Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party candidate for Senate in Delaware, is once again back in the hot seat. Previously, she had been questioned for her views on abstinence and sexual morality. Now she is raising eyebrows over a statement she made on a comedy show about her inexperience as a teenager.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that Christine O’Donnell had “dabbled in witchcraft.” The report also shares a video including her statements, made in 1999 on comedian Bill Maher’s show “Politically Incorrect.” In it, she relates the witchcraft on her first date, which she claims was with a witch who did satanic rituals.
Religion and politics have been a sore spot with Americans throughout history. Other politicians with unorthodox or unusual religious affiliations have often come under scrutiny, even when such beliefs were only rumored to be true. People seem to wonder how these affiliations will affect a politician’s judgment, if at all.
U.S. News reports that nearly a third of Republicans, and 18 percent of Americans overall, wrongly believe that President Obama is a Muslim. Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, attributes this to the economy, and says that more people might rightly believe President Obama to be a Christian if it were better.
Although this false belief of an American President being of Muslim faith seems to rifle some people, it doesn’t appear to have affected President Obama.
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
The loss of Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidential candidacy in 2008 to John McCain is strongly attributed to his religious beliefs. He is proclaimed to be a Mormon, and this just does not agree with some. Prior to his bid for presidential candidacy, Slate Magazine cited a Rasmussen poll that says only 38 percent of Americans would definitely consider voting for a Mormon for president.
Matt Salmon’s Gubernatorial hopes were dashed with his 2002 campaign being smattered through an advertising campaign demeaning him for his religious affiliations, as reported by CBS News. It was connected to his being a member of the Mormon faith, at a time when a fundamentalist church, one that had broken away from the church Salmon was affiliated with, was being accused of indecency in the treatment of its members, among other things. It was presumed he would not be able to be unbiased in pursuing legal matters of this magnitude if he were to become governor.
It seems that Ms. O’Donnell could still have a long row to hoe. Although the most difficult political issues appear to come from actually held religious beliefs, the presumption of something hidden can still do a tremendous amount of damage. Still, the American public is smart, and the issues she represents and upholds today will be likely to have a stronger impact than what she’d done back then. Albeit, if she can stand up to the task of overcoming it.
Peter Grier, Staff Writer, Latest challenge facing Christine O’Donnell: witchcraft TV clip, The Christian Science Monitor
Kenneth R. Bazinet, Obama Goes to Christian Church, U.S. News & World Report
Jacob Weisberg, Romney’s Religion, Slate Magazine
Francie Grace, Sex, Religion, and Politics, CBS News