America May See Its First Openly Pagan Presidential Candidate This Year
The Darryl Cherney for President Exploratory Committee popped up on Facebook earlier this year, and though he hasn’t registered with the FEC, Darryl Cherney says that he is contemplating running for President with the Green Party. If he does, he says that he would be the first openly Pagan presidential candidate.
Why does it matter that Darryl Cherney identifies his religion as Pagan? Cherney says that Paganism is just what the U.S. federal government needs.
Cherney writes, “If I choose to run I may be the first (openly) Pagan Presidential Candidate. And yes it matters. To have a candidate that honors the feminine and Mother Earth as sacred is something we are sorely lacking. For those who say we must not bring religion into the mix, may I remind you that among our greatest activists were Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Desmond Tutu and Ghandi–all who wore their spirituality on their sleeves. There is a difference between the separation of Church and State and letting people know your spiritual practice. And given the hundreds of years of brutality foisted upon pagans, which continues to this day, it’s time someone spoke out in the political arena and besides saying “I am gay,” or “I was a pot smoker” or “I am a socialist;” to say “I am a pagan!” And then to let people know it simply means honoring the female and male as equals in the divine.”
To me, the most important issue isn’t whether a Pagan President is going to make everything better in the USA, but whether Darryl Cherney is just one more in a long line of presidential candidates who assert that their own religion should be the guiding standard for American government. We already have a guiding standard for our country. It’s democratically established and maintained. It’s called the Constitution.
The Constitution makes it clear that there shouldn’t be any religious test for any governmental position in the United States, much less for the position of President. That doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional for Darryl Cherney to campaign on a platform of using the government to implement his religious beliefs. It means it would be unconstitutional for Cherney to follow through on these campaign promises. No law in the USA can be used to establish any religion, whether it’s Christian, Pagan, or something else.
We would be wise to choose our elected leaders on the basis of policy agenda, rather than on the basis of religious identity. We’ve seen many American politicians identify themselves as Christian, yet disagree with each other vigorously about policy. Religion is political, but it provides vague and contradictory ideas about politics, leading to remarkable diversity in interpretation. It’s not the job of the President to be the preacher in chief, whether the preaching is about Jesus or about the Sacred Feminine.
On the political substance, Darryl Cherney seems to be having some trouble getting his policy agenda clear. In April, he announced that he had been working hard on his campaign platform. “It’s almost ready to share,” he said. A couple of weeks ago, when a follower of his exploratory campaign asked if he had finished his platform yet, Cherney wrote, “I’ve got the document in it’s form. Now I’m ironing out the typos, kinks, errors, and so on.”
Still, months after Cherney began his exploratory presidential campaign, he still hasn’t been able to say what he would do if he gets elected. The Cherney for President platform remains unfinished.
It appears to be much easier for Cherney to simply say that he would be the first openly Pagan president than to explain why that matters.