In 2008 the Libertarian Party nominated former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr as their candidate for President of the United States. Many modern Pagans who consider themselves libertarians/Libertarians were displeased by this turn of events, as Barr had notoriously tried to ban Pagans from serving in the military, claiming that equal rights for Wiccans and Pagans set “a dangerous precedent that could easily result in the practice of all sorts of bizarre practices being supported by the military under the rubric of ‘religion.’ ” However, what was acceptable behavior in the Republican party of 1999 wasn’t going to pass muster with Libertarian live-and-let-live notions of freedom, and so Barr kinda-sorta recanted his position. “I got to ask Barr a question I’ve wanted to ask him for quite some time. He’s repudiated and apologized for many of his previous positions and I asked him if he would repudiate his absurd anti-Wiccan crusade of 1999, when he wanted all Wiccans banned from the military. He said yes, with a bit of hemming and hawing.
One week ago, former Haitian dictator/”president-for-life” Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Haiti from exile in France. There’s been much speculation as to why Duvalier, the son of the infamous François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, chose this time to return. Whatever the reason, two days later he was charged with corruption by a Haitian court, though human rights organizations also want him charged for his role in the torture and death of thousands of Haitians. Duvalier, while president of Haiti, was head of a paramilitary force known as the “Tonton Macoutes,” who enforced the will of their leader and used Vodou as an element of psychological warfare against the populace.
Vodou leaders were also members, giving what came to be called the Militia of National Security Volunteers (known as MVSN, for its French acronym) an almost-religious aura.
Top Story: It seems like every time I think I’m done mentioning the antics of Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey, that subject of documentary filmmakers, and founder of the “Vampyres, Witches, and Pagans Party”, somehow manages to do something even more extreme and ill-advised to gain press attention. After recently landing in jail for threatening the judge who was overseeing a case than involved Sharkey harassing an under-aged girl, he’s now at the center of a drama involving another under-age girl, whom he helped run away from home and is/was proposing to marry as soon as she reached the age of consent (she’s 16 currently). “In an e-mail to the Red Wing (Minn.) Republican Eagle newspaper, Brewer insisted the decision to join Sharkey was her choice. “I pretty much told Jonathon either he come meet up with me or I would walk to New Jersey on my own,” she wrote, referencing Sharkey’s native state. But Collins said police do have some concerns about the man who in 2009 was convicted of harassment in Olmsted County after a Rochester, Minn., teen broke off an online relationship with Sharkey.
Top Story: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released a new study, entitled “Religion Among the Millennials”, that tracks the beliefs and views of the generation born after 1981 (and who largely came of age in the year 2000, hence the name). The report asserts that Millenials are far more “unaffiliated”, religiously speaking, than the previous two generations, and less concerned about “culture war” issues like gay marriage and abortion than their predecessors. “Young people are more accepting of homosexuality and evolution than are older people. They are also more comfortable with having a bigger government, and they are less concerned about Hollywood threatening their values. But when asked generally about morality and religion, young adults are just as convinced as older people that there are absolute standards of right and wrong that apply to everyone. Young adults are also slightly more supportive of government efforts to protect morality and of efforts by houses of worship to express their social and political views.”
Al Gore wasn’t the only surprise appearance at this year’s Netroots Nation conference. Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Bob Barr also happened to drop by. Ed Brayton, who blogs at Dispatches From the Culture Wars, was on-hand and managed to ask Barr a question that has been on the minds of many politically-oriented Pagans. Does he now repudiate his anti-Wiccan campaign from 1999? “I got to ask Barr a question I’ve wanted to ask him for quite some time.