Back in July I reported on the actions of Dixie Deerman (aka Lady Passion), a Wiccan from Asheville, North Carolina, who was trying to save a local magnolia tree marked for cutting by developers.
“Wiccan priestess Dixie Deerman of Coven Oldenwilde in Asheville says the line has to be drawn somewhere, and this is it. Deerman, also known as Lady Passion, has invited Pagans, Wiccans and others to encircle the tree Friday evening and chant spells to protect it.”
It seems that some local environmentalists showed up to her rally, including Elaine Lite, a candidate for the Asheville City Council. Lite, I’m sure, thought nothing of her appearance until news footage of the event was re-edited and used as a political attack ad by local conservative group Carolina Stompers.
Local Democrats weren’t pleased and filed a complaint saying that the Carolina Stompers need to register as a PAC (political action committee) if they are going to run attack ads. But so far the conservative group has used the loophole of not telling people how to vote to escape this legal classification.
“A television ad bought by the conservative Carolina Stompers – which mocks City Council candidate Elaine Lite for participating in a Wiccan prayer – may not force the group to register as a political committee. The commercial doesn’t explicitly ask voters to reject Lite, the message that would legally identify it as a campaign expenditure, according to the state elections board.”
Lite calls the attack “desperate”, and support for the candidate has been snowballing. But this ad marks yet another occasion in which affiliation (real or otherwise) with modern Paganism has been used as a political weapon. This event recalls the recent story of Rita Moran, a Democratic Party Chair in Maine, who was “outed” as a Pagan and subsequently stalked in order to smear the State party. The Republicans who engage in these activities must be truly bankrupt morally and ethically if using religion as a weapon seems like a good idea to them.