A man named Gus diZerega who describes himself as an “elder” of the Gardnerian Wiccan tradition and a “Brazilian shaman” wrote a piece for Patheos describing five reasons Pagans need to vote for Barack Obama. His arguments were basically MSNBC talking points devoid of any statements of faith. Republican theocrats hate women, want to destroy the environment, and live to transform America into a giant cathedral where everyone would be forced to buy copies of The Watchtower on pain of death.
This appears as the “Pagan” view but really only a subset of Pagans embrace these politics. There are in fact many conservative Pagans whose voices tend to be drowned out by the shriller and more activist Left; I know this because I’m one of them.
I have five reasons why I would never vote for Barack Obama — or any Democrat — and, unlike Mr. diZerega, my reasoning reflects the rational, political expression of my faith, not Internet memes popular among the uneducated.
The first reason is I believe in the freedom of all people to practice their faith and worship the divine as they choose. Obama’s attack on the Catholic Church is not just a political fight between pro-life and pro-choice. It is the government trying to claim the right to force people to betray their god and abandon his teachings. This is an outrageous and unconscionable breach of those Catholics’ First Amendment rights. The state must never be allowed to believe itself the arbiter of any groups’ theology or how it is expressed. Religion must be experiential; each person must experience the divine personally and be allowed to act in accordance with that understanding. Unless a religion is actually hurting other people, like say committing almost 20,000 terrorist attacks worldwide since 9/11, the state has no business involving itself with adherents at all.
And I challenge liberal Pagans to name one time when the “theocratic” Right has not only demanded that you change your religious doctrine, but then passed a law forcing you to do something you thought ran contrary to your religious beliefs.
The second reason I won’t vote for any Democrat, including Barack Obama, is that I believe in life. I believe that life is sacred and the so-called pro-choice movement has devolved into a transmitter of nihilism and anti-humanism. Unlike some of my pro-life cohort, I don’t actually believe that abortions can ever be made illegal. More importantly, I believe the legality of abortions is a symptom of our unhealthy and unnatural views of sex, parenthood, and children. My generation was one of the first raised with the “pro-choice” message that children ruin lives, that pregnancy is to be avoided, and that sex is no more important or profound than a handshake with a stranger. My generation and the generations that followed have internalized this view and it expresses itself in our sexual neurosis, self-esteem issues, and self-destructive behavior.
Sex is sacred. It is a gift that two people share and the fact it can create life makes it more wondrous. And while I’m not quite prude enough to insist you should be in love with everyone you bed, I do think ideally you should at least respect and appreciate them. The mainstreaming of sado-masochism and violent pornography makes me feel I may be in the minority with those views. How do you raise healthy adults in a society whose rhetoric implies that most mothers secretly resent children coming into being because it “ruined her life”? And how can we expect to live in a healthy, moral society when one party’s platform involves trying to force the rest of us to pay for people to have unprotected sex with strangers?