning coals barefooted.  Boy, was I naive!  (Another "fun" self-revelation would be when I mis-type the word "bibles", it accidentally comes out as "bubkes".  I certainly didn't mean that!)

I hope I don't step on any scholars' or kashrut rabbis' toes by bringing this up, but a prohibition from Torah which has been open to considerable interpretation was probably referring to avoiding a form of idol worship.  When the Lord said, "Don't boil a young goat in its mother's milk," He was likely referring to avoiding imitation of a divination ceremony the Canaanite pagans practiced to appease their false gods and to obtain good fortune.  (Let's face it -- we are imitative creatures!   Over time, human beings got dazzled by some pagan practices, and then these things got incorporated into celebrating certain occasions, especially in Christian holidays.)  In essence, the Lord was probably saying, "Don't practice divination, soothsaying, interpretation of runes; don't consult familiar spirits; don't practice witchcraft or wizardry; etc." (which He said using pretty much the same words in other Torah passages). As for other specified Hebrew dietary restrictions, modern science has shown that the Hebrews had a healthier diet and lifestyle than the surrounding gentiles had (so dietary restrictions are a good thing!).  

When He said, "Don't allow any of your seed to become prostitutes," He wasn't only saying that the "World's Oldest Profession for Making Money" was a big "no-no".  He also meant that someone's sons and/or daughters were not meant to be used in an intimate manner as "temple perpetual holy virgins" in the worship of pagan deities through human procreative acts to invoke power from false gods. 

When He said, "Do not make cuts in your flesh for the dead," He was referring to blood-letting practices used in appeasing Baal.  An example of this would be when the false prophets of Baal repeatedly cut themselves during Elijah's big showdown with them on Mount Carmel.  

Some pagan Canaanite worship ceremonies included animal sacrifices, which were completely different than sacrifices offered by the ancient Hebrews.  In this latter case, the Hebrews were commanded in Torah to only make animal sacrifices unto the Lord near the Altar of Burnt Offerings at either the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting in the wilderness or the door of the Temple.  As we know, there are chapters and chapters detailing what G_d regards as acceptable worship. 

Other acts of pagan worship and means of bestowing idols' favors included ritual meals (sound familiar -- like the "spirit cooking dinners" we've heard of?) and licentious dances.  These exuberant, energetic dances often led the frenzied participant into a spent state that was thought to be a spiritual experience on a higher plane.  I'm not sure if sports drinks and a nap would have helped them feel more like themselves afterwards -- but, in other pagan traditions around the world, seeking an altered mental state is believed to be a means of receiving visions from gods.  

So, how do I know that young people are still at risk from such predators?  As a doctor, I've met some of their victims in my exam rooms.  A lot of them were so hurt, confused, and bewildered about what they had encountered that they couldn't speak on their own behalf, let alone try to prevent this from happening to other vulnerable children and teens.  They need strong adults in moral communities to advocate for them, protect them and get them out of these nightmarish circumstances before they end up dead and buried in someone's backyard.  Yes -- I also know about backyard burials from studying modern forensic anthropology in my training; I've seen enough hard evidence to know that it's real and that it's not an urban myth.  

Please -- don't allow any of these young victims to be discarded in the garbage cans relegated for "fake news"!

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