CAIRO, W. Va. In a race for the West Virginia House of Delegates, the Wiccan writings of one candidate emerged as issue. Mr. Jason S. Hashbarger (Rep.) currently holds the seat in question. On October 24, Representative Harshbarger posted an article on Facebook from The Daily Caller, a right wing website. That post alleged that his opponent, Lissa Lucas failed to disclose her Wiccan practice and writings.
SASKATCHEWAN – Liberal Party candidate and long time member of Canada’s Heathen community, Robert Rudachyk officially kicks off his campaign today in his bid to represent Saskatoon-Riverdale as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). This is a seat in the Province of Saskatchewan and is similar to holding office at the state level in the U.S.
In 2014, Mr. Rudachyk sought the nomination to become the Liberal Party of Canada‘s candidate for the federal riding of Saskatoon West, a federal level position. However, he wasn’t nominated by his party. For this current election, Rudachyk has not only received nomination by his party, but he also feels that he has an excellent shot at winning the election. This would make Rudachyk the first openly elected Heathen in Canada.
05. Ginger Strivelli, School Bibles, and Buncombe County Schools: The story began at the end of 2011 when North Carolina Pagan Ginger Strivelli challenged her child’s school’s policy regarding the distribution of religious materials. Strivelli felt that the manner in which Gideon Bibles were made available violated the Establishment Clause, and ostracized non-Christian students who didn’t want to use a special break to obtain a Bible. Strivelli, along with local activist and Pagan leader Byron Ballard, and a growing coalition of local residents, made clear that the board needed to remain neutral on matters regarding religion. So began a year of contentious school board meetings, death threats, and mainstream media coverage. “For awhile there seemed to be a balance of people who supported and opposed the policy. But then some preachers got up and made direct personal attacks to Ginger. They claimed she was the only one with a problem with the bible distribution.
Last night, aside from a few hold-outs, a prevailing consensus formed about the election that won President Barack Obama a second term, and kept the Senate in Democratic control despite unfavorable odds: America’s demographics have shifted. “The white establishment is now the minority,” Bill O’Reilly, one of the network’s most famous personalities, said earlier this evening. “The demographics are changing: It’s not a traditional America anymore.” Minutes later, former Gov. Mike Huckabee would slam his own party for failing to reach out to non-white voters. “I think Republicans have done a pathetic job of reaching out to people of color,” Huckabee said during an appearance on Fox. “That’s something we’ve got to work on. It’s a group of people that frankly should be with us based on the real policy of conservatism.”
But the erosion of “traditional” America wasn’t simply about fewer white voters, it was also about women, and younger voters, who defied the ever-popular notion that they are politically apathetic.
It’s election day here in the United States, and most Americans are glued to their news sources of choice to see who will guide this nation for the next four years. In addition, control of our Senate, and the outcome of several local ballot initiatives will decided this day, making for an exciting evening for those invested in our democratic republic. Many American Pagans, like every other group in this country, also find themselves deeply invested in our political process if my Facebook wall is any indicator, and so they should, as the very notions of democracy, of a republic, originated in pagan thought, in pre-Christian societies. Thomas Jefferson, a key architect of America’s religious freedoms, was proud that our country, in principle, encompassed “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.”
So on this election day, as we wait for the results to roll in, let’s focus on some electoral/election stories of interest to, or involving, modern Pagans. The ever-politically active Starhawk shares some final thoughts on the election, making her endorsements, but also stressing the importance of voting in general. Quote: “Still need inspiration? Consider the sixty years women struggled to get the right to vote. Think of those suffragists on hunger strike, force-fed through tubes, lying in rat-infested prisons—they want you to vote! Think of the civil rights workers in the South, risking their lives to register voters, think of the three who were murdered in 1964, Shwerner, Chaney and Goodman. They want you to vote!”