Friday, October 16, 2009

"A Pagan Republican Comes Out of the Broom Closet"

Religion dispatches recently included an article by Sarah Pike, religious studies professor at CSU Chico, that discusses a political campaign by a Neopagan in the Republican Party. In "A Pagan Republican Comes Out of the Broom Closet," Pike discusses Dan Halloran's run for a New York City councilman's position. Of course the great surprise in this situation is that the Republican Party is known more for its long associations with conservative evangelical Christianity, not Neopaganism.

Pike concludes her piece with these words:

It would have been impossible to find a Neopagan like Halloran running for political office twenty years ago, when most Neopagans kept their identities carefully guarded for fear of losing jobs or child custody battles. In neighborhoods all over the country, Neopagan communities have been treated suspiciously and outright persecuted by some Christian neighbors, law enforcement, and government agencies. Since for many Americans, the Republican Party is inseparable from conservative Christianity, Neopagans were surprised that the party stood by Halloran, and took it as a sign that not only is the makeup of the religious left and the religious right shifting, but that the country as a whole is becoming more receptive toward their religion.

This development is an interesting one as pluralism continues to shape the public square, including the political landscape. While the positive response of the Republican Party to Halloran's campaign is encouraging, it remains to be seen how conservative evangelicals will react to this.


Makarios said...

". . .it remains to be seen how conservative evangelicals will react to this."

I don't have any census data in front of me, but I suspect that conservative evangelicals are not a significant demographic in Queens. Conservative evangelicals of a certain stripe would object to a Pagan of any kind being elected to public office at any level, including city council; but they would probably object just as strongly, albeit in coded language, to the election of a Muslim.

John W. Morehead said...

Makarios, I think you're right about the evangelicals in the area. My comment was directed more toward broader evangelicalism if they heard about this and how it would be received. After all, this is the time of year when Hallween and Paganism become evangelical boogeymen.

Superb Jon said...

Halloran is not beneath jibing that Catholic Irish outbreed Protestants. American Protestands and Jews have traditionally argued Catholics, Muslims and Confucians (Sineurabia) are united by their pagan undercurrents.