There’s a great deal to cringe at, and laugh at, when it comes to Delaware Republican Party U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. She has exhibited a combination of fascist proclivities and absurd ignorance of basic scientific facts, both asserting that some criminal suspects should be deprived of the right to a fair trial and claiming that scientists are attempting to create “mice with fully functioning human brains”.
There’s one sniggering line of commentary against Christine O’Donnell, however, that has no place in voters’ decisions about whether to vote for O’Donnell: The assertion that O’Donnell once took part in Wiccan ceremonies, documented by a video from Bill Maher’s old TV show, Politically Incorrect. On that show, O’Donnell states, “I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. … I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things.”
In response to the revelation of this statement, Dan Farber from CBS News wrote,
“With her past dabbling into witchcraft, and statements such as, ‘American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains,’ candidate O’Donnell will have to explain to the citizens of Delaware what’s behind her some of her more controversial ideas past and present. “
Why should Christine O’Donnell have to explain to the citizens of Delaware if she went to a few Wiccan ceremonies years ago? What business is it of the citizens of Delaware if she did? O’Donnell is running for the United States Senate, not for a position in a convent of cloistered nuns.
The Constitution of the United States of America clearly states that religious identity isn’t an appropriate criterion for selecting political leaders. Article VI includes the direction, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
There are Wiccans all across the United States, in both small towns and big cities, and most of them are fine people, just like most people of other religions are fine people. There is no reasonable argument to be made that attending a Wiccan ceremony has disqualified Christine O’Donnell from public office.
Democrats who follow the anti-Wicca line of argument against Christine O’Donnell are allowing their partisan zeal to overcome their professed loyalty to the separation of church and state.