Roseanne of Oz

News reports say that the sitcom star Roseanne Barr has been spotted riding a broomstick and wearing a tall, pointy hat. No, this is not a joke. Roseanne recently played the Wicked Witch of the West in a Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz. Roseanne’s depiction of the witch was so effective that, by her own admission, children in the audience burst into tears of fright. But there’s something even more frightening—and that’s the way Roseanne is using her fictional character to promote feminist spirituality. Roseanne recently told the Los Angeles Times, "I’m really into the female power thing, and there’s nothing stronger than the Wicked Witch for a female." Roseanne is popularizing the feminist redefinition of witches as good—witches as powerful women who are simply oppressed by patriarchal forces. In feminist spirituality, witches often have a special, hidden knowledge. As Roseanne said on the "Larry King Show", the Wicked Witch is "strong and outrageous and has all this sinister wisdom. Oh, I love her." Since witches were social outcasts, they have also come to represent life outside social rules and expectations. Listen to Roseanne again: The Wicked Witch is "the original woman, before she’s been civilized." Roseanne’s words echo what some feminists say about the biblical story: Eve, the real "original woman," is depicted as a heroine for liberating herself from an oppressive, patriarchal God. In this version, the serpent is not evil—it is the source of a hidden knowledge that gives us freedom. Feminist author Patricia Lynn Reilly expresses this view in her book, A God Who Looks Like Me. In a newspaper interview, Reilly said, "We see Eve’s act as courageous and curious—to bite into life and the fullness of possibility." Ms. Reilly conducts workshops in which women sit in a circle, passing an apple. Each one takes a bite, mirroring Eve’s original disobedience. The women are encouraged to imagine Eve standing before them, urging them to taste the good fruit of life. This feminist rewrite of Scripture turns the Gospel message upside down. Eve’s rebellion against God did not liberate her—it enslaved her. And the Bible teaches that true wisdom isn’t sinister and hidden; it’s out in the light. It’s available to all of us—not just to the feminist few. We live in an age when popular TV entertainers often use their fame to promote false theologies, influencing millions of people. We need to teach ourselves and our children how to spot these false teachings and counter them. You might even use The Wizard of Oz as a starting place to explain to your children how our culture distorts the meaning of freedom. Freedom is found not in rebellion against God, but rather in a life of obedience to Him. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy throws a bucket of water on the witch and melts her down. When it comes to fighting theological counterfeits, we’d better grab our spiritual buckets—and get to work.


Chuck Colson


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