Last Friday, remarks emerged from an appearance the Delaware Republican made during a 1999 taping of "Politically Incorrect," in which she acknowledged that she had "dabbled into witchcraft" but "never joined a coven." O'Donnell immediately distanced herself from the quote, asking whether it was fair to hold candidates responsible for the "questionable folks" they hung out with in high school. The clarification may have been the only sane political move for O'Donnell to make. But it had the side effect of angering an already politically sensitive pagan community.Does Selena Fox really believe the young man who took Christine O'Donnell to a movie and a Satanic midnight picnic was an honest-to-goodness, sincere, true-believing Wiccan who just wanted to celebrate diversity and share his own deeply held spiritual beliefs? Or is her gut also telling her, deep down, that we're more likely talking about a horny teenage boy with a bitchin' Black Sabbath t-shirt who just wanted to get Young Christine skyclad?
"Yes, this was 11 years ago she said that," said Reverend Selena Fox, the High Priestess & Senior Minister of the Circle Sanctuary a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting paganism and nature spirituality. "But the kinds of things she is saying now, saying 'well in high school you are with despicable characters' or some such thing, she is actually defaming Wiccans. Whether she intends to do that or not as a way to try and get herself out of this political problem she has created for herself, the fact is America really needs to be a place where you can celebrate diversity and practice your religion without getting ridiculed or defamed."
And is Christine O'Donnell's comment about hanging out with "questionable" witchcraft-dabblers in high school really opening up Wiccans to ridicule and disrespect? Because personally, I find the idea that "25 years of work" by "Wiccan and pagan civil rights and religious freedom groups" will somehow be undone by one Senate candidate's response to a comment from more than a decade ago, on a show called Politically Incorrect, about something that happened in high school to be a much greater invitation to ridicule.
I'd wager that Christine O'Donnell has endured far more ridicule in recent days for her own religious beliefs about masturbation and abstinence than the pagan community has endured because of Christine O'Donnell. But like High Priestess Fox says, celebrating religious diversity in America only goes so far.